The dynamics of pronouns in the Québec languages in contact dynamics

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This article examines three zones of variation in the French pronoun paradigm in relation to the general issue of language contact in Québec. Three variables, associated with language change in contemporary Montreal French, are analyzed: (1) variation between the pronouns <i>on </i>‘one’ and <i>nous </i>‘we’ expressing the first-person plural, (2) variation among <i>on </i>‘one’, <i>tu </i>‘you’, and <i>vous </i>‘you’ to express indefinite reference, and (3) variation between simple and compound forms of plural pronouns with -<i>autres </i>‘others’. The article reassesses the situation using data that represent different degrees or dimensions of contact between French and English. A comparison between nineteenth- and twentieth-century Québec French data highlights how certain tendencies were or were not yet implemented at an earlier stage when the contact between French and English was less intense. The article also examines how young bilingual Montrealers behave in relation to these changes in progress.


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