After taking a screen cap from the SloMoGuys ink-in-a-fishtank video, I massaged it in Gimp to come up with this banner image.

Suspect Information, Ideas, and Opinions - rarely updated and of dubious quality.


Stop! Ca Suffit! poster.

There is a pretty big public awareness campaign going on in France right now; it's an effort to build awareness of the apparently endless harassment that some people experience when taking French public transit. I say 'apparently' because as of yet, not a single woman has harrassed me on the tram. C'est domage...

The ad above depicts the progression of come-ons a woman can expect to hear as she navigates the public transport system:

  • Mademoiselle...;
  • You are charming. (formal speech)
  • Is that little skirt for me?
  • You know that you're good? (informal speech)
  • I going to hold you.
  • Answer, dirty bitch!

From a grammar and translation perspective, it's the Réponds sale chienne! line that I find most interesting. It's an instruction. otherwise known in grammar circles as the Imperative. In English I can say (You) Get up! or (You) Sit down or (You) Answer me! All of those are imperative and the pronoun is not required. In French as you may know, there are two ways to make any sentence in the 2nd person singular - formally or informally. Obviously, if you're going to call someone a dirty bitch, you're not going to use the formal: Répondez vous, sale chienne! You will instead say: Réponds (toi) sale chienne! Just as in English, the personal pronoun "toi" is not required. Note that in French, the object personal pronoun (te, toi) always goes in front of the verb EXCEPT if the the statement is Imperative, as it is here.

Poster on the tram of: Vous souhaite un bon voyage

Where this construction REALLY gets interesting is the statement I saw on a sign while on the tram: Vous souhaite un bon voyage. Translate that too quickly and you'll see: You wish ( maybe?) a good trip. Errr, what's that? But note the conjugation...if it were really "you wish me" (formal) then it would be vous me souhaitez... So then when do you conjugate the verb 'souhaiter' in the form 'souhaite'? Only in the first and third person singular. (I or we)

Well, a sign at the train station isn't going to say "I wish you a good trip" and the sign didn't say the more formal Nous souhaitons un bon voyage So then the only possible meaning is: On vous souhaite un bon voyage (and again, we leave off the optional "On")

We wish you a good trip.

Because "On" is the subject and "vous" is the object expressed a personal pronoun so therefore must go in front of the verb since it is an indicative sentence!

I should give my teacher a hug. :-)

Top of Page | Front Page | Newer Post | Older Post | Tags: Français, Information 
Add a Comment:
Remember me.