The interplay of inherent tendencies and language contact on French object clitics

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Standard and non-standard variations relating to object clitics in the French spoken in French Guiana (in contact with Guianese Creole) may be explained by three combined factors: linguistic and typological tendencies and contactinduced transfer. This paper determines the exact role each of these may play. It shows that the pronominal system is a particularly non-stable domain specific to Romance languages and that clitic variation is due to an inherent tendency within French to the reduction of paradigms. When this tendency encounters the reduced pronominal paradigm of French Guianese Creole, it creates a snowball effect that reinforces the inherent tendency. The present-day language contact situation produces a higher frequency of variation; it increases the productivity of variation and spread of innovative forms.


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