The Syntax of the Old French Subjunctive 9783110874655, 9789027926913

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Series Practica, 220








© Copyright 1974 in The Netherlands. Mouton & Co. N.V., Publishers, The Hague. No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm or any other means, without written permission from the publishers.



The present work aims at a detailed description of the syntax of the subjunctive mood in Old French. It takes into account the most important investigations in the field of historical syntax (Nyrop, Foulet, Lerch, Gamillscheg, Tobler, etc.), supplemented by information gathered from a number of German dissertations which are no longer easily available. But I feel that its main contribution stems from the examination of a wide range of examples gathered with a view to obtaining as clear and comprehensive a picture of modal conditions in Old French as possible. This vast example material was compiled from a selection of representative works from the medieval period, both literary and non-literary. Good critical editions were used wherever available, mainly those in such series as Classiques Français du Moyen Age and Société des Anciens Textes Français. An exact indication of source, obtained through a system of abbreviations, facilitates a recheck of any example which may need to be viewed in a larger context. It has been my constant endeavor to find morphologically sure examples, and I have, in all problems of a morphological order, consulted P. Fouché: Le Verbe Français, as well as the standard French historical grammars. Examples were taken from the following texts, which are here presented in approximate chronological order: Before the 12th Century Verse 2. Cantilène de Sainte Eulalie 3. Vie de Saint Léger 4. Vie de Saint Alexis

Prose 1. Serments de Strasbourg

12th Century 5. Chanson de Roland 6. Gormont et Isembart

6 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.


Couronnement de Louis Wace : Vie de Sainte Marguerite Charroi de Nîmes Chrétien de Troyes: Le Chevalier de la Charrete Chrétien de Troyes : Yvain Piramus et Tisbé Guemes de Pont-Sainte-Maxence: Vie de Saint Thomas Becket. Marie de France: Lais Roman de Renart (première branche) 13th Century

17. Vie de Sainte Eustache (en vers)

16. Robert de Clari: Conqueste de Constantinople 18. Queste del Saint Graal. 19. Fille du Comte de Ponthieu 20. Aucassin et Nicolette

21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

Roman de la Rose Rutebeuf : Miracle de Théophile Garçon et VAveugle Chastelaine de Vergi Adam de le Halle : Jeu de la Feuillée I4th Century

27. Jehan Maillart: Comte d'Anjou 26. H. de Mondeville: Chirurgie 28. Passion du Palatinus 29. Guillaume de Machaut: Dit dou Vergier 30. Miracles de Nostre Dame 31. Gace de la Buigne: Roman des Déduis 32. Froissart: Méliador 33. Estoire de Griseldis 15th Century 34. Christine de Pisan: Dit de la Pastoure 38. Charles d'Orléans: Poésies

35. Christine de Pisan: Livre de la Paix 36. Quinze Joies de Mariage



39. François Villon: Grand Testament 37. Alain Chartier: Quadrilogue Invectif 40. Maistre Pierre Pathelin 41. Jehan de Paris 42. Jean Molinet: Faictz et Dictz. Both prose and verse are found in items 20 and 42. A simple prose marks the document labeled number 1. In items 35 and 37, there is a political tone demanding action ; in 26, a scientific prose ; in 36, deeply ironic prose ; in 21, allegorical and didactic verses; and in 31, scientific-didactic poetry. Chrétien de Troyes (10, 11) colors his poetry with psychological probings and mannerisms, whereas the epics exhibit a mixture of the dramatic and the simple narrative verse (5, 6, 7, 9). A simple narrative verse style is found in items 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 24, 27, 32, 38; a simple prose narrative style is seen in 16, 18, 19, 41 ; a Latin background, typical of the later grandi rhétoriqueurs is shown in 29, 34, 42. Items 22, 23, 25, 28, 30, 33 and 40 represent a dramatic style in verse. The items chosen for analysis, then, represent each of the centuries and all the various styles, as well as all major genres, found in medieval French literature. The greater number of chosen metrical texts (31) as compared to prose (9) was dictated by the availability of good editions. The inclusion of poetic material is important, since considerations of assonance, rhyme or rhythm may conceivably do some violence to the norm. For the earliest periods of the language, the available material is, of course, rather scarce. From the 12th century on, when texts are more plentiful, I have endeavored to have each century equally well represented. The source material should thus offer a true picture of the subjunctive's syntax in the written literature of the Old French period. The coverage is limited to Old French, a term which here is taken in its widest acceptation so as to include the early Renaissance. It opens with Les Serments de Strasbourg of 842 and closes about the year 1500 with Jean Molinet's Faictz et Dictz. Syntactic changes occurring after that date may occasionally be outlined, especially in cases where they present a particular interest. At the far end of an evolution which eventually leads to Modern French are Classical and Vulgar Latin, which fact poses the delicate question as to how far back one should go in order to explain fully the various syntactic phenomena in French. Are they but the result of a direct influence from Latin ? Or are they to be examined and understood as an inherent characteristic of French alone? It is the second alternative which offers the soundest basis to work on; it permits us to explain French facts through French sources and thus helps us avoid the danger of what Charles de Boer terms "la superstition du latin". Modal conditions in Latin are outlined whenever a comparison may be of general interest, but it is clear from the above that no direct cause-to-effect relationship is necessarily expressed. For a detailed description of Latin modal syntax, one must turn to Latin syntacticians, for such a task lies outside the domain of French research. In contrast with Foulet's stated goal, in the preface of his Petite Syntaxe de VAncien



Français, of presenting a static picture of syntactic conditions in Medieval French at an arbitrarily chosen point of its development, the present work emphasizes the evolutionary aspect of the problem, yet it follows Foulet's ideas insofar as it does not stress Old French syntax as a merely preparatory stage, of interest only because of the end result — Modern French. The present work is entirely of a descriptive nature and is limited to a discussion of modal usage alone with no allowance made for a study of tense sequence or other related problems. It opens with a brief introduction on the subjunctive mood, which stresses the difference between the groups of volition and doubt, thus suggesting a division which is important to any historical study of the French subjunctive. I have not found it desirable to list all the examples gathered, since such a method would lead to cumbersome repetitions; instead, my policy with reference to the selection of examples has been to represent all syntactic usages and to discuss all deviations, apparent or real, from the norm. The described examples are listed in abbreviated title form and in approximate chronological order with exact indication of source. A bibliography presents the secondary source material utilized directly in this study. Boulder, Colorado November, 1971

Frede Jensen








A. The volitive subjunctive 1. In Expressions of Wish 2. Expressing Order, Exhortation, Counsel, etc 3. Special Cases B. The Polemic Subjunctive

16 16 17 18 19

C. The Concessive Subjunctive 1. Soit 2. The Disjunctive Subjunctive D. The Subjunctive of Doubt

20 20 20 22

E. In a Conditional Relationship


F. Parataxis




A. Desired Quality or Characteristic


B. Negative Antecedent 1. The Antecedent Contains a Negation 2. The Antecedent Contains no Formal Negation 3. Que — ne 4. Parataxis 5. The Subjunctive Is Concessively Colored 6. The Indicative

25 25 26 26 26 27 27

C. Antecedent Expressing Doubt 1. Interrogation 2. Condition

27 27 27



3. Negation + si 4. Special Cases

28 28

D. Antecedent Is a Superlative 1. The Mood Is the Subjunctive 2. The Mood Is the Indicative 3. The Indicative of pouvoir 4. The Subjunctive of pouvoir 5. Superlative Adverbs 6. Related Words 7. The Type: un des bons dîners que faie faits

28 29 29 30 30 30 31 31

E. Relative Without Antecedent




A. Volition 1. Will or Desire 2. Order, Command, Request, Plea, Exhortation 3. Aim, Effort, Purpose, Endeavor 4. Prevention, Precaution 5. Prohibition 6. Permission, Acceptance, Compliance, Consent, Concession . . . 7. Promise, Guarantee 8. Agreement

33 33 35 36 37 40 40 41 41

B. Judgment 1. Necessity 2. Advice 3. Blame, Reproach 4. Subjective Judgment

42 42 42 43 43

C. Emotion 1. The Conjunction is que 2. De ce, de ce que 3. Dont 4. De quoi 5. Quant 6. Se (si)

45 46 47 48 48 49 49

D. Fear 1. With ne 2. Without ne 3. Ne Omitted after Negative Main Clause 4. The Indicative after Expressions of Fearing

49 50 50 50 50



E. Certainty, Uncertainty, Doubt, Denial 1. Certainty 2. Probability 3. Possibility and Doubt 4. Impossibility

51 51 53 60 66

F. The Preceding que — Clause






A. Temporal Clauses 1. Posteriority 2. Simultaneity 3. Anteriority B. Causal Clauses 1. Comme 2. The Negated Causal Conjunction 3. The Appended Justification C. Final Clauses D. Consecutive Clauses E. Concessive Clauses 1. The Indefinite Relative Clause 2. The Concessive Conjunctions 3. The Concession Refers to a Predicate 4. Conditional Concession F. Adversative Clauses

71 71 71 72 79 79 80 80 81 84 88 88 92 95 97 99

G. Conditional Clauses 1. The Conjunction si (Old French se) 2. Other Conjunctions

101 101 108

H. Comparative Clauses 1. The Hypothetic (Conditional) Comparative Clause 2. Comparisons of Equality or Inequality I. Modal (or Circumstantial) Clauses

110 110 112 115


A. The Infinitive Construction B. Modal Auxiliaries C. Subjunctive by Attraction V I I . SUMMARY OF RESULTS

1. The Subjunctive in the Main Clause


118 118 119 120




2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The Subjunctive The Subjunctive The Subjunctive The Subjunctive Special Cases

in in in in

the the the the

Adjectival Clause Substantival Clause Indirect Question Adverbial Clause

120 121 122 122 124










Verbal moods are expressed through certain morphological changes which enable the writer (or speaker) to express different attitudes to an action or a happening. The primary function of the indicative is to indicate objectivity, to give factual information. The subjunctive mood describes an action or a happening as merely possible, imagined, wanted, desired, or not wanted; it conveys a subjective coloring and cannot serve as an objective statement of facts. What is the basic function of the subjunctive ? Is it possible to establish a common denominator which will encompass all areas of this mood and set it sufficiently apart from other moods ? Various definitions have been advanced, but they all seem to share the drawback of being too vague to be of much value in a descriptive work. Some grammarians have defined the subjunctive as the mood of psychological subordination. 1 Nevertheless, the subjunctive has its own modal value beyond its subordinating role, nor is it restricted to the subordinate clause. Gröber also ascribes only one function to the subjunctive, that of forming a contrast with the indicative. The indicative is the mood of perception, the subjunctive the mood of projection. The subjunctive expresses "etwas nicht wahrgenommenes, nur im Geist des Redenden vorhandenes, nur vorgestelltes Sein und Geschehen".2 To H. Soltmann, another proponent of a one-value theory, the subjunctive represents a "Spiegelung des Gefühls der Unsicherheit".3 Of more interest for our purpose is the two-value theory which stems from the dual origin of the Latin subjunctive, in which the Indo-European subjunctive and optative are merged. The notion of wish is derived from the optative, whereas the subjunctive proper mainly expresses doubt. Since French (like Latin) does not keep these two moods morphologically apart, the result is one form with two different functions: wish and doubt. There are proponents of theories that operate with three basic functions : Tobler and Bischoff, who divide the area of the subjunctive into desire, doubt and hypothesis, 1 2 3

C. de Boer, Syntaxe du français moderne (Leiden, 1947), 214. Ernst Gamillscheg, Historische französische Syntax (Tübingen, 1957), 487. H. Soltmann, Syntax der Modi im modernen Französischen (Halle, 1914), 4.



and also Lucking, who suggests a different division into volition, doubt and concession.4 Such threefold divisions, however, do not seem to correspond to basic functional differences in the language. The problem of the intrinsic value of the subjunctive mood is a very complex one, and it cannot be adequately treated in a work which aims at syntactic description rather than at what eventually turns into psychological or philosophical interpretations. The reader is referred to a number of scholars, such as Lerch5 who renewed the entire problem with his theory of the subjunctive of the psychological subject; De Boer,6 Van den Molen, Damourette et Pichon, Kalepky,7 etc. The dual character of the French subjunctive seems to reveal itself in a certain difference in resistance which exists between the two groups, the subjunctive of volition being more strongly rooted than the subjunctive of doubt. It is within the latter group that the main changes occur. It must, finally, be pointed out that in spite of all fluctuations in its use, the French subjunctive shows no sign of weakness. "Rien, absolument rien, ne fait prévoir que la forme du subjonctif soit menacée de périr" (F. Brunot).8

4 5 8 7 8

E. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi im Französischen (Leipzig, 1919), 6-15. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 6-15. C. de Boer, Syntaxe, 245ff. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 487. F. Brunot, La Pensée et la Langue (Paris, 1936), 519.


