Volume 9, Number 1, 2013

prise-deparole-logo-40          This journal is published in French only.

Ali Reguigui et Julie Boissonneault

Foreword. Prolegomena to a Linguistic of Complexity (p. 13-16)

Amr Helmy Ibrahim

A Unified Measure of Linguistic complexity (p. 17-80)

Abstract: This paper tries to demonstrate that it is possible to set a standardized unified measurement of almost all types of linguistic complexity, in all languages, providing the use of a system of description and interpretation–i.e. the Defining Matrix Analysis (DMA) – which is founded on the remarkable metalinguistic function of natural lan­guages which allow them to self- describe with their most common words through the building of equivalency classes in which the grammatical facts – the main source of complexity – are « uncomplexified » and measured in terms of regular reduction operations.

Key-words: Matrix Analysis, linguistic complexity, grammar, general linguistics, lexicon, grammar, syntax, metalanguage, self description, grammaticalisation.

Sara Vecchiato et Sonia Vanna Gerolimich

Is the Medical Language “too Complex”? (81-122)

Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the characteristics of complexity in medical language. Complexity allows a greater density of informational content, and a more efficient transmission of information among experts. However, if the ratio between informational content and effort required to understand it exceeds a determined threshold, complexity may impede communication rather than aid it. This so called “hypercomplexity” creates a barrier in communication, not only between healthcare professionals and unqualified persons, but also among specialists.

For the classification of a text the authors propose a complexity scale, based on the linguistic opaqueness and the typology of the text. The impact of the complexity level on the result of a communication will be shown on examples taken from a corpus of educational material (informed consent forms and pharmaceutical package inserts).

Key-words: Specialized language, medical language, complexity, syntactic condensation, hypercomplexity, nominaliza­tion, eponym, loan-word, informed consent form, medicine instruction leaflet. 

Claire Martinot

Is Linguistic Phenomenon Complexity always a Source of Difficulties? The Case of Acquisition of Relatives in First Language (French and German) (p. 123-169)

Abstract: The system of relative clauses is considered as a complex system. One of the implications of this statement ought to be that its acquisition should pose difficulties for children. An identical experimental protocol has been implemented with French children (aged 4-10 years) and German children (aged 6-10 years). It consists in asking these children to retell individually the story which has just been read to them. The study shows that out of the six relative clauses contained in the source text, only two non-defining relative clauses, with a significant diegetic weight, have been relatively often reformulated by a relative, although only by French children. The occur­rence of a relative pronoun is not a sufficient criterion to evaluate the progress in the acquisition of the system of relative clauses. In contrast, the paraphrastic reformula­tion of complex phenomena which are attested in the original relative clauses (as opposed to their suppression, semantic change and repetition), provides a reliable cri­terion for the level of acquisition of relative clauses.

Key-words: Complexity, difficulty, defining relative clauses, non-defining relative clauses, late acquisitions, interlingual comparison, reformulation procedures, semantic equiva­lences, restructuration.

Clara Romero

How can signification be complex? The Comparisons of Intensity Example  (p. 171-198)

Abstract: Gleaning from semantic facts which appear complex, in the traditional sense of the word, and from the already established linguistic notion of complexity, a general definition of semantic complexity is put forth. Certain facts’ complexity may explain the differences between idiolects, and therein lies the notion of difficulty. One form of semantic complexity, intensifying comparisons, is then analyzed. The parameters that lengthen the calcu­lation of the meaning of these comparisons and which allow us to hierarchize them by complexity are uncovered.

Key-words: Comparison, complexity, degree, difficulty, figure, inten­sity, metaphor, overstatement, hyperbole, semantic cal­culation, trope.

Brahime Larouz

A Half Full Cup or a Half Empty Cup (p. 199-218)

Abstract: To articulate a sentence is to refer to the state of things spoken about; but this state of things is not, in general, completely symbolised by the sentence. To determine what we are talking about, it is necessary to take into consideration not only the sentence that one enunciates, but also the context of enunciation; and some elements in the sentence have precisely the effect of pointing out which aspect of the situation of enunciation must be considered to know what we are talking about.

Key-words: Sentence, reference, enunciation, context.

Nizha Chatar-Moumni

Negative Cycle in Moroccan Arabic (p. 219-238)

Abstract: Negation in Moroccan Arabic is marked either by the single element ma- or by the association of ma- with the element -š or its variant -ši. The description of the complex relationships between these two elements requires taking into account different levels of analysis: morphology, syntax, semantics, lexicology, pragmatics, but also logic. This paper is aimed to understanding the use of negation in synchrony in Moroccan Arabic. In particular, it defends the hypothesis that ma- should necessarily be correlated with an [+undefined] quantifier. The association with -š is linked to the presence or absence of this feature, but also to the pragmatic force of negation.

