2009/10/13 Paul Hartzer <[log in to unmask]>
> > From: Philip Newton <[log in to unmask]>
> > The whitespace is based on an analysis of French as a kind of modern
> > Latin, and is misleading, apparently :D (As in, yes, French started
> > out as Latin, but it isn't now Latin any more than English is Latin,
> > despite generations of schoolteachers applying Latin grammar to
> > English.)
> The rest of the clitics, I think, are open to this interpretation, but at
> least the subject pronouns move in questions:
> -- J'aime Paris. Aime-tu Paris aussi?
That says nothing. First, you forget (or are unaware) of half of my
analysis: French is actually a diglossia, similar to the Roman situation
with Classical vs. Vulgar Latin, the Arabic situation with Standard Arabic
vs. the various national languages and dialects, or the Greek situation of
Katharevousa vs. Dimotiki (at least until Dimotiki became the official).
There is a Written, or Literary French, and a Spoken French, which is
related to Written French and influenced by it, but is otherwise a separate
Now when we take actual, spoken French, questions are never formed by moving
the subject pronouns. They are formed nearly exclusively by adding the
particle /ɛsk(ə)/ (written "est-ce que") to the verbal phrase, which doesn't
-- J'aime Paris. Est-ce que t'aimes Paris aussi ?
If you take that into account, plus quite a few facts like the workings of
the French word stress, my analysis of the subject pronouns as prefixes
becomes much more acceptable (and has advantages, IMHO, to understand how
Spoken French verbs work).
But even if the form with reverse subject pronouns was normal in Spoken
French, that wouldn't mean they couldn't be analysed as affixes anyway.
There are other languages out there that form different parts of their
verbal conjugations (moods, tenses, etc...) using different kinds of