Technically, we should be learning French the way it is used by the general population of French speakers.
Technically, despite what the words sa femme when translated separately by English speakers appear to mean, what they actually mean when used by French speakers refers to wife not woman.
Not every English phrase has an equivalent in French, and direct translation often fails. Also isn't "his woman" colloquial or slang? I'm sure french has its own "his girl" or whatever slang, but you'd be able to tell by the context.
Also, Romanian was my first language, and saying "his woman" direct translation doesn't make much sense.
Yes, grammatically it could be correct. But it would not be understood that way in conversation. It will be understood as referring to the subject of the sentence. Here are a few examples to demonstrate:
- Il est tombé de son cheval = he fell off his horse
- Il est tombé de son cheval à elle = he fell off her horse
- Elle est tombée de son cheval = she fell off her horse
- Elle est tombée de son cheval à lui = she fell off his horse
May I ask a couple of questions?
Is the possessive sa before 'femme' used because the gender of the possessive refers to the noun, femme, not the agent, Il (the man)?
Are there specific contexts in which to use épouse, or is it interchangeable with femme (when femme is being used as 'wife')?
yes, possessives agree in gender and number with the object owned, not with the owner.
"une épouse" is a married woman. When a French man says "ma femme", you actually don't know whether or not he is married with this woman, because "femme" preceded by a possessive means "wife/spouse".
Sitesurf, can you please clarify your meaning in the last sentence of your comment? It seems to be self contradictory.
You say that "femme" preceded by a possessive means wife or spouse... so ma femme = my wife or my spouse. Yes?
But you also say that when a French man says "ma femme" you don't know whether or not he is married to the woman he is referring to as "ma femme". Am I missing something here? How can both of these statements be true?
When a woman says "mon mari", you know they are married (specific noun for married men).
When a man says "ma femme", they may or may not be married, so you can understand "my partner" or "my wife/spouse".
If a man really wants to make clear that this woman is his wife, he can say "mon épouse".
the words that change with masculine/feminine and/or singular/plural are acticles, adjectives and nounns basically.
"respecte" is a verb, whose infinitive form is: "respecter". Therefore its change is not to agree in masculine or feminine, it is a matter of conjugation : je respecte, tu respectes, il/elle/on respecte, nous respectons, vous respectez, ils/elles respectent.
There is no evidence of a third party in the French sentence. Because "son, sa and ses" are identical whichever the owner, the convention is that the object belongs to the subject:
- Il respecte sa femme = He respects his wife.
If somebody else and feminine was involved, the sentence would have something more explicit:
- Il respecte sa femme à elle = He respects her wife
Sure, no! I am living in a farm community (Hungary), we have 40 cows and bulls, and we day-by day experience that they have personal contacts, some love one and hate other, some have friends and so on. And they have respect for each other too. So, if I would like to tell stories to my friends on french, how I express myself in this case?
D'accord, so for you and your friends, you will use exactly the same grammar as for people but you'll have to adjust the vocabulary:
- Il respecte sa/la femelle; il respecte les femelles; il respecte les autres mâles.
- Elle respecte son/le mâle; elle respecte les mâles; elle respecte les autres femelles.
- Certains (mâles) ont des relations personnelles entre eux.
- Certaines (femelles) ont des relations personnelles entre elles.
- Certain(e)s en aiment un/une et déteste l'autre
- Et ils/elles ont du respect les uns/unes pour les autres.