In Old French, the subjunctive is used in the main clause with or without que, the form without que being the more ancient type, and surviving in Modern French only in a few petrified formulas. Que is a morpheme which, in addition to verbal endings, announces a subjunctive. Its role is essential above all where no clear endings would otherwise separate the subjunctive from the indicative, and it may have spread from such cases to a more general use so that, in analogy with je tremble — que je tremble, we also get je pars — que je parte. This has brought about a situation where que is felt to be an inherent morphological part of the subjunctive, as shown in many normative French grammars which list the subjunctive forms preceded by a que. The origin of this que morpheme is not clear. It may simply be the French counterpart of Latin ut(inam) which was used with an optative subjunctive down through the Silver Age. Cf. this example from Terence: "Ut ilium di deaeque ... perdant!". The following sentences, both from Cicero, show that Latin admitted constructions with or without utinam: "Ualeant ciues mei". "Utinam ilium diem uideam!" 1 Some scholars believe this que to be the conjunction of noun clauses, the que complètif, so S. de Vogel2 who maintains that que changes the main clause into a subordinate clause, as far as the form is concerned. By following this line of thought, we arrive at a theory of elliptical expressions, according to which the que-clause appears as depending on a main clause which, though formally omitted, is nevertheless present in the writer's (or speaker's) mind. However, a clause like Qu'il partel constitutes a fully sufficient expression which does not need the support of a Je veux or any similar expression of volition. Consequently, it may be considered a fully independent clause. According to Lercb,3 the oldest occurrences of que are to be interpreted as final conjunctions. Graime Ritchie4 follows Lerch in his interpretation of que, but he 1 2 8 4

A. Ernout and F. Thomas, Syntaxe latine (Paris, 1953), 239-40. K. Sneyders de Vogel, Syntaxe historique du Français (Groningen and The Hague, 1927), 156. E. Lerch, Historische französische Syntax, (Leipzig, 1925-1934), vol. 1, 247. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 248-49.



points to other sources as well, especially the consecutive conjunction. For further mention of Lerch's theory, see below.


1. In Expressions of Wish a. The subjunctive which is in the present tense denotes wishes that can be satisfied. The normal construction in Old French is without que: Alexis 410 La toue aneme seit el ciel assolude! Wace 714 Dex nos face de nos pechiés quite. Yvain 5933 Des vos saut! Miracles II, 1079 Loez en soit saint Nicolas. Villon 231 Repos aient en paradis. Molinet XXIV, 2, 148 Vive le roy d'ans plus d'ung million! With two coordinated subjunctives : GriseIdis 276

Dieu vous croisse loz, Et vous doint honneur, paix et joye!

With que: There are very few examples of this in the earliest periods of Old French; the Chanson de Roland and earlier texts do not present this construction, but it appears in opening formulas of the French epic after the Roland, It is this que which Lerch interprets as a final conjunction: "Oez veraie estorie que Deus vos beneie" {que — 'afin que'). 5 He seems to have a good argument in the isolated occurrence of que in this type of clause. An example of the epic formula: Louis 1 oiez, seignor, que Deus vos seit aidanz! Outside of these formulas, no other examples were found before the 14th century; from then on, the construction with que constantly gains ground. In Classical French, que is fairly well generalized, and in Modern French it is used everywhere, except for a few formulas which retain the Old French form, such as Vive la Francel Miracles 1068 Qu'auoree soit nostre dame. Miracles III, 1 que Dieu beneiçon Vous doint. Pathelin 984 pour Dieu, qu'il me soit pardonné. b. The subjunctive in the past tense indicates wishes that have less chance of being complied with or which cannot be fulfilled. Often, we have an expression of regret or resignation rather than a genuine wish. A past subjunctive is also found in Latin, as shown by this example from Cicero: "utinam ... istam calliditatem hominibus di ne dedissent!"6 Que is never found if the subjunctive is in the past tense: 5 6

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 247. Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 241.



Chartier 30,4 Voulsist Dieu que chascun eust toujours eu le bien publique ... devant les yeulx. Paris 79,32 Pleust a Dieu que vous y eussiez esté. c. The wish may take the form of an imprecation or a curse. Without que : Roland 1958 Paiens, mal aies tu! Nîmes 736 Dieus confonde ton chief! Renart 338 la male flame t'arde! Garçon 41 tes cors ait dehait. Pathelin 1303 Sanglante fievre te doint Dieu! With que: One example was found already in Chrétien de Troyes (Lancelot 3220); it cannot be interpreted as containing a final que, as was the case with the abovementioned epic formula. A construction with que does not seem uncommon in the 13th century. Lancelot 3220 Que Dex le confonde. Aucassin 4,4 Que la tere soit maleoite, dont ele fu amenée en cest pais! Passion 847 que mal feu li arde! Ch.O. 83,6 que maudite soit elle! 2. Expressing Order, Exhortation, Counsel, etc. The subjunctive may function as an equivalent of the imperative, especially in the third person where it compensates for the deficiencies in the imperative which is used only in direct address to person(s) present. This subjunctive, however, is also encountered in persons other than the third, as shown by examples below. At times, the notions of order and wish are not easily kept apart. In Latin, the subjunctive also functions as the imperative of the third person: faciat = 'qu'il fasse'. Exhortations in the first person plural are expressed in the indicative in French (allons), whereas Latin shows a subjunctive (eamus). The normal construction in Old French is without que: Becket 4088 Face li ço que firent as suens si anceisur ( = 'qu'on lui fasse ...'). Rose 1992 Faites i clef, si l'emportez, E la clef soit en leu d'ostages. Queste 267,13 Cil qui ne doivent seoir a la table Jhesu-crist si s'en aillent. Villon 38 S'il ne la scet, voise l'aprendre. Pathelin 366 Par my le col soye pendu s'il n'est blanc comme ung sac de piastre! The construction without que has survived in Modem French when the subject of the main verb is a relative clause: Qui m'aime me suive = 'que celui qui m'aime me suive'. It is possible, through the subjunctive, to express an order with an impersonal verb :



Queste 92,11 Or vos soviegne que vos me devez un guerredon ( = 'qu'il vous souvienne ...'). One example with que was found in 12th century literature, the others are from the 14th-15th centuries: Piramus 98 se tu m'as de riens chiere, Que Tisbé n'isse fors de l'us. Passion 1355 S'il est si hardiz qu'il i viegne! Villon 1589 Qui la trouvera d'aventure, Qu'on luy lise ceste ballade. Pathelin 811 Or tost! que je soye payé. The subjunctive may express orders of a more general type or put forth in indirect discourse, precepts, directions to be followed, etc. This subjunctive can express paratactically the condition which is necessary for the fulfillment of the action of the main clause, a phenomenon which is particularly common with vienne. In Modern French vienne, a petrified formula, shows inversion and often remains unchanged : vienne des temps difficiles, quoted from Barrés by H. Soltmann.7 Examples found are all without que: Becket 847 Tuit ensemble li dient : tienge sei fermement, Od lui tendront par tut. Elid 1125 De sa tere li doint partie U ele face une abeie ; Cele prenge qu'il eime tant. Gace 523 Les plates soient bien clouees. 3. Special Cases a. Puisse. The use of a periphrastic puisse is common in Old French; it originates from an analytical tendency which was strong already in Vulgar Latin, where the use of auxiliary verbs was widespread. Latin seems to prefer debere, French pouvoir, a verb which may have undergone a semantic change from something possible to something desired. It is used both in case of a wish and an imprecation. Louis 670 Mahom te puisse aidier! Theophile 305 Deable i puissent part avoir! Griseldis 689 Mau Saint Lou les puisse mengier! Pathelin 1253 Je puisse Dieu desavouer se ce n'estes vous. An additional que morpheme does not seem needed and is also extremely rare with puisse in Old French. One example was found: Pathelin 335 qu'il puist estre pendu! b. Se (ce, si) + an independent subjunctive. A wish can also be introduced by se (sometimes written ce) or si in Old French. The origin of this se seems to be the 7

Soltmann, Syntax der Modi, 42-44.



adverb sic, as shown by the occasional use of ainsi instead of se. It is important to keep in mind that se does not represent a conditional relationship; its function is normally to introduce a guarantee of the truth of the information contained in the main clause. It is particularly common in the formula: Se m'ait Deus (with or without inversion). Yvain 6352 se Des m'ait, Trop avez grant tort de ce dire. Anjou 4128 Si m'aïst Dex et sainte Fois. Miracles 174 Se Diex me doint bonne sepmaine, Dame, je ne m'en puis tenir. Quinze Joies 35 Ce m'aist Dieu. c. An independent subjunctive in a relative clause. An independent subjunctive may be contained within the framework of the non-defining relative clause. This subjunctive is fully independent and not caused by the antecedent as in the defining relative clause. Yvain 3856 Li fel jaianz, cui Des confonde, A non Harpins de la Montaingne. Rose 2825 Mais uns vilains, qui grant honte ait, Près d'ilueques repoz estoit. Miracles 111,428 La doulce vierge le sequeure, Qui s'ame mette en paradiz! B. THE POLEMIC SUBJUNCTIVE

A subjunctive which is generally termed polemic is used in the repetition of a command to denote a controversial attitude: Theophile 577 Rent la chartre que du clerc as, Quar tu as fait trop vilain cas. Je la vous rande! In other instances, the subjunctive has an exclamatory value; it may indicate a menace: Lancelot 6887 II l'est venuz querre et il l'ait. A deliberative subjunctive is used in questions concerning a decision which has to be made : Lancelot 6925 je por coi i alasse ? Cornant, por quel reison cuidasse que il s'an poïst estre issuz? These various uses of the subjunctive are, no doubt, of mixed origin, and it is often difficult to determine their basic value. Most of them exist also in Latin. Cf. Terence : "quid igitur faciam? non earn?" (deliberative subjunctive); and Plautus: "tibi ego rationem reddam?" 8 ( = 'moi, te rendre des comptes?'; exclamatory subjunctive, indicating protest). 8

Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 242.



