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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."

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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: Concurrent models and cross-linguistic analogies in the study of prepositional stranding in French in Canada
Author: Ricardo Otheguy
Institution: City University of New York
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Prepositions can be found with and without adjacent complements in many forms of popular spoken French. The alternation appears in main clauses (il veut pas payer pour ça ~ il veut pas payer pour “he doesn't want to pay for [it]”) and, though with a more restricted social and geographic distribution, in relative clauses (j'avais pas personne avec qui parler ~ j'avais pas personne à parler avec “I had no one to whom to talk ~ I had no one to talk to”). In main clauses, the variant lacking the adjacent complement is said to have an preposition (il veut pas payer ); in relatives, it is said to have a preposition (j'avais pas personne à parler ). In popular spoken French in Canada, stranding appears to be much more frequent than in other Francophone areas. Because so many French speakers in Canada are bilingual, because of the high frequency of stranding, and no doubt also because stranding violates prescriptive norms, stranded prepositions in French in Canada are widely believed to be instances of English influence (e.g. j'avais pas personne à parler avec is regarded as modeled on I had no one to talk to). But in a masterly variationist treatment, Poplack, Zentz and Dion (2011, this issue) argue that Canadian stranding is not of English origin. Stranded Canadian prepositions represent, instead, the expansion to relative clauses of the ordinary main-clause orphans. The historical source for Canadian stranding is thus analogy-induced and internal (French orphans), not contact-induced and external (not English stranding).


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

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