Key-words: Moroccan Arabic, negation, grammaticalisation, verbal predicate, complexity, undefined quantifier, pragmatic, scope, focus, focalisation.

Dahn Thành Do-Hurinville

Complexity in an Isolating Language: The Example of Vietnamese (p. 239-267)

Abstract: All languages are equally complex, but the complexity may not be similar in a given domain. The present article aims to discuss the Compensation Hypothesis (according to which isolating languages make up for simpler mor­phology with greater complexity in other domains, such as syntax and semantics) by examining the grammar of Vietnamese, an isolating language, the complexity of which is discussed here at three levels : morpho-phonological, syntactic-semantic and discursive.

Key-words: Complexity, isolating language, Vietnamese, tones, reduplication, mass noun, classifier, serial verb construction, relativizer.

Louis-Jean Calvet

Lacan and Chinese Writing: An Unconscious Structured Like a Writing (p. 269-286)

Abstract: Jacques Lacan, in an unrealized trip to China planned for 1974, was apparently intending to study the Chinese unconscious, postulating that it would be structured like a system of writing. Taking Lacan’s postulate as its point of departure, this article will present his thinking in relation to the Saussurian sign, enantiosemy, and ana­grams. Lacan had studied Chinese and worked in the 1970s with François Cheng on several classical texts (Laozi, Mencius, Shitao), and so he was well positioned to inquire into the question of linearity in language and the relationship between the graphic and the phonic, which in Chinese would differ from that obtaining in alphabetic systems. His knowledge of the language seems to have led him to postulate that, whereas the central issue in psychoanalysis was the phonic signifier, the problem might be posed differently for Chinese; hence the hypothesis that, for Lacan, the Chinese may dream in graphic characters.

Abstract: An ongoing debate, in sociology, consists in determining whether society is a product of the individual or, rather, the latter a product of the former, a debate which is extended through the opposition between synchrony and diachrony. Social network analysis marks a step toward the reconciliation of these two positions, but this advance is minimal: much like Complex Systems Theory as ela­borated through the RNSC (Réseau national des systèmes complexes), it allows for the coexistence of structural and individual analysis, but isolates one from the other, on the analytical level, individual and system and does not take into account the historical aspect of sociality.

Articles hors thème

Claude Vautier

The Flaw and Loophole: Reflection on a Possible Transcendence beyond Contemporary Controversies in Sociology (p. 289-317)

Abstract: This paper explores the possibility of constructing a model which poses the inseparability of the three catego­ries that are individual, system and event. It starts by attempting to establish that the sociological tradition, to this day, has explored and associated these categories through its different theoretical streams, each of which can be inserted into a category-association-based grid. It then draws attention to the sterile nature of the recurring controversy regarding the incompleteness of these asso­ciations or combinations and poses, as a way around these disputes, the above-mentionned relational model. This trialectical, macro-level model treats the three categories ̶ individual, system, event  ̶  as intertwined, one never having precedence over the other and each possessing the analytical status, whether alternately or simultaneously, of cause and effect, thus allowing them to circulate in a Möbius-loop-like fashion.

Key-words: Event, individual, system, hologrammy, intertwined hierarchies, relationship, relationship between, relational field, trialectical model, sociological schools of though.

Louis Giguère

Health Care Services in French for Francophone an Acadian Minority Communities in Canada: Improvement of the CCFSMC Strategy (2001) (p. 319-346)

Abstract: We upgrade CCCFSM (2001)’s model on the develop­ment of French health services for French-speaking and Acadian communities in a minority situation (FACMS) using evidence-based data from the Canadian 2006 census. Our approach consists in using a statistical pro­cedure to choose a francophone critical mass index that illustrates a coherent supply and demand pattern on a geographical and jurisdictional basis. Supply and demand are greater where FACMS linguistic vitality is greater. Overall, supply falls short of demand; this suggests latent demand for services in French, a result which is consistent with studies on “active offer of French services” in FACMS. Our results are also consistent with the three evolutionary phases proposed by CCCFSM (2001), i.e., “awareness”, “development” and “consolidation”. We discuss methodological limitations and “lessons learned” for FACMS health networks.

Key-words: FACMS, OLMC, French-speaking community, minority, linguistic vitality, official languages health networks.