This subjunctive is basically of the same nature as the volitive subjunctive. Bischoff and Kowalski separate the two groups, yet Bischoff's definition of concession: "Der Wunsch äussert sich abgeschwächt in einem Ausdruck der Einräumung, des Zugestehens",9 clearly implies a difference in degree only, and not in essence. Treated here are soit and the disjunctive subjunctive. Other cases of the concessive subjunctive are found in what formally must be termed a main clause, so a past subjunctive with inversion (dût-il), so also various combinations of adverbs and an independent subjunctive (encore, tant, etc.). For practical purposes, however, these groups are discussed under concessive subordination. An independent concessive subjunctive develops in classical Latin prose with the verb esse; cf. Cicero: "sit fur, sit sacrilegus ... at est bonus imperator ac felix".10 1. Soit This form, which is retained in Modern French, indicates acceptance. Feuillée 646 Soit par Dieu. Mais nous ne savons Ki chieus est. Miracles 111,975 Or soit; mettons nous a la voye. 2. The Disjunctive Subjunctive The normal way of expressing an alternative — apart from ou — ou which is of no modal interest — is through soit — soit, which is still widely used and which, in the course of time, has lost most of its verbal character. Old French is characterized by a great variety of expressions serving to formulate an alternative, a richness which Modern French no longer has. a. Soit — soit Rose 5979 Par la, seit estez, seit ivers, S'en cueurent dui fleuve divers. Anjou 5895 Soit a Orlienz, soit a Paris. Quinze Joies 33 car la darraine parole me demourra, soit tort, soit droit. An example with several disjunctive subjunctives: Molinet V11,4,37 C'est vostre fort ... Soit droit ou tort, soit bel, soit lait, soit ort. b. Soit — ou soit; ou soit — ou soit Lanval 216 U seit par jur u seit par nuit, S'amie peot veer sovent. 9 10

H. Johannssen, Der Ausdruck des Concessivverhältnisses im Altfranzösischen (Kiel, 1884), 39. Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 235.



Rose 5669 Ne juige de quelconques guise, Seit seculer ou seit d'iglise, N'ont pas les eneurs pour ce faire. c. Soit — ou. A second soit is not expressed; we have ou alone. This type is particularly common in the 14th and 15th centuries. Rose 1986 Car il covient, soit maus ou biens, Que il face vostre plaisir. Ch.O. 165,17 En gré prendray, soit mieulx ou pis, L'ostellerie de Pensee. Examples with several coordinated disjunctives : Gace 347 Car, quant chevauchent leur chemin, Soit ou a soir ou a matin Ou a mi jour ou autrement ... Il les retire(nt). Quinze Joies 99 mais je ne scey que noz biens deviennent, soit argent, soit blé, vin ou aultres choses. d. Vueil — vueil. Vouloir may be used like soit — soit, with weakened verbal character, to indicate an alternative. Both examples found show a repetition of the verb: Conqueste VI,32 nous vous mesrons en quele tere que vous vaurrés, veuillés en Babyloine, veuillés en Alexandre. Vergier 291 Je les donne, vueil haut, vueil bas, Sans garder raison ne compas. e. Vueillet o non. Vouloir has kept its full verbal meaning here, and the alternative is between vouloir and the negation non. The subjunctive is the norm. Alexis 597 Vueillent on non, sil laissent enfodir. Becket 792 Voile li reis u nun, la l'estuet enveier Eveskes e barons. Miracles 1,185 Ce sera fait, vueillez ou non. Pisan 1560 Vueille ou non, d'un seul me souvient. Morphologically, the following example seems to show an indicative : Roland 1659 Voelent o non si guerpissent lo champ. But voelent should, no doubt, be interpreted as a subjunctive. Such a confusion could easily occur with a verb like vouloir which shows an enormous variety of forms, and where / is frequently encountered as a mere graph for palatalized /. Johanssen states categorically11 that the subjunctive is used exclusively in this type of sentence, and he interprets the few apparent indicatives as subjunctives, even an extreme case like this example which he quotes from Alixandre Le Tort : ou ele veut ou non. f. Estre bel, estre lait, plaire, desplaire. The subjunctive is used exclusively. Vouloir is also found in connection with these verbs. 11

Johannssen, Der Ausdruck des Concessivverhàltm'sses, 41-44.



Piramus 298 Li diex d'amour le me consente, Ou bel me soit ou m'en repente, Qu'entre mes bras encor le sente. Biscl 275 Le reis demande la despoille, U bel li seit, u pas nel voille. Lanval 386 U eus seit bel u eus seit lait, Comunement i sunt alé. Anjou 1859 Ou li soit bel ou li desplaise II soufferra cette mesaise. g. Other types. The use of verbs other than those already mentioned is rare. An occasional se repentir was found in connection with est re bel; see above example from Piramus (v. 298). Daigner was mostly found in a past tense. Here is an isolated example with avoir : Quinze Joies 30 pour ce en convient avoir, en ait ou non. h. The imperfect subjunctive. Of the various types of alternative subjunctives listed, those containing être and vouloir may appear in the imperfect subjunctive to indicate a past state as opposed to the present or future state rendered by a present tense. This is not too common with être because of the weakened verbal character of soit — soit, but is rather frequent with vouloir and daigner. Lancelot 1156 Volsist ou non, le dresce an haut. Laustic 51 Mes de tant aveient retur, U fust par nuit u fust par jur, Que ensemble poeient parler. Conqueste XXII,43 si le corona lues esraument, vausist ou ne dengnast. Pisan 1488 Car mon cuer s'y adonnoit ... Voulsisse ou non.


This subjunctive is used in a main clause in the expressions que je sache Je ne sache pas, as well as with a few related verbs, such as se souvenir, se membrer. A similar subjunctive exists in Latin: quod sciam. The que, contained in que je sache, appears to be a relative, judging from the expression se souvenir which, with its use of don(t), furnishes an indication of the value of que. Que expresses an indefinite quantity: 'as much as, as far as', and is consequently related to the indefinite relative clause. There is no antecedent, but we also find the related phrase autant que je sache, treated below under the indefinite relative clause and the comparative clause. A notion of modesty and precaution is contained in this subjunctive, through which the writer (or speaker) expresses a reserved judgment. Yvain 5791 Qu'onques chose, que a mal taingne, Ne deïstes, don moi sovaingne. Renart 855 il n'avoit ne buef ne vache ne autre beste que je sache. Quinze Joies 24 car c'est la femme que je sache qui plus se haste de s'en venir.



According to Meyer-Lubke,12 the indicative is used exclusively in expressions of similar meaning in Modern French except for the phrase que je sache. However, the examples he gives in support of this argument are not phonetically convincing (que je pense, que je crois), and que je pense does not even reveal its modality orthographically. Tobler quotes an example with savoir in the indicative: "que je bien sai". 13 He maintains that the subjunctive is used only after a negation, but it is difficult to see why such a close relationship should exist between the two clauses, que being a relative without antecedent. Against Tobler's theory speaks the above example from Quinze Joies, which has no negation, yet uses a subjunctive. The imperfect subjunctive, que je suise, used about a state in the past, is very infrequent: Queste 98,4 ne vos ne m'aviez meffet que je seusse. E. IN A CONDITIONAL RELATIONSHIP

This subjunctive, of the order of the subjunctive of doubt or, possibly, of volition, is treated under conditional subordination due to the strong interdependence between main clause and conditional clause. Strictly speaking, there is neither main clause nor subordination; the two clauses together form a conditional sentence. F. PARATAXIS

Parataxis is the placing of clauses one after another without any indication of the relationship among them. It is an extremely common phenomenon in Old French, but has lost favor in modern times because of its lack of clarity. Less precise than hypotaxis (formal subordination through conjunctions), it is mainly found in the spoken language, but also in literary works, especially when they cultivate a popular style. An example will illustrate the nature of the paratactic construction as well as the special problem it presents as to modality: Roland 295 Prez sui, por vus le face. Although there is no formal indication of the relationship between the two clauses, the subjunctive face is not independent, but determined by Prez, as shown by the fact that we find a parallel construction with que. The two clauses are not on the same level, and it is therefore legitimate to treat such cases under subordination. Normally, the conjunction to be supplied is que, a word which, because of its multiple values in Old French, can add very little towards semasiological clarity. 18

W. Meyer-Lubke, Grammaire des Langues romanes, Rabiet translat. (Heidelberg, 1908-192P vol. 3, 749-50. 13 Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 220-21.



Relative clauses are either defining or non-defining. The defining relative clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence; its purpose is to limit or define the antecedent of the relative pronoun or adverb, whereas the non-defining clause gives only additional but not essential information. It is so loosely connected with the main clause that its choice of mood is not determined by its subordination; in other words, the only subjunctive we can have in a non-defining relative clause is an independent subjunctive of the optative type. An example of such a subjunctive : Yvain 3856 Li fel jaianz, cui Des confonde, A non Harpins de la Montaingne. This section deals only with the defining relative clause where the use of the subjunctive depends on the presence of a certain type of antecedent in the main clause, implying a higher degree of subordination. The indefinite relative clause is treated under concessive subordination.


The subjunctive, which is here of the volitive type, is used in the relative clause to convey a notion of doubt concerning the existence of the quality sought. As a further indication of uncertainty, the antecedent is normally indefinite: a noun preceded by the indefinite article or used without any article, an indefinite pronoun, etc. A construction with a definite antecedent (i.e. je cherche Vhomme qui ...) usually indicates an already existing quality and takes the indicative, as no doubt is implied. Alexis 25 Enfant nos done qui seit a ton talent. Anjou 813 Querons un lieu qui soit hors voie. Related to this group are the cases where the subjunctive has potential value : Yonec 19 Femme prist pur enfanz aveir, Qui après lui fuissent si heir ( = 'pourraient être').



Queste 14,16 il troverent que de toz les compaignons de la Table Reonde qui armes portassent n'en avoit il remés que deus qu'il n'eust abatuz ( = 'pourraient porter'). Aucassin IV, 11 Je l'avoie acatee ... si li donasse un baceler qui du pain li gaignast par honor ( = 'pourrait lui gagner'). Final relative clauses are found in Latin, where they appear with a volitive subjunctive; cf. Cato: "fenum ... conditio ... quod edint boues". 1 A similar example from Old French: Leger 221

quatr omnes i tramist armez que lui alessunt decoller.

Another mixed construction in Old French is the consecutive relative clause, also with a volitive subjunctive. Lancelot 4030 ses filz ... si lor comandoit que sor mes plaies me meïssent tex oignemanz qui m'oceïssent. Renart 162 noz foces ... furent toutes de bestes plaine, ... que a grant paine poissent tant de vuit trover ou une oue poïst couver.


In a relative clause with negative antecedent, the subjunctive is used to convey a notion of doubt and uncertainty. This group is related to group A, insofar as both deal with desired characteristics. In group B it is stated that the desired quality or condition does not exist. The subjunctive is the norm. Often, the subjunctive has a potential value, as in Yvain 6568 vos n'avez, Qui deffande vostre fontainne ( = 'qui puisse défendre'). Potential value is also encountered in Latin; cf. nihil est quo me recipiam ( = 'je n'ai pas d'endroit où je puisse me réfugier'). 1. The Antecedent Contains a Negation (ne, nul, rien, etc.). Strasb 4 Et ab Ludher nul plaid numquam prindrai qui meon uol cist meon fradre Karle in damno sit. Leger 31 Ne fud nuls om del son iuuent, qui mieldre fust donc a ciels tiemps. Roland 750 N'avez baron ki mielz de lui la facet. Theophile 19 N'est riens c'on por avoir ne face. Examples without a substantival or pronominal antecedent; the word to be supplied, in the examples listed, is personne : 1

Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 336.



