A morphosyntactic analysis of the verb group in Cajun French
Smith, Jane S., 1956-
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Languages from differing language families spoken in enclave communities in various parts of the world have been found to exhibit similarities in what is viewed as a 'simplification' of their structures vis-a-vis their corresponding standard dialects (Maher 1985). One of the aspects considered to contribute to a more 'simplified' structure is the replacement of synthetic structures by analytic ones. Analyticity and syntheticity have played a role in language typology, and the cycle is of particular interest in the Romance languages, where Latin is considered the synthetic language par excellence, while French is generally regarded as being highly analytic in comparison. Schwegler (1990) redefines analytic and synthetic, predicating these notions on the spoken, as opposed to the written, language.This dissertation analyzes the verb group, consisting of the subject and object clitics and the verb, of Cajun French, an enclave language spoken in Louisiana, that has been isolated from the influence of Standard French for some 200 years. The analysis is based on Schwegler's (1990) new definitions of analyticity and syntheticity, which are especially appropriate for this dialect because it has no written form. The data reveal that Cajun French shares many common features with Informal Spoken French, and the net result is that Cajun French is far more synthetic than an analysis based on the written standard would yield.