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Re: Possession and genitivity

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, May 2, 2005, 19:02
On Sunday, May 1, 2005, at 09:55 , # 1 wrote:

> Carsten Becker wrote: > >> On Saturday 30 April 2005 20:45 CEST, Joseph Bridwell wrote:
>> French has (1) le livre du garçon and (2) une pièce du >> papier, the same as in English actually. > > French only has (1)...
It does have (2) but the second should be _une pièce DE papier_ :)
> "Une pièce du papier" isn't a good translation for "a sheet paper"
I agree - it's a very bad translation.
> "Une pièce du papier" would be "one of the paper's pieces"
Yep - it means "a piece of _the_ paper" or "the paper's piece". Joseph meant, I am sure, "une pièce de papier" - 'a piece of paper' (which is rather less precise than a sheet of paper"
> "A sheet paper" could be "un papier en feuille", wich is not even > possession
Eh??? I was under the impression 'a sheet of paper' was _un feuillet (de papier)_ - 'of paper' is often omitted in English also if the context is clear. I do agree, however, it is not possession.
> (I use could "could" because that's not a sentence I've ever heard > (neither > do I understand what that sentence really means), I'd have understand > better > if it'd been "A paper sheet", what would've been "Une feuille de papier" > but > that is no more of a possession than the other is)
BUT "une feuille de papier" or "un feuillet (de papier) *IS* a sheet of paper!!! Yes, I agree it is not possession - that is precisely what I have been saying in my last two (at least) emails.
> French doesn't seems to share what y'all now call "false possession"
With respect, you seem to give a different meaning to _all_ than I do. I have noticed only _one_ person say that some people call this construction _false possession_ (and 'false' means 'not true', 'faux', that is: it ain't possession!). I am an L1 English speaker and I managed to live for over 65 years without hearing the term. I replied that more than 50 years I had called the construction 'partitive' - and the French I am familiar with is full of partitive constructions expressed with 'de', 'du', 'de la', 'des' - which is also the same construction that is used to express possession!
> since a > few days, a translation of one of your false possessive phrase is simply > not > possessive in French.
Nor is it possessive in English - that's FALSE means! It looks like possessive, but it ain't.
> French uses the preposition "de"(of) to mark > possession but the next noun ought to have an article > "le chien du voisin" (du = "de" + "le") = the neightbour's dog > "la robe de ma soeur" = my sister's dress > > The only situations when the possessor can't have an article is when it > is a > proper name (so that carries its own definitness) or a pronoun (for which > the possessive articles are there to mean that kind of meaning)
All very true, and precisely the same applies to "of" when used to show (real) possession in English - but _partitive_ often also has a definite article: j'ai mangé _du_ pain I think you have perhaps been misled by the term 'false possession' - which we do _not_ all use :) It simply means: "a construction that use _of_ but does not show possession". French is full of constructions that use _de_ but do not express possession, therefore French has 'false possession' Q.E.D. :) But IMO the term 'false possession' is a strange (and potentially misleading) way of expressing the construction: une fueille _de papier_ a sheet _of paper_ Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]