Yvain 6558 Ne troveroiz, qui s'antremete De vos eidier a cest besoing. Renart 349 et je ne truis qui droit m'en face. 2. The Antecedent Contains no Formal Negation Instead of a formal negation, we sometimes find a word or a group of words which imply negation or restriction, such as sans, peu, etc. The mood is also here the subjunctive. Queste 26,24 il chevaucha trois jors ou quatre sanz aventure trover qui face a amentevoir en conte. Chartier 8,15 et pou de fleurs de liz y apparissoient qui ne fussent debrisees ou salies. 3. Que — ne. It is often difficult to determine, with this construction, whether we have a relative clause or a subordinate clause of the modal type; in the latter case, que — ne is equivalent to sans que. A relative que seems to be contained in Roland 915 Ja mais n'iert jorz que Charles ne se plaignet ( = 'pas de jour où'). On the other hand, it is equally possible to interpret the clause as pas de jour sans que. A modal subordinate clause of this type exists already prior to the Chanson de Roland. Our main problem when trying to decide on the nature of this construction stems from the poor guidance which the relative itself can offer us, que being used as a mere variant of the subject pronoun qui, as shown below : Roland 982 Piedre n'i at que tote ne seit neire. Roland 1496 Beste n'est nule ki encontre lui alget. In v. 1496, the subject form of the relative pronoun is ki; in v. 982, que has exactly the same function. Que may have spread from its original use as a neutral subject form or a predicate via clauses which show an abstract or a collective antecedent to a more general use as a subject form. It is, of course, also possible to interpret que as being part of the modal que — ne construction, the more so as the examples seem to follow a pattern according to which que is used as a subject form only in connection with ne. However, the example material is not ample enough to permit any definite conclusions on this issue. 4. Parataxis Parataxis poses the same problem of interpretation that faced us with que — ne. The construction is not always quite clear although, in most cases, the relative structure seems to be reinforced by a stressed antecedent.



Lancelot 5202 N'i a nul qui la novele oie, ne soit dolanz et esperduz, de Lancelot qui est perduz. Yvain 6132 N'i a celui, ne soit bleciez. Renart 1764 N'i a celui n'aie fait honte. The last example is unquestionably relative, the pronoun to be supplied here being cut, as shown by aie. 5. The Subjunctive Is Concessively Colored A relative clause, depending on a negative antecedent, may contain a concessively colored subjunctive; such clauses are of the indefinite relative type. Yvain 3757 Que vos avez tant fet por moi, Certes, que faillir ne vos doi A nul besoing, que vos aiiez. 6. The Indicative The indicative is not normally used after a negative antecedent, and no examples were found. H. Soltmann2 gives an example from Modern French, where the indicative is used to denote a fact: "Il n'y en a pas un dont la voix n'a pas la tremblote". Becket 3332

N'est mie sages hum qui la volt trebuchier.

This example does not contain a restrictive, negative antecedent, since qui is here taken in a general sense, being equivalent to celui qui.


Under this convenient heading are grouped cases which, although not essentially different from groups A and B above, normally contain a further indication of uncertainty in the form of various syntactic devices, such as an interrogative or a conditional clause. Most examples show a negative meaning and are but special cases of group B; others, in which volition prevails, are closely related to group A. 1. Interrogation Theophile 421 Ha! las, ou est li lieus qui me puisse souffere? Ch.O. 53,10 Que me savez vous dire d'elle Dont me puisse reconforter? 2. Condition Eus tache 1103 Et s'il i avoit chevalier Quil voille querre ne cerchier, Mout li crestroiee son trestor. 2

Soltmann, Syntax der Modi, 63.



Ch.O. 26,37 S'il est aucun qui soit prins de tristesse Voise veoir son doulx maintenement. 3. Negation + si In the case of a negation, combined with an indication of degree, we may have a relative clause instead of consecutive subordination, probably a contamination of: il n'y a pas de bête qui + il n'y a pas de bête si hardie que. Such mixed constructions are not uncommon in Old French. Renart 370 puis n'i ot si hardie beste ... qui poor n'ait. Molinet XI,16 N'est si long jour qui ne vienne a le nuit. 4. Special Cases In some instances, the lack of an article helps express uncertainty. It is Nyrop's contention 3 that the subjunctive is used, depending on an antecedent without any article, when the noun is taken in a general sense. The example he gives is Alexis 207 "Si fait ma medre plus que feme qui vivet." It would seem that the choice of mood is prompted by an element of doubt, probably combined with some concessive coloring, as in the following example : Quinze Joies 17 vous serez ... la mieux abillee que femme qui y soit.


Both the indicative and the subjunctive are found in relative clauses depending on an adjective in the superlative. The indicative is used to denote an objective fact, whereas the subjunctive brings out an element of uncertainty or puts forth a subjective statement. The subjunctive appears to be more refined than the mere objective statement of fact which the use of the indicative brings about, and this has brought S. de Vogel4 to his belief that the subjunctive is not very common in Old French in this type of sentence. It is, generally speaking, true that this construction reveals a progression in the use of the subjunctive from Old French to Modern French, yet the subjunctive cannot be said to be rare in Old French after a superlative. It is interesting to notice that examples of the indicative are few outside of clauses that contain the verb pouvoir, an auxiliary which here takes over the function of the mood itself by expressing possibility. Superlative adverbs are almost exclusively followed by an indicative, mostly with the verb pouvoir. 3 4

K. Nyrop, Grammaire historique de la Langue française (Copenhagen, 1899-1930), vol. 6, 321. Sneyders de Vogel, Syntaxe, 176-77.



Some grammarians resort to the antecedent itself for an explanation of the choice of mood. If the subjunctive is used, the antecedent is the superlative itself, whereas the noun is felt to be the antecedent when the relative clause is in the indicative. Among the proponents of this theory are Damourette 5 and Soltmann.6 That the choice of mood in the relative clause should depend on such a specious argumentation is difficult to admit. In Soltmann's examples, the antecedent is, admittedly, the noun, the construction being of the following type : C'est la plus belle des maisons que je connais. Nevertheless, Soltmann lists not one, but several examples with the subjunctive; an example of this : Vous êtes le plus dévoué des hommes que je connaisse. When, on the other hand, Meyer-Liibke7 quotes an example with the indicative used after an adjectival antecedent: Cest le plus grand qu'on a choisi pour chef, there seems to be sufficient proof that dependence on this or that part of the antecedent does not furnish the answer to the choice of mood. The subjunctive is simply chosen because of its inherent modal value : doubt. In Latin, a construction with the subjunctive after a superlative is virtually unknown. 1. The Mood Is the Subjunctive The examples are far more numerous in the 14th-15th centuries than in older French, yet the earlier periods do not seem to reveal a very strong preference for the indicative. The use of the conditional becomes frequent in Classical French. Lancelot 1490 fust plus oscurs que n'est la nuiz contre le plus bel jor d'esté qui ait an tot cest an esté. Feuillée 758 Et je laissoie le graigneur Prinche ki soit en faerie. Anjou 4992 Tantost lez a fet avaler En la plus fort chartre qu'il ait. Ch.O. 26,24 c'est la mieulx acomplie Qui au jourduy soit ou monde vivant. Pathelin 906 vecy la plus grant resverie ou je fusse onques mes bouté. An example with several coordinated superlatives and, consequently, a high degree of subjectivity: Yonec 509 Cil comencerent ... a recunter Que c'iert le meudre chevalier E le plus fort e le plus fier, Le plus beaus e le plus amez Qui ja mes seit el secle nez. 2. The Mood Is the Indicative The indicative is used to state objective facts. Except for the cases which show a form of pouvoir, the indicative is so rarely found that the subjunctive must be considered to be the norm here from the very beginning of Old French. 8

J. Damourette and E. Pichon, Des Mots à la Pensée. Essai de Grammaire de la Langue française (Paris, 1911-1950), vol. 5, 568. Soltmann, Syntax der Modi, 53. 7 Meyer-Liibke, Grammaire, vol. 3, 749. 6



Alexis 17 Corns fut de Rome, del mielz qui donc i eret. Paris 29,32 et y avoit cent hommes ... les plus belles gens que jamais il avoit veuz. 3. The Indicative of


In most cases where the indicative is used, we have a form of the verb pouvoir to render the idea of possibility. The auxiliary thus assumes the function of the mood, and the language feels no need of having a double indication of uncertainty, although we do find examples with pouvoir in the subjunctive. Besides pouvoir, we can also have clauses with savoir or other expressions of possibility. Some examples show a future/ conditional. Becket 3916 Le meillur vin usout que il trover poeit. Queste 9,14 Et por ce li fet il le greignor honor que il puet. Chirurgie 775 Le vin doit estre le meilleur que l'en puet trouver. Parii, 25,32 Le roy ... dit audict duc d'Orléans qu'il fist la plus grant diligence que faire ce pourroit. 4. The Subjunctive of


This particular syntax was not common in Old French where it was, no doubt, felt to be a double indication of uncertainty. A similar tendency to avoid the subjunctive is encountered in Modern French where Soltmann8 mentions the use of the indicative, if uncertainty is already expressed otherwise, as in the following sentence : Une haine... la seule peut-être que fai sentie. Nîmes 523 C'est la plus bele que l'en puisse trover En paienie. Miracles 111,554 Je croy que c'est la meilleur voie Que puissons prendre. 5. Superlative Adverbs The norm seems to be almost exclusively the indicative of pouvoir (or savoir). Lancelot 3095 au mialz que il set s'aparoille. Lancelot 5192 ele s'an déporté au plus belemant qu'ele puet. Queste 43,21 Lors le prent au plus soef que il puet. Quinze Joies 49 Brief, le bonhomme fait le mieulx qu'il peut. Only one example was found with the subjunctive; it shows le mieux in adjectival function as the predicate oîêtre: Renart 72 c'est le mieuz que puisse veoir. 8

Soltmann, Syntax der Modi, 50-52.



6. Related words A few words, though not formal superlatives, are related in meaning to the highest degree of the adjective. Among them are words like premier, dernier, seul, rare, etc. They are often of a more precise and factual nature than the superlatives proper, yet they may be followed by a subjunctive. Examples were also found of the indicative as well as of future/conditional tenses. Rose 2643 Li premiers biens qui solaz face Ceus que Ii laz d'Amors enlace, c'est Douz Pensers. Ch.O. 73,1 La premiere fois ... Qu'en vostre presence vendray, Si ravy seray. 7. The Type : UN


Various explanations have been offered of the use of the subjunctive in this type of clause. It has been a common error to maintain that the adjective here has the full value of a superlative, that un des bons is the equivalent of un des meilleurs, so S. de Vogel,9 and so also Holder 10 who gives this explanation: "Ein Adjektiv hat zuweilen den Sinn eines Superlativs, ohne dass es von "le plus" begleitet ist." A similar statement is found in Wartburg and Zumthor's Précis de Syntaxe: "Le subjonctif permet ainsi de supprimer le "plus" caractéristique du superlatif." 11 They add that, with the indicative, the expression un des would lose its value of a superlative. Tobler12 admits that bons is stressed, but he cannot accept the theory of its having the value of a superlative. We never find* c'est le bon dîner que faie fait, and this permits Tobler to conclude that the subjunctive must somehow be connected with the use of the indefinite article. What determines the use of the subjunctive is the indefinite number, die numerische Nichtbestimmtheit. Tobler has an example from Joinville. My examples are all from the 15th century, which points to a rather late development. Quinze Joies 124 Et quant a moy, je croy que c'est cy une des grans douleurs qui soit sur terre. Quinze Joies 184 mes je prens sur le jugement de mon ame qu'elle est une des bonnes proudes femmes qui soit en tout le pays. Pathelin 51 vous estes tenu l'une des chaudes testes qui soit en toute la parroisse. One example was found with the indicative; it contains a form of pouvoir: Quinze Joies 132 Et me semble que c'est ung des grands tourmens que home peut avoir. 9 10 11 12

Sneyders de Vogel, Syntaxe, 175-77. A. Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge zur französischen Grammatik (Leipzig, 1886-1912), vol. 2, 17-24. W. von Wartburg and P. Zumthor, Précis de Syntaxe du Français contemporain (Berne, 1947), 114. Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, vol. 2, 17-24.



