0

I don't understand the meaning or the importance of “pu” in these sentences

Je ne sais pu quoi faire

je ne sais pu c'est de quel côté c'est ici ou ici

Not sure what grammar form this is either.

  • 3
    It's spoken language, it should be plus. It should not be written like that, if they wanted to reproduce spoken language then it should be something like je n'sais pu or j'sais pu. – Laure Sep 19 '17 at 9:57
  • @Laure, that can be "pushed" to "chai pu" ; ) – lemon Sep 19 '17 at 10:10
  • It is spoken language. I should have mentioned it was subtitles. Not sure what the pu means in "je n'sais pu" either though, doesn't seem any different like that anyway, just that the ne is contracted. – Hasen Sep 19 '17 at 10:16
  • As @Laure said, it is for "plus" in the sens of "no more" => "I no more know what to do". And can also mean something like "I have exhausted all what I can do, so now I know no more solution". – lemon Sep 19 '17 at 10:35
  • 1
    I added a bit to my answer, to address your comment. – ChrisW Sep 19 '17 at 13:02
4

It is spoken language. I should have mentioned it was subtitles.

Subtitles are often mis-spelled, or spell the word as it's pronounced or mis-heard (so if it's mis-pronounced it's mis-spelled, or if it's pronounced colloquially rather than formally).

Je ne sais pu quoi faire

It should be spelled, Je ne sais plus quoi faire i.e. "I no longer know what to do" or "I don't know what to do anymore".

je ne sais pu c'est de quel côté c'est ici ou ici

"I don't know any more -- which side is it -- is it [or 'it is'] here or here"

Ok so its not a mistake at all in speech, its perfectly fine and can be exchanged for 'plus' with the same meaning. Ok I get it, thanks.

There are several versions of French -- see Registres de langue en français for example -- and ideally you'll use the right one for the [social] context.

(Plus there's local patois).

People go to school to learn the courant and soutenu (correct and formal) versions: in which pu is une faute, and plus is correct.

A benefit of school French is that it's relatively clear and doesn't result in questions like this one ... it's also maybe the most "polite", and may be expected in a business context, etc.

I'm not sure what the benefit of informal French is -- perhaps it's to mark you as an insider of a social in-group, friends who can take liberties (with the language) with each other.

Because I've been to school, when I listen to the radio I can understand every word they say on France Culture, for example ... and I understand almost nothing they say (e.g. I miss at least one word per sentence) on a youth-oriented music station when the DJs are chatting and joking with each other.

  • Why would it be written with incorrect grammar if it was mis-heard? The first line actually was not subtitles, I found it here in an attempt to understand what the phrase meant: forum.ados.fr/love/Amour/sais-sujet_76714_1.htm – Hasen Sep 19 '17 at 11:21
  • 2
    Maybe it's an attempt to reproduce, in writing, the informal pronunciation of personal conversation -- as a style for online dialog ... like writing, "geez I dunno!" in English. The site you quoted is a forum for teenagers -- it doesn't surprise me that teenagers have their own dialect. – ChrisW Sep 19 '17 at 11:30

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.