1

The English “Don’t you have Robert's book?” was written as follows in French:

Tu n'as pas le livre d'Robert?

Why the “d’ ” here? Is it like the “ ’s“ in English?

  • Out of curiosity, where is this (quite odd) french version from ? – RomainValeri May 30 '14 at 16:34
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The correct sentence would in fact be "Tu n'as pas le livre de Robert ?", and the "de" is indeed there to mark possession, as the "s". When the word after "de" starts with a vowel, "de" turns into "d'" to ease pronunciation, but it's normally not the case before consonants.

If you have indeed seen it written as you state, with the "d'", the intent is probably to emphasize that the person is speaking in a very informal and oral style (I would even say rustic). But it's somewhat surprising because enclosing the d sound between two r's makes it difficult to pronounce (the sentence as you wrote would probably be read "le livreu d'Robert" with the "e" in livre not elided).

  • 2
    Good answer, though for clarification, I'd like to add that other than in it what it effectively expresses, the d' is not a lot "like the 's". After all, the genitive 's is not a word of its own, and a more accurate way of imagining what the d', or actually, de stands for, would be thinking of it as a direct analogy to of or owned by. – O. R. Mapper May 3 '14 at 16:34
  • Another clarification : the elision of de becoming d' can be quite usual even in front of consonants, but it also depends on the end of the word preceding de. T'as pas vu l'bouquin d'Robert? sounds fine but in the case of livre, that's just too many consonants in a streak. Ri49's analysis is excellent anyway, I second the suggestion made in the last two sentences. – RomainValeri May 30 '14 at 16:41

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