Relative clauses without an antecedent are mostly related to concession. This is the case with the neutral subject form que, contained in petrified formulas like : Advienne que pourra, coûte que coûte, etc. These locutions are treated under concessive subordination. Qui without an antecedent, followed by a past subjunctive, is used in a construction which is generally said to express a condition, being the equivalent of si l'on : Pathelin 603 Qui me paiast, je m'en alasse! One can readily agree with Tobler 13 that si Von has the advantage of brevity, but that it explains nothing. It seems logical to assume that this qui is related to the indefinite relative, so that we have a concessive subjunctive here, just as with the neutral que mentioned above. This would give us a perfectly clear statement: "Whoever paid me, I would go". It is characteristic of the construction that there is no identity of subjects. Qui alone appears with the value of an indefinite relative in Renart 1231

Mais, qui aint ne hace Renart, ne fait pas chiere de coart.

A variant, qui c'aint, leaves no doubt as to the nature of this qui. This type of phrase is not frequent after the medieval period. It may have been abandoned because the relationship between the two clauses had ceased to be understood. Haase 14 lists examples from the 17th century, and Lerch15 even has one from the 19th. Modern French still has: comme qui dirait, or, with a pluperfect subjunctive: comme qui eût dit. However, these Modern French idioms appear to be of a somewhat different nature, since they do not share the indefiniteness of the construction discussed here. The conditional serves to express what might happen, and the pluperfect subjunctive is a mere variant of the past conditional. It is, in other words, a subjunctive of a different order, having nothing to do with concession. An example of this: Pathelin 147 et qui diroit a vostre mere que ne feussiez filz vostre pere, il auroit grant fain de tancer.

13 14 15

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 346-60. A. Haase, Französische Syntax des XVII. Jahrhunderts (Paris, 1935), 97. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 346-60.



Noun clauses are introduced by que 'that' and can assume the various syntactic functions of the noun, the two main groups being the object clause and the subject clause. J. Otken has dealt with the former type in his thesis: Der Modus de.s Objektssatzes.1 A distinction along such lines, however, does not seem to correspond to any basic modal difference between the two types of noun clauses; there is no difference, in respect to mood, between on craint que and il est a craindre que. Consequently, such a division is not maintained here. The mood in the noun clause depends on various elements contained in the verb or verbal expression of the main clause, and the subjunctive appears with the traditional values of volition or doubt. The different categories of its usage are listed according to the semantic groups to which the governing verbs belong. The preceding que-clause presents special problems which call for a separate treatment.


Volition constitutes the strongest area of the use of the subjunctive, an area where only relatively few changes have occurred down through the centuries. The norm is the subjunctive; the indicative occurs sporadically when the volitive element is weak. Latin has an accusativus cum infinitivo or else ut and a subjunctive: Rogo ut ueniat.2 1. Will or Desire (vouloir, désirer, tarder, etc.) The subjunctive is used almost exclusively: Alexis 249 Ço ne vuelt il que sa medre le sachet. Lancelot 102 ensi m'est or volantez prise que je m'an aille sanz respit. Queste 72,26 car il m'est tart que je sache qui il est. 1

J. ötken, Der Modus des Objektssatzes im Französischen, (Göttingen, 1911). * Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine. 299.



Anjou 2936 Molt li demeure et molt li tarde Qu'il soit avecques li couchiez. Ch. O. 285,87 Fain avez qu'on vous tiengne a sot. Paris 8,17 car grant vouloir avoient que le roy y allast en armes. With identity of subjects, Old French very often uses a ^Mc-clause instead of an infinitive : Roland 3476 E li Franceis n'ont talent que s'en algent. Lancelot 1920 or ai grant envie que je seiisse vostre non. Grùeldis 135 Je vueil que je soye batu. A periphrasis with c'est does not change the modal dependence of the çwe-clause on the expression of will, as shown by: Griseldis 920 Une chose vueil et me plaist: C'est que par toy me soit donnee Ta fille a femme espousee. ATTENDRE QUE

When expressing a wish, attendre que belongs to this group, but que may also function as a temporal conjunction when following this verb. Renart 2234 chascuns atant qu'il soit vangiez. DIEU, LA FORTUNE, LE HASARD VOULUT QUE

In expressions of this type, the element of will is so weakened that one might expect to find an occasional indicative used here. Dieu voulut que is but a periphrasis of il arriva que; what follows in the ^Me-clause is, consequently, an objective fact. Henri Estienne3 states that both the subjunctive and the indicative are correct, and cases of the indicative are not uncommon in the 16th-17th centuries. It is, no doubt, a late development, as no examples are available in Old French where the subjunctive is used throughout: Conqueste LXXIV,54 fussent tot honni.

Ains (Diex) voloit ... que le chités fust prise et que il

The Indicative The indicative is extremely rare after verbs of volition; only one sure example was found and it shows a conditional, used to stress futurity. In the second example, dii could simply be a licence poétique. Yvain 2228 Et mes sire Kes ot talant, Qu'il demanderoit la bataille. Garçon 135 Je ne veull pas que tu me dis d'avoir garce, que bele l'ai. *

ötken, Der Modus, 12.



2. Order, Command, Request, Plea, Exhortation (prier, commander, semondre, requerre, etc J The subjunctive is the norm, as the volitive element is very strong. The indicative was found only after ordonner and only in the 15th century. Modern French prefers, to a large extent, prepositional constructions with verbs of this group, where identity of subjects is not a necessary condition for the use of an infinitive. Leger 18 rouat que litteras apresist. Alexis 185 E tuit li prient que d'els aiet mercit. Conques te VI,6 Se kemanda on as messages qu'il liuaissent waissiaus. Ponthieu 273 et li fist reqere par latiniers q'ele li desist de quel linage ele estoit. Feuillée 826 Volentés me semont k'a men seigneur tost m'en revoise. Chirurgie 910 mes on doit fere premièrement oroison devote a nostre seigneur Jhesu Crist que le navré soit curé par cele pocion. Paris 74,1 car il y a expres commandement que a vous riens ne soit cellé ne fermé. The main clause contains two or more coordinated governing verbs : Elid 276 L'ad requis, prîé e mandé, Qu'a li venist esbanïer. Anjou 1578 Et si li prient et enortent Que il pas si ne se confonde. There may be two or more coordinated ^«e-clauses : Conqueste IV,8 Si vous proions tout pour Dieu que vous soiés nos sires, et que vous pour l'amour de Damedieu pregniés le crois. Eustache 1887 Puis a commandé qu'il soit pris Eustace et ses deuz fiz, Et qu'il soient mis el torment. Mixed constructions like the following, where an infinitive is coordinated with a 9«e-clause, reveal learned influence: Paix 133 un sage duc d'Athenes ... leur commanda a exercer leurs mestiers et que plus ne s'armassent. Cases of Parataxis Becket 542 di li que jeo li mant Prenge abit monial, ne voist mie targant. Becket 1606 Or vus pri e cornant tel conseil me doinsiez Que jo ne seie a Deu ne al siecle avilliez. DITES, FAITES

The endings -ons, -ez could be used both in the subjunctive and the indicative throughout the medieval period. This means, of course, that we cannot determine



morphologically whether we have an indicative or a subjunctive in the first and second person plural of the present tense. By analogy, verb forms like dites and faites may be used as subjunctives, although their separate subjunctive forms exist. Consequently, no proof as to modality can be based on such forms. An example: Ch.O. 231,9

treshumblement vous pry Que vous me dittes vostre entente.


Closely related to this group are verbs that denote decision, arrangement, such as ordonner. The element of command is normally so strong that a subjunctive is used in the dependent clause, especially with a personal subject. Ch. O. 82,29 Ordonnez ... Qu'elle ne soit pas longuement En paine. Villon 771 J'ordonne qu'après mon trespas A mes hoirs en face demande. The indicative, especially a future/conditional, appears with a general order, put forth in an impersonal construction or with the subject on. This vague subjunctive, according to Nyrop, 4 often represents "un personnage ou un corps d'Etat dont l'autorité est incontestée". Paris 25,10 l'on ordonna que le roy ne verroit point le roy d'Angleterre. Paris 25,12 et fut ordonné que tous les draps d'or et de soye ... seroient retenuz. The Future A future may sometimes express order as shown by the following examples from Charles d'Orléans, where it seems to alternate with the subjunctive. The future stresses futurity, the subjunctive volition, but the difference in value appears negligible. The examples belong here, as they denote order of a general type : Ch.O. 13,361 Ch.O. 13,365 lance. Ch.O. 13,367 Ch.O. 13,371

Le premier est qu'il se tiengne jolis. Le tiers point est que ... Querra honneur et poursuivra vailLe quatriesme qu'il soit plain de largesse. Le siziesme point ... Est qu'il sera diligent escolier. 3. Aim, Effort, Purpose, Endeavor

Verbs of this group, such as faire, donner, s, entremettre, all have in common the denotation of positive energy, stemming from an act of the will. A subjunctive of volition represents the modal norm in the noun clause. It is often difficult, with verbs of this group, to decide whether they are followed by a noun clause or by an adverbial clause of purpose. 4

Nyrop, Grammaire historique, vol. 6, 312.



Lancelot 1278 et Dex doint qu'il an veigne a chief. Ponthieu 516 faites que j ou voise avoec. Anjou 5994 Volentiers me voudré pener Que savoir puisse leur couvine. Molinet XXV,1032 Dieu doint qu'il soit milleur. An example with two çwe-clauses: Griseldis 2500 fai tost que mandé Soit ton pere et qu'il viegne ça. A


Some verbs take à ce que as an additional indication of effort or purpose. The mood is throughout the subjunctive. A ce que represents a transition from the çwe-clause towards final subordination, where we find à ce que as a conjunction. Griseldis 2362 Labourez A ce que tout soit nettement Ordonné. Pisan 370 Nul ne pouoit mon cuer duire Ad ce que l'amer empreisse Ne qu'aultre vie appreïsse. The Indicative The above examples of this group all show a strong element of desire that the action of the subordinate clause be accomplished. This is especially true of the çwe-clauses depending on a governing verb in the imperative or the subjunctive, whereas a past tense or even a present tense may indicate that the action has already taken place. If such is the case, the element of desire no longer exists, and the indicative is used about an objective fact. Examples with the indicative are not frequent in Old French. Vergier 659 desplaire.

Mais Plaisance qui maint cuer maire Fait que riens ne li peut

4. Prevention, Precaution This group is closely related to the preceding one to which it forms a negative counterpart. The verbs we have here, such as empêcher, eschiver, garder, prendre garde, etc., contain an element of volition, especially when combined with a personal subject. J'empêcherai qu'on ne le fasse implies a desire that the action under consideration not be carried out. The modal norm is a subjunctive of volition; likewise in Latin, as seen from this example from Cicero: "Nec aetas impedit quominus ... agri colendi studia teneamus usque ad ultimum tempus senectutis". 5 EMPÊCHER

Old French examples with this verb are not very numerous; only the following two, both from the 14th century, were found: 6

Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 308.



