3

The question is on the two instances of lui as found in this excerpt from L'Étranger by Camus, in which Meursault, the narrator, refers to himself as me and his lawyer as le.

     Il a réfléchi. Il m’a demandé s’il pouvait dire que ce jour-là j’avais dominé mes sentiments naturels. Je lui ai dit : « Non, parce que c’est faux. » Il m’a regardé d’une façon bizarre, comme si je lui inspirais un peu de dégoût. Il m’a dit presque méchamment que dans tous les cas le directeur et le personnel de l’asile seraient entendus comme témoins et que « cela pouvait me jouer un très sale tour ». Je lui ai fait remarquer que cette histoire n’avait pas de rapport avec mon affaire, mais il m’a répondu seulement qu’il était visible que je n’avais jamais eu de rapports avec la justice.
     Il est parti avec un air fâché. J’aurais voulu le retenir, lui expliquer que je désirais sa sympathie, non pour être mieux défendu, mais, si je puis dire, naturellement. Surtout, je voyais que je le mettais mal à l’aise. Il ne me comprenait pas et il m’en voulait un peu. J’avais le désir de lui affirmer que j’étais comme tout le monde, absolument comme tout le monde. Mais tout cela, au fond, n’avait pas grande utilité et j’y ai renoncé par paresse.

My reading of the two instances (confirmed by English translations) is as follows.

  • The first lui supplies the agent of remarquer. So it is the lawyer who is to note something.

  • The second lui does not supply the agent of any verb. It is a dative complement of affirmer, i.e. the audience to whom the affirmation is made.

Question

  1. When grammarians parse a sentence like Je lui ai fait remarquer que do they say that lui is governed by fait or remarquer? To say that fait governs lui may amount to understanding the sentence as saying, "I caused to him : the remarking of." To say that remarquer governs lui may amount to understanding the sentence as saying, "I caused : the remarking on his part of." (I am not suggesting that these two readings would paint two distinct situations. I am only asking about the grammatical treatment the type of sentence may have received.)

  2. Would it be a sound principle if I understood that an indirect object (such as lui) can supply an agent for an infinitive ONLY when that infinitive is within a faire + infinitive or similar context?

  3. This question is actually on the scope of "within a faire + infinitive or similar context." Namely, is there any chance of avoir le désir de creating a "context similar to faire + infinitive" so that we have to (or may) say that lui is the agent of affirmer, i.e. that Meursault wanted the laywer to make (vs. hear) the affirmation? (I don't necessarily mean in the Camus passage above. But the question is whether, in any context, avoir le désir de lui + infinitive could ever be ambiguous between lui being the agent vs. the dative complement of the infinitive. (I believe in some other languages what is known as "dative of agent" does not require a modal or semi-modal like faire but may also occur with e.g. a passive participial.))

1

Question 1

Je lui fait remarquer que = Je montre à lui que .

Construction is:

  • faire + verbe de perception + COD + COI (or +COI + COD)
  • pronoun COI + verbe de perception + COD

remarquer is shared between je and lui

lui is COI of fais/fais remarquer, as in je lui donne une pomme.

lui is also (co-)subject of remarquer.

Je fais remarquer à cette personne que ...

as in

Je lui fais voir ...

Je lui fais observer ...

Je luis fais croire ...

Je luis fais entendre ...

Question 2: yes, but it is in general case with COD, not COI:

COI only works as in question 1 with verbs of perception (co-perception).

In general case, it is a COD, with several semi-auxiliary verbs (faire, laisser, and verbs of perception: entendre, voir, ...)

Then you could also have: pronoun COD + faire + construction infinitif.

but faire + COD + construction infinitif doesnt exist.

Je le fais remarquer cet objet.

Je le fais voir cet objet.

Je le fais monter ...

Question 3: It is different. subject of avoir le désir is je.

J'avais le désir de lui affirmer = ... d'affirmer à lui . lui is just COI

  • Thanks. But my question 2 is about lui (not about le) serving e.g. as COI for fais and agent for remarquer in Je lui ai fait remarquer que, as you yourself have confirmed. – Catomic Jan 17 '16 at 10:45
  • @Catomic - I adjusted my answer. Yes, but only for verbs of perception. In general, it is COD, and the other person is the only subject of the action. – guillaume girod-vitouchkina Jan 17 '16 at 16:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.