Manchec-German (2020)

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  • Manchec-German, Gary D. 2020. 'The recategorisation of the conjugated preposition a 'of ' as direct object and subject pronouns in Cornouaillais Breton', Studia Celtica 54:1, University of Wales Press, https://doi.org/10.16922/SC.54.9, 147-184.


  Abstract:
 "This article examines the functions of the Breton conjugated preposition 'of' as direct object and subject pronouns. Because these uses are believed to be relatively recent innovations, they are judged by many writers and linguists to be substandard. Although these recategorised a-forms are part and parcel of the vernacular language, their roles vary considerably according to dialect. For this reason it would be illusory to assume they operate as part of a unified linguistic system. Nevertheless, the full scope of their functions is most evident in the Cornouaillais/Kerne dialect spoken in south-western Brittany. This discussion focuses on the Breton spoken in the parishes of Saint Yvi and Elliant in south-central Cornouaille (Finistère) where their use is prevalent. Comparative evidence from other areas of Cornouaille, Tregor and Leon, as well as similar uses of conjugated preposition 'of ' in Middle Welsh and modern south Welsh varieties, suggests that this phenomenon may have emerged as a result of common semantic interpretations which may be inherent to the Brythonic languages more generally. Moreover, a number of secondary morphosyntactic innovations (both analytic and synthetic) that have been spawned by these a-forms suggest that the process is internal to Breton rather than to any direct French influence. The data is presented within a descriptive, variational and diachronic linguistic framework."