A blog about the implications of the statistical properties of language
Too many Killians, or the weirdest relative pronouns on Twitter
In which a relative pronoun about which I know nothing turns out to show up even in the most illiterate tweets imaginable.
Yesterday we met the various forms of the relative pronoun lequel:
We saw how when it’s the object of the preposition à, we get various derived forms:
There’s a similar set for the situation where it is the object of the preposition de. Here’s the paradigm:
You don’t think anyone ever actually uses these? Neither did I–Laura Lawless says that these are the hardest pronouns in French for English speakers, and I believe it. I didn’t think that French people used them much, either. Then I did a Twitter search. Holy cow–they’re everywhere! How did I manage not to run into these before?
5 thoughts on “Too many Killians, or the weirdest relative pronouns on Twitter”
what’s bizarre is that you didn’t run into them before 🙂
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…and THAT, my friend, is Zipf’s Law in action! 🙂 Usually you see the effect with nouns and verbs, though–sometimes adjectives–so, yes, you’re right–it’s somewhat surprising.
Duly noted, not that I need ANY more grammar to absorb.
So, the des/da/du basically means “from which/who ” or “of which/who”?
Very interesting though, neither of my former French tutors ever mentioned this
I think one of the things that makes these tricky for native English speakers is that there are so many possible translations into English, and conversely, so many things in English that you would translate with one of these. For example, one of the most common uses for them that I saw on Twitter was with the verb “parler,” in which case you would translate it is “about which.”