The Department of French and Italian

Faculty and Graduate Student Colloquium

Thu, April 1, 2010 | HRH 2.118 French and Italian Lounge

4:00 PM

Faculty and Graduate Student Colloquium

Cinzia Russi and Catherine Léger
The Selection and Distribution of à and de
with French commencer
This study provides a systematic analysis of the selection and possible alternation of à and de introducing     
infinitival phrases of the French aspectual verb commencer ‘begin’ in the framework of Cognitive Grammar. We
argue that the à/de selection and alternation can be accounted for by referring to the temporal conceptualization
of the situation denoted by the construction. The choice of à or de functions as a mechanism for assigning promi-
nence to different temporal phases: à highlights exclusively the inception of the situation, thus making its     
endpoint irrelevant, while de is used to bring to the foreground the final phase of the situation, resulting in a
bounded interpretation.

French and Italian Lounge Charles Mignot
On the Semantics of the French Preposition à:
The Case of the Direct/Indirect Transitive Alternation
Determining whether the preposition à is semantically void or not has been the subject of much debate in the
literature. In light of a set of verbs that can either select a direct object or an indirect object introduced by à (e.g.,
toucher/toucher à ‘touch’), we argue that à has a core semantic value and it contributes significantly to the
semantic differences between the direct and indirect transitive uses of verbs. Couched in the framework of   
Cognitive Linguistics, this paper examines the syntactic and semantic characteristics of verbs participating in
the direct/indirect transitive alternation and proposes a model of representation for the semantics of à which
accounts for the transitive/intransitive uses of the verbs.


Thursday, April 1, 2010
4:00 PM
HRH 2.118

Sponsored by: Department of French and Italian

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  • Department of French and Italian

    University of Texas at Austin
    201 W 21st Street STOP B7600
    HRH 2.114A
    Austin, TX 78712-1800