I don't think so. "Tu aimes" is unique in that you don't make it a compound word, even though one ends with a vowel and the other starts with a vowel. This could be because when you say the phrase, you don't get tripped up over neighboring vowel sounds like you normally would. Or it could just be a way to differentiate between "tu aimes" and "t'aimes."
"T'aimes" is the reflexive form of "tu," which would translate more to "you love yourself" than "you love [something/someone]." Expanded out of the compound form, it would be spelled "te aimes," in which there is a clear oral stumble across both vowel sounds.
Essentially they are two different words: neuf and nouveau but since they are adjectives, they have to agree with gender and number of the nouns they modify. So, neuf has 4 forms and nouveau has 5 forms:
- neuf (m. sing) / neuve (f. sing) / neufs (m. plural) / neuves (f. plural)
- nouveau (m. sing) / nouvel (m. sing. before a vowel sound) / nouvelle (f. sing) / nouveaux (m. plural) / nouvelles (f. plural)
For their meanings, "neuf" is (usually) something that is newly made, brand-new, something that had never been used/seen before while "nouveau" is (usually) just something that has a new owner, or something that has changed.
- J'ai un appartement neuf.
That means their apartment is a new/recent building or that has had a recent refurbishment as opposed to old apartments/buildings in the city center, for example.
- J'ai un nouvel appartement.
That means they moved out of their former apartment into another one, which is new to them but doesn't actually have to be a or in a new building.
Well, things get a little bit more complicated there. Adjectives can be very tricky in French as they can change meaning when they're not in the usual position.
Remember: "BANGS" adjectives go before the noun and BANGS stands for beauty, age, number, goodness, size.
The usual placement of "nouveau" is before the noun but it can change its position to change its meaning.
When you say "des chaussures nouvelles" instead of "de nouvelles chaussures", you're saying they're innovative, with a new concept or it can even mean they're "neuves". So if you're trying to say that you just bought them or someone recently gave them to you, you have to say "de nouvelles chaussures".
So "Oui, j'aime tes nouvelles chaussures. Sont-elles neuves ?"
Thank you for replying! Like Shirlgirl in the comment below, I think I need to let this sink in. Coming back to French after so many years, the grammar seems even more complicated to me than German...did I just say that?! German has a lot of rules, but with French, it seems there are more nuances and exceptions.
His Shirtgirl, I have finished the German tree, and truthfully, I live in Germany, so that might be why I think the grammar is clearer than the French grammar. But as for never finishing, you are right. I see mastering German as a lifetime challenge. But in the meantime there is French...and Italian...and, well so many languages, so little time! :-)
yes, the "e" in "es" and the "ai" in "aimes" are different vowel sounds. You can listen to "tu aimes" and "tu es" on Larousse's online French-English dictionary:
- tu aimes mes cheveux comme ça ? [words and phrases under "cheveux"]
- tu es encore en retard. Que cela ne t'arrive plus ! [words and phrases under "arriver"]