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131109Re: Possession and genitivity

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  • Ray Brown
    May 2, 2005
      On Sunday, May 1, 2005, at 09:55 , # 1 wrote:

      > Carsten Becker wrote:
      >
      >> On Saturday 30 April 2005 20:45 CEST, Joseph Bridwell wrote:
      [snip]
      >> French has (1) le livre du garçon and (2) une pièce du
      >> papier, the same as in English actually.
      >
      > French only has (1)...

      It does have (2) but the second should be _une pièce DE papier_ :)

      > "Une pièce du papier" isn't a good translation for "a sheet paper"

      I agree - it's a very bad translation.

      > "Une pièce du papier" would be "one of the paper's pieces"

      Yep - it means "a piece of _the_ paper" or "the paper's piece".

      Joseph meant, I am sure, "une pièce de papier" - 'a piece of paper' (which
      is rather less precise than a sheet of paper"

      > "A sheet paper" could be "un papier en feuille", wich is not even
      > possession

      Eh??? I was under the impression 'a sheet of paper' was _un feuillet (de
      papier)_ - 'of paper' is often omitted in English also if the context is
      clear. I do agree, however, it is not possession.

      > (I use could "could" because that's not a sentence I've ever heard
      > (neither
      > do I understand what that sentence really means), I'd have understand
      > better
      > if it'd been "A paper sheet", what would've been "Une feuille de papier"
      > but
      > that is no more of a possession than the other is)

      BUT "une feuille de papier" or "un feuillet (de papier) *IS* a sheet of
      paper!!!

      Yes, I agree it is not possession - that is precisely what I have been
      saying in my last two (at least) emails.

      > French doesn't seems to share what y'all now call "false possession"

      With respect, you seem to give a different meaning to _all_ than I do.

      I have noticed only _one_ person say that some people call this
      construction _false possession_ (and 'false' means 'not true', 'faux',
      that is: it ain't possession!). I am an L1 English speaker and I managed
      to live for over 65 years without hearing the term.

      I replied that more than 50 years I had called the construction 'partitive'
      - and the French I am familiar with is full of partitive constructions
      expressed with 'de', 'du', 'de la', 'des' - which is also the same
      construction that is used to express possession!

      > since a
      > few days, a translation of one of your false possessive phrase is simply
      > not
      > possessive in French.

      Nor is it possessive in English - that's FALSE means! It looks like
      possessive, but it ain't.

      > French uses the preposition "de"(of) to mark
      > possession but the next noun ought to have an article
      > "le chien du voisin" (du = "de" + "le") = the neightbour's dog
      > "la robe de ma soeur" = my sister's dress
      >
      > The only situations when the possessor can't have an article is when it
      > is a
      > proper name (so that carries its own definitness) or a pronoun (for which
      > the possessive articles are there to mean that kind of meaning)

      All very true, and precisely the same applies to "of" when used to show
      (real) possession in English - but _partitive_ often also has a definite
      article:
      j'ai mangé _du_ pain

      I think you have perhaps been misled by the term 'false possession' -
      which we do _not_ all use :)

      It simply means: "a construction that use _of_ but does not show
      possession".

      French is full of constructions that use _de_ but do not express
      possession, therefore French has 'false possession' Q.E.D. :)

      But IMO the term 'false possession' is a strange (and potentially
      misleading) way of expressing the construction:
      une fueille _de papier_
      a sheet _of paper_

      Ray
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      Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
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      as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]
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