"To sit" in French: words (verbs) lacking?

JClaudeK

Senior Member
Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
that why it functions as a predicative adjective here
The terme "predicative adjective" doesn't exist in French.
This form is called "Attribut":
Un attribut est un groupe nominal ou un adjectif qui sert à donner une caractéristique à un sujet ou à un complément d'objet direct par l’intermédiaire d’un verbe.
 
  • Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Having 'two verbs for "to be"' is a peculiarity of Ibero-Romance languages and is not a general feature of Romance.
    But the peculiarity of ESTARE in the Ibero-Romance languages is due to their extensive use as a situational verb. Because in Catalan and Italian, the verb exists too.

    Catalan: Estic bé / Estic malament
    Italian: Sto bene / Sto male
    Catalan: Estem menjant la paella.
    Italian: Stiamo mangiando la pizza.
    Catalan: Ara vull estar sol.
    Italian: Ora voglio stare solo.


    Yes, and that why it functions as a predicative adjective here, because it qualifies the subject with être as copula verb (compare: il est grand ~ il est debout). As a word class it is of course an adverb.

    DEBOUT, adv. et adj. invar.
    I wonder how many French speakers would see debout as an adjective, even if invariable, to be honest.

    The thing is, generally speaking, in the Romance languages predicative adjectives are those which are not seen as attributes but affect the subject and verb at the same time. And in order for this to happen, they cannot be invariable.

    For instance, to stand in Catalan can be said in two ways:

    estar dret
    estar dempeus
    In the first, dret changes to dreta if the subject is feminine, or to drets/dretes if in the plural. So it's seen as a predicative adjective (complement predicatiu). In the second sentence, dempeus wouldn't change at all, it's invariable, literally meaning 'on foot'. And it's therefore considered an adverb, functioning as an adverbial of manner (complement circumstancial de manera). The way I see it, debout is an equivalent to my dempeus.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    But the peculiarity of ESTARE in the Ibero-Romance languages is due to their extensive use as a situational verb. Because in Catalan and Italian, the verb exists too.

    Catalan: Estic bé / Estic malamentItalian: Sto bene / Sto maleCatalan: Estem menjant la paella.Italian: Stiamo mangiando la pizza.Catalan: Ara vull estar sol.Italian: Ora voglio stare solo.
    In Iberian-Romance languages and in French it is not quite the same. Italian stare does not compete with essere in the same way as in Iberian-Romance languages. It means stay, remain. The only overlap with English be I know is as the auxiliary of the progressive aspect. But that is a different matter. In Voglio stare solo it is a bit in between I want to stay alone and I want to be alone. Both translations would be possible.
     
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    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    Debout has clear adjectival uses anyway: "vous les aurez vues voilées et dévoilées, debout et assises, chantantes et silencieuses", "s'il y a encore quelqu'un de debout à la fin de la chanson c'est qu'il a triché", "dans la mesure où on m'a toujours vue très vive, très solide, très debout".

    The TLFi has a bit about its classification in its debout article:

    Rem.Les dict. gén. du XIXe et du XXe s. rangent habituellement debout dans la catégorie des adv. Qq. dict. récents (p. ex. Dub., Davau-Cohen 1972) donnent cependant debout comme ,,adv. ou adj. invar.``, mais sans autre précision d'emploi dans le corps de l'article; seul Lar. Lang. fr. ouvre un paragraphe distinct pour l'emploi adj. Du côté des grammairiens, certains continuent d'affirmer que debout est ,,toujours invariable, car il s'agit d'un adverbe`` (Colin 1971). Mais la plupart indiquent l'adjectivation de debout comme un fait d'usage courant; avec bien, il s'agirait de l'adv. qui est le plus sujet à la dérivation impropre. La docum. atteste de fréq. emplois de debout comme attribut, épithète, appos. du sujet ou du compl. d'obj. dir.; dans tous ces cas, le critère de commutation avec un adj. est probant. D'autre part, même s'il est rare, l'emploi de debout avec la marque du plur. et l'emploi comme subst. (qui semble un fait plus récent) confirment que l'adjectivation de cet adv. est bien établie.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    This "lack" becomes obvious when French pupils must make the difference between
    "er sitzt, saß" = il est/ était assis"
    and
    "er setzt sich/ setzte sich" = il s'assoit/ s'assit; s'assoyais; (il s'est assis)".

    It's very difficult for them to understand why "il est assis" has to be translated by the present tense "er sitzt".
    So there are two different verbs in German? Sitzen is to be seated and Setzen is to sit down?
    I must have always said it wrong then: ich sitze mich.