Chirurgie 224 Et est si clere qu'el n'enpeesche pas que les especes ... ne soient presentees. Anjou 457 Vous savrez molt bien preechier Se vous poez empeechier Qu'a grant leisir et a plenté N'aie de vous ma volempté. This material does not permit the inference of any rules concerning the use of ne, a problem which Damourette and Pichon6 treat in great detail. It is of interest to quote J. Ötken on this ne: "Man darf sich bei dem Gebrauch von ne nicht zu sehr an Regeln binden". 7 Empêcher and ne pas empêcher both take the subjunctive. Later periods show examples with the indicative after ne pas empêcher about an action which does occur, especially following the general cela n'empêche pas que and always after the petrified formula n'empêche. No Old French examples are available. ESCHIVER

This verb is constructed with the subjunctive and ne : Chirurgie 1003 l'ouvrier doit eschiver que il ne la faice penetrante. Quinze Joies 151 et pour eschiver qu'il ne soit pas prins il se retrait en ung chasteau. N E PUET MUDER, NE PUET SE TENIR, NE PUET FAILLIR

These are common Old French terms for prevention. All examples show a subjunctive with ne : Lancelot 232 Je ne m'an porroie tenir qu'après n'alasse isnelemant. Anjou 1296 Müer ne veult que ne respoigne La dame. Vergier 1113 Ne ja Ii homs ... Ne peut faillir qu'il n'ait secours De dame, d'amie et d'Amours. Parataxis is very frequent with muder : Alexis 275 Ne puet muder ne seit aparissant. Roland 834 Si grant doel ai ne puis muder ne plaigne. N E (PAS) LAISSER

This locution expresses omission and takes ne and the subjunctive. In Modem French, it is always followed by an infinitive. Roland 1931 Ne laisserai que nos ne benedisset. Louis 1181 Je ne laireie por l'or de Montpelier Que je ne voise el maistre renc premiers. * Damourette-Pichon, Des Mots, vol. 5, 514ff ötken, Der Modus, 55-58.




Miracles 1,678 ne lairoie a nul fuer Que le voir ne vous en comptasse. An example with parataxis : Meliador 1170 ne laira ne le face. GARDER, PRENDRE GARDE

Followed by ne or a full negation, these expressions state a negative purpose, and the subjunctive mood is the norm. Without ne, the goal is positive, yet the subjunctive appears also here. This latter construction, though not uncommon in Old French, becomes rare already in the 16th century. Garder and prendre garde are very closely related to the group of effort, purpose, these verbs being almost synonymous with veiller à ce que. The purpose is negative: Roland 2061 Guardez, seignors, qu'il ne s'en algent vif. Laustic 30 Mut se covrirent e garderent Qu'il ne fussent aparceuz. Roie 562 E, por garder que ses mains blanches Ne halassent, ot uns blans ganz. Paix 168 Gardes que tes parolles ne soient frivoles. An example with parataxis : Passion 670 Jhesucrist deslïez Et gardez plus ne soit touchiés. The purpose is positive. This rightly falls under group 3, but is treated here for practical purposes, along with garder + ne: Louis 1194 Guardez que tost seit mes très destenduz. Yonec 124 Gardez ke seiez a seiir. Rose 2103 Gar que tu soies costumiers De saluer les genz premiers. Quinze Joies 136 et garde bien que tu faces ce que je te diray. An example with parataxis : Passion 856 Et gardez bien soit encloez. The indicative is used to express a fact of which a person is simply being reminded; there are very few instances of this in Old French. Ôtken8 quotes an example from Philomèle 1218 "Mes de ce s'est el bien gardee Qu'el n'a pas la chose tardee". The locution de ce que, being of a causal-factual nature, may have influenced the choice of mood in this case. I found only one example with the indicative: Conqueste LIX,22 preng warde que nous t'avons geté de grant caitiveté. 8

Otken, Der Modus,




5. Prohibition We find here mainly the verb défendre which is related to the previous group, but which is treated by itself since it forms a natural transition to the group of permission. The normal construction of défendre is with ne and the subjunctive, the latter evoked by the volitive element contained in a prohibition. Latin has ne + subjunctive: interdico ne ueniat. Lancelot 5551 et desfandi qu'il ne parlast de lui. Eus tache 406 Cen ne me puet defendre nus ke ne fâche vostre commant. Queste 47,20 cil dou chastel li deffendent que il n'aille avant. 6. Permission, Acceptance, Compliance, Consent, Concession Verbs of this group are permettre, souffrir, consentir, vouloir bien, etc. ; they normally require a volitive subjunctive in the subordinate clause. Lancelot 4858 or sofrez que je responde. Piramus 197 Consente moi li Dieux d'amour Qu'encor la tiengne nuit et jour. Rose 4590 Je vueil bien qu'il aillent ensemble. Molinet X,5,84 il loist qu'elle soit sortie d'or et d'argent. No examples with the indicative were found for the Old French period. In this example from La Fontaine, Fables: "Le Ciel permit qu'un saule se trouva ...", the notion of permission is weakened, and the indicative is used about an actual fact. Cf. Modern French Dieu a voulu que which presents a parallel case. Similar expressions in Old French take the subjunctive : Molinet V,6 Dieu a permis que soyés brief remis. Paix 147 Dieu consenti que eulx et leurs roys ... fussent menez en servage en Babilonie. PREZ QUE

Prez que belongs here, having roughly the same meaning as consentir. In Modern French, it appears only with the infinitive because of the identity of subjects. Examples, one with parataxis and all with the subjunctive: Roland 295 Se li reis voelt, prez sui por vos lo face. Renart 120 prez sui que je li face soudre. Queste 36,31 car je suiz près que plus en face. CONFESSER, ADMETTRE

Generally speaking, concession represents a very low degree of volition. The indicative is used when the volitive element is missing; in other words, when the existence of a



fact is admitted. This is the case with verbs like admettre and confesser which, consequently, are on the border-line of the verba dicendi group. Examples are scarce for the Old French period : Griseldis 1227 Si te confesse que j'ay tort. OTREIIER

This verb denotes concession, but can also express order. The volitive element is strong and so the subjunctive is used: Becket 1151 Bien vus otrei que seient li clerc desordené. Lanval 626 Li reis otreie qu'issi seit. 7. Promise, Guarantee (promettre, creanter, jurer, etc.) The subjunctive is sometimes found after promettre and creanter, when the volitive element is strong, but cases of this are very infrequent : Lancelot 623 je vos an promet a devise que je mete an vostre servise, quant vos pleira. Becket 971 Greantent li k'il seient en fin mort e damné, Se li reis quiert vers lui engin ne falseté. Verbs of this group mostly introduce a simple statement, void of any notion of will or desire; as to be expected, they take the indicative and are close to the verba dicendi group. Verbs like plevir and jurer were encountered only with the indicative. Since a promise normally has to do with future events, the tenses used are mostly the future/ conditional. Roland 968 Jo vos plevis qu'en vermeil sane iert mise. Lancelot 6903 Bien jure que ja n'avandra. Anjou 3219 Je vous créant et puis plevis Que Tarez a vostre devis. Paris 5,28 je vous prometz et jure sur ma foy que demain au plus matin j'envoyray lectres en Espaigne. An example with tenses other than the future/conditional: Paix 160 je te promes que par telz choses et les semblables faire estoit porté son nom par tout le monde. 8. Agreement Soi accorder, estre d'accort were found only with the subjunctive. The examples seem to show that we have a subjunctive indicating order or desire. Gace 1667 Et je m'accort Que nous soions tout d'un acort. Ch.O. 262,21 Ne jamias ne sera d'accort Qu'il en parte par son vouloir.




In this group are included expressions which contain a value judgment on actions or happenings indicated in the noun clause. A division along psychological lines is often difficult; there are many border-cases between volition and judgment, and, quite often, a judgment may be emotionally colored. A pronounced difference in modal behavior makes it necessary to treat judgment and emotion separately, however. 1. Necessity We have here a series of impersonal locutions : il faut, covient, afiert, estuet, etc. The volitive element is strong, and the subjunctive is used throughout. Lancelot 190 sanz contredit estuet qu'avoec Keu en ailliez. Laustic 132 De ceo m'estuet que cunseil preigne. Chirurgie 358 il est nécessité que tout le cors perisse. Anjou 372 II couvient qu'avecques vous gise. Quinze Joies 148 M'amie, il fault que je aille a l'armee. Villon 986 force est ... que je vive sans vie. As pointed out earlier, no conclusions as to mood may be drawn from the 1. and 2. person plural because of the absence of any clear morphological distinction between the two moods. Compare this example: Ch.O. 141,18 Pareillement, fault que mettés Et faictes ... Diligence s o i gneusement. Influence from the Latin accusativus cum infinitivo construction is shown in : Anjou 968 Pour ce couvint il Dieu descendre De sez souvrains sieges des cieps. I l EST TEMPS

This expression conveys a strong notion of necessity or obligation; it takes the subjunctive without exception: Rose 3797 Des or est tens que je vos die La contenance Jalosie. Pathelin 498 Je croy qu'il est temps que je boive pour m'en aller. 2. Advice Verbs of this group are conseiller, louer, enseigner, mostrer, etc. An advisable action is one on which the speaker pronounces a judgment of preference. At the same time, most of the examples here reveal a strong element of volition by stating actions that one must carry out; this group is thus seen as transitional between volition and judg-



ment. In Old French, a que-clause with the subjunctive is the norm ; Modern French prefers an infinitive construction. Conqueste XXX, 17 si li loa bien qu'il y alast. Gace 1430 Pour ce je conseil a tout fuer Qu'il soient du conseil estroit. Pathelin 1489 je los que je m'en voise. Inconclusive for morphological reasons is this examole from : Miracles 111,1053 Je lo qu'avec li en alons. 3. Blame, Reproach The subjunctive seems to be the norm in the Old French period : Lanval 408 Mut Punt blasmé e chastïé K'il ne face si grant dolur. Quinze Joies 19 ne me reprouchés pas ... que je vous aie faict mettre votre argent. The indicative was used in Old French to express a fact for which somebody is being blamed : Becket 3621 Mult sovent le blasmeient que tel vie meneit. This particular use of the indicative became rare in the 17th century. 4. Subjective Judgment Various verbs of a subjective nature, among them many impersonal constructions, are listed under this general heading. The subjunctive is used because of uncertainty resulting from the subjectivity of such statements. Plaire, agréer, etc. The subjunctive is used with reference to actions in the future, when doubt may exist as to whether or not these actions will be carried out. Roland 1062 Ne placet Damnedeu Que mi parent por mei seient blasmet. Anjou 5769 Bien m'agree Que savoir puisse sa pensee. Quinze Joies 15 a Dieu plaise que je ne vive gueres! The indicative also occurs with its traditional value of objective existence: Meliador 2379 Bien m'agree Que vous et moy sommes d'accort. Ch.O, 8,224 II me despleut qu'en ce point le sentoye. In the following example, il plot a Nostre Seignor que is a mere periphrasis for il arriva que, and the indicative is used about an objective happening:



Queste 21,11 Et quant il plot a Nostre Seignor que les teniebres de la nuit furent abessiees ... li chevalier se leverent. Deservir, estre digne Only examples with the subjunctive were found: Renart 2130 Bien a deservi c'om le pande. Meliador 4486 elle est bien digne Que prisie soit et amee. Estre droit, raison, sens, saison, etc. The norm is almost exclusively the subjunctive : Roland 3932 Asez est dreiz que Guenles seit penduz. Rose 3468 Bien est ... mesure Que uns baisiers lui soit greez. Gace 4333 N'est pas sens que capitaine aille Assembler devant sa bataille. Meliador 1001 II est vraiement Bien saison qu'elle s'en revoise. Quinze Joies 183 c'est bien raison que ainsi li en prengne, a la meschante. The indicative is extremely rare, but can be found whenever an objective fact is to be stated, as: Vergi 808 est ce donc droiz que il a ainsi descouvert nostre conseil ? ESTRE + a Predicative Adjective : BEL, BON, LAIT, MIELZ, etc.

