Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

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Artig
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Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Artig » 2015-01-07, 14:03

Hello all :-)

I'm brushing up my French. I thought perhaps I could ask my questions in this thread and other learners could benefit from it too. I hope I'm not breaking any rules. I will also give numbers to my questions, I wonder how many of them I'll ask… So let me start with my first question.

I. I understand that French, somewhat like English, requires the speaker to use the object pronouns if the verb is transitive.
So, let's say someone asked: As-tu mangé le pain ?, you cannot say oui, j'ai mangé, you have to mention the object, in full or in a pronominal form → oui, je l'ai mangé. So even though, in this context, it's perfectly clear what the object is, you still have to show it in the sentence.

So far so good, but there are times when I see verbs being used without an object.
For example: Tu aimes cette chanson ? -- Oui, j'adore !

What's up with this j'adore thing? I know that you can't say j'aime ! like that, without an object. So why do I see j'adore being used without an object?

Does it have to do with the prosody and the rhythm of the language? As in, j'aime is one syllable, so it's too short for an aswer, but j'adore is two-syllablled, so it feels fine?

What should we, the learners, be thinking when omitting a so-called "COD" ?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby JackFrost » 2015-01-09, 1:57

Artig wrote:I. I understand that French, somewhat like English, requires the speaker to use the object pronouns if the verb is transitive.
So, let's say someone asked: As-tu mangé le pain ?, you cannot say oui, j'ai mangé, you have to mention the object, in full or in a pronominal form → oui, je l'ai mangé. So even though, in this context, it's perfectly clear what the object is, you still have to show it in the sentence.

So far so good, but there are times when I see verbs being used without an object.
For example: Tu aimes cette chanson ? -- Oui, j'adore !

It does sound better to say "oui, je l'ai mangé", yet it doesn't sound odd at all to say "oui, j'adore!" or even "oui, j'aime!". Both are very natural French to me, although maybe slightly informal (notwithstanding the use of "tu").

What's up with this j'adore thing? I know that you can't say j'aime ! like that, without an object. So why do I see j'adore being used without an object?

I can't really explain to be honest as I'm relying on my intuition here. :? All I could say rules aren't always meant to be respected fully. Like, for example, it is said to be mandatory to use subject pronouns in French, unlike its Romance sister languages, yet saying "sais pas" for "je sais pas", "faut que" for "il faut que", "connais pas" for "je connais pas", and a handful of other examples are again normal French. So, some rules aren't always rock hard.

Again, you can say "oui, j'aime!".

Does it have to do with the prosody and the rhythm of the language? As in, j'aime is one syllable, so it's too short for an aswer, but j'adore is two-syllablled, so it feels fine?

No, not at all.

What should we, the learners, be thinking when omitting a so-called "COD" ?

Well, I guess to be thinking that the omitted object is explicit... that it's there in spirit.
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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Marah » 2015-01-09, 8:27

Isn't it just because "adorer" is both a transitive and an intransitive verb?
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby JackFrost » 2015-01-10, 17:32

Marah wrote:Isn't it just because "adorer" is both a transitive and an intransitive verb?

Yet doesn't explain for "aimer", which is supposedly only transitive. :?
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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Ciarán12 » 2015-01-10, 17:49

JackFrost wrote: Like, for example, it is said to be mandatory to use subject pronouns in French, unlike its Romance sister languages, yet saying "sais pas" for "je sais pas", "faut que" for "il faut que", "connais pas" for "je connais pas", and a handful of other examples are again normal French. So, some rules aren't always rock hard.


Probably the same as with English - it's not pro-drop but we still say "Don't know" for "I don't know", it's an informal contraction. Just as "je sais pas" and "je connais pas" are themselves contractions of "je ne sais pas" and "je ne connais pas", or so I understand.

Is dócha go bhfuil sé díreach mar atá sé i mBéarla - ní teanga pro-drop é ach bímid ag rá "Don't know" le haghaidh "I don't know", is giorrúchán neamhfhoirmiúil atá ann. Díreach mar go bhfuil "je sais pas" agus "je connais pas" féin ina ngiorrúcháin neamhfhoimiúla do "je ne sais pas" agus "je ne connais pas", de réir mo chuid tuisceana.

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Marah » 2015-01-10, 20:55

Yet doesn't explain for "aimer", which is supposedly only transitive. :?

To me using "j'aime" intransitively sounds slightly weird but acceptable because I see it a lot. Maybe it's a recent linguistic development, people started using it intransitively because "adorer" can be used that way too and they mean more or less the same thing.
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby JackFrost » 2015-01-11, 18:27

Yeah, it does make sense that it's due to an analogy with "adorer". :p

Anyway, Artig, it's not something that you should think about for a long time really. Call it a simple quirk and think that some supposedly transitive verbs can be possibly intransitive and vice versa. :D

Ciarán12 wrote:Probably the same as with English - it's not pro-drop but we still say "Don't know" for "I don't know", it's an informal contraction. Just as "je sais pas" and "je connais pas" are themselves contractions of "je ne sais pas" and "je ne connais pas", or so I understand.

Is dócha go bhfuil sé díreach mar atá sé i mBéarla - ní teanga pro-drop é ach bímid ag rá "Don't know" le haghaidh "I don't know", is giorrúchán neamhfhoirmiúil atá ann. Díreach mar go bhfuil "je sais pas" agus "je connais pas" féin ina ngiorrúcháin neamhfhoimiúla do "je ne sais pas" agus "je ne connais pas", de réir mo chuid tuisceana.

