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Juste pour dire que pourdir existe toujours (résumé en anglais)

lundi 7 février 2005, par Kriegel, Sibylle

Pourdir as a complementizer still exists in Seychelles’ Creole even if its use is limited in different ways : a corpus study revealed that only elderly people made a wider use of it, especially in spoken language. It appears with certain verb groups (verbs of utterance, knowing, believing and perception) in contexts where the speaker is doubting the factual nature of the utterance. Interestingly, this type of lexicalization of the French preposition ‘pour’ and the infinitive of the verb ‘dire’ is neither attested in a complementizing function in the other Indian Ocean French Creoles, nor in the other French Creoles. A possible explanation for this lies in the fact that during the 19th century only the Seychelles received great numbers of speakers of Bantu languages.
In fact, different Bantu languages possess a similar construction which could have served as a model. Therefore the evolution of pourdir in Seychelles’ Creole could be interpreted as a case of convergence between a French pragmatic strategy of modalizing and a Bantu complementizer.

Kriegel, Sibylle (kriegel@up.univ-mrs.fr )