Diachronic Change in Verbal Agreement Patterns with Majorité

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    Abstract

    This article is concerned with the description of data relating to a case of morphosyntactic variation and change in French: verbal agreement patterns with the noun majorité (‘majority’). Quantitative analysis of apparent-time data from cloze (‘gap-fill’) tests suggests that plural agreement with this noun is increasing; data from a diachronic corpus study confirm that this is the case. A number of factors are found to constrain this variation and change, including most importantly the presence and number of a post-modifying noun phrase (e.g. la majorité des hommes). The implications of these findings for the definition of collective nouns in French are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)344-366
    Number of pages21
    JournalTransactions of the Philological Society
    Volume112
    Issue number3
    Early online date15 Jul 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Linguistics and Language
    • Language and Linguistics

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