The following sentence appears in an opinion editorial online:
Dès les premiers balbutiements du débat sur les « accommodements raisonnables », on voyait poindre ce qui allait venir.
DeepL's translation is:
From the very beginning of the debate on "reasonable accommodation", we could see what was to come.
I was curious what the verb "poindre" meant:
- WordReference said that it meant "to start to show" or "to come up".
- This French.SE answer says that, in the infinitive form, "poindre" is a synonym for "apparaître". WordReference's entries for "apparaître" mean roughly "to come into existence" or "to appear".
With this in mind, if I were to translate "On voyait poindre ce qui allait venir" somewhat literally, I would first undo the inversion (I assume there is an inversion, because WordReference says that both poindre and apparaître are intransitive):
- "On voyait ce qui allait venir poindre."
and then translate it to be: "We were seeing what was-going-to just-finished to-show-up", or maybe "We were seeing what was going to come to-show-up".
But I feel unsure of myself:
- it seems to me that "allait venir" ("what was going to come") already is very similar to the meaning of "poindre" ("to start to show")
- if "poindre"'s definition itself ("to start to show") already has the idea, inside of the definition, of "starting to do something", then is the auxillary verb "venir" (indicating that something just finished happening) really necessary?
How would you translate "On voyait ce qui allait venir poindre"?
Is there a difference in meaning between these sentences (and indeed, are all of these sentences correct grammatically) ?
a. On voyait ce qui allait venir poindre.
b. On voyait ce qui allait venir.
c. On voyait ce qui allait poindre.
d. On voyait ce qui venait poindre.
I feel very unsure about how to understand the words "allait" and "venir", in "ce qui allait venir poindre". I'm guessing that both of them are auxillary verbs, but seeing a) them used together, and b) in the imparfait, confuses me:
- "Aller" is known as being used to make the "nearby future" ("future prôche"); what does it mean for "aller" to be in the imparfait, and to be followed by venir?
- My best guess is: "With relation of the frame of reference of something unfolding in the past, in the nearby future from that point, something was about to finish happening: namely, "poindre"-ing ("something starting to show up) was about to finish happening" ... which is very confusing to me.
Can you explain this use of "allait venir + infinitive"?