These expressions normally require a subjunctive in the subordinate clause : Roland 359 Mielz est sols moerge que tant bon chevaler. Equit 77 pis iert asez Que pur li seie afolez. Gace 3696 Bon seroit ... Que nous soyons tous aliés. Quinze Joies 171 mes plus bel est qu'elle soit chiés sa mere que ailleurs. The same modal syntax obtains with sembler, paraître, venir, valoir + an adjective, as well as with avenir bien : Alexis 485 Mielz me venist, amis, que morte fusse. Chirurgie 1096 pour la quel chose il me semble miex que l'aguille soit laissie en la cousture. The indicative appears with objective facts that allow no element of doubt: Yvain 73 Et certes mout m'est bel, que vos Estes li plus cortois de nos. Becket 4231 Laid est qu'entre vus ad si grant enemistié. Rose 1805 Mais bel me fu que je estoie Si près que dou bouton sentoie La douce olor.




No examples with the indicative were found, although this mood does occur in later periods about actions which have taken place. The subjunctive does not state whether or not the action is carried out, since it appears quite regularly in both cases. Chirurgie 1175 il soufist que les boiaux soient mis ens. Paix 96 car ne souffist pas seulement que le bon justicier pugnisse les malfaiteurs. There are no examples available of a construction which is common in the 17th century : il te suffit = il te suffit de savoir, with the indicative, as in this example from Racine, Mithridate 1,1 "Qu'il te suffise donc ... Que je vis". IL S'ENSUIT

Of a less subjective nature, il s'ensuit expresses a logical relationship and takes the indicative: Chirurgie 555 Or s'en siut il bien ... des choses devant dites que le parfait cyrurgien est plus que le parfet mire. A


This locution takes the indicative in Old French : Lancelot 4160 a po qu'ele ne s'est ocise. Queste 112,15 car a poi que une damoisele ne m'a mené jusq'a pechié mortel. The Modem French equivalents il s'en faut (de) peu, peu s'en faut, il ne s'en faut guère, etc., require the subjunctive. Modem French here seems to stress subjectivity, Old French objectivity.


A person can view a happening as a neutral observer whose aim it is to state objective facts, but he may also express emotional participation, whether it be his own or not. What we then have expressed is a subjective attitude to already known facts, an attitude determined by different emotions, such as joy, sorrow, regret, wonder, astonishment, etc. This affective coloring can also be of a more general nature, as is the case with a great many impersonal constructions. Fear presents special modal problems; it is therefore treated separately. In Old French, verbs of emotion take the indicative, focused on objective existence. A radical change in modality occurs in the 17th century, with the 16th century as a



transition period during which the indicative still prevails over the subjunctive. Although this change occurs outside of the period treated in the present work, it may be of relevance to discuss briefly the value of this subjunctive. According to Lücking and Plattner, 9 we have a subjunctive of volition here. To this theory Lerch 10 rightly objects that a sentence like: Je regrette qu'il wit venu, contains nothing willed or desired. Ulbrich's definition of this subjunctive: "Äusserung des Willens oder Unwillens",11 seems to represent a step toward the theory of subjectivity to which most scholars, such as Lerch, Vossler and Soltmann, adhere. The subjunctive mood is then caused by the element of uncertainty which is always present in a subjective statement, and the change in mood which takes place in the 16th-17th century reflects an increasing doubt in the validity of affectively colored statements. Classical Latin made use of an accusativus cum infinitivo, but later, a clause with quod was preferred. The mood was normally the indicative, the subjunctive occurring only in connection with indirect discourse. An example from Cicero: "Gaudeo quod te interpellaui".12 1. The Conjunction is QUE a. The mood is the indicative. Roland 716 Becket 1603 Renart 2760 Griseldis 692 Pathelin 828

quel dolor que Ii Franceis nel sevent. E mult sui jo dolenz que jo ai sa haür. mout me poise que je sui vive. J'ay grant dueil Qu'autrement tu n'y prenz l'avance. j'enraige que je n'ay mon argent.

Often the main clause contains a reference to the subordinate clause. This reference, which further stresses the objectivity of the idea contained in the ^we-clause, is usually a demonstrative or en. The mood is the indicative : Alexis 477 Ço peiset mei que podrirat en terre. Aucassin IV,10 ce poise moi qu'il i va ne qu'il i vient. Queste 71,24 Et por ce se repent il qu'il ot onques foie amor vers la reine. b. The mood is the subjunctive. The subjunctive after an expression of emotion is extremely rare in the Old French period. The first examples, according to Simon,13 are from the middle of the 12th century; they mainly appear in connection with a main clause in the subjunctive or in •

10 11 18 13


Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 26-30. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 26-30. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 26-30. Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 298. E. Simon, Die Rektion der Ausdrücke der Gemütsbewegung im Französischen, (Göttingen, 1907),



certain writers, above all Wace, who may have undergone a strong learned influence. Simon quotes the following example with the subjunctive from Chanson des Saisnes 248.21 "Qex dolors est que Saisne vos aient a baillier."14 I found only one example; the choice of the subjunctive mood in this particular instance is quite obviously dictated by a strong element of desire : Paris 14,33 je seroye moult joyeux que fussent conjoins par marriage ensemble. SE PLAINDRE

This verb normally combines objective information with subjective feeling. This is of special modal interest to Modern French where it very often takes an indicative about a fact. In Old French, it behaves like any other verb of emotion and needs no special mention. An example : Yvain 503 Et je me plaing ... Que vos m'avez de ma meison Chacié. This 14th century example shows a subjunctive: Anjou 1828 Ne veulent pas qu'ele se plaigne Que largement ne soit paiee. The subjunctive is, no doubt, caused by the negation, which means that se plaindre behaves like a declarative verb. N E CHALOIR, N'AVOIR CURE, NE SE SOUCIER

These verbs differ from the verbs of emotion previously treated in that they take a subjunctive already in Old French. They are probably related to fear and thus have an element of volition inherent in them. The possibility also exists of the gwe-clause being interpreted as an indirect question; at least in some instances, que seems to be equivalent to 'whether'. Lancelot 6043 il n'a cure qu'an le conoisse. Ch.O. 148,19 point ne me soussie Que n'aye des biens largement. Simon states15 categorically that chaloir always takes the subjunctive. The following example proves, nevertheless, that this rule is not without exceptions; a future is used here to stress futurity : Passion 1038 Mais ne me chaut qu'o nous ensemble Sera pendus li ypocrites. 2. D E CE, DE CE QUE

This de was originally an addition to the demonstrative reference-word ce and was used with verbs that could be followed by this preposition. From there it spread to 14


Simon, Die Rektion, 23. Simon, Die Rektion, 22.



areas where it would no longer be possible to have it in Modern French. De ce que did not come into existence as a unit, as seen from the fact that de ce was often separated from que in Old French. Two examples will illustrate the special syntax of de ce : Elid 971 De ceo Ii semblot grant merveille k'il la veeit blanche e vermeille. Guig 429 Veillé aveit, de ceo se pleint. De ce que stresses objective existence and is of a strong causal nature. Consequently, it never takes the subjunctive in Old French, and even in Modern French, the subjunctive is infrequent. De ce que becomes rare in the 15th century. Examples, all with the indicative : Lanval 305 Mut fu dolente e curuciee De ceo k'il l'out si avilee. Queste 130,15 si fu mout liez de ce qu'il l'a trovee. Anjou 3665 j'ai esté trop deceü De ce que je n'ai pas seü Quelle est la fame que j'ai prise. 3. DONT

Dont appears after expressions of emotion in the 13th century and is frequent in the 15th-16th centuries. It is always followed by the indicative. Tobler 16 believes that dont introduces an indirect question, a theory which Haase accepts, but which Simon restricts to expressions of wonder or astonishment.17 Whatever the nature of this dont may be, it owes its origin to the possessive character of de ce que. Rose 4255 Tu deiz estre Mout liez don tu as si bon maistre. Quinze Joies 102 j'ay grant joye dont vous le m'avez dit. Quinze Joies 102 mais au fort je suy bien aise dont il a resveillé le chat qui dort. 4. DE QUOI

De quoi is equivalent to dont; it appears in the 15th century and becomes rare already in the 17th. It is followed by the indicative: Quinze Joies 103 je estoye bien corrocee de quoy vous le faisiez si souvent venir ciens. Weissgerber18 quotes two examples from Montaigne with the subjunctive, and Haase 19 cites one from Calvin, but there are no sure examples of this for the 15th century. 16 17 18 19

Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, vol. 1,162. Simon, Die Rektion, 49-50. Simon, Die Rektion, 52-53. Simon, Die Rektion, 52-53.




In Old French, an expression of emotion could be followed by a temporal clause introduced by quant which, though it originally may have had its full temporal value, soon was weakened and came to function much like a ^«e-clause. It always takes the indicative : Yvain 6678 mout liee sui, Quant je vos ai trovee si pres. 6. SE (si) A conditional clause is often used instead of a çwe-clause, especially after expressions of wonder or astonishment when negated. This construction still exists; the mood is the indicative: Queste 17,27 ce n'est mie de merveille se je sui corrouciez de lor département. Queste 213,2 Ne vos esmaiez mie se nos somes gité de nostre heritage.


