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

Descend-elle or descend-t-elle?

Which way is correct?

May 23, 2012

13 Comments


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

The correct one is "descend-elle." As ClassicBookworm says, the "t" (or "z" in some cases -- I believe this is older usage though) is inserted to break up double vowel sounds. It is not inserted after a consonant -- the consonant is pronounced. However, it is still pronounced with a [t] sound: [de.sã.tεl] (not [d]). This is typical of ending consonants that are pronounced because of a following vowel sound.

May 30, 2012

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

Good question. I don't know but it seems like the T is used when the verb ends in a vowel to avoid a double vowel sound. (I really must get myself a grammar book!)

May 23, 2012

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

Duolingo wanted descend-elle in a recent exercise. I think the D is sounded in this case.

May 25, 2012

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

@mc701 Thanks for the further details. I'd like to see that use of z, sound groovy.

May 30, 2012

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

"...qui n'avait ja-ja-jamais navigué sur la mer mé-mé-méditerránée..." or something like that :) That's so odd that the "d" is pronounced as "t", I had no idea, but that would explain the confusion. Lots of people must make that mistake because "descend-t-elle" comes up in google searches. Thanks for clearing that up mc701!

May 30, 2012

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

@Gouryella91 it's about pronunciation -- to break up so-called difficult sound combinations ("so-called" because they are not completely regular). A relatively safe rule is that if the word ends in a vowel sound, you'll want the "-t-" in the inverted construction.

For instance, It's much easier to say "Où va-t-elle ?" than the messy sound in "Où va-elle ?" where the "a" sound sits right next to the "elle."

June 24, 2012

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

haha no problem, I've only only ever seen it once in a children's song "Il était un petit navire" which I learned a number of years ago. The line is "On tira-z-à la courte paille." Interestingly enough, "on tira-t-à" sounds a little funny to me, but I've never come across another example of the "z." Here's the Wikipedia article (it's actually a fairly recent one): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Il_%C3%A9tait_un_petit_navire

May 30, 2012

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

Ha! "now considered a children's song, despite its macabre tone" <-- Undoubtedly that's why kids like it! :D

May 30, 2012

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

@ClassicBookworm Yes! It's funny how many children's songs are actually quite gruesome. "Ring around the Rosies" is about the plague, not to mention the more explicit death in "It's raining, it's pouring," "Humpty Dumpty," "Rock-a-bye Baby," "Grandfather's Clock," etc. etc.

@csi Yes, it is, but many consonants undergo changes like that in those situations. Also true, but if you Google "descend-t-elle" versus "descend-elle," the latter has a LOT more hits.

May 30, 2012

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

Actually, rock-a-bye baby was a revolutionary song sung to babies to keep alive the movement to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne to replace the English usurper, whose name need not be mentioned in polite company.

The cradle falling refers to the crown falling, in the treetops refers to the forests where the revolutionaries were based and so on. Virtually every line in the song refers to the struggle in a metaphoric way so as to avoid suspicion.

While the song was amazingly successful, the movement was a complete failure. Just don't say that to the Scots.

June 11, 2013

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

Yes, very true!

May 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gouryella91

what is the function of adding the "-t-". for verbs that start with vowels?

June 24, 2012
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