1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

Why French has adverbial pronouns

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Beachxhair, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Beachxhair

    Beachxhair Senior Member

    Manchester UK
    English-England
    French, unlike Spanish (and other Romance languages, as far as I know....please enlighten me if I'm wrong here :)) has adverbial pronouns that are cliticized to the verb, as in j'y vais, j'en reviens, j'en souviens....In Spanish, y translates just as an adverb, and en is translated by various disjunctive constructions, depending on the context (such as de ello in the case of j'en souviens). Also, in Spanish, isn't 'de ello' optional? Me acuerdo (de ello)? In French, en is obligatory.

    My question is how French developed adverbial pronouns, ie, how did the words come to have the usage (cliticized, obligatory in most cases) that they have? What qualities of the French language might have leant itself to y and en developing into adverbial pronouns in French, but not in Spanish (and other Romance languages :confused:)? Is it to do with the word stress pattern of French (at the end of the breath group)?

    Thanks for your responses :)
     
  2. Aidanriley

    Aidanriley Senior Member

    SD, California
    English
    Hello Bleachxhair,

    They do exist in another romance language, which is Catalan. They are hi and ne,

    Hi - denotes location (where one is, where something occurs, where one intends to go; in this case, we'll replace "XYZ Restraunt" with hi, and y, respectively.)


    For example.
    -
    Bob: Do you like XYZ restaurant?
    Pau: Jo hi vaig cada dia
    (French: J'y vais chaque jour) (English: I go there every day.)
    -
    By the way, if we look at the translation of "there is" in French, Catalan, Portugues, and, yes, Spanish, this may surprise you.
    French: il y a
    Catalan: Hi ha
    Portuguese: Hà
    Spanish: Hay

    -
    In Portuguese, both this morning (there is) and (he has), are . In Spanish, Hay can only mea "there is". He has, is Ha.
    :eek: [ mysterious music playing ]
    -
    I know, it's incredible I was about to spot that. Ugh, fine, Swift did, as usual.
    -
    Beachxair: 'Hi' also has quite a few other uses, in Catalan, but I know you're asking about French. In any case, if you'd like to keep analyzing the two, I'd be fun. Also, you should check out a region in Northern Catalonia, known as: Perpignan, (Perpinyà en català. The main language spoken there is French, according to the over-so-reputable Wikipedia, It's true, actually; finding someone who speaks anything but French there was pretty hard when I was there, but eventually found a neighborhood that did speak Catalan. Except that it sounds just like French.

    www.multilingue.cat, search "hi" in the Català box and cick the button. I can't get the direct link.


     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  3. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    You are forgetting about Italian (ne and ci: ne rivengo and ci vado). By the way, it's interesting to me how any way of answering your question can be proven... I believe there's no way, am I wrong?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  4. Aidanriley

    Aidanriley Senior Member

    SD, California
    English
    1. Sorry my Ialian's a bust rusty, since, you know, I don't speak it?
    2. Also, it's obvious what Bleachxhair meant to say..? What's the problem?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  5. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    I don't either, I googled the examples. What you mean to say? I'm not trying to offend anyone, if inadvertently I did, then I apologize.
     
  6. Aidanriley

    Aidanriley Senior Member

    SD, California
    English
    Beach: I've sent a consultation to the governing Academy of Catalan, they often have resouces in French as well, as we wait for some amazingly kind French speaker to lend us a hand.

    ---------

    I didn't forget to include Italian. I don't know Italian, can't explain it, etc. Don't worry about it, se acabó.

    ---

    No way to find the answer to a question about the etymology of a few words, from a language which has a whole Acamdy at your disposal, for academic purposes like thisl? What do you mean?


     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  7. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    The the Italian "ne" and the Catalan/French "en" come from the Latin "inde" (meaning of/from there). These pronuns were later "grammaticalized", i.e. in Catalan/French/Italian they refer generally to expressions in genitive case, typically introduced by the preposition de (di in Italian).

    In case of the French "y", Catalan "hi", Italian "ci" and "vi", Spanish archaical "y" (in hay) and "hi" (in ahí, allí) two Latin words seem to be taken in consideration: ibi (in this place) and hic (here). These pronuns were later "grammaticalized" in some Romance languages and they refer generally to expressions in dative case, typically introduced by the preposition a (ad). In Other Romance languages they practically did not survive (as separate pronouns).
     
  8. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Well, Beach's question was, as far as I understand, not about their etymology, but about the causes of their etymology, i.e. why it happened the way it happened. I doubt we can know or prove anything about this...
    Thank you! Very interesting; I've always wondered about this myself, although not enough to ask question or find information. :(
     
  9. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Old Spanish had y which has still survived at the end of some verb forms and ende which as far as I know has no vestiges in the current language.

    The question is not why French and italian have adverbial pronouns, rather why did these useful pronouns die out in Spanish
     
  10. nwon Senior Member

    Northwestern Ontario
    Inglés canadiense
    I agree with merquiades. I learned French first as a child, and the lack of these pronouns has been a more or less constant pain in my Spanish-speaking life to date.
     
  11. Beachxhair

    Beachxhair Senior Member

    Manchester UK
    English-England
    :tick: I agree. After learning that other Romance languages do have adverbial pronouns, I realize that Spanish is the exception in this case, and it's always interesting to ask what makes the exception exempt from the rule. Does anyone have any theories as to why adverbial pronoun didn't survive in Spanish?
     
  12. olaszinho Senior Member

    Italy
    Central Italian
    Spanish is not the exception. Neither Portuguese nor Romanian has adverbial pronouns.
     
  13. Beachxhair

    Beachxhair Senior Member

    Manchester UK
    English-England
    Sorry, I didn't know. Well I guess the question is why don't these three languages have adverbial pronouns?

    Thanks :)
     
  14. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
  15. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    By the way, it's interesting that in Italian the adverbial pronouns ci and vi are used also as personal (unstressed) pronouns in the 1st and 2nd pers. plural (ci laviamo = nos lavamos, vi lavate = os laváis). What is the reason for this phenomenon? Could vi be interpreted erroneousely as a short form of voi?

    Another question: which adverb (if any ...) did correspond in old Spanish to the Itanian ne and French/Catalan en?
     
  16. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    See here:
    Italian "ci"

    It was ende, which still exists in the expression por ende.
     
  17. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    Thank you :).

    For completeness, the Sardinian variants of the discussed adverbial pronouns are: bi (<ibi), nde (<inde).
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013

Share This Page