General Question

andrew's avatar

Does written French put a space in front of a question mark?

Asked by andrew (16375points) April 10th, 2009

I’ve noticed this several times in Rosetta Stone—i.e. “Est-ce que vous avez soif ?”

Is this a convention or a bug in Rosetta Stone?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

62 Answers

mangeons's avatar

I take French class, and I’ve seen French writing, and I’ve never seen a space in front of a question mark. So, I’d put my money on it being a bug, but I’m not completely sure.

Harp's avatar

Nope
Look under “point d’interrogation”

gailcalled's avatar

C’est une punaise? Oui. (It’s really “le bug informatique.”)

(@mangeons; choux, you either put your money on something (which means you are sure), or you don’t.

mangeons's avatar

(@gailcalled- I would put my money on it, because I am pretty sure. That’s what I meant. xD)

gailcalled's avatar

(@Mangeons:Much better, my little lamb chop.)

gailcalled's avatar

—@bob: Are you the former Bob from Brown, now at Graduate School?

gailcalled's avatar

So, are you the new bob from wis.d.om., or however it is punctuated?

_bob's avatar

@gailcalled I am also a wis.dm member, yes, but I wouldn’t say I’m “bob_ from wis.dm”, if you know what I mean.

gailcalled's avatar

I do, I do.

mangeons's avatar

(@gailcalled I like steak better. :D)

gailcalled's avatar

(@mangeons: OK, my little filet de boeuf.)

_bob's avatar

@gailcalled & @mangeons Y’all talkin’ dirty?

Ivan's avatar

I’ve never seen that. I took two years of French in high school and I never came across it. Perhaps it’s used only in certain situations?

gailcalled's avatar

@Ivan: That’s because they are not genuine French endearments but my inventions.

Here are dozens of ones actually used by the French; they are predominantly animal names but there are a few related to food.

Some examples:

ma biche my doe
ma bichette my little doe
ma caille my quail (informal)
mon canard my duck
mon chaton my kittenmon lapin my rabbit
ma loutre my otter
mon loup my wolf
my petit chou my little cabbage

_bob's avatar

@gailcalled Say it the wrong way, and that “ma biche” thing sends across a whole different message.

Ivan's avatar

@gailcalled

I guess I have no idea what you are talking about. I was talking about putting a space in front of question marks.

gailcalled's avatar

@Ivan; Sorry. I see that you were answering the actual question.

@bob; No one, even with the most excruciatingly bad French accent, would confuse “une biche” with “a bitch.” The French use different insults for that- une putain, une salope, for example, or une pute. A bitch is a female dog (une chienne.) However, I am not an expert on French vulgarities or insults (yet).

However, http://chromlea.trap17.com/french/insults.html

Here’s one I love;

Vous avez le cervau d’un sandwich au fromage – You have the brain of a cheese sandwich

_bob's avatar

@gailcalled Mmm… cheese…

gailcalled's avatar

@Bob; It sounds more sophisticated and insulting in French.

_bob's avatar

@gailcalled Se vuoi lo possiamo fare in italiano.

Mmm… formaggio…

gailcalled's avatar

No, grazie.
Sto cercando di lavorare.

andrew's avatar

@bob_: May I ask, what did your link have to do with my question?

global_nomad's avatar

Je pense c’est ultilse seulement dans l’ordinateur. Ou, c’est pour Rosetta Stone. Je jamais vue ca.

Wow, I bet my grammar sucks, but yeah I think it may be just something they do; I think I may have seen it in type before, but I’m not sure.

gailcalled's avatar

@global_nomad: Au sujet de grammaire et de l’orthographe, vous avez raison.

Zen's avatar

And what’s with the upside-down question mark in some languages? What are they, bats? Stop writing while hanging upside-down, it’s annoying!

_bob's avatar

@andrew You said “I’ve noticed this several times in Rosetta Stone—i.e. “Est-ce que vous avez soif ?””

You should have said:

“I’ve noticed this several times in Rosetta Stone— e.g. “Est-ce que vous avez soif ?””

susanc's avatar

@gail: lurve for “choux” but isn’t it “cerveau”? hehehe

_bob's avatar

@Zen That’s only in Spanish. ¿No te gusta?

Zen's avatar

@bob_ N’est pas? @andrew I notice a little, je ne cest quoi here. You can say, that is, instead of “for example” in that instance, I think.

Zen's avatar

@bob_ Si! Merci!

_bob's avatar

@Zen ¡De nada!

Zen's avatar

@bob_ You are a class(ic) act!

mangeons's avatar

(@gailcalled- Couldn’t “choux” be replaced with “chere”?, i.e. “Ma chere”?)

Harp's avatar

I think “choux” in this case might refer to the pastry instead of the vegetable

Jack_Haas's avatar

There is a space before ”!” ”:” ”?”.

andrew's avatar

@Jack_Haas Can you link me to anything talking about that?

Jack_Haas's avatar

Sure, here’s the first result that comes up when you search for “punctuation in french” on Google :

link

andrew's avatar

Look at that!

