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Je ne peux tout de même pas te laisser te laisser t'aventurer dans un endroit potentiellement dangereux sans t'aider !

I’m trying to pin down the meaning of the second « te laisser ». How does it compare with simply saying:

Je ne peux tout de même pas te laisser t'aventurer dans un endroit potentiellement dangereux sans t'aider !


To my mind:

"Je ne peux pas te laisser t'aventurer" indicates that the speaker is the one who decides not to allow his interlocutor to venture into a dangerous place and the interlocutor has no say in the matter.

Whereas:

"Je ne peux pas te laisser te laisser t'aventurer" suggests that the interlocutor is trying to go there voluntarily / of his own free will and the speaker is just trying to talk him out of it.

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    Are you sure te laisser has been repeated intentionally? It's unnecessary and looks like a mistake. Please provide the source or additional context if you think the repetition is intentional. – 0xFEE1DEAD Nov 16 '16 at 23:11
  • Please indicate the origin of excerpts in your posts. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 17 '16 at 0:10
  • @StéphaneGimenez & 0xFEE1DEAD Hi. I picked it up in a casual conversation between French speakers. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 17 '16 at 9:02
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    Just a thought (& maybe the possible nuance I see in English isn’t present in French), but since you heard this orally (in a conversation), maybe there was a pause (& therefore there could be comma) after the first “te laisser” which could mean the sense of the 1st one was more like “partir” or “te quitter/abandonner”: “Je ne peux tout de même pas partir/te quitter/t’abandonner [virgule] te laisser t'aventurer dans un endroit potentiellement dangereux sans t'aider ! (All the same, I can hardly [I can’t simply] leave you [here alone] to let you wander dangerously about without my help.) – Papa Poule Nov 17 '16 at 17:24
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    "te laisser... [tries to find the good word] te laisser t'aventurer..." ? – Distic Dec 5 '17 at 17:09
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Great question! Probably the best translation of the sentence you shared would be:

All the same, I cannot let you let yourself venture into a potentially dangerous place without helping you!

The second te laisser refers to the one who is allowing himself* to venture. The first te laisser refers to the first person singular not allowing the second person singular to allow himself.

In this case, the implication is that the second person singular already has or should have doubts about his venture, but is allowing himself to venture out anyhow.

*I use the term himself generically: it could be herself as well.

  • Hmm. I wonder what the downvote is about. – anonymous2 Nov 22 '16 at 13:01
  • It works in English, but I'm not sure it works in French (I didn't downvote you though). – Frank Jan 26 '17 at 15:24
  • What doesn't work in French? – anonymous2 Jan 26 '17 at 15:26
  • The original sentence: " te laisser te laisser t'aventurer". In the English, "let you let yourself" makes sense, but I am not sure about the same in French - maybe it does, but it's really tordu :-) – Frank Jan 26 '17 at 15:28
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    You've rendered a good English sentence but the French doesn't say that. – Lambie Dec 5 '17 at 17:01
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Interesting. The repetition may just be a mistake, but it actually makes sense in some way. Similar examples such as “Je ne te laisserai pas te laisser faire” sound perfectly fine. Se laisser faire, se laisser aller, se laisser surprendre and many other similar expressions are valid clauses which can be used after “je ne te laisserai pas” or “je ne peux pas te laisser”. However, here I would try to avoid “ne peux pas te laisser” if possible, because of this disturbing repetiton.

“Se laisser s'aventurer” (allow oneself to venture) is a little unusual, but why not? So the meaning of the sentence would approximatively be the same as “I cannot let you allow yourself to venture in this place.”

  • Hi. The only other example that comes to mind off the top of my head: « Je ne te laisserai pas te laisser emporter par un sentiment temporaire. » – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 17 '16 at 9:12
  • I wonder if the second « te laisser » means "someone let themselves do something that involves some risk (in a careless way / with reckless abandon)”. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 17 '16 at 9:22
  • Perhaps, the second « te laisser » in my post means "I can't just let you go wandering/roaming around carelessly"? Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Nov 17 '16 at 9:36
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    @LUNA: Indeed, these are standard connotations of “se laisser”. Other ways to understand it are “not doing anything against” or “not offering resistance”. “Carelessly” is a good choice for a translation in this specific case. – Stéphane Gimenez Nov 17 '16 at 12:12
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Te laisser simply means to let you. The sentence can be translated as

But I can't let you venture out to a potentially dangerous place without helping you!

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Since you heard this in a conversation, as Papa Poule said above, there might have been a pause between the 2 'te laisser'. My interpretation is then that the speaker may have hesitated and started saying 'I cannot leave you on your own' (which would correspond to the first 'te laisser' and then added the end of the sentence to qualify his thoughts, which would translate to ' i cannot let you venture into a potentially dangerous place without helping you'.

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I can see three possibilities (the first two mentioned above): it could be a straight mistake ; it could be in a conversation, with the speaker pausing between the two ; it could be in a poem, intentionally repeating to get an alliteration effect on the t's. But I don't think it's a legit construction such as "faire faire" that we saw the other day.

The original sentence: " te laisser te laisser t'aventurer". In the English, "let you let yourself" makes sense, but I am not sure about the same in French - maybe it does, but it's really tordu.

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