L'Allomorphie Radicale dans les Lexèmes Adjectivaux en Français: Le Cas des Adverbes en -ment
Gilles Boyé [+]
Université Bordeaux 3
Marc Plénat [+]
University of Toulouse
This work describes the morphology of the French adverbs in -ment. Mainly derived from adjectives, these adverbs use various stem allomorphs as their base: most of them are built on a form identical to the adjective feminine form (SEC, fem. sèche: sèchement), but some endings favor the emergence of an /e/ (PROFOND, fem. profonde: profondément), while others select unpredictable allomorphs (BREF, fém. brève: brièvement). Finally, adjectives with -ent and -ant endings give adverbs in -emment and -amment (PRUDENT, fem. prudente: prudemment, ÉLÉGANT, fem. élégante: élégamment), except when an /m/ precedes these endings and the stem switches back to the feminine form (CHARMANT, fem. charmante: charmantement). It would seem futile to try and capture all of this diversity with only universal phonological constraints. A simple reason would be that the same phonemic sequences give rise to different results when constructing an adverb in -ment or a noun for an action from a deadjectival verb (while from INNOCENT and PRÉCIS French derives the adverbs innocemment and précisément, the verbs INNOCENTER and PRÉCISER give innocentement and précisement from the same phonological stems). And, moreover, because the adverbs obtained from nouns do not behave in the same way as the ones constructed on adjectives (for the adjective COLLANT, the adverb is collamment, but for the noun COLLANTS, the adverb is collantement). Our analysis revolves around the hypothesis that, in the lexicon, lexemes do not come equipped with a unique stem but with an indexed set of stems, each associated with specific inflectional cells and derivational constructs. In this framework (which produced new descriptions for the paradigms of adjectives, see Bonami and Boyé 2005, Plénat and Plénat 2011), adverbs are built on a stem inherited from the past or created by analogy (ACCUEILLANT and IMMONDE bring the neological accueillamment and immondément, based on ÉLÉGANT: élégamment and PROFOND: profondément). However, in one particular context, a universal constraint takes precedence over the analogical constraints and selects a different allomorph: this dissimilative constraint holds that a sequence of /m/ is infelicitous for the derivation of adverbs from adjectives in -ment/-mant which never give adverbs in -memment/-mamment but instead select the same stem as the feminine. Thus, adverbs in -ment provide an interesting interplay between parochial morphological stem selection preferences and universal phonological constraints.