The University of Texas at Austin; College of Liberal Arts
Hans C. Boas, Director :: PCL 5.556, 1 University Station S5490 :: Austin, TX 78712 :: 512-471-4566
LRC Links: Home | About | Books Online | EIEOL | IE Doc. Center | IE Lexicon | IE Maps | IE Texts | Pub. Indices | SiteMap

Old French Online

Lesson 7

Brigitte L.M. Bauer and Jonathan Slocum

During the heyday of the littérature courtoise, two important historical documents were written about the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204). While the littérature courtoise presents a world of courtly ideals and magic events, the historians in their work present the real world, with its base passions.

Although Crusades primarily had an ideological motivation -- liberating the places of pilgrimage and safeguarding pilgims -- political, personal, and socio-economical reasons soon became important as well. During the Fourth Crusade the original aim, the liberation of Jerusalem, was completely forgotten when political profit and personal greed came to prevail.

The expedition was used by the doge of Venice to reinforce his political power. It established the political hegemony of Venice over the Mediterranean, and ensured its important commercial privileges. The abuse of power of the doge was based on the primordial role Venice played in the transportation of troops. The Crusade never made it beyond Constantinople, which was sacked; there one of the Crusaders, Baudoin of Flanders, was made emperor of the Latin Empire. The Empire would last until 1261.

Two participants in the Fourth Crusade have left lengthy reports about the events: one is written by a poor knight from Picardie, Robert de Clari, who was a simple warrior. The title of his work is L'histoire de ceux qui conquirent Constantinople.

The other source is the Histoire de la conquête de Constantinople, written between 1207 and 1213 by one of the leaders of the Crusade, Geoffroi de Villehardouin, who originally came from Champagne. Villehardouin relates the historical events in a sober style, but his report may not be completely impartial.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The reading for this lesson has been taken from Villehardouin's Histoire de la conquête de Constantinople, sections 345 and 346. In it, reference is made to the Greek as enemy. Having conquered Constantinople, the Crusaders took over Christian property in the area as well, because the Greek population and church were not part of the Church of Rome.

The reader will notice Villehardouin's sober style, with its simplicity and lack of artificial effects. Because of its plainness, many assume that Villehardouin's language was rather close to the spoken language of the day.

As an important representative of the medieval aristocracy, Villehardouin in his text expresses many ideals of his class, the most important of which are loyalty and faithfulness (in relation to God, promises made, and so forth) and braveness. Consequently he rejects any form of cowardice, as he does in the text selected here.

The text has an example of a vigesimal numeral: a numeral based on counting in twenties, rather than in tens. The element in question is the number VI with XX in superscript, meaning six times twenty, six-vingts 'one hundred and twenty'. Vigesimals appeared in the various Indo-European languages in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. Whereas the (inherited) counting system was decimal in early Old French (e.g. huitante 'eighty'), vigesimal numbers emerged and spread starting in the 12th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries their number decreased, and modern quatre-vingts and soixante-dix (a so-called semi-vigesimal) are residues of a phenomenon that was widespread in Old and Middle French (see References in Lesson 10).

Or conte li livres une grant mervoille:
que Reniers de Trit, qui ere a Finepople,
bien .IX. jornees loing de Costantinople,
et avoit bien .VIXX. chevaliers avec lui,
que Reniers ses fils le guerpi, et Giles ses freres,
et Jakes de Bondine, qui ere ses niers,
et Achars de Vercli, qui avoit sa file.

