Grammaires et Lexiques Comparés: Actes du Colloque
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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SummaryThis article deals with the distribution of nominal inversion in non-interrogative main clauses and embedded adverbial clauses in French. As for main clauses, it is established that nominal inversion occurs when the clause contains a stage topic, i.e. a spatio-temporal location, whether overt (indicated by an adverb or PP) or covert (indicated by a spatio-temporal link with the preceding context). Then, it is shown that nominal inversion is also allowed in main clauses when the subject is a restrictive focus, because of the presence of a restrictive focus particle such as ne...que or seul, or because of the reference of the subject being exhaustively specified. It is then shown that both principles also explain the occurrence of nominal inversion in embedded adverbial clauses: in temporal clauses, nominal inversion is licensed without the presence of an additional factor, whereas, in causal and concessive clauses, nominal inversion is only allowed if the clause contains a stage topic or an indication of the focal interpretation of the subject. Finally, it is shown that the same explanation also acccounts for nominal inversion in comparative clauses and in main clauses preceded by the comparative adverb of manner ainsi.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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