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I'm curious about the use of "dont" in the following fragment, overheard on the radio program La suite dans les idées: "... [ils] ont développé toute une batterie de concepts dont je m'étonne un petit peu qu'on ne se l'approprie pas davantage en France..."

I understand the meaning, and I can't think of any other pronoun that would make sense besides "dont", but I'm still slightly confused; it's hard for me to see how to rephrase the fragment in terms of "de".

For what I believe is a related example with "comprendre", a sentence pulled from Linguee: "Merci, Monsieur le Député Martin de votre appréciation dont je comprends qu'elle reste liée à l'analyse détaillée que vous ferez du texte de la Commission."

Once more, I can't think of any other pronoun to use than "dont", but I wouldn't have been entirely confident that that phrasing is correct.

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I will try to complete with the grammar thanks to Bescherelle :)

We use the relative pronoun "dont" when the relative pronoun is the complement of the indirect object of the verb of the relative proposition or the complement of the noun of the relative proposition.

Usually you could replace "dont" which is the simple form of relative pronoun by the composed form (article + "quel") : "lequel", "laquelle", "lesquels", "lesquelles", "auquel", "à laquelle", "auxquels", "auxquelles", "duquel", "de laquelle", "desquels", "desquelles".

But sometime, you have no choice than modify the phrase to be grammatically correct.

For example :

  • L'homme dont je t'ai parlé est venu dîner. "dont" is the complement of the indirect object of the verb "ai parlé". You could replace it by "au sujet duquel" or by "à propos duquel" also "L'homme au sujet duquel je t'ai parlé est venu dîner".

  • La maison dont le toit est vert a brûlé. "dont" is the complement of the noun "toit". Here you could replace by "avec" : "La maison avec le toit vert a brûlé"

Your examples :

  • "... [ils] ont développé toute une batterie de concepts dont je m'étonne un petit peu qu'on ne se l'approprie pas davantage en France..."

"... [ils] ont développé toute une batterie de concepts au sujet de laquelle je m'étonne un petit peu qu'on ne se l'approprie pas davantage en France..." Here "au sujet de laquelle" sound not really great with the relative "qu'on...", "dont" is the best. The phrase need to be modified but the beginning and the end are missing.

  • "Merci, Monsieur le Député Martin de votre appréciation dont je comprends qu'elle reste liée à l'analyse détaillée que vous ferez du texte de la Commission."

"Merci, Monsieur le Député Martin de votre appréciation , laquelle, je comprends, reste liée à l'analyse détaillée que vous ferez du texte de la Commission."

  • Nice analysis. Do you think the “dont” (and therefore your “au sujet de laquelle”) refers to the singular word “batterie” (as kind of a metaphorical arsenal/accumulation/list) from which France could/should “borrow/adopt/adapt as its own [some of the concepts on the list]" or does it refer instead to the plural “concepts”? The use of the singular l’ in “ne se l'approprie pas” makes me think that the referent is “batterie,” but I’m not even really sure if that distinction would be important. – Papa Poule Oct 4 '17 at 23:00
  • That's right, I think the "dont" refers to the singular word "batterie". The use of the singular l’ in “ne se l'approprie pas” refers to the word “batterie”. Finally, the plural noun "concepts" with the article "de" are the complement of the noun "batterie". You could ask the question "une batterie de quoi ?" and answer "de concepts". – Izzie-29 Oct 5 '17 at 16:43
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I'm a Frenchman, that does not make me an expert about French grammar, but here is my answer : I can't think of another pronoun that would make these two sentences correct. "Dont" really is the word you're gonna find in 90% of cases. In some other cases : - You can sometimes replace "dont" with "de quoi" : "la chose de quoi je t'ai parlé", but this is clearly not as a good as using "dont" (I'm not 100% sure whether it would be considered grammatically correct). - Sometimes, people will use clearly incorrect grammar and say something like "La chose que je t'ai parlée"

In some other cases, you can forget about the word altogether (replace it with a comma for instance) In your second example : "merci de votre appréciation, je comprends qu'elle reste liée à l'analyse etc" is entirely correct.

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    De laquelle peut-être mais probablement pas de quoi. – Stéphane Gimenez Oct 4 '17 at 17:43

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