Reflexive Marking in the History of French

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While French reflexive clitics have been widely studied, other forms of expressing co-reference within the clause have not received much attention. This monograph offers a diachronic study of the wider system of clause-mate co-reference in French, including the stressed pronouns, their suffixed form <i>{soi/lui/elle}-même</i>, and also the intensifier use of the latter. Its empirical backbone is a corpus analysis of the gradual replacement of stressed reflexive <i>soi</i> with the personal pronoun <i>lui/elle</i> from Old to Modern French. Apart from offering insights into the history of the language, this is important for current issues in theoretical linguistics, in particular binding, specificity, and the interaction of grammar and discourse. Within a cognitive-semantic framework, a number of analyses will help elucidate some long-standing puzzles in the study of French reflexives, while contributing to the wider theory of reflexivity and related issues. This book is of interest to the fields of French linguistics, semantics, discourse studies, and historical linguistics.

Subjects: Semantics; Historical linguistics; Romance linguistics; Theoretical linguistics; Syntax

  • Affiliations: 1: Newcastle University

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