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French::Contraction (grammar)

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French The French language has a variety of contractions, similar to English but mandatory, as in C'est la vie ("That's life"), where c'est stands for ce + est ("that is"). The formation of these contractions is called elision.

In general, any monosyllabic word ending in e caduc (schwa) will contract if the following word begins with a vowel, h or y (as h is silent and absorbed by the sound of the succeeding vowel; y sounds like i). In addition to cec'- (demonstrative pronoun "that"), these words are quequ'- (conjunction, relative pronoun, or interrogative pronoun "that"), nen'- ("not"), ses'- ("himself", "herself", "itself", "oneself" before a verb), jej'- ("I"), mem'- ("me" before a verb), tet'- (informal singular "you" before a verb), le or lal'- ("the"; or "he/she", "it" before a verb or after an imperative verb and before the word y or en), and ded'- ("of"). Unlike with English contractions, however, these contractions are mandatory: one would never say (or write) *ce est or *que elle.

Moi ("myself") and toi (informal "yourself") mandatorily contract to m'- and t'- respectively after an imperative verb and before the word y or en.

It is also mandatory to avoid the repetition of a sound when the preposition si ("if") is followed by il ("he", "it") or ils ("they"), which begin with the same vowel sound i: *si ils'il ("if it", if he"); *si ilss'ils ("if they").

Certain prepositions are also mandatorily merged with masculine and plural direct articles: au for à le, aux for à les, du for de le, and des for de les. However, the contraction of cela (demonstrative pronoun "that") to ça is optional and informal.

In informal speech, a personal pronoun may sometimes be contracted onto a following verb. For example, je ne sais pas (IPA: [ʒənəsɛpa], "I don't know") may be pronounced roughly chais pas (IPA: [ʃɛpa]), with the ne being completely elided and the [ʒ] of je being mixed with the [s] of sais.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=OR |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[original research?] }} It is also common in informal contexts to contract tu to t'- before a vowel, e.g., t'as mangé for tu as mangé.


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