Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

The breton inflectional impersonal

Milan Rezac, Mélanie Jouitteau


The subject  agreement inflection of the Breton verb distinguishes six person - number forms and a  seventh impersonal form. The impersonal has the generic and arbitrary uses of the class best studied for  Germanic  man , French  on , and Romance  se/si , as well as its Irish co gnate. We take up two remarkable  aspects of the Breton impersonal. One is recent dialectal extensions of the impersonal morphology to  prepositional and nominal inflections, completing the otherwise thoroughgoing parallelism of these  three systems character istic of Breton and related languages. In the theory of impersonals, the  extensions have the potential to shed light on the limitation of this class of impersonals to subjects. Our  second focus is the phi - features of the impersonal in anaphoric dependencie s. Breton bolsters the  generalisation that this class of impersonals is deficient in phi - features and thereby unable to antecede  personal pronouns. However, recent dialectal developments have resulted in grammars where different  personal pronouns have beco me impersonals, and their convergence has created systems where the  impersonal antecedes a remarkably wide but still limited range of pronouns. Our study aims to cover the  rich but partial descriptions of these phenomena over the Modern Breton period, bols tered by corpus  examples, and to extend it by a pilot study of current native speaker competence.

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