En réponse à Joe : >Ok, I've heard you refer to this...can you explain it to me? OK, I'm gonna try. Basically, French writing gives you the impression that French is analytical, like English is (but more synthetic with all its conjugations and such). It also gives you the impression that words mark plural on the ending, conjugate their verbs in the ending, have compound tenses (i.e. with an auxiliary which is a separate word from the main verb), articles that are separate words, ajectives that are separate to the noun and agree with it, word order is quite strictly SVO, etc... Well, scrap all that! Spoken French has no such structure. It is a topic-comment structured language with prefixed inflections and polysynthetic tendencies. The main proof is the stress: stress in French is not word-based (in the sense of words as in writing), but *phrase*-based. Also, unstressed words are phonetically (and phonemically) unseparable from the main word of the phrase, and change form with it, and as such are better described as affixes with multiple allomorphs, just like polysynthetic languages do. Let's give you an example. A written sentence like "je n'ai pas regardé le film hier" would usually be in Spoken French more like ["mwa ZlEpaRgaR"de "lfilm i"jER] (transcribed "moi, j'l'ai pas r'gardé l'film hier"). Here is an interlinear: "mwa Z- -l- -E- -pa- -RgaR"de l- -film i"jER 1sg.ind 1sg.subj 3sg.obj PAST NEG watch def.art.sg movie yesterday As you see, we have a topic comment structure ("mwa, the independent first person singular pronoun, is topic of the sentence), with a verb agreeing through prefixes with both the subject and the direct object (they also agree with the indirect object when it's present, like in Basque). As for nouns, they mark definiteness, gender and number mostly through a prefix. ["lfilm] is singular for instance, while in the plural it would become [lE"film]. The polysynthetic character of the language comes also from the fact that the grammatical affixes can have various allomorphs depending on the phonetic but also grammatical environment. For instance, the PAST marker has different forms depending on the subject: [E] is first person singular, [a] 2nd.sg, 3rd.sg and 1st.pl, [ave] 2nd.pl and [O~] 3rd.pl. The nominal prefix with definite plural meaning can be [lE] or [lEz]. Another thing is that adjectives are affixes in Spoken French too (IIRC it is the same in Inuit languages), and object incorporation does happen :) . >Wait, so what would French people use instead of 'nous'. I wish they'd >teach us actual spoken French in school... We use "on" instead, with agreement in the third person singular. Actually, in Spoken French, the independent form of the pronoun is still "nous" (which is why I said "nous" had not completely disappeared. It is used when in topic for instance), but the subject prefix is [O~], and the verb form is the same as the third person singular form. Of course, because of the polysynthetic nature of Spoken French, it is difficult to describe, because of all the allomorphs the different affixes and roots can take. In this way, it's not so different to polysynthetic languages like Inuit either (nor to Basque by the way, which despite being mostly agglutinating is more polysynthetic in its synthetic conjugations). Christophe Grandsire. http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.