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  • Les Co-prédicats adjectivants: propriétés et fonction des adjectifs et des participes adjoints by Eva Havu, and Michel Pierrard
  • Mairi McLaughlin
Les Co-prédicats adjectivants: propriétés et fonction des adjectifs et des participes adjoints. Par Eva Havu et Michel Pierrard. (Gramm-R, 26.) Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2014. 249 pp.

Eva Havu and Michel Pierrard present an extremely rich account of an understudied area of French grammar, namely adjectival and participial adjuncts. For theoretical reasons that become clear as their argument unfolds, they use the term ‘co-prédicats adjectivants’ [adjectival co-predications] to group the core construction in which they are interested (1) with a number of related constructions (2–4):

  1. 1. Nerveux, / Énervé par le retard de son interlocuteur, / Énervant son interlocuteur, / le directeur fait les cent pas devant son bureau.

  2. 2. Le directeur est sorti énervé de son bureau.

  3. 3. Le directeur trouve son interlocuteur énervant.

  4. 4. Le directeur considère cet entretien comme important. (p. 9)

The most striking innovation of the study is its bringing together of the different constructions under a unified account. This not only lets the co-authors clarify a number of basic questions about their form and function, but it also improves current understanding of these constructions from a theoretical point of view. The book is structured with impeccable logic and clarity. It begins with a very short Introduction, which presents the main aims of the volume and provides a lot of references to relevant discussions in the previous literature. Although many of these references are to studies focusing on French, there is a good balance in the rest of the volume between generalist and French-specific theoretical work. The first and second chapters situate adjectival co-predications with respect to other uses (epithet, attribute, adverb) and other constructions (circumstantial adjuncts, apposition, secondary predication, small clauses, co-ordination, subordination, depropositionalization). This leads to a maximal typology of nine constructions, which are distinguished by the different types of relationship that they establish with the governing clause support noun, which they modify through association (pp. 77–78). Chapters 3 and 4 examine the variation between the different constructions as regards the level of cohesion, firstly within the adjectival co-predication, and then between the co-predication and the governing predication. The analysis presented in these chapters allows Havu and Pierrard to isolate the construction illustrated by (1). What is different about this construction is, in their words, that ‘son emploi ne sera […] contraint, ni par les propriétés de la prédication ou du prédicat régissant, ni par la structure interne de la co-prédication même’ (p. 157). This means that, in comparison to the other constructions, semantic and discursive parameters play a greater role in determining how it is interpreted. Chapters 5 and 6 therefore focus on just this construction, examining the discursive factors that determine how it is interpreted and exploring the role that it plays in information structuring. Two important factors are highlighted: firstly, the position of the co-predication with respect to the governing predication, and, secondly, the number of events and the relationships between them. The research presented here by Havu and [End Page 306] Pierrard is of a very high calibre, but its specialist nature means that this book will principally be of interest to specialists in French linguistics and/or syntax.

Mairi McLaughlin
University of California, Berkeley


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