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When I lived in France I was always amused to hear this question in school, asking for my name for the first time, yet sounding as if people had already heard my name but forgotten it.

C'est quoi ton nom encore?

I think you could ask this question to be reminded someone's name, and this is especially indicated by the use of encore. But I must say that I remember being asked this question about my name more often when I met people for the first time.

My question is, how did this use of "encore" come to be? Has it lost its meaning of "once again" in this particular context, or does it emphasise any other connotation?

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Plus généralement sur l'emploi, « déjà accompagne des questions relatives à quelque chose qu'on a oublié momentanément (qu'on a su déjà) », en français parlé et encore, « encore, dans la même situation, paraît régional; il est fréquent en Belgique. » (LBU14, Grevisse et Goosse, §956 n.b., 957 h, 1006 g). Comme locuteur québécois il ne m'apparaît pas inusité, je n'ai pas vraiment remarqué... La BDL qualifie l'emploi de déjà de « familier » et ajoute une nuance d'incertitude : « lorsqu’il est placé à la fin d’une question ayant comme but de se rappeler quelque chose qu’on a momentanément oublié, ou dont on est incertain ».

Le TLFi note à déjà :

[Déjà en phrase interr.] Déjà constate que l'information appelée était connue, mais qu'elle est momentanément oubliée, c'est-à-dire qu'elle a, malgré cet oubli, une sorte de réalité dès le moment où la question est posée. Déjà est sans incidence sur la réponse attendue et n'appartient pas à la question. Une pause entre le verbe et déjà le situe en dehors du schème de la phrase.

Si l'interlocuteur nous rencontre pour la première fois, alors peut-être que le tour permet de faire comme si il avait déjà connu notre nom, par familiarité ou politesse ?

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  • Oui. Encore ne me semble ni régional, ni spécialement familier. C'est du français parlé courant : Il s'appelle comment encore, ce ministre, Yves Pérotin, Manchego. – jlliagre Feb 1 at 21:53
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It is probably the result of an ellipsis.

  • C'est quoi ton nom, (dis-le moi) encore (une fois).

Some people use also the adverb "déjà" in place of "encore". (This form is probably more common.)

  • C'est quoi ton nom, déjà.

People who use these forms for asking someone's name for the first time acquired a notion of them that is entirely abnormal; moreover, these forms are not the most polite way of asking someone's name after having forgotten it. They belong mostly to the language of the young, who are often less polite when amongst themselves.

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  • That's correct. I also heard it with "déjà" many times. – fev Feb 1 at 17:12
  • Could the form with "déjà" be a litteral translation of the English "what's your name again"? – Sacha Feb 1 at 18:30
  • @Sacha I am quite sure it is not; that one has been used forever; it has been only fairly recently that the French have started picking up everyday English vocabulary. Nevertheless, it seems to me that "again" is rather "encore", and that "déjà" should come from "already". – LPH Feb 1 at 18:52
  • I lived in France almost 30 years ago, and yes, I mostly heard the forms with "encore" or with "déjà" from "mes copains d'école". However, I must say that I also heard it from adults way older than me and I sensed some kind of affection expressed through that question. I am just wondering if there is anything in the meaning that "encore" or "déjà" carry, that led to such a use of this question. – fev Feb 1 at 20:19
  • I don't believe there is associated in those sentences, inherently, any particular feeling; affection might be superimposed by the person using them (tone, behaviour); the form with "déjà" is also used by people when they have forgotten anything and sometimes it is said with irritation (for instance: "Quelle est cette adresse, déjà ? Je viens de la noter il y a à peine cinq minutes…"). – LPH Feb 1 at 20:45

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