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"Ai-je mes lettres ?"

Translation:Do I have my letters?

February 9, 2013

32 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gloscherrybomb

I wish they would introduce you to a concept before speaking it to you...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joel-Iowan

lol ye! Many times im just guessing and hoping.

The concept of use of colons and commas, and the dropped e on je here caught me totally off-guard.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/seanriley2

why not "have i my letters?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisCirefice

In English, you almost never use inversion with the first person subject pronoun ("I"), unless you are using it with the past tense of a verb immediately after. You would never use this construction with a possessive adjective ("my").

For example:

Does work: "Have I found my letters?"

  • This is a form of inversion with the past tense (normally "I have found"). Using a possessive adjective "my" after this construction is acceptable in English.

Does not work: "Have I my letters?"

  • This is a form of inversion with the present tense (normally "I have"). Using a possessive adjective after this construction is not grammatically correct in English.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hasonhai

I think for British English, "have I my letter?" is correct, isn't it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adaobi

What is the point of saying 'Ai-je mes lettres' as opposed to 'J'ai mes lettres'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/biokenjistry

"Ai-je" is a more formal way of asking a question by inversion. e.g. "Vous avez mon livre"/"You have my book" changes to "Avez-vous mon livre?"/lit. "Have you my book?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisCirefice

It should be noted that "Have you", or more generally present tense inversion is not very common in English. It is more correct to say "Do you have my book?" as opposed to "Have you my book?"

Colloquially, the construction Do + subject pronoun + verb (present) is the most common construction for asking questions (present tense).

  • Did + subject pronoun + verb (present) = ask a question about something that happened in the past, e.g. "Did you steal my book?" (past tense).

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

If'n only I had your knowledge of grammar! I'd be level 20+ assuming of course I had enough brain left to run a memory. In my envy... excellent post.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisCirefice

Well, my knowledge of English grammar is based on my knowledge of French grammar, of which I was taught formally (in college; still learning!). That said, if you know the 'fancy terms' for the parts of speech (subject pronoun, for example: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they), then you gain a bit of understanding of how languages work in general.

Tenses of verbs, parts of speech, etc. - once you learn things like that, then you can learn how they're put together (like in my example above), and with that, you'll gain a lot of insight into languages and how they work, as well as have an easier time learning them :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidBrown64

I wrote have I my letters. Surely this is also correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Yes David. I think so. J'ai=I have, Ai-Je-Have I. Maybe DL needs a lesson in "perfect" English? Have a lingot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickJaye
<h1>Jackjon</h1>

Do you really say "have I my keys" rather than "do I have my keys"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Yup! When I wanna be Poshe. Or when I look at the specific word-task DL has set me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickJaye

Yes I suppose you might find that line in a Noël Coward play or among a group of "luvvies" - not sure you should be encouraging such eccentricities though lol.

Were you in the acting line before retiring by any chance? ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Yup. Lyricist too. Poet and bus driver "Have you your bus pass upon yourself, madam? :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickJaye

Well if that construction works for ladies on buses then I should take back my objection lol ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob1234

The audio is very unclear here


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/strangeways

I don't think so, it's very clear and accurate to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/froggieogreen

That's just how it sounds. It kind of gets squished together, rather than carefully pronounced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janice33

Have I my letters - should be acceptable. The word "do" dose not appear.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Do I have my letters was accepted. Although "Catch I my humanities" may lose one a heart.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mimma.I.

LOL :) You don't soon realize that 'lettres' also means 'humanities' - humanités - (meaning history, philosophy, literature), do you? And, of course, in this sentence the context is against this translation!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ahiwatt

LOL...that was great! "Have I my letters" is how I translated it. A heart I did lose. hahaha...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarbaraSeifert

Have I my letters? I think should be accepted. It denotes the same question!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lynpy

Totally agree. How far are we allowed to translate into 'every day' language and how far are we permitted to stray from a more literal translation I wonder.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sallypooh

Although correct, using the inverted form of a question with "je" is uncommon.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

This is interesting, Sally. I'm just learning. What is the most common way to ask this question?. Thanks in advance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/padburygal

Even on the slow setting I couldn't tell what she said!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cesttresjolie

Its being prononced wrong. It would be treated like 2 different word not one whole one!

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