Fronted qualifiers in French and English

Abstract : By “fronted qualifier”, I mean a relatively long initial segment, which precedes a headword and which has an adjectival function in relation to it. This structure seems to be relatively common in French. For example, a leaflet from a French university begins with a letter from the vice-chancellor almost entirely written in this form. The leaflet gives an English translation, which calques the French structure. Taken individually, the translation of each clause seems adequate, but when read as a text, unlike the original French, it somehow does not work. This seems to suggest that French accepts this structure more easily than English does. To the extent that it is usual to treat the fronted qualifier as part of the subject, and the whole of the subject group as theme, this would give “Born in Liverpool in 1937, he” as theme of “Born in Liverpool in 1937, he was educated at St. Mary’s College”. However, since the fronted qualifier is in a marked position, does this mean that it should be taken as theme, or, at least, be accorded additional thematic status? And since French seems to accept this structure more easily than English, might this be one of the points at which the two languages differ? These are the sorts of questions, which this article will attempt to address.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-02270761
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Submitted on : Monday, August 26, 2019 - 11:28:41 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 1:25:00 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02270761, version 1

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David Banks. Fronted qualifiers in French and English. Journal of World Languages, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2015, pp.63-76. ⟨hal-02270761⟩

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