  • or -- adverb; <or> now -- ...
  • conte -- verb; third person singular present <conter> count, relate -- relates
  • li -- definite article; nominative singular masculine <li> the -- the
  • livres -- noun; nominative singular <livre> book, inventory -- book
  • une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a
  • grant -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <grant> great, large, tall -- great
  • mervoille -- noun; oblique singular <merveille> what is surprising, wonder -- remarkable event
  • que -- conjunction; <que> that -- the fact that
  • Reniers de Trit -- proper name; nominative singular <Renier de Trit> Renier de Trit -- Renier de Trit
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • ere -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was
  • a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at
  • Finepople -- proper name; oblique singular <Finepople> Finepople -- Finepople
  • bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least
  • .IX. -- number; <.IX.> nine -- nine # numbers in Old French texts are preceded and followed by a dot
  • jornees -- noun; oblique plural <jornee> day's journey -- a... days journey
  • loing -- adverb; <loing, loin, luin, lonc> far, far away -- away
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- from
  • Costantinople -- proper name; oblique singular <Costantinoble> Constantinople -- Constantinople
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- ...
  • avoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had
  • bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least
  • .VIXX. -- number; <.VIXX.> six times twenty, one hundred and twenty -- hundred and twenty # numbers in Old French texts are preceded and followed by a dot
  • chevaliers -- noun; oblique plural <chevalier> knight -- knights
  • avec -- preposition; <avuec, avec, avoc> with -- with
  • lui -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- him
  • que -- conjunction; <que> that -- and the fact that
  • Reniers -- proper name; nominative singular <Renier> Renier -- Renier
  • ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his -- his
  • fils -- noun; nominative singular <fil> son -- son
  • le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- him
  • guerpi -- verb; third person singular preterite <guerpir> abandon, leave -- abandoned
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- with
  • Giles -- proper name; nominative singular <Giles> Giles -- Giles
  • ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his -- his
  • freres -- noun; nominative singular <frere> brother -- brother
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • Jakes de Bondine -- proper name; nominative singular <Jake de Bondine> Jake de Bondine -- Jake de Bondine
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • ere -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was
  • ses -- possessive; third person singular nominative singular masculine <son> his -- his
  • niers -- noun; nominative singular <nevot, neveu> grandson, nephew -- nephew
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • Achars de Vercli -- proper name; nominative singular <Achar de Vercli> Achar de Vercli -- Achar de Vercli
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • avoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- was married to
  • sa -- possessive; third person singular oblique singular feminine <son> his -- his
  • file -- noun; oblique singular <fille> daughter -- daughter

Et li tolirent bien .XXX. de ses chevaliers,
et s'en cuidoient venir en Costantinople,
et l'avoient laissié en si grant peril com voz oez.

  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he -- from him
  • tolirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <tolir> take off, cut off -- they took away
  • bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least
  • .XXX. -- number; <.XXX.> thirty -- thirty # numbers in Old French texts are preceded and followed by a dot
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of
  • ses -- possessive; third person singular oblique plural masculine <son> his -- his
  • chevaliers -- noun; oblique plural <chevalier> knight -- knights
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • s'en cuidoient venir -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object <se> he + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; third person plural imperfective <cuidier> think + verb; infinitive <venir> come, go -- they thought of going
  • en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- to
  • Costantinople -- proper name; oblique singular <Costantinoble> Constantinople -- Constantinople
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • l'avoient -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object <il> he + verb; third person plural imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- they had... him
  • laissié -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <laissier> leave, let, abandon -- abandoned
  • en -- preposition; <en> in, into, on, on top of -- in
  • si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- such
  • grant -- adjective; oblique singular masculine <grant> great, large, tall -- great
  • peril -- noun; oblique singular <peril> danger -- danger
  • com -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- as
  • voz -- personal pronoun; second person plural nominative <vos> you -- you
  • oez -- verb; second person plural present <oir, odir> hear -- well understand

Si troverent la terre revellee encontre els,
et furent desconfit, si les pristrent li Grieu,
qui, puis les rendirent le roi de Blakie,
qui puis aprés lor fist les testes trencier.

  • si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and
  • troverent -- verb; third person plural preterite <trover> find -- they found
  • la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the
  • terre -- noun; oblique singular <terre> land, country, earth -- country
  • revellee -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular feminine <reveler> revolt -- in revolt
  • encontre -- preposition; <encontre> to, towards, against -- against
  • els -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they -- them
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • furent -- verb; third person plural preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- they were
  • desconfit -- verb; perfective participle nominative plural masculine <desconfire> demolish, defeat -- defeated
  • si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- and thus
  • les -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they -- them
  • pristrent -- verb; third person plural preterite <prendre> take, take hold of, seize -- took... prisoner
  • li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the
  • Grieu -- proper name; nominative plural <gré, grieu, griu, gri> Greek -- Greek
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • puis -- adverb; <puis> subsequently -- subsequently
  • les -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object masculine <il> they -- them
  • rendirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <rendre> give, return -- handed over
  • le -- definite article; oblique singular masculine <li> the -- the
  • roi -- noun; oblique singular <roi> king -- to... king
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- of
  • Blakie -- proper name; oblique singular <Blaquie> Blaquie -- Blaquie
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • puis -- adverb; <puis> subsequently -- ...
  • aprés -- adverb; <apres> after, afterwards -- afterwards
  • lor -- personal pronoun; third person plural indirect object masculine <il> they -- ...
  • fist -- verb; third person singular preterite <faire> make -- ordered
  • les -- definite article; oblique plural feminine <li> the -- their
  • testes -- noun; oblique plural <teste> head -- heads
  • trencier -- verb; infinitive <trenchier> cut -- to (be) cut off

