Volume 11 (2017)

Eds: Barbara De Cock, Magali Paquot & Kristel Van Goethem

Splitting up the comparative: evidence from Czech

Karen De Clercq & Guido Vanden Wyngaerd
We argue that the comparative head that enters into the mor- phological makeup of the comparative (Bobaljik 2012) is to be split up into two distinct heads (see Caha 2016). Evidence for this claim comes from Czech comparative morphology, root suppletion, and the inter- action of Czech suppletion with negation. We further argue that the account for root suppletion that we provide captures the data better than a Distributed Morphology (DM) account.

L’analyse de néologismes médicaux du Moyen Âge à l’aide du corpus ChROMED

Céline Szecel
Dans cette contribution, nous traitons deux problèmes rencontrés lors de l’analyse de néologismes médicaux. Le premier est d’ordre terminologique et concerne l’emploi de notions problématiques comme base, racine, radical et thème, et le deuxième, qui se situe sur le plan méthodologique, la décomposition des néologismes en base, racine et affixe(s). Nous avons d’abord donné un aperçu de la littérature à propos de ces concepts théoriques pour retenir certaines notions théoriques (cf. Huot 2001, Apothéloz 2002, Roché 2010 et Amiot 2011) que nous avons appliquées à l’analyse d’exemples de notre corpus. Ensuite, nous avons présenté les travaux d’Huot (2001) portant sur la segmentation morphologique de termes et ceux de Bonami, Boyé et Kerleroux (2009) concernant le suffixe -ion. En suivant leurs méthodes, nous avons pu décider quels éléments font partie de la base ou plutôt du suffixe. Ces études nous ont donc permis d’adopter l’approche la plus appropriée à l’analyse de ces néologismes médicaux.

Towards a grammar of other-language hybrid quotations

Philippe De Brabanter
This paper introduces ‘other-language hybrid quotation’ (OLHQ) and speculates that it is a rule-governed linguistic phenomenon. It looks to syntactic accounts of code-switching (CS) for elucidation of the ‘grammar behind’ the phenomenon. One such account, Poplack’s Equivalence Constraint, is tested against a corpus of 257 examples. It emerges that most of these comply with the constraint, though not all. Consequences are drawn concerning the relationship between OLHQ and CS, and suggestions are made for further research.

Abaissement et registres de langue

Aurore Paligot
En langue des signes, le degré de formalité d’un discours influence-t-il l’importance des réductions phonétiques qui y sont produites ? Cet article présente une première analyse de ce phénomène de variation au sein des registres de la langue des signes de Belgique francophone ou LSFB. Le type de réduction considéré est l’abaissement – c’est-à-dire l’articulation d’un signe en dessous de l’emplacement pour lequel il est spécifié – dont nous étudions la réalisation dans deux catégories de signes : les signes frontaux et les signes symétriques. À partir de l’analyse des productions signées de deux locuteurs de la LSFB dans quatre contextes distincts, nous montrons que le degré d’abaissement des signes est lié à la formalité des discours : plus un discours est informel, plus les abaissements sont importants. Nous présentons également l’influence de l’environnement phonétique (hauteur, nombre et activité des mains) sur la réalisation des abaissements pour les deux catégories de signes considérées.

“En mode crime lyrical”. Or an analysis of non-standard language in a corpus of selected francophone rap tracks

Martin Verbeke

This article investigates the use of non-standard language in a corpus of selected francophone rap tracks containing 136 tracks from more than 60 different rappers. The following research question is being tackled: to what extent do French rappers use slang, verlan, colloquialisms, vulgarities, foreign borrowings, and abbreviations, and how are these words used? This study relies on a lexicographic analysis to produce quantitative results which are then analysed qualitatively by means of extract analyses. The general conclusion from this analysis is that, on average, French rappers do not deviate that much from standard French, since 93% of their vocabulary is perfectly standard. This finding confirms what other researchers in the field found, but on a wider scale. Since colloquial words are the most widely used NSL category in the corpus, this study shows that French rappers’ NSL vocabulary is not oversaturated with cryptic language. In fact, all the cryptic NSL categories combined (slang, verlan, and combinations) account for around only 2% of the corpus.

Encounters of the third kind: antonyms and tertium

Marie Steffens
The distinction between contraries and complementaries is traditionally based on the assumption that it is possible to deny two contraries simultaneously, while this possibility does not exist for contradictories. In formal logic, this simultaneous negation is equivalent to a third term, the tertium. In research on semantic scalarity, the simultaneous negation of two contraries is considered to denote the central region where neither of the two antonymic poles apply. The lexeme whose meaning corresponds to this central region, if one exists, constitutes a third term associated with the antonymic pair. The most frequently cited examples for third terms in French are tiède, moyen and indifférent. This contribution aims to establish a typology of third terms adjoined to antonyms using three criteria: semantic relationship to the antonymic pair, type of opposition between the antonyms, and number of antonymic pairs with which third terms are associated. Through an empirical approach based on the exploitation of a French journalistic corpus, we will also highlight the morpho-syntactic properties of some unstudied third terms.

Using global complexity measures to assess second language proficiency. Comparing CLIL and non-CLIL learners of English and Dutch in French-speaking Belgium

Amélie Bulon, Isa Hendrikx, Fanny Meunier & Kristel Van Goethem
This study falls within the framework of an interdisciplinary project on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in French- speaking Belgium. One of the project’s aims is to compare the L2 language proficiency of CLIL and non-CLIL French-speaking learners of English and Dutch. In the present paper we focus on learners’ global proficiency and use of different types of metrics to assess syntactic and lexical complexity in the learners’ written productions. Using various computational tools, we extracted lexical and syntactic complexity scores for texts written by CLIL and non-CLIL pupils in their L2 (English or Dutch) and their L1 (French). These scores were then compared to investigate the potential influence of CLIL education on the pupils’ language proficiency as CLIL programs provide more target language input than non-CLIL programs. We therefore hypothesized that CLIL pupils would display a more native-like competence in the target language, i.e. a more native-like level of syntactic and lexical complexity in their writing. As for the influence of CLIL programs on the L1, we did not expect any difference between the two groups. Our results show that our first hypothesis is only partly confirmed as the effect of CLIL on L2 complexity varies according to the language: while the Dutch texts written by CLIL pupils turn out to be more complex for nearly all measures, this was only the case for half of the measures in the English texts. As initially expected for our second hypothesis, we found no influence of CLIL on the complexity of the pupils’ L1.

Can music help learners and teachers in word stress perception?

Pauline Degrave
Prosody is essential in foreign language (FL) proficiency but is not always easy to acquire, particularly when languages show different prosodic systems such as Dutch and French. Considering the acoustic and neurological parallelism between music and language, this study aims at analysing the impact of musical elements on the perception of Dutch word stress by French learners. More specifically, we examined whether the perception of Dutch word stress was positively influenced by (1) the different musical characteristics of the learners, such as music training, musical abilities or engagement in music activities, and (2) FL teaching methods using music (melodies or rhythm). 36 university students filled in a music questionnaire determining their musical characteristics and performed a XAB recognition task, in which stimuli where either spoken, either spoken on a beat, either sung. Results showed that there exist positive and significant correlations between some musical characteristics of the learners and the perception of Dutch word stress. Moreover, listeners detect word stress significantly better and faster when the words are sung than when they are naturally spoken or spoken on a beat. As such, our results suggest that the perception of Dutch word stress can be influenced by (1) personal musical characteristics, and (2) the use of melodies in FL teaching methods.