    Debout is just a prepostional phrase that has taken on a adverbial sense (je dors debout). Debout modifies dormir. Perhaps it ought to be written de bout.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    So there are two different verbs in German? Sitzen is to be seated and Setzen is to sit down?
    I must have always said it wrong then: ich sitze mich.
    In English too, sit (status verb) and set (causative of sit, i.e. cause to sit).

    The difference is that English has developed a third verb: the action verb sit (down). This doesn't exist in German and German uses the reflexive causative (sich setzen = to set oneself) to express the concept. English has probably developed this third sense because it had lost the reflexive pronoun and with it a whole class of verbs, the reflexive verbs.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Perhaps it ought to be written de bout.
    Half of all French adverbs and prepositions are contracted phrases (e.g.: dans<de intus=from inside, aujourd'hui=au jour d'hui, where hui is a contraction of hodie=this day, so the whole thing means at the day of this day). I don't think it would be a good idea to unravel all of them.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Yes, there are.


    ich sitze setze mich :tick:

    Same thing for
    stehen, stand, gestanden - stellen, stellte, gestellt
    liegen, lag, gelegen - legen, legte, gelegt;
    hängen, hing, gehangen - hängen, hängte, gehängt.

    View attachment 42087
    Thanks for the lesson. I have to study this. I'm going to keep this image!
    In English too, sit (status verb) and set (causative of sit, i.e. cause to sit).

    The difference is that English has developed a third verb: the action verb sit (down). This doesn't exist in German and German uses the reflexive causative (sich setzen = to set oneself) to express the concept. English has probably developed this third sense because it had lost the reflexive pronoun and with it a whole class of verbs, the reflexive verbs.
    I don't usually use the form "sit" without a preposition, though I do say "sat". It would have to be a precise context like: She sits in the corner by the window every single day. I have noticed in nineteenth century British literature they use a lot he sits with the meaning he is sitting. Set is used frequently with things and also with preposition, but with people, we tend to use "to seat" nowadays: We can seat you in the corner by the window. Of course, this is my idiolect that I have picked up somewhere. I surmise that the underlying problem is that the short vowel in "sit" is moving towards the vowel in "set". My French students who expect my to speak with the French merger of sit/seat often hear set when I mean sit. I still make the difference, maybe some people don't?, but it is narrowing. Anyway, I think it might make people avoid using sit and set in some contexts. My grandmother said "set the plates on the table", I say "put or place", some say "take a seat over there" rather than "sit over there". In the end it makes native speakers confused about the usage of these verbs.
     

    pollohispanizado

    Senior Member
    Inglés canadiense
    On the contrary, "set the table" and "sitting (not down)" are commonly used by me and those around me. English parallels German exactly: Sit (intrans.) / Set (inanimate; transitive/causitive) and Sit/Seat (animate [and inanimate in technical jargon]; transitive/causative).
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    ...except that in German you say Ich setze mich, but in English you don't say I set myself (maybe seldom I seat myself..): cf. #65.
    Yes; and English does not possess the grammatical instruments to say er setzt sich (French equivalent il s'assoit) but only knows the equivalent of er setzt sich selbst (French equivalent il assoit lui-même), which means something completely different. This loss of the reflexive pronoun had significant implications for the development of the English verb system. All Ingvaeonic languages had lost the reflexive pronoun. Dutch and Low German later re-borrowed it from High German (Low German even undoing the 2nd consonant shift /k/>/x/) but not English.
     
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    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Ich setze mich, ich setze das baby auf den Stuhl, ich setze den Teller auf den Tisch.
    Ich sitze hier drei Stunden, ich bin in der Ecke gesessen, ich sass und ich schrieb
    Das ist nicht einfach.
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Ich setze mich, ich setze das baby auf den Stuhl, ich setze den Teller auf den Tisch.
    Ich sitze hier drei Stunden, ich bin in der Ecke gesessen, ich sass und ich schrieb
    Das ist nicht einfach.
    I'd like to have a German native speaker check this
    - there has been a shift from setzen to stellen (make stand) in German: Ich stelle den Teller auf den Tisch. Not sure about the baby: I wonder about setzen in this context.
    - ich setze mich hin is more idiomatic, I think
    - ich habe in der Ecke gesessen [bin gesessen might even not be used[
     
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    JClaudeK

    Senior Member
    Français France, Deutsch (SW-Dtl.)
    there has been a shift from setzen to stellen (make stand) in German: Ich stelle den Teller auf den Tisch.
    Ich stelle den Teller auf den Tisch. :thumbsup:

    But for "to put a pan/ pot on the stove (for cooking)", you can still use "setzen": "einen Topf auf den Herd setzen"


    Not sure about the baby:
    Ich setze das Baby auf den Stuhl. :tick:


    - ich setze mich hin is more idiomatic, I think
    :thumbsup: hin ersetzt die (fehlende) Ortsangabe

    - ich habe in der Ecke gesessen [bin gesessen might even not be used[
    - ich habe in der Ecke gesessen :tick:

    But in the southern regions, we mostly say (as bearded said)
    - ich bin in der Ecke gesessen

    Die Verben "stehen", "liegen" und "sitzen" drücken keine Bewegung aus, daher werden sie standardsprachlich mit "haben" konjugiert: Ich habe gesessen, ich habe gelegen, ich habe gestanden.