“In French, a space is required both before and after all two- (or more) part punctuation marks and symbols, including : ; « » ! ? % $ #”

Merci!

All the rest of you jackals, shame on you!

gailcalled's avatar

I am rushing upstairs to look at my copy of Mme Bovary. Je reviens.

Jack_Haas's avatar

@andrew actually, thank YOU! I’ve been reading in English for like 3 decades and I’ve always been oblivious to that difference until… today. Scary! Oh well, better late than never I guess…

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s a site in French. Click on each punctuation mark; there is a sub-section called Règles typographiques.Le point et la virgule: En français : texte,[espace] texte.
En anglais : même chose.

The rest are: En français : texte[espace];[espace]texte.
En anglais : texte; [espace]texte

http://www.la-ponctuation.com/point-virgule.html

Harp's avatar

In addition to the source I cited above, I found this statement from the Office québécois de la langue française:

Question: “Doit-on mettre un espace devant la ponctuation haute? (must one put a space in front of two-mark punctuation?)”

Reply: “Concernant votre question sur les espaces devant les ponctuations hautes, c’est-à-dire le deux-points, le point-virgule, le point d’interrogation et le point d’exclamation, il n’y a que le deux-points qui comporte un espacement avant et après. Pour les trois autres signes, il n’y a qu’un espacement après. (Concerning your question regarding two-mark punctuation, only the colon requires a space before and after. for the other three marks, there is only a space following.” (source)

This source goes on to say that this is a regional difference. The typographical standard is to insert a “narrow space”. The computer space is bigger than that; the French opt to use the bigger space, whereas the Canadians opt to omit it, except for the colon.

gailcalled's avatar

@Harp; There seem to be some differences between French french and french used in Québec. Talk about angels dancing on the head of un point.

andrew's avatar

@Harp: French typography? /delightful head explosion

Zen's avatar

@gailcalled Liked the French french and french used in Quebec. Which French is capitalized – the language, or the country? ;-)

mangeons's avatar

@Zen I’d say both are capatalized.

_bob's avatar

@Zen Um, actually, the country is called “France”. Just sayin’.

gailcalled's avatar

I am not French. I do speak french. I don’t live in either France or Quebec. I spell capitalized this way. I just reread the first chapters of Madame Bovary. All those spaces that I never noticed before surprised me. I also reread a bit of Sartre’s Le Mur…same spacing.

gailcalled's avatar

@Bob: Merci, mon petit chou !

gailcalled's avatar

@all: Now that we can punctuate perfectly in french, how about working on some of the more grotesque creative punctuation on fluther?

Zen's avatar

Off topic, which is now French, I love the song by Leonard C. called Hallelujah. Do you?

Hallelujah est une chanson écrite par Leonard Cohen. Elle fut enregistrée pour la première fois sur son album de 1984 intitulé Various Positions. Elle figure parmi les bandes-sons de plusieurs films et de quelques émissions télévisées.

Elle traite de sujets assez ambigus et amena à de nombreux débats au sujet des intentions ou des messages que Cohen a voulu nous faire passer. Cette chanson fait appel aux thèmes de la religion et du sexe ; de cette manière elle traite la dynamique d’une relation en utilisant une métaphore.

Cette chanson a été reprise par de nombreux artistes (il y aurait, sans compter les versions live, plus de 120 reprises d’Hallelujah). La plus connue d’entre elles est sans doute celle de Jeff Buckley sortie en 1994 sur son album Grace. Toutefois ce n’est pas la version de Leonard Cohen que Jeff Buckley reprend mais celle de John Cale (sortie en 1991 sur la compilation I’m your Fan. Ce dernier avait obtenu l’autorisation de Cohen pour modifier un passage du texte original et c’est ce texte modifié que Jeff Buckley chantait par la suite.

La version de John Cale peut notamment être entendue dans le film d’animation Shrek (mon addition, in case you were wondering). Bizarrement, c’est une autre version d’Hallelujah, presque identique, qui apparait sur le CD de la bande originale du film, celle ci est interprétée au piano par Rufus Wainwright.

On peut aussi citer d’autres versions comme celles d’Elisa, Kate Voegele, Loko et Imogen Heap.

gailcalled's avatar

@Zen: L’attribution, svp. Ou c’ést peut-être vous qui a écrit le texte ? ^^ Si “oui,” bravo.

Et posez la question au sujet do Cohen ailleurs.

Zen's avatar

@gailcalled Wiki, est un peu moi aussi. J’ecrier ou c’est moi que “parle”. Mais, pas beaucoup.

(Mon grammar est horrible!)

gailcalled's avatar

@Zen: I have to agree with you. Sorry about that:-(

Zen's avatar

@gailcalled I tried. Gave you lurve and “great answer”, though.

:-)

gailcalled's avatar

@Zen: You did indeed, and trying does count. I am going outside now and remove the ice from Milo’s water bowl and then plant pansies, if my fingers don’t freeze. I assume that you live in warmer climes than I do.

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