Et sachiez que mult furent petit plaint de la gent,
por ce que il avoient si mespris vers celui
qu'i ne deüssent mie faire.

  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • sachiez -- verb; second person plural imperative <savoir> know -- you should know
  • que -- conjunction; <que> that -- that
  • mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very
  • furent -- verb; third person plural preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- they were
  • petit -- adjective, adverb; <petit> small, little -- little
  • plaint -- verb; perfective participle nominative plural masculine <plaindre> complain, regret, mourn -- mourned
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- by
  • la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- the
  • gent -- noun; oblique singular <gent> race, people -- people
  • por ce que -- preposition; <por> for + demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that + conjunction; <que> that -- because
  • il -- personal pronoun; third person plural nominative masculine <il> they -- they
  • avoient -- verb; third person plural imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- had
  • si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- that much
  • mespris -- verb; perfective participle oblique singular masculine <mesprendre> make a mistake, commit a crime -- been misbehaving
  • vers -- preposition; <vers> towards -- towards
  • celui -- demonstrative; oblique singular masculine <cil> that -- the one
  • qu'i -- relative pronoun; object <qui> who + personal pronoun; third person plural nominative <il> they -- to whom... they
  • ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not
  • deüssent -- verb; third person plural subjunctive imperfective <devoir> have to -- should have
  • mie -- negation; <mie> not -- ...
  • faire -- verb; infinitive <faire> make -- behaved that way

Et quant li autre chevalier Renier de Trit virent ce,
qui si prés ne li estoient mie,
cum cil qui en doterent mains la honte,
si le guerpirent, bien .LXXX. chevalier tuit ensemble,
et s'en alerent per une autre voie.

  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • quant -- conjunction; <quant> when -- when
  • li -- definite article; nominative plural masculine <li> the -- the
  • autre -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <altre> other -- other
  • chevalier -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights
  • Renier de Trit -- proper name; oblique singular <Renier de Trit> Renier de Trit -- of Renier de Trit
  • virent -- verb; third person plural preterite <veoir> see -- saw
  • ce -- demonstrative; oblique singular neuter <cil> that -- that
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- those who
  • si -- adverb; <si> thus, that way, that much -- that
  • prés -- adverb <pres> close -- close
  • ne -- negation; <ne, nen> not -- not
  • li -- personal pronoun; third person singular indirect object masculine <il> he -- to him
  • estoient -- verb; third person plural imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- were
  • mie -- negation; <mie> not -- not
  • cum -- conjunction; <com, comme> as -- as
  • cil -- demonstrative; nominative plural masculine <cil> that -- people
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> who -- who
  • en -- pronoun; inanimate <en> of it -- ...
  • doterent -- verb; third person plural preterite <doter> doubt, be afraid -- were afraid of
  • mains -- adverb; <meins, mains, moins> less, fewer -- less
  • la -- definite article; oblique singular feminine <li> the -- ...
  • honte -- noun; oblique singular <honte> shame, disgrace -- shame
  • si -- conjunction; <si> and, and thus -- ...
  • le -- personal pronoun; third person singular direct object masculine <il> he -- him
  • guerpirent -- verb; third person plural preterite <guerpir> abandon, leave -- abandoned
  • bien -- adverb; <bien> well, many, much, really -- at least
  • .LXXX. -- number; <.LXXX.> eighty -- eighty # numbers in Old French texts are preceded and followed by a dot
  • chevalier -- noun; nominative plural <chevalier> knight -- knights
  • tuit -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <tot> all, every, completely -- all
  • ensemble -- adverb; <ensemble> together -- together
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • s'en alerent -- personal pronoun; third person plural direct object <se> he + pronoun; inanimate <en> of it + verb; third person plural preterite <aler> go -- they went away
  • per -- preposition; <par> through, by, by reason of -- via
  • une -- indefinite article; oblique singular feminine <un> a -- a
  • autre -- adjective; oblique singular feminine <altre> other -- other
  • voie -- noun; oblique singular <veie> road -- road

Et Reniers de Trit remest entre les Griex a pou de gent:
que il n'avoit mie plus de .XV. chevaliers a Phynepople et a Stanemac,
qui ere uns chastiaux mult fort que il tenoit,
ou il fu puis longuement assis.

