Re: Languages, "modern" and otherwise

Iain Walker (iainw@SUE.ECON.SU.OZ.AU)
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 11:10:26 +1100

On Wed, 21 Aug 1996, Robert Snower wrote:

> Speaking French: Est-ce que le chat noir est . . . ? (hope it is good
> French--I put the t in the wrong place above) I am trying to show that in
> French, unlike English, the "is" does not come out of the middle of the
> sentence when turning it into a question.

If you translate correctly the "is" doesn't come out in English either:

Est-ce que le chat noir est sur le canape?

Is it that the black cat is on the couch?

However, using the inversion form of the question:

Est-il le chat noir sur le canape?

Is the black cat on the couch?

In english the extra "he" (il) comes out.

(Although I'm not sure I see the point of the argument here)

Iain Walker * Dept. of Anthropology * University of Sydney *

"L'homme qui a deux femmes perd son ame;
"L'homme qui a deux maisons perd sa raison"
"mdru ukana hahe na ha nduhuze"