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I am reading the book "Petit Pays," and I've come across the following sentence:

"Maman lui rétorquait que ses enfants étaient des petits Français, qu'il ne fallait pas nous ennuyer avec leurs histoires de Rwandais."

As I understand it, when using the partitive with a plural noun...

  • you change "de" to "des," unless,
  • there is an adjective before the noun

I'm wondering why the sentence uses the phrase "des petits Français" instead of "de petits Français?" Thanks!

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The answer is found here : when the adjective and the noun form a sort of compound noun (jeunes hommes, petits joueurs, petits garçons…) there is no change. That's the case for « petit français » which means "young people from France (children before puberty, adolescents)"; otherwise, were we to write "de petits français" we'd be sayind "french people with a short stature".

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