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The inflectional behavior of English-origin adjectives in French1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 June 2011

VALÉRIE SAUGERA*
Affiliation:
University of Connecticut
*
Address for correspondence: Valérie Saugera, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, 337 Mansfield Road, Unit 1057, Arjona 228, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA e-mail: valerie.saugera@uconn.edu

Abstract

When adjectives of English origin are pluralized in French, they follow one of three patterns: they receive inflection, reject inflection, or accept both forms. Curiously, these patterns of morphological variation have never been analyzed. This study identifies inflection-inhibiting constraints for a closed corpus of French dictionary-attested English adjectives and reveals that uninflected and variable adjectives do violate the standard native rule of adjective agreement, yet the constraints that block inflection are French-derived. A second feature of these adjectival anglicisms is that the nominal counterpart, if it exists, always receives native inflection (des jeans baggy vs. des baggys). The difference in word class, and specifically the feature of grammatical gender, may account for the contrastive behavior.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Footnotes

1

I am grateful to Patricia Lunn for her rigorous editing, to Paula Chesley and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions, and to Françoise Gadet for her commentary on the initial draft.

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