  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • Reniers de Trit -- proper name; nominative singular <Renier de Trit> Renier de Trit -- Renier de Trit
  • remest -- verb; third person singular preterite <remanoir> stay, remain, resist -- stayed
  • entre -- preposition; <entre> between, among, in the midst of -- among
  • les -- definite article; oblique plural masculine <li> the -- the
  • Griex -- proper name; oblique plural <gré, grieu, griu, gri> Greek -- Greek
  • a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- with
  • pou -- adverb; <poi, pou, pau> little, few -- few
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- ...
  • gent -- noun; oblique singular <gent> race, people -- people
  • que -- conjunction; <que> that -- because
  • il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he
  • n'avoit -- negation; <ne, nen> not + verb; third person singular imperfective <avoir, aveir> have, be -- did not... have
  • mie -- negation; <mie> not -- ...
  • plus -- adverb; <plus> more -- more
  • de -- preposition; <de> of, from -- than
  • .XV. -- number; <.XV.> fifteen -- fifteen # numbers in Old French texts are preceded and followed by a dot
  • chevaliers -- noun; oblique plural <chevalier> knight -- knights
  • a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at
  • Phynepople -- proper name; oblique singular <Phynepople> Phynepople -- Phynepople
  • et -- conjunction; <e, et, ed> and -- and
  • a -- preposition; <a, ad> to, up to, against, in, on -- at
  • Stanemac -- proper name; oblique singular <Stanemac> Stanemac -- Stanemac
  • qui -- relative pronoun; subject <qui> that -- which
  • ere -- verb; third person singular imperfective <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was
  • uns -- indefinite article; nominative singular masculine <un> a -- a
  • chastiaux -- noun; nominative singular <chastel, castel> castle -- castle
  • mult -- adverb, adjective; <molt, mult, mout> many, much, very -- very
  • fort -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <fort> strong, hard, fierce -- strong
  • que -- relative pronoun; object <qui> that -- that
  • il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he
  • tenoit -- verb; third person singular imperfective <tenir> hold, keep, seize, consider -- held
  • ou -- relative pronoun; <ou, u> where -- and where
  • il -- personal pronoun; third person singular nominative masculine <il> he -- he
  • fu -- verb; third person singular preterite <estre, iestre, aistre> be -- was
  • puis -- adverb; <puis> subsequently -- subsequently
  • longuement -- adverb; <longement> long, for a long time -- for a long time
  • assis -- verb; perfective participle nominative singular masculine <asseoir> place, set up, lay siege -- besieged

Lesson Text

Or conte li livres une grant mervoille:
que Reniers de Trit, qui ere a Finepople,
bien .IX. jornees loing de Costantinople,
et avoit bien .VIXX. chevaliers avec lui,
que Reniers ses fils le guerpi, et Giles ses freres,
et Jakes de Bondine, qui ere ses niers,
et Achars de Vercli, qui avoit sa file.

Et li tolirent bien .XXX. de ses chevaliers,
et s'en cuidoient venir en Costantinople,
et l'avoient laissié en si grant peril com voz oez.

Si troverent la terre revellee encontre els,
et furent desconfit, si les pristrent li Grieu,
qui, puis les rendirent le roi de Blakie,
qui puis aprés lor fist les testes trencier.

Et sachiez que mult furent petit plaint de la gent,
por ce que il avoient si mespris vers celui
qu'i ne deüssent mie faire.

Et quant li autre chevalier Renier de Trit virent ce,
qui si prés ne li estoient mie,
cum cil qui en doterent mains la honte,
si le guerpirent, bien .LXXX. chevalier tuit ensemble,
et s'en alerent per une autre voie.

Et Reniers de Trit remest entre les Griex a pou de gent:
que il n'avoit mie plus de .XV. chevaliers a Phynepople et a Stanemac,
qui ere uns chastiaux mult fort que il tenoit,
ou il fu puis longuement assis.

Translation

The book relates a great remarkable event:
the fact that Renier de Trit, who was at Finepople,
at least a nine-days journey away from Constantinople,
had at least one hundred and twenty knights with him,
and the fact that Reniers, his son, abandoned him with Giles, his brother,
and Jake de Bondine, who was his nephew,
and Achar de Vercli, who was married to his daughter.
And they took away from him at least thirty of his knights,
and they thought of going to Constantinople,
and they had abandoned him in such great danger, as you well understand.
And they found the country in revolt against them,
and they were defeated, and thus the Greek took them prisoner,
who subsequently handed them over to the king of Blaquie,
who afterwards ordered their heads to be cut off.
And you should know that they were very little mourned by the people,
because they had been misbehaving that much towards the one
to whom they should not have behaved that way.
And when the other knights of Renier de Trit saw that,
those who were not that close to him,
as people who were less afraid of shame,
they abandoned him, at least eighty knights all together,
and they went away via another road.
And Renier de Trit stayed among the Greek with few people:
because he did not have more than fifteen knights at Phynepople and at Stanemac,
which was a very strong castle that he held,
and where he subsequently was besieged for a long time.

Grammar

31. Interrogatives: Forms and Uses

Questions in Old French can be marked by intonation, cf.:

    il vos mescroit de moi forment
    et j'en tendrait le parlement?
    (Bér., Trist. 169-170, Lesson 5)
    'he suspects you strongly because of me and I would talk about it?'

Inversion is also found, cf.:

    Sire cumpain, faites le vos de gred?' (CdR 2000)
    'Sir companion, do you do this of free will?

In addition a series of interrogative elements are used. The Old French interrogative pronoun qui, ki traces back to Latin quis 'who' (fem. quae, and neuter quod). The paradigm in Old French is as follows:

Interrogative Pronoun, qui 'who?', que 'what?', 'which?'

    Masc/Fem.   Neuter
Nom. Sg/Pl.   qui, ki   que, ke
Nom. Sg/Pl. (str.)       quoi, coi
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl.   que, ke   que, ke
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl. (str.)   cui   quoi, quei
Indir. Obj.   cui    

Examples:

· qui nominative masculine and feminine:

    E ki serat devant mei en l'ansguarde? (CdR 748)
    'and who will be in front of me in the vanguard?'

· que direct object animate and neuter nominative and direct object, cf.:

    que fereient il el? (CdR 1185)
    'what would else would they do?'

· cui functions as a strong direct object (e.g. with a preposition) and as indirect object, cf.:

    de ço qui calt? (CdR 1806)
    'to whom is it of importance?'

This example also shows that qui and cui often are confused.

As the strong form of the neuter interrogative, quoi may be used in isolation (quoi? 'what?'), but it typically combines with prepositions, cf.:

    Pur quei me portez ire? (CdR 1723)
    'why are you angry with me?'
     
    de quei avez pesance? (CdR 832)
    'what hurts you?'

In addition, Old French has an interrogative element quant meaning 'how much, how many':

Declension of quant 'how much', 'how many'

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   quanz   quante   quant
Obl. sg.   quant   quante   quant
             
Nom. pl.   quant   quantes   -
Obl. pl.   quanz   quantes   -

And an element quel 'which, what', which has the following paradigm:

Declension of quel 'which', 'what'

    Masculine   Feminine   Neuter
Nom. sg.   quels   quel(s)   quel
Obl. sg.   quel   quel   quel
             
Nom. pl.   quel   quels   -
Obl. pl.   quels   quels   -

NB: -l- may vocalize before -s, which will give: queus

Examples:

    Par quele gent quiet il espleiter tant? (CdR 395)
    'for what people is he pretending to accomplish such things?'
     
    En quel mesure en purrai estre fiz? (CdR 146)
    'in what circumstances can I trust it?'

The reader will have noticed that interrogative elements tend to occur in clause-initial position and therefore trigger subject inversion when they do not convey subject function, cf.:

    que fereient il el? (CdR 1185)
    'what would else would they do?'

· with an interrogative adverb, cf.:

    U estes vos, bels niés (CdR 2403, Lesson 2)
    'where are you, beloved cousin?'
     
