French television talk: what tenses for past time? What tenses for past time?

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Abstract

On the basis of a transcribed French television corpus made of two news bulletins, two chat shows and one literary programme recorded in February 2003, this paper explores the claim that passé simple (PS) may still be used in prepared oral discourse (Pfister 1974). The corpus does not provide support for that use on television, but it seems to suggest a shift from temporal to aspectual features in French television talk: a perfective presentation prevails on a past presentation. This trend would need to be confirmed by a larger television corpus, tested in other types of oral discourse and tested on written corpora.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Corpus Linguistics
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Keywords

  • French past tenses, oral French, perfective aspect

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