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

"Je suis sa femme!"

On an old episode of the BBC Sherlock Holmes series (with Jeremy Brett), there is a scene in "The Adventure of the Second Stain" in which a French woman breaks in on her philandering husband and screams "Je suis sa femme!" before stabbing him to death.

Now, I'd swear she said "sa" instead of "ta," since she's clearly means that she is his wife.

So, is "sa" ever used as "your" in more formal usage, or did the scriptwriters make a mistake. (Or maybe I misheard...)

August 12, 2019

15 Comments


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

Sa = her/his. It can mean "your" in impersonal sentences, e.g : You should always be nice to your mother = On doit toujours être gentil avec sa mère. Impersonal "you" can be translated as "on" in French. "On" is third person singular so the adequate possessive is "sa".

In a case like the one you describe though (= while talking directly to somebody) "your" can't be translated as "sa".

August 12, 2019

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

Nice explanation! I like to think she said "I am his wife!" to give a surprise ending as she ends the man the viewers thought was her husband.

August 12, 2019

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

Thanks for the explanation. I'm thinking it more likely I've been mishearing it all these years. That's interesting about "On." I wonder if it's cognate to the mostly moribund English impersonal "One?"

August 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/relox84

It's not a cognate because they have different etymologies: the French on became a pronoun under Germanic influence (compare German 'man'), and it comes from an unstressed form of 'homme' (more specifically, on descends from the nominative case of the Latin 'homo', whereas homme comes from the oblique stem 'homine')

August 12, 2019

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

Very interesting, thanks!

August 12, 2019

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

I may be wrong but I think that it can be used as "one". I say this because of sentences like "On a volé mon vélo !" which means "My bike was stolen!" or "Someone stole my bike!".

Ultimately though, you should probably wait for a response from: ZarrouguiL, he/she will know!

Bonnes études !

August 12, 2019

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

Yep, you're right. "On" is like the English "one", the structure is pretty much the same. E.g : "One does not simply walk into Mordor" = "On n'entre pas si facilement en Mordor".

August 12, 2019

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

I love that you used Mordor as an example, Lingot! Also, (If you don't mind me asking) I see that you don't have French on your list of target Languages, are you fluent in french already?

August 12, 2019

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

It's actually my native language. Helping people with their French helps me with my English while making me think about my own language. So that's why you see me around the English to French forums :)

August 12, 2019

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

Have a lingot for spreading the good word about Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes!

August 12, 2019

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

Thanks! Love that series.

August 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cleanthe3

Can you say more about this scene ? I can imagine she finds her husband with his mistress and she's so angry, she screams to the mistress "I'm his wife (and that's why I kill him) " . Just a thought, I watch too much tv :)

August 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Louradour5
August 12, 2019

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

That's right! I'd forgotten the blackmailed woman was at the scene and that she's whom the angry wife was yelling at. Makes sense.

August 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cleanthe3

I was right ??!! Haha !! Yes, I really watch too much tv ! :) So, indeed, she was speaking to someone else not her husband, that explains the "sa" .

August 12, 2019
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