After doing some research the difference between shall and should is even less clear to me. (Just kidding, a little) Here is what I have learned.
Should is technically the past tense of shall. But in practice they are both used in present and future tense. In past tense only should is acceptable.
In present and future tense shall is more commanding or decided, whereas should is more advisory. I shall call Sarah. I have decided I will call Sarah. I should call Sarah. I probably should call her but I don't know if I'm going to. You shall behave. (Implied or else) You should behave. (But hey, that's on you, just saying)
I think shall is technically supposed to always be used to denote future events but it seems harsher, more demanding, so should has come into use as a substitute.
After all this, who SHOULD I call actually seems like a better translation than who SHALL I call.
Also note that "shall" is a real imperative future with "you, he, she, they", mostly used in legal or official writing, whereas "I shall/we shall" are simple future.
Now, "I will/we will" express a firm intention, whereas "you, he, she, they... will" only express a simple future.
Also 'shall' is not seen as often in American English as it is in British English, so that's why in America 'whom should I call' is more common and 'correct' to the ear.
The negative form of this is even stranger in American English: 'whom shan't I call?'. Thus I think people would prefer to use 'should' and 'shouldn't' in AmE, so both should be accepted.
I just got corrected to "Whom shall I call?" So plummy! I guess "Whom should I call?" sounds weird, and nowadays most people use "who" for both the subject and the object, instead of "whom" for the object.
"I should give it to whom?"
"To whom should I give it?"
"Whom should I give it to?"
*"Who should I give it to?"
¨who to call¨ is a more precise translation, but it seems to mean the same as ¨who shall I call.¨ I personally hear people say ¨who shall I call¨ way more than I hear ¨who to call¨, so I think it should be accepted as a translation. Also, the most precise translation of "Je vais appeler qui?" is ¨I'm going to call whom?¨ yet ¨who shall I call¨ is still the more common way to say it.
My idea of how these words are meant to be used:
will: a person has a will and decides to do something; He will do it. shall: an event is going to happen, regardless of whether a person is involved (act of God, the weather, gravity, etc.). It shall rain. I shall get older.
Though, in practice, almost everyone says "will" instead of "shall". And, what we mean with "will" becomes more like "might think about possibly" doing it.
"I will take it" is equivalent to "I shall take it" UNLESS I change my mind. Then perhaps it becomes "I should take it because I earlier told people 'I will' " and a person of character does what they have said they would do.
So, "Who calls?" sounds to me like, "Who has called?" or "Who is calling?" and that could translate to "Qui a appelé?" or "Qui est appelant?", or possibly "Who (is) calling?" or "Qui appelez?"
Yet, no, DL gives "Qui appeler?"
But, I understand French uses Present Participles entirely different than English. ymmv.
Since there is no subject specified here in French, a better translation would probably be the impersonal forms "Who do you call?" or "Who does one call?" (although the latter form sounds formal/literary and is uncommon now in American conversation). I'd also like to point out that technically all of these phrases are grammatically incorrect, because "whom" should be used rather than "who" (since it's not the subject). But of course we all know this and ignore it anyway!
Language is not subject to the same rules of correctness that say, mathematics is. If 99% of people think that 2+2=5, then 99% of people are wrong. If 99% of people think that "who" is correct, then 99% of people are right.
This is what causes language to evolve, otherwise I would say you were wrong for not speaking Old English. It would be better to say that 100 years ago "who" instead of "whom" was wrong, but not anymore.
The latter is the correct one.
I thought the same, but as bdgawmk points out Collins offers both pronounciations and the audio examples in Larousse all seem to be the "ap-pler" version. See/hear: http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/appeler/4651
appeler ends in [-e] and appelait ends in [-ɛ] in IPA. They both represent "e" in English as in "pet". [ɛ] is the American pronunciation and [e] is the Australian pronunciation.
As far as I know there is no English varient that distinguishes these two sounds. This is why it is so hard for all English speakers to both hear and pronounce the difference.
The Wiktionary page for appeler lists all of the conjugations and their pronunciations in a single table.
Thanks Sitesurf, I wrote "Qui appelait". but now I am sure your advice has been really useful for me to learn how to distinguish between the two sounds. Before, I didn't even know that they are different!!
