Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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This article deals with the so-called "middle" reflexive construction (se-moyen) of French (e.g. Cette racine se mange, "this root is edible"). It is first postulated that se-moyen appears in early Romance — as shown by Stéfanini 1962 — as a variant of the Passive construction. A first, descriptive, part reviews the various properties usually attributed to se-moyen, as opposed to Passive: it is shown that most of these properties have been inadequately formulated, from an empirical point of view, and that two properties (one of which is never mentioned in specialized literature) must be singled out: the restitution of a human agent in the semantic interpretation, and the restriction of the construction to transitive VPs.The second part aims at offering a principled explanation for the properties of se-moyen, within a générative transformational framework. After having reviewed — and discarded — various analyses previously proposed in transformational literature, we suggest an alternative account, involving an analysis of middle se as a morphophonological manifestation of the trace left by the NP-Preposing rule.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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