French

Serenus

Civis Illustris
It looks like there is no general thread on French... I just wanted to post this little example I just saw mentioned in an Old French dictionary from a play, with three adverbs in the middle of a passé composé verb, and also "j'ai allé":

Segnieur, pelerins sui, si ai alé maint pas, / par viles, par castiaus, par chités, par trespas. / S'aroie bien mestier que je fusse à repas, / car n'ai mie par tout mout bien trouvé mes pas.
'Sirs, I am a pilgrim, and I have travelled a lot, through towns, castles, cities, passageways. It'd be great to make some arrangement so I can have a meal, because not always, not at all, have I found food wherever I've been.' (de la Halle, Li Jus du pelerin)

(Amusingly, the first pas is etymologically Latin passūs 'steps', but the second one is pāstus 'pasture', then meaning 'food'.)

It could be literally rendered in modern French as je n'ai point partout très bien trouvé, but I don't think partout can be used there? In fact, can partout ever be used in the middle of a composé tense?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It could be literally rendered in modern French as je n'ai point partout très bien trouvé, but I don't think partout can be used there?
Dunno, it does sound weird.
In fact, can partout ever be used in the middle of a composé tense?
In common parlance, usually not, but it wouldn't bother me in poetry.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Actually, the use of "partout" in between the auxiliary and the participle in the sentences I've found here (well, the first few; I haven't read all of them) sounds normal enough to me, if formal. Similar sentences just failed to occur to me when I first replied to this thread. I was thinking of sentences like "J'ai partout cherché mes clefs", which, though it doesn't sound terribly wrong, is hardly something we would usually say (we would say "J'ai cherché mes clefs partout").
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
@Pacifica "I went with Mark". Do you think this could be said as, or required to be said as, On est allé avec Marc? Compared to, Je suis allé avec Marc, that is.

Someone told me about this example from a book on colloquial French, and I suspect this is just that less common use of "on" as a 1st person singular pronoun...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Usually, "On est allé avec Marc" would mean "We went with Mark". It can happen that someone refers to themselves alone with "on", but it isn't so common.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It can happen that someone refers to themselves alone with "on", but it isn't so common.
Like, it would be in a humorous context or so. If you want to state "I went with Mark" normally/neutrally, you should definitely use "je", or you'll be misunderstood.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
Usually, "On est allé avec Marc" would mean "We went with Mark". It can happen that someone refers to themselves alone with "on", but it isn't so common.
Thanks! Another question, from the same person about the book: do you agree or disagree that "dont" is formal!? If it is true, how would one say something like, la femme dont on a trouvé le sac à main abandonné, colloquially? (Would it have to be in two sentences?)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I wouldn't say that "dont" is particularly formal. In colloquial speech, you do sometimes hear things like "La femme qu'on a retrouvé son sac à main abandonné", but it is generally considered wrong rather than just informal.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
@Pacifica Another one: j'ai vu l'homme. on a volé son sac. That guy I know asked me to have you answer how you would typically join them together, to be extra-sure...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
"J'ai vu l'homme dont on a volé le sac"...
 
Segnieur, pelerins sui, si ai alé maint pas, / par viles, par castiaus, par chités, par trespas. / S'aroie bien mestier que je fusse à repas, / car n'ai mie par tout mout bien trouvé mes pas.
'Sirs, I am a pilgrim, and I have travelled a lot, through towns, castles, cities, passageways. It'd be great to make some arrangement so I can have a meal, because not always, not at all, have I found food wherever I've been.' (de la Halle, Li Jus du pelerin)
OF rules.
Jeo meismes ai le libre Le mort dArtur (not sure of title) dedeinz la lengue Angle-Normeine. :cool:
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Random observation:

"Comment se fait-il que tu sois toujours debout ?"

"Comment ça se fait que t'es toujours debout ?"

I just noticed that the subjunctive sounds better after "comment se fait-il", whereas the indicative sounds better after "comment ça se fait". To me anyway. This is how I would instinctively say those sentences, and not the other way round. The sentences are synonymous; the only difference is that the first one is more formal.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
<weeps silently>
I'm sorry. I suppose I could be wrong, you know, as native speakers can be and often are. Of the three languages I'm proficient in, French is the one I know the least well formally, even though I can spew out colloquialities in it the most easily.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
But you know, it could just be that there's a slight tendency to de-subjunctivize in colloquial speech, almost as there is in English, though it would be to a far lesser extent in French for the time being.
 

Clemens

Civis Illustris
I’ve been rereading a lot of classics and they’re full of literary tenses and moods, as well as syntax, or what seems like more literary syntax to me.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
There are a lot of quotes in French that I remember and like, not because they're particularly pithy, but just because of the way they're worded.
I'm replying to this here rather than on the thread where it was originally posted because I guess the discussion better belongs on this one. Would you mind sharing some of your favorite quotes?
 

Clemens

Civis Illustris
I'm replying to this here rather than on the thread where it was originally posted because I guess the discussion better belongs on this one. Would you mind sharing some of your favorite quotes?
Sure, but they might not be that interesting to a native speaker.

Here are some from movies:
La Religieuse : Aucune demoiselle n'est devenue religieuse contre son gré.
Le Pacte des loups : Jacques a vu de nombreux loups, mais il dit que l'animal qui l'a attaqué n'en est pas un.
Sade : Je ne bougerai jamais d'ici que lorsque la royauté sera rétablie.
La Prise de pouvoir de Louis XIV : L'œuvre de votre éminence pourrait être détruite.
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Let me try and guess what it is that you found interesting in each.
La Religieuse : Aucune demoiselle n'est devenue religieuse contre son gré.
Here it could have been the substantive use of the adjective "religieuse", I guess, or the lack of an indefinite article where you would often have one in English. Or it could have been the expression "contre son gré", if it was the first time you'd come across it.
Le Pacte des loups : Jacques a vu de nombreux loups, mais il dit que l'animal qui l'a attaqué n'en est pas un.
Here, possibly the construction "n'en est pas un".
Sade : Je ne bougerai jamais d'ici que lorsque la royauté sera rétablie.
The construction of interest here must be "jamais... que".
La Prise de pourvoir de Louis XIV : L'œuvre de votre éminence pourrait être détruite.
Hmm... The honorific address?
 

Clemens

Civis Illustris
Let me try and guess what it is that you found interesting in each.

Here it could have been the substantive use of the adjective "religieuse", I guess, or the lack of an indefinite article where you would often have one in English. Or it could have been the expression "contre son gré", if it was the first time you'd come across it.

Here, possibly the construction "n'en est pas un".

The construction of interest here must be "jamais... que".

Hmm... The honorific address?
It's the rhythm and the flow of sounds in each one, first of all, and secondly the structure of what they're saying. The content doesn't enter into it, as you probably guessed, as it's kind of banal in some of them. I do like the expression n'en est pas un but I also like the sound of il dit que l'animal qui l'a attaqué n'en est pas un — the staccato repeated sounds in que l'animal qui l'a attaqué and then the sudden rhythmic change of n'en est pas un.

In in the first half of Je ne bougerai jamais d'ici que lorsque la royauté sera rétablie there are a lot of j sounds, and in the last half a lot of r sounds (lorsque la royauté sera rétablie). I could go on, if I wanted to delve into what I like about one. As I said, these might not be particularly interesting to a native speaker, but I like the language and pay close attention to how it sounds and works, especially sort old old-fashioned or literary French. I like it when people make all the liaisons, for example.
 
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