2012/11/13 Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets <[log in to unmask]>

> On 13 November 2012 14:38, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Interesting. So the _puis-je_ that I learnt at school in the
> > 1950s is no longer part of spoken French, I guess.
> >
> Indeed not. I've learned it as well, but only to recognise it and use it in
> writing. I don't think anyone would have expected me to use it in speech :)

I have heard that "Disais-je" is still used in Switzerland...


> > There is also the possibility of
> > just adding "?" to the end of an affirmative sentence to make an
> > interrogative one.
> >
> This goes further than that. Spoken French has changed to the point that
> interrogative words don't have to be first in a question any longer! There
> are basically two ways of forming wh-questions in French nowadays:
> - Put the interrogative word first in the sentence, followed by "est-ce
> que", followed by the rest of the sentence, in normal affirmative word
> order.
> - Put the interrogative word directly after the verb or at the end of the
> sentence, and keep the rest in normal affirmative word order.
> This alternative construction is more informal than the "est-ce que" form,
> but very common. For instance:
> "T'es où là ?": "where are you?", literally "you're where there?" Common
> sentence in those times of mobile phones :P . Don't ask me why "là" is
> added at the end of the question. It's optional, but feels right to add.
> "T'as trouvé ça où ?": "where did you find that", literally "you found
> where?". With a longer object, "où" would be moved just after the verb,
> the object would appear after it: "Tu les as trouvées où ces clefs ?":
> "where did you find those keys?", literally "you found them where those
> keys?".
> It can be used with any interrogative word, except "qui ?": "who?" when
> it's used as subject of the question.

The position of interrogative pronouns is relatively free in Portuguese too.
"Onde você achou essas chaves?"
"Você achou essas chaves onde?"
"Você achou onde, essas chaves?"

What's really strange is the use of French "là". In same cases, it seems
that "là" means "ici", while I would expect them to have opposite meanings.