2

Sequel to Ambiguity with voler

I was about to include the following sentence

J'ai fait voler l'avion.

to my answer therein but I realize that I was not sure. So, without a context, does above sentence convey:

I flew (have flown) the airplane.

I had the airplane flown.

I had the airplane stolen.

?

4

Without a context, the meaning is:

I did something that made the plane fly.

The chance for a plane to fly compared to the chance for a plane to be stolen essentially rules out the second interpretation.

Even

J'ai fait voler la voiture.

would more likely mean the car took off for a moment because of you.

To make the stealing more plausible, you might say the ambiguous:

J'ai organisé le vol de l'avion.

and to make clear it is about stealing:

J'ai fait ce qu'il fallait pour que l'avion soit volé.

1
  • 1
    I agree. To better distinguish options 1 and 2, I'd add that since faire voler has not the same meaning as voler or piloter, I'd spontaneously think either that we're talking about a toy plane or a paper plane (you can make it fly), or that the person repaired a broken airplane for it to fly again. For the 1st option ("I flew the plane"), I'd always use piloter.
    – iNyar
    Nov 10 '20 at 22:20
2

It is ambiguous if taken out of context; it can have two translations.

  • 1/ I made the airplane fly.
  • 2/ I had the airplane stolen.

In « 1/ » the action can be one several sorts. It can be the supply of the necessary maintenance and fuel for the plane to be able to fly; It can be a repair that was needed; it can also be the exercise of particular piloting skills (for instance in a damaged plane that was hit while flying); in the case of scale models it can be the action of remote control piloting; today it might be used for remote control piloting of piloteless planes.

It can't be "I have flown/flew the airplane." nor "I had the airplane flown.".

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