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Clitic subjects in French text messages

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Abstract

This study investigates the graphical realization of clitic subjects in about 4600 French text messages taken from the Swiss corpus of text messages 〈www.sms4science.ch〉. It analyzses different spelling strategies against the background of the present debate concerning the (still) argumental or (already) purely morphosyntactic (as agreement markers) status of clitic subjects in contemporary French or in a non-standard variety of it (“European Colloquial French”, following Culbertson 2010). As none of three crucial phenomena correlated with the ‘agreement marker hypothesis”, i.e. absence of clitics in inversion structures, fusional spelling tendencies for more than one preverbal clitic element and subject doubling, are attested in a significant way in our data, French text messages from Switzerland do not document any linguistic change nor a norm change in the realm of subject marking.

References

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