Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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This article investigates the status of French N+N constructions in which the N2 productively combines with different N1’s (e.g. réunion marathon ‘marathon meeting’, examen marathon ‘marathon exam’, plaidoyer marathon ‘marathon plea’, etc). In the literature, this construction has been analyzed in very different ways, going from regular N+N compounding to the syntactic combination of a noun with a second noun converted into an adjective. In a first section, the arguments in favour of these different analyses are discussed. The second section is devoted to a specific case study in which the construction N-clé ‘key N’ (mot-clé ‘key word’, fonction-clé ‘key function’, élément-clé ‘key element’, etc.) is subjected to a profound semantic, orthographic, morphological and syntactic analysis. It will be observed that in recent uses the N-clé construction has developed some new syntactic properties that might be accounted for by a process of degrammaticalization.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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