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A constructional account of French -clé ‘key’ and Dutch sleutel- ‘key’ as in mot-clé / sleutelwoord ‘key word’

Authors
  • Amiot, Dany1
  • Van Goethem, Kristel2
  • 1 Université Lille Nord de France (L3), UMR 8163 STL, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, 59653, France , Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex (France)
  • 2 Université Catholique de Louvain & FNRS, Place Blaise Pascal 1, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348, Belgium , Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Morphology
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 04, 2012
Volume
22
Issue
3
Pages
347–364
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11525-011-9196-3
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

The article studies the status of French clé ’key‘ and Dutch sleutel ‘key’ which are recurrent in complex nouns such as mot-clé / sleutelwoord ‘keyword’, notion-clé / sleutelbegrip ‘key notion’ and figure-clé / sleutelfiguur ‘key figurè. In spite of the semantic similarities between the two elements, both occurring in similar compound-like constructions, it is shown that the degree of cohesion of N-clé and sleutel-N widely differs. More particularly, whereas sleutel forms cohesive NN compounds, clé can be observed in adjectival contexts, in the same way as its English counterpart key (e.g. un rôle absolument clé ‘an absolutely key rolè’, ce livre est absolument clé ‘this book is absolutely key’, etc.). This paradox is dealt with within the theoretical framework of Construction Grammar.

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