FR: je (le) leur ai dit, je (le) lui ai donné - omission du pronom COD devant un pronom COI

Sam302

Senior Member
American English
Bonjour,

I lived in France long ago and continue to consume a lot of French media, and somehow this question has only occurred to me now:
In certain double object pronoun constructions, do the French routinely "swallow" the direct object pronoun, for example saying "Je leur a dit" instead of Je le leur ai dit. Or "Je lui ai donné" instead of Je le lui ai donné. I heard both these examples recently in the same (French) movie. Obviously in rapid speech random things inevitably get swallowed, but I'm wondering if this is a "standard" oral practice with these specific double pronouns.

Merci beaucoup d'avance, tout commentaire est le bienvenu!
 
  • jekoh

    Senior Member
    Fr - Fr
    Under no circumstance would I ever say Je le lui ai donné. Omission of the object pronoun is not limited to spoken language (let alone to "rapid speech"), see examples here : Le Bon usage
     

    snarkhunter

    Senior Member
    French (France's)
    The direct object pronoun is indeed often swallowed up colloquially when there is also an indirect object pronoun.
    It does not make much difference anyway: If there is a pronoun, this means the related noun was made clear before (or it should have been), so what this refers to should still be quite obvious and make the direct object pronoun almost superflous here.
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Under no circumstance would I ever say Je le lui ai donné.
    Probably not, as it would be quite a mouthful, but would I be wrong in assuming you may say, J'le lui ai donné?

    As far as I'm concerned, I'd be more likely to say this than omitting the direct object pronoun.
     

    Sam302

    Senior Member
    American English
    Under no circumstance would I ever say Je le lui ai donné. Omission of the object pronoun is not limited to spoken language (let alone to "rapid speech"), see examples here : Le Bon usage
    I have to say that I am completely stunned by this news -- I should add, very pleasantly stunned! I have done a lot of academic tutoring over the years, and every (American and British) textbook I've used has an obligatory chapter on exactly such double object pronoun constructions, which were impossible for my students to learn, because as you know the sequencing changes for the third person (the sequencing charts were another ridiculous feature). Yet I never thought to wonder whether these were actually used in the real world!
     

    snarkhunter

    Senior Member
    French (France's)
    I have to say that I am completely stunned by this news -- I should add, very pleasantly stunned!
    ... and so am I, but I still beg to disagree.
    It depends on who would be saying this (... context?): While many people might (or will) swallow part of the sentence, some will make sure they pronounce every single syllable.
     

    Sam302

    Senior Member
    American English
    Interesting! I have read the passage in Grevisse supporting jekoh's claim. Perhaps just one of those old formalities which survive and persist in certain contexts?
    Edit: I meant to say a grammatical formality, and I certainly don't mean "old" in a negative sense 😉

    Under no circumstance would I ever say Je le lui ai donné. Omission of the object pronoun is not limited to spoken language (let alone to "rapid speech"), see examples here : Le Bon usage
    Hmm, the more I think about this the more questions I have: Is this also the case for single verb constructions? Because omitting the le in "Je le lui donne" would seem odd to me.
     
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    jekoh

    Senior Member
    Fr - Fr
    Probably not, as it would be quite a mouthful, but would I be wrong in assuming you may say, J'le lui ai donné?
    I would be even less likely to say that. To me Je le lui ai donné is quite formal so it doesn't really work with the elision J'le.

    ... and so am I, but I still beg to disagree.
    It depends on who would be saying this (... context?): While many people might (or will) swallow part of the sentence, some will make sure they pronounce every single syllable.
    When you say the sentence Je lui ai donné, every syllable is pronounced, nothing is "swallowed", unless you pronounce it J'lui. I would also normally write Je lui ai donné.

    I can not imagine a work colleague on the phone saying "Ok, je le lui dis", now that would be really odd.
     

    jekoh

    Senior Member
    Fr - Fr
    Yes, J'lui is more likely, but in any case the direct object pronoun is not swallowed. Je lui donne is not Je le lui donne badly pronounced.

    Let's agree to disagree on the formality of Je le lui donne. To me it is indeed formal, while the normal form (registre courant) is Je lui donne.
     

    Bezoard

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Pour ma part, j'écrirais sans avoir l'impression de verser dans le formalisme "je le lui dis", mais je prononcerais au téléphone encore plus simplement "j'ui dis".
     

    Sam302

    Senior Member
    American English
    Intéressant, merci pour ces précisions. Pourquoi précisément le choix du téléphone comme contexte? Et je vois que vous n'êtes pas le premier a faire ce choix ici.
     

    Bezoard

    Senior Member
    French - France
    J'ai juste repris l'exemple du téléphone qui a été donné. Mais il me semble qu'au téléphone, effectivement, on a (j'ai ?) tendance à utiliser une forme très orale du discours, souvent rapide. C'est tout le contraire d'une langue surveillée, dans laquelle je pourrais très bien dire "je le lui dis" (une langue orale très surveillée ressemblerait à ma langue écrite).
     

    snarkhunter

    Senior Member
    French (France's)
    Mais il me semble qu'au téléphone, effectivement, on a (j'ai ?) tendance à utiliser une forme très orale du discours, souvent rapide.
    ... Je serais pour ma part tenté de croire que cela dépend avant tout de notre interlocuteur et qu'on a souvent tendance à adapter notre niveau de langage à celui des gens à qui l'on s'adresse. C'est un phénomène pour ainsi dire inconscient.

    Pour sûr.
     

    Bezoard

    Senior Member
    French - France
    C'est en partie vrai, mais le fait qu'au téléphone on ne voie pas son interlocuteur ni ses difficultés à comprendre peut entraîner (chez moi en tout cas) une accélération du débit sauf si je me surveille.
     
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