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Re: French

From:Grandsire, C.A. <grandsir@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 27, 1999, 7:23
nicole perrin wrote:
> > I would say > > Votre langue devait jtre ici > Your language should be here >
Actually, "your language should be here" is more like "votre langue devrait e^tre ici" with a conditional present. 'devait' is the imparfait, which has only a past meaning (past imperfect to be precise).
> or > > Votre langue pouvait jtre ici > Your language could be here >
Then again, it's "votre langue pourrait e^tre ici", but it doesn't feel right for me (I mean, as a translation for "your language goes here").
> <looks to native French-speakers for approval>Come on guys, I know > there's more than one of you out there, why aren't you helping us > beginners out here? >
I do, I do! Give us some time! Remember the jet lag! :) Mathias, help me! They're getting out of control! :)
> And by the way, I never learned that the subjunctive was only used in > the written language. They make us practice all the time, things like, > "Je veux que tu m'attendes", or is that wrong/not done? >
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? An example of subjunctive used in everyday speech is "il faut que tu m'attendes ici" meaning "you have to wait for me here" with a feeling of "sorry, I can't help it". Even if the subjunctive is much less used in French than in, say, Spanish, it is far from dead like in English. It is even used (incorrectly) after "apre`s que", which is an innovation (already old enough, but the existence of an innovation shows that it is not dead).
> > > > Though I find the hardest thing about this shirt idea is that 'Your language > > goes here' is an idiom meaning along the lines of 'There is the possibility of > > your language existing in this place' or 'Your language can/could exist/be > > here' not a very easy thing to translate.. > > I agree. Although it's good in a way because different languages can > vary it depending on their idiom structure. > > Nicole
-- Christophe Grandsire Philips Research Laboratories -- Building WB 145 Prof. Holstlaan 4 5656 AA Eindhoven The Netherlands Phone: +31-40-27-45006 E-mail: