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Re: French

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 27, 1999, 14:08
"Grandsire, C.A." wrote:

> It is good, and can be used in spoken French. But in this particular > case, the sentence seems a little bit rude to me. I would simply use the > imperative: "attends-moi ici", with "s'il te plai^t" if I want to be > more polite, or even a rhetoric question: "est-ce que tu peux m'attendre > ici?" if I want to be very polite. Strange thing this fact that the > imperative sounds more polite than the indirect order. Does it happen in > other nat/conlangs?
Absolutely. In English, "Will you please listen?" sounds exasperated, as though the listener had already not been listening. As opposed to "Please listen" which is unmarked even though syntactically imperative. The most explicitly superior->inferior form is in fact "You will please listen", where the "please" actually makes the sentence *less* deferential.
> Even if the subjunctive is much less used in > French than in, say, Spanish, it is far from dead like in English.
Not dead in American English, as we have determined before: "Joan suggests that she play the role of Ophelia" would be ungrammatical as "plays the role of Ophelia", and even those who avoid this subjunctive must say "she should play the role of Ophelia". Furthermore, "If I were a rich man" is not quite dead even if "If I was" is probably now more common. -- John Cowan Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies / Schliess eurer Aug vor heiliger Schau Den er genoss vom Honig-Tau / Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)