16. Free and bound prepositions in a contrastive perspective. The case of with and avec

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The starting point of this chapter is the observation that the French preposition <i>avec</i>, which is generally considered as the translational equivalent of <i>with</i>, is rarely used as a translation of <i>with </i>in parallel corpus data. A more detailed analysis of the corpus data reveals that polysemy partly explains this situation (<i>with </i>is more polysemous than <i>avec</i>, having developed more metaphorical senses than its French equivalent), but that another important factor is phraseology. Contrary to expectations, free uses of the preposition <i>with </i>are less often translated by means of <i>avec </i>than bound uses. This, however, takes no account of the fact that some bound uses with a word-for-word translation in French occur repeatedly in the data. It also conceals the fact that it is mainly nominal bound uses which often correspond to <i>avec</i>.


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