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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2019

11. Apparent insubordination as discourse patterns in French

From the book Insubordination
Jeanne-Marie Debaisieux, Philippe Martin and Henri-José Deulofeu


In current syntactic literature, two empirical situations are typically earmarked as cases of “insubordination”. Their common trait is that, despite formal features that should technically define them as subordinate clauses (they are preceded by subordinators - a subordinating conjunction or some other appropriate morpheme), they behave in discourse like “independent sentences”. This description takes into account both formally subordinate clauses functioning as independent discourse units (Evans 2007) and peripheral subordinate clauses which display "main clause features” (Debaisieux 2013: chap 2). Our stance is that, in both cases, the concept of "insubordination" is an artefact of sentence type theory (Struckmeier and Kaiser 2015). Committed to the pioneering model of Claire Blanche-Benveniste (1990), which posits a fundamental distinction between grammatical syntax on the one hand and discourse syntax on the other, Desbaisieux (2016) has conclusively shown that, in actual fact, neither of the structures identified in the macrosyntactic paradigm as candidates for “insubordination” - peripheral clauses with main clauses features - are in anyway governed by the so-called “main clauses” with which they are combined. In this paper we deal with two types of apparent exclamative insubordinates in French introduced respectively by the subordinating conjunctions si and quand. We argue by extending syntactic dependency to discourse that both are regular syntactic patterns.

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