Variation and Change in French Morphosyntax: The Case of Collective Nouns

Anna Tristram

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Collective nouns such as majorité or foule have long been of interest to linguists for their unusual semantic properties, and provide a valuable source of new data on the evolution of French grammar. This book tests the hypothesis that plural agreement with collective nouns is becoming more frequent in French. Through an analysis of data from a variety of sources, including sociolinguistic interviews, gap-fill tests and corpora, the complex linguistic and external factors which affect this type of agreement are examined, shedding new light on their interaction in this context. Broader questions concerning the methodological challenges of studying variation and change in morphosyntax, and the application of sociolinguistic generalisations to the French of France, are also addressed.


    ‘Cet ouvrage constitue un apport majeur dans le champ de la linguistique variationniste et diachronique, tant par les résultats mis au jour que par la qualité de sa démarche méthodologique.’ — Sophie Prévost, French Studies 69.4, October 2015, 578-79

    ‘While language variation and change have been the focal point for linguists on this side of the Atlantic, Tristram argues that studies on morphosyntactic variation in French studies are lacking due to a focus on phonology and dialectology as well as denial of variation and change in the French language. Tristram’s book is thus a welcome contribution.’ — Samira Hassa, French Review 89.3, 2016, 108

    ‘Anyone teaching variation in French will want to talk about the findings and reflections reported in this study. A remarkable amount of ground is covered in a small compass. This is a highly welcome addition to the Legenda list, and one must hope that further linguistics titles will be added to it before very long.’ — Nigel Armstrong, Journal of French Language Studies 26.2, 2016, 211-13

    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationOxford
    ISBN (Print)9781907975950
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

    Publication series

    NameResearch Monographs in French Studies


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