France Language – Syntax Part II

France Language - Syntax 2

The use of subject personal pronouns is closely related to the syntax of the verb. Ordinarily in Latin the 1st and 2nd person subject pronouns were expressed only by emphasis. In French they have become mandatory – as well as that of the 3rd person, when there is no other expressed subject – first to avoid the sentence starting with a verb or with an unstressed complement pronoun (tu fëis que sagesil me perdroit), then gradually in the other cases, as the verbal inflection disappeared phonetically [ o ]. In the 1st and 2nd plural persons, which have retained a distinct inflection, the ellipsis of nousvous is common up to Malherbe; in the 1st and 2nd sing. jeyou have become a kind of prefixed inflection. In the 3rd pers. sing. and plur. the pronoun is used only when there is no other expressed subject, and then it is mandatory: il est venu, ma le médecin est venuLe médecin il est venu is an incorrect popular saying, but which is on the line of the syntactic evolution of French. The use of the subject has extended to impersonal constructions; ant. fr. (iame semble have become the yathe me semble (peut – être is a relict), and this fact shows the inflectional value of the subject pronoun. Nonetheless, in all tenses, this kind of inflection has been separable, since enclitics, especially complement pronouns, can be interspersed between the subject pronoun and the verb, je le dis. As for the respective order of these direct or indirect complements, the old phrase je le vous dis has become, starting from the century. XIV, je vous le dis, with the sole exception of dat. he who remains attached to the verb, je le lui dis. Complex motifs (ϕ × α) explain the evolution of these forms.

According to FRANCISCOGARDENING, the placement of subject nouns or main complements with respect to the verb was relatively free, as long as the declension survived: subject – verb – complement, or: complement – verb – subject, etc. But if an adverb or a complement of circumstance had been found at the end of the sentence, the obligatory order was: adverb – verb – subject – complement; or vit li cuenz le chevalier. The placement of the main complement after the subject has generally become mandatory in all cases, after the declension has been phonetically altered (δ). Only in the direct question the ant. fr. puts the subject pronoun or noun after the verb. Viendras you? viendra li rois? and this form, still alive if the subject is a personal pronoun, disappeared for the noun in the 16th century. XVI. Le roi viendra – t – the dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and results from the crossing of le roi viendra (affirmation, or question with special intonation) and vient – il? This form, which is the only one used in today’s literary language, has its rival east – ce que le roi viendra? , family expression derived from fr. ant. ço est que, fr. medio c’est que, reduced to an interrogative form; east – ce que has the function of a real particle [σ].

Apart from the relations it can have with the verb, the noun has very close relations with the definite article, which is nothing but the ille demonstrative with attenuated value, used more and more frequently before the noun. In fr. ant. the article was omitted in front of the names either abstract (compare the stereotypical proverb contentement passe richesse) or concrete taken in a general sense, souvent femme vari. The use of the article was made general in the 16th and 17th centuries [δ]; in modern French, the article mainly distinguishes the singular from the plural, lales femme (s), leles mur (s), at least in nouns used as an object. Greater precision was also obtained with the development of an indeterminate article, the use of which became general in the century. XVII, c’est une chose glorieuse, and of a partitive article, which was originally unknown to fr. ant., mangièrent pain, and which arose from the combination of the article with the Latin de partitivo, nemo de iisils mangèrent du pain.

Regarding relations of the noun with other nouns, the subordination relationship was often indicated in ant. fr. from the declension: li filz le roi continued the Latin filius regis. Very rare if the determining complement was a name of thing or animal (la color le vis), this form alternated with the use of the prepositions de and àle pertuis de la posternela croupe au destrierli filz au roidu roi. The use of de is an extension of the Latin homo de plebe, in which de, which at first indicated the origin, ends up marking possession and determination. The form with à comes originally from the confusion of two Latin phrases dare litteras alicuidare litteras ad aliquem: fr. donner une lettre à quelqu’un ; confusion by virtue of which it was possible to say sunt ad nos poma, fr. la nuit est à nous ; then, since the dative of possession or determination had ended up being used without the link of a verb, Ursinian bones = Ursinian bones, we could say le fils au roi [δ]. The form with deprevailed over the two others in the century. XVII, at least in the literary language [σ]. The same preposition de is now used in the apposition of a noun to another, the ville de Paris, while ant. fr. it had the ordinary lat. type, urbs Roma, and often put the common name after the proper name, Rome la cité ; the use of de arose from the Latin explanatory genitive, feeds carnis, whence urbem Patavii, family fomia, which has become in the vulgar urbem de Patavio [δ].

France Language - Syntax 2