Expressing the Same by the Different

The subjunctive vs the indicative in French

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This volume offers an alternative, sign-oriented analysis of the distribution of the French Indicative and Subjunctive. It rejects both government and functions, attributed to both moods, and shows that the distribution of the Indicative and the Subjunctive is motivated by their invariant meanings. The volume illustrates the close interaction between the Indicative and the Subjunctive, as linguistic signs, and signs of other grammatical systems, contextually associated with the invariant meanings of both moods. Special consideration is given to the use of the Indicative and the Subjunctive in texts of different styles and genres.This volume also deals with the diachronic disfavoring of the Subjunctive and especially of the Imperfect Subjunctive that occurred from Old French to Contemporary French. It is argued that this disfavoring was motivated by the narrowing of the invariant meaning of the Contemporary French Subjunctive. All hypotheses are supported by contextualized examples and frequency counts.

Subjects: Romance linguistics; Semantics; Syntax; Theoretical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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