Yes, though I think French is much more strict when it comes to pro-dropping. I only see that happening with a handful of very common verbs and that's pretty much it in my personal observation.

As for "je sais pas" being an "informal contraction" of "je ne suis pas", I don't think it's really a contraction as the "ne" is omitted and never pronounced, unlike, say, "I wouldn't" for "I would not". We expect a trace of "not" being present in that example. Moreover, omitting "ne" is generally standard in oral French for a long time (think for a century, though the phenomenon is much older than that) and it's just that written Standard French is still conservative enough that it hasn't accepted the omission of "ne" in oral standard speech yet. In Canada and the US, "ne" is virtually extinct in the oral language of all registers whereas it's "occasionally" used in Europe such as formal speeches by politicians, some media stuff (?), etc. Oh, and some European speakers still use it regularly as well, but they tend to be from the older generations nowadays.
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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Artig » 2015-01-15, 20:39

Merci beaucoup Jack, Ciarán et Marah. :)

So, as far as I understand,

You can say "J'aime" all alone as well, it's just not idiomatic, or maybe it sounds archaic?
I can't really see how "adorer" can be intransitive, though.

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby JackFrost » 2015-01-17, 18:34

How can it sound archaic when it's heard basically all the time?

I can't really see how "adorer" can be intransitive, though.

I don't either, but we can say that the case of "oui, j'adore!" is the only attested intransitive use of adorer as far as we're aware. Again, I wouldn't overthink it if I were you.
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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Marah » 2015-01-17, 19:37

artig wrote:You can say "J'aime" all alone as well, it's just not idiomatic, or maybe it sounds archaic?

I would say that you should avoid using "j'aime" all alone if you're in a situation where prescriptivism matters, formal situations in general. But young people use it a lot so it's idiomatic and doesn't sound archaic at all. It's just not 100% correct to some natives.

I can't really see how "adorer" can be intransitive, though.

There's also a less obvious meaning that can be used intransitively.
Wikitionnaire wrote:Les juifs adoraient à Jérusalem et les Samaritains à Samarie.
Le peuple d’Israël allait adorer sur les montagnes.

It means "to worship".
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby JackFrost » 2015-01-17, 19:48

Well, that's another usage that I hadn't known about... to worship... -.- It's definitely literary though.
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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Artig » 2015-01-30, 14:33

Adorer means to worship? That's a new thing for me too. I wonder if people really use it in the sense of worshipping, though, when they only say 'j'adore'.

I have a new question. :-]

II. Is it correct to do an inversion-type of question when the question word is (part of) the subject?
For example:
Qui est mort ?
Qui est-ce qui est mort ?
Qui est-il mort ? (???)

Or:
Quel livre a été vendu ?
Quel livre est-ce qui a été vendu ? (???)
Quel livre a-t-il été vendu ? (???)

Or:
Que t'est arrivé ? (???)
Qu'est-ce qui t'est arrivé ? (this should be correct, I think)
Que t'est-il arrivé ? (???)

Thanks again. :)

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby melski » 2015-01-30, 17:19

Hello Artig, welcome here :)

Artig wrote:Adorer means to worship? That's a new thing for me too. I wonder if people really use it in the sense of worshipping, though, when they only say 'j'adore'.

My mother used to report a pun she heard in her (very traditional catholic) family :
"J'adore le chocolat ! dit un enfant
- On n'adore que Dieu seul ! répond sa mère"
('I love chocolate, says a kid.
-Only God can be worshiped, answers the mother)

Artig wrote:II. Is it correct to do an inversion-type of question when the question word is (part of) the subject?
For example:
Qui est mort ?
Qui est-ce qui est mort ?

Qui est-il mort ? (???)

Or:
Quel livre a été vendu ?
Quel livre est-ce qui a été vendu ? (???)
Quel livre a-t-il été vendu ? (???)

Or:
Que t'est arrivé ? (???) This one is incorrect, because "arriver" (in this sentence) requires the third person : il t'es arrivé quelque chose (like in "il pleut" or "il faut"). Compare with "se passer", which doesn't require the 3rd person : Qu'est-ce qui s'est passé/Que s'est-il passé ? are both correct)
Qu'est-ce qui t'est arrivé ? (this should be correct, I think) Yep, it's correct.
Que t'est-il arrivé ? (???) That one is correct

Thanks again. :)

You're welcome !

(Edited after my mistake)
Last edited by melski on 2015-01-30, 20:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Artig » 2015-01-30, 18:29

Thanks, Melski!

I don't understand one thing though.

In the sentences: qu'est-ce qui t'est arrivé ? and Que t'est-il arrivé ?, why did you say that there shouldn't be a T? It is the third person, no?

Do you not say: "Oh dieux et déesses, que m'est-il arrivé ?" ?
Ok… maybe not the first part, but you get the point. ;p

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby melski » 2015-01-30, 18:44

Sorry, you are right ! It is the third person... :oops:
................Native: French (fr) French
................Fluent: English (en) English , Italian (it) Italian
.........Intermediate: German (de) German, Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br) Portuguese
.........Conversational: Catalan (ca) Catalan, Spanish (es) Spanish
....................Learning: [flag=Wallisian (East Uvean / faka'uvea)]wls[/flag] Wallisian (topic here)

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Re: Artig - Intermediate-Advanced French Questions

Postby Artig » 2015-01-30, 18:54

Thanks! Just wanted to be sure! :-]

So, long story short, with "quel" and "qui", inversion is incorrect when it's the subject.

That's another question cleared up thanks to you! :-]


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