Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Phrase-final prepositions in Quebec French: An empirical study of contact, code-switching and resistance to convergence
Author: Shana Poplack
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Ottawa
Author: Lauren Zentz
Institution: University of Arizona
Author: Nathalie Dion
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Ottawa
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this study, we investigate whether preposition stranding, a stereotypical non-standard feature of North American French, results from convergence with English, and the role of bilingual code-switchers in its adoption and diffusion. Establishing strict criteria for the validation of contact-induced change, we make use of the comparative variationist framework, first to situate stranding with respect to the other options for preposition placement with which it coexists in the host language grammar, and then to confront the variable constraints on stranding across source and host languages, contact and pre-contact stages of the host language, mainstream and “bilingual” varieties of the source language, and copious and sparse code-switchers. Detailed comparison with a superficially similar pre-existing native language construction also enables us to assess the possibility of a language-internal model for preposition stranding. Systematic quantitative analyses turned up several lines of evidence militating against the interpretation of convergence. Most compelling are the findings that the conditions giving rise to stranding in French are the same as those operating to produce the native strategy, while none of them are operative in the presumed source. Explicit comparison of copious vs. sparse code-switchers revealed no difference between them, refuting claims that the former are agents of convergence. Results confirm that surface similarities may mask deeper differences, a crucial finding for the study of contact-induced change.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 15, Issue 2.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page