‘Quite’ in Acadian French: A variety of Scalar Focus

Gabriela Alboiu, Ruth King

Abstract

This paper discusses the properties of the ‘quite de’ construction in the Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia variety of Acadian French in examples such as le/un quite de souper ‘quite the/a supper’ which have a hyperbolic connotation. Unlike epithet nouns and other binominals of French (and Romance more generally), we argue that this Acadian French construction contains a complex DP with a unique N but an expanded left nominal periphery (cf. Giusti 2005, 2006, 2012). In order to unify its syntactic and semantic properties, we propose an analysis where [Advquite] is a scalar Focus head (following Kayne’s 1998 treatment of scalar only), with a null M(easurement) Op(erator) (Rett 2008, 2011) in its specifier. This M-op is associated with a degree argument (i.e. N) bound by existential closure, which forces its linearization within the predicate domain (cf. Diesing 1992). Lastly, we show that de in the AF ‘quite de’ construction cannot be construed as a linker (pace den Dikken 2004, 2006) or as a P category (pace Kayne 1994), but is best analysed as a nominal functor (cf. Ihsane 2013) at the Comp-Infl interface whose role is to recategorize a referential DP into a property denoting DP.

Keywords

‘quite de’, binominal constructions, en-cliticization, scalar focus, Acadian French

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References

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