Even though, I am not able to tell, from our audio, what they say. In fact, to my poor spanish ears, it is as if the faster said "appelait" while the slower said "appeler". I assume it is a matter of (lack of) practice. Thanks again.
Why no contraction in the French ... qu'appeler and qu'appelle? We have a small community here in Saskatchewan Canada called Qu'appelle based on this legend: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Qu'appelle_Valley
The interrogative pronoun "qui" (who/whom) does not have an object form (to avoid any confusion with "que" = what).
Only the relative pronouns work differently:
- c'est l'homme qui appelle (the man who calls = subject)
- c'est l'homme que j'appelle (the man whom I call = object)
- c'est la machine qui travaille (the machine that works = subject)
- c'est la machine que je possède (the machine that I possess = object)
I know that I was merely using case as a label for a usage You have still not answered the question as to how the infinitive (appeler) is translated as 1st person singular future aspect ,'shall I call' What indication is there in the duo sentence that it is I rather than you eg?
re: "There is no indication on who is supposed to call, so you can interpret it as "I", or "you" or "we" or "they"..."
So "Whom shall you call" would be an acceptable answer here? (just in case the question doesn't come up again, though i guess it probably will.)
Also with respect to natural English, "What to do?" would be a comparable and maybe more commonly used example of that construction, I think? It's often more like mulling something over to oneself than asking for an option or direction from someone else...
(can picture someone staring at the phone murmuring "who to call? who to call?", trying to make up his/her mind)
Saying "shall" in a question is more like asking someone else who they would have you call next. It takes the responsibility or 'will' away from the caller. I 'should' is definitely about responsibility, though not necessarily personal desire or will. I 'will' is definitely about personal will or desire.
Each form of a verb has a specific meaning, related to person, voice, mood, and tense. In this case the verb infinitive is used, so the meaning is "to call". "Qui" is simply "Who". So word for word it becomes "Who to call?" This has been stated by several people in the thread.
An English speaker may not be satisfied because we wouldn't say that. A lot of a language does not, cannot, translate easily to another language. Does it mean, "Who should I call?", "Who shall I call?", "Who will I call?", etc.
Then we see the DL translation to, "Who shall I call?" and it just doesn't mesh. Something seems wrong or incomplete.
Perhaps giving a range of usages would help.
J'appelle ...... I call
Je m'appelle Mark. ..... I call myself Mark.
Je t'appelle. ..... I call you.
Je l'appellerais. ..... I used to call her.
J'appellerai. ..... I will call.
J'ai appelle. ..... I called.
Note: The double "ll" is only used where there is a silent 'e' following or for the present conditional tense or the future simple tense (examples, "J'appelle", "J'appellerais", "J'appellerai").
“Whom do I call?” Or more colloquially, “Who do I call?” One would almost never hear “Whom shall I call?” in everyday speech in the South, even though we all know it is correct. One would hear either “who do I call” or “who should I call.” We understand that we shouldn’t write it that way in formal writing, however.
Notice that you keep throwing in other words such as "shall" or "should" which the French sentence at the top doesn't include. It has two words: "Qui" and "appeler". "Qui" may be "Who" or "Whom" and "appeler" the infinitive means "to call", so together they mean "Who/whom to call" It seems entirely simple and correct, except that English language speakers wouldn't ever say that. It's just a poor sentence to use for English.
Since technically it's "whom" the direct object rather than the subject, shouldn't it be "Que appeler" since "que" is the direct object of appeler not the subject? "Who should I call" or "who to call" is actually incorrect English. It should be "Whom to call"? Not that most people say that....but since we're being formally correct shouldn't the same apply in French?
No, the interrogative pronoun "qui" is used to translate "who?" or "whom?", and the interrogative pronoun "que" is used to translate "what?".
- Who's there? = Qui est là ? (subject)
- Whom should I call. = Qui devrais-je appeler ? (object)
- What is this? = Qu'est-ce que c'est ?
- What are you doing? = Que fais tu ? (object)
It is different with relative pronouns, where "qui" (that/who/which) can represent anyone or anything as a subject and "que", anyone or anything as an object (that/whom/which).
- This is the car that was parked here yesterday. = C'est la voiture qui était garée ici hier (subject).
- He is the man (that/whom) I saw yesterday. = C'est l'homme que j'ai vu hier (object).