    U est vostre espee? (CdR 1363)
    'where is your sword?'
     
    cum le purrum nus faire? (CdR 1698)
    'how should we do it?'
32. Relative Pronouns: Forms and Uses

The paradigm for the relative pronoun is almost identical to that of interrogatives, cf.:

Relative Pronoun, qui 'who', que 'that, which'

    Masc/Fem.   Neuter
Nom. Sg/Pl.   qui, ki   que, ke
Nom. Sg/Pl. (str.)       quoi, coi
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl.   que   que, ke
Dir. Obj. Sg/Pl. (str.)   cui   quoi, quei
Indir. Obj.   cui    

Other elements that are used in relative clauses are:

· dont, originally an adverb of place and often used as an interrogative or relative, meaning 'from where, whence'. It may also refer to animate nouns, 'of whose'.

· lequel 'which', which spread from the 13th century onwards.

· ou, originally a relative and interrogative. It refers to animate and inanimate nouns, meaning 'where, in which, in whom'.

32.1. Function of qui as impersonal. On the whole the uses of the relative pronoun correspond to the regular functions of the cases. Yet there are a few important phenomena. One of them is the use of subject qui conveying generalizing value, often tending toward 'if one ...', 'whoever'. Cf.:

    Ki l'unt oïd remainent en grant dute (Al. 300)
    'those who heard it remain very frightened'

Many proverbs in Old French include a generalizing qui:

    qui tout tient tout pert
    'who keeps it all to himself, will lose it all' >
    'if one keeps it all to one's self, one will lose it all'

32.2. Cui is used in Old French primarily as indirect object, but is also found in the function of a direct object, a genitive, or a prepositional complement.

32.3. Regular use of relative pronouns includes the occurrence of an antecedent, cf.:

    N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne (CdR 4, Lesson 1)
    'there is no castle that resists him'

The physical distance between the antecendent and the relative pronoun may be rather lengthy:

    Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet (CdR 7, Lesson 1)
    'Marsilie holds it, who does not love God'

The antecedent ce is often deleted, cf.:

    ne sai jo que face (CdR 1982)
    'I do not know what to do'

32.4. Deletion of relative pronoun. The relative pronoun is quite often deleted after a negation, cf.:

    Ja mais n'ert hume plus volenters le serve (CdR 2254)
    'there will never be a man who will serve him more readily'
33. On

While Latin nouns that survived in Old French originally were accusatives, a few nominatives made it into (Old) French as well, cf. the difference between modern sire and seigneur, which trace back to the nominative and accusative respectively. Similarly two forms of the Latin noun homo survive, one goes back to the nominative, one is the former accusative, cf. La. homo, which survives as on 'one', and La. hominem which survives as modern French homme 'man'. We therefore observe that in the history of Old French the nominative form homo survived and grammaticalized into a pronoun; the accusative form survived as a regular noun and did not undergo a process of grammaticalization.

Grammaticalization is a type of change whereby a lexical element develops into a grammatical element: in this instance the noun homo developed into a pronominal element in French. Similarly the Latin noun mente developed into a derivational suffix in adverb formation in Romance (see Grammar Point 26). It is also possible that a grammatical element develops a stronger grammatical profile. This happened when Latin demonstratives -- with deictic value -- developed into definite articles (see Grammar Point 13).

The fact that Old French (l')on is a grammaticalized personal pronoun does not mean that the original element no longer is used as noun. The noun in question had the following declension pattern:

Declension of (l')ome

    Sg.   Pl.
Nom.   (l') (h)om,   (li) (h)ome
    (l ) on    
    (l') uem    
Obl.   (l') (h)ome   (les) (h)omes
         

Nominative singular forms, with or without definite article, occur with the generalizing meaning of 'one' from early texts onward, cf.:

    iluec paist l'um del relef de la tabla (Al. 247, Lesson 3)
    'there they feed him on the scraps of dinner'
     
    que l'an ne l'apialt recreant (Yv. 2563, Lesson 6)
    'so that one will not call him a coward'

The nominal origin of the element is reflected in the occurrence of the definite article. Since the element refers to an undetermined person or undetermined persons, on may be rendered by in translations by 'one', general 'they', or passive constructions.

In the glosses instances of (l')on have been identified as third person personal pronouns because the grammaticalization process has reached that stage in Old French.

