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This page pertains to UD version 2.

Specific constructions

The specific syntactic constructions detailed here are:

Cleft sentences

FrenchSpoken analyzes cleft sentences with fr-dep/acl:cleft when the clefted element is a nominal subject or object. All other clefted elements are analyzed with fr-dep/ccomp:cleft. For cleft sentences constructed with a c’est (or ce sont, c’était etc.), the clefted element is the head of the whole cleft sentence and the syntactical subject c’ receives a fr-dep/nsubj:expl link.

Notre jardin est vraiment magnifique. C' est notre jardinier qui a tout fait seul ! \n Our garden is truly beautiful. It's our gardener who did everything on his own!
nsubj:expl(jardinier,C')
acl:cleft(jardinier,fait)
nsubj(fait,qui)
Les temps sont durs. C' est en faisant des compromis qu' on s'en sortira. \n Times are tough. That's by making compromises that we will be able to find a way out of misery.
nusbj:expl(faisant,C')
cop(faisant,est)
ccomp:cleft(faisant,sortira.)
advcl(sortira.,qu')
Je n'entends pas la télévision. Il y a mon père qui passe l'aspirateur. \n I can't hear the television. My father is vaccuuming the room.
nsubj:expl(a,Il)
advmod(a,y)
obj(a,père)
acl:cleft(père,passe)
nsubj(passe,qui)

N.B.: Presentative constructions must not be mistaken for cleft sentences. FrenchSpoken annotates those two constructions differently. In a presentative construction the pronoun c’ has an antecedent whereas the c’ in a cleft sentence does not have one. The c’ of a presentative will thus be annotated with a standard fr-dep/nsubj relation and the c’ of a cleft sentence will be annotated with the nsubj:expl subrelation (see above). In the following example, C’ has an obvious antecedent: notre jardinier. The relative clause of the presentative construction is governed by lui with a fr-dep/acl:relcl relation (and not an acl:cleft relation).

Notre jardin est vraiment magnifique. C' est un endroit où j' aime venir lire. \n Our garden is truly beautiful. It's a place where I like to come reading.
nsubj(endroit,C')
acl:relcl(endroit,aime)
obl:mod(aime,où)

Qu’est-ce que … ?

qu’est-ce que … is actually a cleft construction. For example the sentence Qu’est-ce que tu lis ? (What are you reading?) corresponds to the sentence C’est quoi que tu lis ?. In the second sentence the cleft construction clearly appears: quoi is the clefted element and que tu lis the clause attached to it. Qu’est-ce que … is thus analyzed as a cleft sentence. The first qu’ (i.e. the clefted element) is the head of the whole sentence and governs the right part with an fr-dep/acl:cleft link.

Qu' est - ce qu' il a fait ? \n What did he do ?
root(ROOT-0,Qu'-8)
cop(Qu',est)
nsubj:expl(Qu',ce)
acl:cleft(Qu',fait)
obj(fait,qu')
nsubj(fait,il)
Qu' est - ce que tu as acheté au magasin ? \n What did you buy in the shop?
cop(Qu',est)
nsubj:expl(Qu',ce)
acl:cleft(Qu',acheté)
obj(acheté,que)
nsubj(acheté,tu)

Pseudo-cleft sentences

To stay consistent with the analysis made for the cleft sentences, and thus to show the similarities between the two types of constructions, the head of a pseudo-cleft sentence is the element that follows the c’est (or c’était etc.). This head governs the left part of the pseudo-cleft construction with a fr-dep/dislocated:cleft link. However the pronoun c’ is not annotated with fr-dep/nsubj:expl (like it is done for clefts). In the case of a pseudo-cleft sentence, it may be considered that c’ stands for dislocated complement (i.e. that c’ has an antecedent and is not an expletiv), this pronoun is thus annotated with the standard fr-dep/nsubj. The pronoun ce is the head of the left part of the pseudo-cleft and governs the relative clause with a standard fr-dep/acl:relcl link.

