Here's a sentence describing a tv show episode:
Chapelier s’étant lancé dans la fabrication d'un lance-Chapelier pour son usage exclusif, Alix et Lapin aident Coco à construire sa propre machine à voler.
"s'étant lancé" confuses me. The following are my two attempts to deduce the puzzle, but they both fail:
The first part of the sentence up until the comma ("Chapelier s’étant lancé dans la fabrication d'un lance-Chapelier pour son usage exclusif") can be removed, making me think that "s'étant lancé" acts like a present participle. (That is, the first part of a sentence sounds similar to a typical use of a present participle, such as the italicized parts of these sentences: "Having not done my homework last night, I felt helpless when writing the test today", or "Wanting to make my boss like me, I offered to get her a Starbucks coffee").
But I would have guessed that "Chapelier s'étant lancé .." would instead be "Chapelier étant se lancer". Additionally, I notice that the sentence has "lancé" (a past participle?) instead of "lancer", which makes me question whether there is a present partciple here or not.
I noticed that, for the above point, in the typical uses of a present partciple that I was thinking of, there is no subject; that is, the word "Chapalier" would not be there. So then I wondered if "s'étant lancé" is some sort of compound past tense, similar to "Chapelier s'est lancé". But why would "est" be instead "étant"? I know that "s'est lancé" is in the passé composé, and that there are other more unusual compound past tense forms that might not use "est" (ie, the present tense conjugation of the auxillary verb être) but maybe instead "étais" (ie, the imperfect tense conjugation of être). But looking at the conjugtion table, "étant" isn't any conjugation of être: it's only a present participle! So why is the present partciple "étant" doing in between "se" and "lancé" !?
- What is "s'étant lancé"? How is it formed? How is it used here?
- This website says that "s'étant lancé" is a "participe passé" ("past participle"?), but this website says that it is a "participe passé composé" ("compound past partciple"?) and it has a different word ("lancé(e)(s)") under the entry for "participe passé". Which website is correct?
Edit: Insights for my future self, and for any others reading this question :
This is a use of the past participle to make clauses that I normally associate with the present participle (as I talked about in my first bullet point above) is indeed use of the past participle that I didn't know of before. [The typical use I associate with past participles, is using past participles as an adjective, eg "This burned toast is disgusting.", "Ce toast brûlé est dégoutant." .]
For more information, I might wish to read Chapter 17 Section 5 ("Absolute participles and participle clauses") of "Advanced French Grammar" by Monique L'Huillier, and Section 10.2.3.1 ("The functions of past participle clauses > Verbal Use") in "The structure of Modern Standard French" by Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen.
(Still, none of the examples of the above two sections of the books has a past participle with "étant" in it, so I still have more investigation to do about this).
The second conjugation website said that the "participe passé composé" for "se lancer" is "s'étant lancé". One English translation for "partciple passé composé" is "perfect partciple". (I didn't know that this existed, before today). One website that briefly explains this is here. Websites that explain this more deeply are here and here, the second of which is wonderful because it has a section specifically talking about pronomial verbs.
By carefully considering the "two parts of a compound conjugation" part of the section "Conjugations" of the last website in the above point, it seems that it might be non-sensical to ask "what is the past particple of the verb se lancer?". (Even though we often talk of "se lancer" as being a verb, maybe it is true that, strictly speaking, it is only "lancer" that is the verb. "se lancer" is a reflexive pronoun, plus a verb). In other words, "lancer" is a verb, and its past participle is "lancé", and maybe asking what the past participle of "se lancer" is non-sensical, because only verbs have past participles, and "se lancer" is not a verb, strictly speaking.