34. Agreement

In Old French we find several processes of agreement:

· Agreement between subject and finite verb. When there are several subjects in a clause, the verb agrees with the subject that is closest, cf.:

    Karles l'oït e ses cumpaignes tutes (CdR 1757, Lesson 2)
    'Charles hears it and all his troops' >
    'Charles and all his troops hear it'

For collective subjects there is variation: sometimes the finite verb is singular sometimes it is plural:

    Quan Rollant voit la ... gent,
    ki plus sunt neirs que ... (CdR 1933-1934)
    'when Rollant sees the ... people who are more black then ...'

· Agreement between noun and adjective. The patterns in Old French are not different from those in Indo-European. A remarkable phenomenon is the declension of adjectives that are used as adverbs (see Grammar Point 26), but continue to be marked for agreement, cf.:

    tote sui sole en ceste terre (Bér., Trist. 153, Lesson 5)
    'I am completely alone in this country'

· Agreement between nouns and their determiners: there is agreement marking for case, number, and gender, cf.:

    cest mien anel (Yv. 2603)
    'this ring of mine'

· Agreement between noun and perfective participle. Agreement patterns depend on the auxiliary used in these contexts. A perfective participle that combines with the auxiliary estre 'be' will agree in case, number and gender with the subject of the clause, cf.:

    fut presentede Maximiien (Eul. 11, Lesson 4)
    'she was brought before Maximian'
     
    morz est Rollant (CdR 2397, Lesson 2)
    'Roland has died'

When the perfective participle combines with the auxiliary avoir 'have', it may agree in case, number and gender with the direct object, independently of its relative position to the participle, cf.:

    ço dist li reis que sa guere out finee (CdR 705)
    'the king says that he had finished his war'
     
    Rollant ad l'enseigne fermee (CdR 707)
    'Roland has attached the standard'
     
    Cordres ad prise e les murs peceiez (CdR 97, Lesson 1)
    'he has taken Cordres and smashed its walls'
     
    proïe avez la duchesse
    'you have robbed the duchess'

When the direct object is masculine, agreement is especially manifest when the participle follows, cf.:

    Charles li magnes ad Espaigne guastede
    les castels pris, les citez violees (CdR 703-704)
    'Charlemagne has devastated Spain,
    taken castles and violated towns'

Conversely when the direct object -- masculine or feminine -- follows the participle, there may be no agreement:

    j'ai creü vostre parole
    'I believed what you said'

The perfective participle may also agree with the direct object of an infinitive or with a direct object that is not explicit in the clause. Neuter elements (pronouns) do not feature agreement. Along these same lines, there is no agreement in compound tenses including impersonal verbs.

35. Brace Constructions

In a so-called brace construction, the finite verb and the perfective participle are separated by the direct object, cf.:

    Li empereres out sa raisun fenie (CdR 193)
    'the emperor had finished his speech'

In Grammar Point 17 it was noted that if word order in Old French already had strong SVO characteristics, there still are several archaic features, cf. for example the occurrence of SOV in subordinate clauses. Another archaism is the ordering of the direct object between the auxiliary and the perfective participle, as in:

    Li reis ad la culur muee (CdR 441)
    'the king had changed color'

This type of construction goes back to the original Latin construction in which a lexical verb 'have' combined with a direct object determined by a perfective participle, cf.:

    epistulas   scriptas   habeo
    letters-Acc.fem   written-Acc.fem.sg.   have-1sg.pers.
    'I have letters that are written'
             
    puer epistulas scriptas habet
    'the boy has letters that are written'

It would go too far to discuss the development of habeo into a Romance auxiliary, but it is clear that when habeo changed position, a so-called brace construction emerged, cf.:

    puer habet epistulas scriptas

In Old French:

    li gars a letres escrites

At later stages:

    le garçon a escrit(es) les letres

The brace construction survived in Old French for a long time: instances are still found in the 17th century. Yet in the Old French documents, one observed a gradual decline in occurrence.

Examples in Old French:

    ad sun tens uset (CdR 523)
    'he has finished his time'
     
    par tant teres ad sun cors travaillet (CdR 540)
    'he has burdened his body by all these countries'
     
    Guenes li fels ad nostre mort juree (CdR 1456)
    'Ganelon the traitor has sworn to our death'