Ce que j' aime , c' est le chocolat. \n Chocolate is what I like.
cop(chocolat.,est)
nsubj(chocolat.,c')
dislocated:cleft(chocolat.,Ce)
acl:relcl(Ce,aime)
Ce qui me fait peur, c' est que tu te casses une jambe. \n What scares me is that you break your leg.
mark(casses,que)
cop(casses,est)
nsubj(casses,c')
dislocated:cleft(casses,Ce)
acl:relcl(Ce,fait)

Causative

In French causatives are typically constructed with the verb faire. The new argument, the causer, which is the subject of the construction is annotated nsubj:caus, while the initial subject/agent of the verb is demoted and becomes either an object, an indirect object or an oblique complement of the causative construction. The head of a causative construction is the infinitive verb, which governs faire with a fr-dep/aux:caus link. The syntactical subject of the sentence (i.e. the causer) is annotated with fr-dep/nsubj:caus. The true agent of the action described by the causative will be linked to the infinitive verb by an fr-dep/obj:agent, an fr-dep/iobj:agent or an fr-dep/obl:agent relation, depending on the syntactical function it has in the sentence.

J' ai fait changer les roues de la voiture par le garagiste. \n I made the mechanic change the car's wheels.
aux:caus(changer,fait)
nsubj:caus(changer,J')
obj(changer,roues)
obl:agent(changer,garagiste.)
Ce magicien fait vraiment rêver les enfants. \n This magician really makes the kids dream.
aux:caus(rêver,fait)
nsubj:caus(rêver,magicien)
obj:agent(rêver,enfants.)
Jean-Jacques n'était jamais venu donc je lui ai fait visiter toute ma maison. \n Jean-Jacques had never been to my place before so I showed him around.
aux:caus(visiter,fait)
nsubj:caus(visiter,je)
iobj:agent(visiter,lui)
obj(visiter,maison.)

N.B.: For more details about the analysis of causatives, see this discussion (which is partly in English and partly in French).

Superlatives

Superlative constructions, le/la/les plus ADJ, are annotated as follows: The head of the construction is the noun. It governs the adjective with the usual fr-dep/amod link and the determiner with a fr-dep/det link. The plus is annotated with an fr-dep/advmod and is a dependant of the adjective. The noun modifier introduced by the preposition de is attached to the noun even though the noun modifier seems more attached to the superlative: la plus haute tour du château can easily become la tour la plus haute du château.

Dans ce rayon se trouvent les plus beaux livres de la bibliothèque . \n On this shelf one can find the most beautiful books in the whole library.
det(livres,les)
amod(livres,beaux)
advmod(beaux,plus)
nmod(livres,bibliothèque)
case(bibliothèque,de)

When the superlative is post-posed, the determiner is a dependant of the adjective:

Il aime manger dans les restaurants les plus réputés. \n He likes to eat in the most renowned restaurants.
det(restaurants-6,les-5)
amod(restaurants-6,réputés.-9)
advmod(réputés.-9,plus-8)
det(réputés.-9,les-7)

When the superlative is in a fr-dep/cop relation (and the noun is not present in the superlative construction), the head of the superlative construction is the adjective:

Ces produits sont les plus vendus. \n These products are best-sellers
det(vendus.,les)
cop(vendus.,sont)
nsubj(vendus.,produits)

Comparatives

In comparative constructions, the adjective is the head. It governs the comparative adverb (plus, moins, aussi etc.) with an fr-dep/advmod link. The comparison element introduced by que is analyzed with [fr-dep/advcl] and is a dependent of the adjective. que is analyzed with fr-dep/mark. N.B.: Here is the universal page for the analysis of comparatives

Mathilde est plus gentille que tu ne le penses. \n Mathilde is kinder than you think.
nsubj(gentille,Mathilde)
cop(gentille,est)
advmod(gentille,plus)
advcl(gentille,penses.)
mark(penses.,que)
Patrick est aussi courageux que Pierre . \n Patrick is as brave as Pierre.
nsubj(courageux-4,Patrick-1)
cop(courageux-4,est-2)
advmod(courageux-4,aussi-3)
advcl(courageux-4,Pierre-6)
mark(Pierre-6,que-5)