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The syntactic bases for French liaison

  • Yves-Charles Morin (a1) and Jonathan D. Kaye (a1)

Recent transformational analyses of liaison in French have postulated in one form or another a simple general syntactic basis for this phenomenon (Schane, 1968; Selkirk, 1974; Klausenburger, 1978). This contrasts with the traditional approach in which all the syntactic contexts in which liaison is obligatory, impossible, or depends on stylistic factors are painstakingly listed (Fouché, 1959; Delattre, 1947, 1955, 1956). This may appear to be due to the fact that the traditional approach lacked an appropriate syntactic theory which would unify the apparently unmotivated series of contexts in which liaison capriciously wandered. Working within the framework of the Syntactic theory, Selkirk (1974) was able to discover a small set of simple rules to account for a wide array of previously recalcitrant data. This success has sometimes been taken as an argument for the superiority of the syntactic theory, cf. Jackendoff (1977).

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