    In Süddeutschland und in Österreich sagt man dennoch "Ich bin gesessen", "Ich bin gelegen" und "Ich bin gestanden".
    Zwiebelfisch
     
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    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Ich stelle den Teller auf den Tisch. :thumbsup:
    But for "to put a pan on the stove (for cooking)", you can still use "setzen": "einen Topf auf den Herd setzen"

    But in the southern regions, we mostly say (as bearded said)
    - ich bin in der Ecke gesessen
    The Southern German-speaking regions remind me of Flanders: ik ben gezeten...

    <.. off topic ..>
     
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    TitTornade

    Senior Member
    In Lorraine (NE France), I can often hear "se mettre assis" instead of "s'asseoir".
    Ex : "Mets-toi assis" instead of "assieds-toi".

    "Se mettre assis" seems to be the action counterpart of the state verb "être assis". But I can't really feel if "se mettre assis" corresponds to an action or to the result of this action.

    Else we can obtain a progressive aspect for "s'asseoir" with "être en train de s'asseoir" :tick:.
    And we can't obtain this progressive aspect for "être assis" : "être en train d'être assis" :cross: is not possible.

    Everything also works with :
    - "se mettre debout" / "se lever" / "être debout"
    - "se mettre couché" / "se coucher" / "être couché"
    - "se mettre allongé" / "s'allonger" / "être allongé"
    - "se mettre accroupi" / "s'accroupir" / "être accroupir"...
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Now I am not sure you can say that one is "the action counterpart" because sitting in ENglish, German, Dutch, are considered actions, but of course no change from one position to the other like sit down. The fact that one can say: "X is sitting", is evidence to that effect, I think...
     

    TitTornade

    Senior Member
    Apart from
    :tick:
    all the expressions ( "se mettre assis/ couché/ allongé/ accroupi") must be a regional "speciality".
    They are certainly... I only hear them in Lorraine. But they are another example of expressing "to sit", etc.

    Now I am not sure you can say that one is "the action counterpart" because sitting in ENglish, German, Dutch, are considered actions, but of course no change from one position to the other like sit down. The fact that one can say: "X is sitting", is evidence to that effect, I think...
    Do you mean that "X is sitting" is an action ?
    I now understand why it is difficult for me to express "s'asseoir" / "être assis" in English. I thought there was a lack in English :) that's why I began to read this thread :confused::).
    German "setzen"/"sitzen" is clearer for me.
     

    Swatters

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium, some Wallo-Picard
    I almost only hear it with debout and couché, but those "se mettre+state" expressions exist in Belgium too
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Do you mean that "X is sitting" is an action ?
    I now understand why it is difficult for me to express "s'asseoir" / "être assis" in English. I thought there was a lack in English :) that's why I began to read this thread :confused::).
    German "setzen"/"sitzen" is clearer for me.
    Well, no. John is sitting in the corner expresses no action at all. Il est assis au coin.
    John sat down in the corner. That expresses action. Il s'est assis.
    John sat down and now he is sitting.

    German is a blur to me.
     

    OBrasilo

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Brazilian Portuguese
    berndf said:
    Having 'two verbs for "to be"' is a peculiarity of Ibero-Romance languages and is not a general feature of Romance.
    It also existed in Old French (estre vs. easter), and it also exists in Italian (essere vs. stare). Not sure about Romanian, though.

    In Iberian-Romance languages and in French it is not quite the same. Italian stare does not compete with essere in the same way as in Iberian-Romance languages. It means stay, remain. The only overlap with English be I know is as the auxiliary of the progressive aspect. But that is a different matter. In Voglio stare solo it is a bit in between I want to stay alone and I want to be alone. Both translations would be possible.
    In Italian, I want to stay alone is Voglio restare da solo or Voglio rimanere da solo, I've never seen stare used in that context. And stare has also completely replaced essere in the past participle - it's always sono stato, *sono essuto does not exist. Though, it is also true that it varies from dialect to dialect. In the Lazio dialects, sto is used in quite a few cases where sono is used in standard Italian, for example.
     
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