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FR: ses compagnons chassaient, qui le rhinocéros, qui la mouche tsé-tsé

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by oieblanche, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. oieblanche Junior Member

    I've encountered a phrasing I'm not used to, and I would just like verification that I'm understanding it correctly.

    This sentence has a list, qui la X, qui la Y, qui la Z... which I'm guessing is like soit: be it thing X, thing Y or thing Z.

    Is that correct and is this common?

  2. frenchifried Senior Member

    English - UK
    Can you give us the sentence?
  3. oieblanche Junior Member

    Original phrase is:
    "tandis que ses compagnons chassaient, qui le rhinocéros, qui la mouche tsé-tsé, qui encore, faute de mieux dans ce déserts, les minutes de longitude"

    I assume this means more or less:
    "while his companions were off hunting, be it rhinoceros, tsetse fly, or else, for lack of anything better in those deserts, degrees of longitude"

    It's the qui qui qui construction that I'm curious about...
  4. frenchifried Senior Member

    English - UK
    I am sure you are right in the translation, but the French seems to be particular to the text you are reading. I would like the confirmation of a francophone on this, but it could also read 'soit le rhinocéros, soit la mouche tsé-tsé. Perhaps date or country comes into it.:confused:
  5. oieblanche Junior Member

    Written by a Parisian in mid 1920s.
    I would be interested to know if this sounds "archaic" or "dated" to a native speaker, or if this is still used.
  6. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    Comprendre tandis que ses compagnons chassaient, les uns le rhinocéros, d'autres la mouche tsé-tsé, d'autres encore, ... (sauf que ces différents groupes pourraient être réduits à une seule personne).

    C'est littéraire, comme style, mais pas particulièrement désuet.
  7. nicduf

    nicduf Senior Member

    France (Poitou)
    La phrase signifie :"......certains (chassent) le rhinocéros, certains ....., certains..."
    c'est une formulation encore utilisée aujourd'hui mais dans un registre soutenu, une langue littéraire.
  8. Lacuzon

    Lacuzon Senior Member

    French - France

    I confirm, it's still used, neither dated nor archaic, just formal.
  9. oieblanche Junior Member

    Thank you all, and thank you for clarifying that it's some chasing X, others chasing Y, etc.

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