I would like to thank Joost Zwarts, Henriëtte De Swart and Bert Le Bruyn for their hospitality on the occasion of the ‘bare workshop’ they organised in Utrecht, and for the state-of-the-art information that I was able to gather on that occasion. This paper has also benefited from discussions held in the framework of the project Les bases sémantiques de la catégorisation at the University of Lille III and from the comments of the two anonymous reviewers of Transactions of the Philological Society. Finally, I am also very grateful to Dirk Speelman for statistical advice. All remaining mistakes or inaccuracies are my own.
The modification of predicative bare nouns in French: a functional analysis1
Article first published online: 31 MAR 2011
© The author 2011. Transactions of the Philological Society © The Philological Society 2011
Transactions of the Philological Society
Volume 109, Issue 1, pages 12–40, March 2011
How to Cite
Lauwers, P. (2011), The modification of predicative bare nouns in French: a functional analysis. Transactions of the Philological Society, 109: 12–40. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-968X.2011.01248.x
- Issue published online: 31 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 31 MAR 2011
This paper offers a corpus-based study of the (restricted) modification patterns of predicatively used bare nouns in French (e.g. Je suis bon catholique‘I am a good Catholic’). These are ‘truly’ bare in that they do not rely on a covert determiner. The aim of the paper is to determine which modification patterns are allowed and to provide a semantic-functional explanation. Further, on the basis of this study, some conclusions can be drawn both about the categorial status of the bare predicative noun and about the internal architecture of type specification, the innermost functional layer within the NP. More specifically, the study of bare nouns leads to the identification of several lower-level slots that are independent of the instantiation of a particular nominal entity in conceptual space. These are to be distinguished from higher-level modifiers. To end, some additional syntactic contexts are provided in which bare nouns occur. These display identical restrictions with respect to modification, but differ in the array of lexical heads they allow for.