Christophe Béchet

Christophe Béchet
Social Security Administration

Master of Arts


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I'm currently working as a PhD candidate under a grant from the F.R.S.-FNRS. My project is the study of complex prepositions as a contact phenomenon in English, Dutch and French. My thesis is conceptualized within the general framework of Construction Grammar, and the research design incorporates advanced quantitative techniques for the exploration and analysis of contact phenomena. At this stage, the results are now being published in scientific volumes after several presentations at national and international conferences.
Additional affiliations
November 2021 - March 2022
University College of Namur-Liège-Luxembourg
  • Fellow
January 2015 - present
University of Liège
  • PhD Student
  • NON-FRIA Fellowship from Jan 2015 to Sep 2016 F.R.S.-FNRS Research Fellowship from Oct 2016 to present
September 2014 - December 2014
Institut Notre-Dame Philippeville
  • Professor
  • Dutch teacher at secondary school
September 2012 - June 2014
University of Liège
Field of study
  • Linguistics
September 2008 - August 2011
Haute École Louvain en Hainaut
Field of study
  • language teaching


Publications (8)
Historical language contact has generally been approached qualitatively through the examination of different linguistic and extralinguistic factors. By contrast, frequency patterns, although widely acknowledged in other linguistic fields, have not received a great deal of attention in the contact linguistics literature. This paper attempts to bridg...
Full-text available
Introduction This paper will study the influence of French on the emergence and development of substitutive complex prepositions (henceforth CPs). As they are attested in many European languages (Hüning 2014: 433), many CPs crosslinguistically show degrees of identity in terms of form and/or meaning. Cases in point are the English substitutive CPs...
Full-text available
Constructions of the type [P (Det) N P], the so-called complex prepositions, have drawn much attention in recent studies. One of the reasons to explain this is to be found in the fact that no consensus has been reached on their classification as lexical or grammatical elements of language. This is an aspect which has been discussed by such linguist...


Questions (5)
I have difficulties in creating a genre-balanced corpus that would span at least 500 years of English restricted to 5 genres/registers. To determine if genre/register variation plays a role in determining the choice between two alternate constructions, I would need to use genre/register as an independent variable in a classification task (random forest, logistic regression, ...). For such a task however, it is necessary to have a genre-balanced corpus to keep things comparable. Since that aim is hardly achievable, do you think that normalizing the frequencies of the response variable with regard to each genre/register would be appropriate prior to running the analyzes ?
I'm looking for a corpus or a collection of texts (freely available online) that represents the Dutch language from the earliest attestations onwards in the form of correspondence. I already tried to query the DBNL database and nederlab, but unfruitfully.
Does somebody know of some interesting literature about language contact in a quantitative approach? Papers on how to determine if a pattern in a language is the result of contact with another language using quantitative techniques (others than descriptive statistics) are welcome. I'm not interested in quantitative studies in lexicology, however.
Thank you in advance!
Hello everyone,
Using exploratory methods to track changes in the syntactic preferences of constructions over time, I was wondering if anybody has ever conceived of time (e.g. decades) as a continuous variable in statistical analysis.
For instance, I have a corpus that covers the period between the 1830's and the 1920's (10 decades) and I would like to divide my dataset into, say, 5 clusters of decades.
Discrete time:
- 1830-1840
- 1850-1860
- 1870-1880
- ...
Continuous time:
- 1830-1850
- 1850-1870
- 1870-1890
- ...
What do you think? Knowing that this could be feasible only in exploratory analysis, not in predictive analysis (regression models).
Thanking you in advance!
Some complex prepositions of the kind [Prep (det) N Prep] tend to have different subcategorization frames, which makes their semantic analysis a rather difficult task. For instance, the substitutive complex prepositions instead of, in place of and in lieu of can have different types of complements:
N instead of N (e.g. "a cup instead of a bowl")
V instead of V-ing (e.g. "it hurts instead of doing good")
How, then, can we account for the occcurrence of "a bowl" and "doing good" in semantic terms? Is it possible to rank them on an animacy scale or a concreteness scale?
Thanking you in advance,
C. Bechet


Project (1)