It is necessary to treat verbs of fearing in a separate group, because the modality of the dependent clause in Old French is different from that used with other expressions of emotion. We have seen that to a writer of the Old French period the subordinate clause, depending on an expression of emotion, was felt to present objective facts, free of any aspect of doubt. Consequently, the indicative was used in such clauses with only very few exceptions in Old French. This does not at all apply to expressions of fear; they have always taken the subjunctive, generally combined with a ne in the dependent clause. Although Modern French grammars can avoid this separation of fear from the main group of emotion, now that the mood is the same in both cases, it is impossible, from an evolutionary point of view, to consider them together. What really singles out fear from other emotions is a strong element of volition, strong enough to call for a subjunctive as with other expressions of will or desire. Je crains qu'il ne le fasse is psychologically linked with a Je ne veux pas qu'il le fasse or a Je désire qu'il ne le fasse pas. The ne which regularly appears in the subordinate clause, may owe its origin to the above-mentioned element of negative desire. It seems appropriate to draw a parallel with the expressions of prevention or avoidance, where ne brings out the preventive tendency. It is interesting to note, in this connection, that I. Solltmann20 lists (se) garder and prendre garde among the verbs of fearing, although she admits that they represent a border-case with a very weak element of emotion. In S. de Vogel's opinion,21 ne is a direct imitation of Latin where it introduces an original optative : 20 21

I. Solltmann, Die Rektion der Ausdrucke der Furcht im Französischen, (Göttingen, 1918), 1-3. Sneyders de Vogel, Syntaxe, 165.



timeo ne sit aeger may come from ne sit aeger! sed timeo. The mood in Latin is always the subjunctive, likewise in French. 1. Examples With NE: Alexis 60 molt criem que ne t'en perde. Elid 795 Grant pour ad ke hum ne la veie. Queste 94,21 car il doute que li feus ne soit entremellez de venim. Paris 51,14 si se leverent moult grant matin, de la grant peur qu'ilz avoient que point ne veissent arriver Jehan de Paris. 2. Examples Without NE : Yvain 979 Je criem que mal soiiez venuz. Quinze Joies 101 j'ay eu grand paour que vous eussez aucun grant dommage. Rejection of ne may occur in poetry for rhythmical reasons, but the same syntax is encountered in prose, as shown above. 3. NE Omitted after Negative Main Clause Yvain 1966 et peor n'aiiez De ma dame, qu'ele vos morde. Yvain 6464 Ne dotez ja, que mal vos face Li lions. 4. The Indicative after Expressions of Fearing Examples of this are rare. Busse, who examined the Old French epic, did not find one single case of the indicative. 1. Solltmann22 lists a few examples, mainly with a future/ conditional in connection with a conditional clause, such as this example from Erec 223 "Et crient qu'assez tost l'ocirroit, Se devant li son nain feroit", but also with other indicative forms, as in the Roman de Rou III, 8887 "Ço diseient et ço cremeient Que li Normant près les siveient". In the last example, cremeient seems to have much the same meaning as croyaient, in other words, from fear that something might happen, we seem to move towards belief that it will happen. A weakening of the element of volition has taken place. Such a semantic change would help explain why craindre often appears in coordination with croire, cuidier, as in the following example: Elid 230 Kar il quidout, e si cremeit, Que il eit mis en abandun Ses chevaliers par traïsun. A 16th century example from Montaigne, Essais III, 5 "Je crainds que c 'est un traistre", is explained by Damourette 23 as a provincialism, but in view of the above, it would 22 23

I. Solltmann, Die Rektion, 8-11. Damourette-Pichon, Des Mots, vol. 5, 512-13.



be more natural to explain it along the lines of a semantic change. In fact, S. de Vogel24 suggests that craindre is almost equivalent to croire when followed by an indicative. H. Soltmann 25 gives modern examples with the indicative, so it is unwise to term it (with Damourette) a provincialism. My example collection yielded no instances of the indicative here.


This is an extremely large and complex group with many governing verbs or verbal expressions. The dividing line between the use of the indicative or the subjunctive is determined by the degree of certainty or doubt. Generally speaking, an action which is certain, likely or probable is in the indicative, whereas the subjunctive is used about possible, doubtful or impossible actions. While the highest degree of certainty or uncertainty presents no problems as to mood, the same cannot be said of expressions which, according to meaning, are situated in the immediate vicinity of the dividing line between the domains of the two moods. Here, we have fluctuations in usage, well known from Modern French sembler and from Old French croire and cuidier. This group presents a greater freedom in the choice of mood than is the case with volition, and this again means that the mood here preserves its full value, free of any attempt at "grammaticalization". Through the choice of mood, the writer can often reveal his attitude to a happening, as shown by the following constructed examples : il ne croit pas qu'elle est malade = 'elle est malade; il ne le croit pas'; il ne croit pas qu'elle soit malade — 'est-elle malade? Il ne le croit pas'. 1. Certainty If the governing clause expresses certainty, the subordinate clause is always in the indicative. We have here a number of impersonal verbs (être certain, sûr, vrai que), verbs of perception (voir, entrendre, apercevoir que), intellectual verbs (savoir, apprendre), declarative verbs (dire, écrire, raconter), etc. In order to express certainty, all these different groups of verbs must, generally speaking, be in the positive form. Piramus 602 Dïent qu'a escient le fait. Queste 54,2 si sai bien que vos estes prestres. Ch.O. 157,3 On apparçoit que de Dieu sont hays. Villon 193 Bien est verté que j'ay amé. An example from .Villon of dire + a subjunctive is given by Ôtken: 26 "Je vueil qu'elle 24 25 24

Sneyders de Vogel, Syntaxe, 165. Soltmann, Syntax der Modi, 141-143. Otken, Der Modus, 121.



soit excessive, C'est a dire qu'on puisse aller Par elle au ciel". It is obvious that the 9«e-clause depends on vueil and not on c'est a dire, which is a mere insertion. Declarative Verbs may take a Subjunctive of Volition The basic function of a declarative verb is to communicate a message, which normally takes the form of a statement. But, quite frequently, this message is an order, as shown by the use of the subjunctive. Concerning a sentence like: Dites-lui que je n'y suis pas et qu'il revienne, Nyrop 27 maintains that dire has two different meanings. Likewise Wartburg and Zumthor: "Certains verbes déclaratifs prennent parfois un sens de volonté ... Il s'opère ... une sorte de transposition sémantique; il n'est pas même nécessaire de répéter le verbe lorsqu'il régit deux phrases subordonnées de caractère différent."28 It is not necessary to repeat the declarative verb precisely because its meaning remains unchanged. The only explanation of the difference in mood is the one already outlined : with the indicative, we have communication of a statement; with the subjunctive, we have communication of an order. Only one example was found which contains both a declarative verb and a verb of command, the latter added for further clarification: Renart 2213 Li rois li dit et li conmande qu'il vaingne a lui et si desçande. Examples of declarative verbs + a subjunctive of volition: Roland 2760 L'amirail dites que s'ost i seit menede. Conques te LXXIII,1 Adont cria on par l'ost que tot venissent au sarmon. Anjou 2324 Au chastelain devant envoie Que l'ostel appareiller face. Paris 6,8 Comment le roy de France escrivit aux barons d'Espaigne qu'ilz eussent a venir repairer le tort. Coordination of two ^He-clauses, one a statement (indicative), the other an order (subjunctive) : Conqueste CXII,5 si leur dist qu'il voloit aler aseir Andernople ... et qu'il li aidaissent a conquerre chele chité. Aucassin XVIII, 17 dites li qu'il a une beste en ceste forest et qu'i le viegne cacier. Quinze Joies 75 Et lui diray que Monseigneur est allé hors, et qu'il viengne devers le soir. CONCLURE, JUGER

These verbs may also govern an order and take a subjunctive of volition: 87 28

Nyrop, Grammaire historique, vol. 6, 312. Wartburg-Zumthor, Précis de Syntaxe, 118.



Roland 838 Cil at jugiet mis niés Rodlanz remaignet. (With parataxis). Gace 1519 Si conclu que Grace et Pitié ... Soient banies de la court. Elsewhere, a future/conditional is used to stress futurity: Roland 884 11 est jugiet que nos les ocidrom. Quinze Joies 123 (ils) concluent ensemble que home du monde ne parlera plus avec lui. 2. Probability The mood is the indicative. We have here impersonal constructions (il est probable, vraisemblable que, il peut bien estre queJ; verbs of opinion or belief in the positive form (croire, penser, sembler), and so on. When the subjunctive occurs with these expressions, the degree of probability must be so low that it approaches possibility; this is common with sembler, for example. Impersonal Constructions These present little interest for they involve the indicative: Pathelin 1141 il peut bien estre que j'en ay mangié plus de trente en trois ans. Verbs of Opinion Verbs of opinion, such as croire, cuidier, penser, are treated here only when in the positive form, since they do not normally express probability when used in connection with a negation, a condition or a question. Modal conditions are rather complex after verbs of this group. The Semantic Explanation Cuidier is supposed to be semantically different from croire in that it gives a lower degree of probability and, therefore, often takes a subjunctive to indicate doubt. Schmidt29 maintains that cuidier governs the subjunctive in Old French without exception, but we shall see that this is not at all the case. Lerch30 upholds the same theory of a semantic difference, but he modifies Schmidt's conclusions by stating that cuidier almost always takes the subjunctive. There may, of course, be individual differences among medieval writers; thus Weissgerber31 has established that cuidier is always used with the subjunctive in the Chanson de Roland, Villehardouin and Villon, and that Froissart always uses the subjunctive after croire. Judging from my example collection, the semantic difference between cuidier and 29 30 31

ûtken, Der Modus, 110. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 74-76. ûtken, Der Modus, 115-19.



croire must be a rather negligible one, as we find cuidier fully capable of assuming the same functions as croire already in Old French. In this connection, it should be pointed out that Gamillscheg32 is of the opinion that the pretended semantic difference between the two verbs does not disappear until the 16th century. Cuidier, like croire, is frequently found with an indicative, and croire (bien) + a subjunctive meets some competition from cuidier (bien) + a subjunctive in statements of an attenuated belief. Rather than a very basic difference in meaning, cuidier has a special function, that of expressing a false belief. CUIDIER +

the Indicative

That the basic function of cuidier is not to set forth a more doubtful belief than that contained in croire is corroborated by the large number of examples with the indicative, most of which show a relatively high degree of evidence or probability. Lancelot 282 Et je cuit que cist dui destrier sont vostre. Becket 466 Bien quident que li reis s'i voldra assentir (A strong belief; they are convinced of it). Milun 449 Jeo quid k'il est de Gales nez. Rose 628 car je cuit Que bele est cele compaignie. Feuillee 341 Je cuit plus sot de ti n'i a. (With parataxis). Pathelin 633 je cuide qu'il y a este. CUIDIER +

the subjunctive

The examples fall into two main categories: the attenuated belief and the false belief. a. The attenuated belief. When expressing an attenuated belief, cuidier is often combined with the adverb bien; compare the parallel expression croire (bien) que. Biscl. 273 Tres bien quidat e bien creeit Que la beste Bisclavret seit. Queste 60,8 et si cuit je bien que ce soit aucuns des compaignons de la Table Reonde. (It is Lancelot). Queste 82,27 si le voit si viel par semblant qu'il cuide bien qu'il ait trois cenz anz ou plus d'aage. (It is Mordrain). Gace 2791 Je cuide bien que ce soit voir. b. The false belief. When used about a false belief, cuidier is always followed by the subjunctive. This may be termed the special function of cuidier, as it meets very little competition from croire 32

Gamillscheg, Syntax,




in this particular domain. Normally, the context alone (in addition to the mood) will show whether or not an opinion is false. Roland 3724 Piramus 645 Piramus 694 Renart 2603

Quidet li reis qu'ele se seit pasmede (She is dead). Cuide qu'une deesse soit (It is Thisb6). Cuide que soit du sane s'amie (It is an animal's blood). Cuida close fust par lui sole (Renart did it).

Sometimes, the sentence itself contains elements which indicate the belief is false: Elid 857 Cil ... Quidot pur veir k'ele fust morte. Queste 91,28 Et il cuide bien que ce soit fame a qui il parole, mes non est, ainz est li anemis. CROIRE, PENSER,

etc. + the indicative

The indicative represents the modal norm after these verbs, since they express probability. Lancelot 6452 Por ce croit que c'est fet de gré et que Lanceloz est dedanz. Anjou 5060 II m'est avis que respitee Sera vostre mort. Quinze Joies 110 j'ai ma creance que l'enfant est malade du pechié que j'en ay fait. CROIRE, PENSER,

etc. + the subjunctive

According to ôtken, 33 croire takes the subjunctive more often than penser, but Bischoff34 advocates the opposite theory. This would seem to furnish proof that the difference, if any, must be rather insignificant. In most cases where croire and penser are followed by the subjunctive, they express an attenuated belief, a timid opinion. Quite often, the adverb bien is added, presumably in order to stress subjectivity. In some of the examples below, the stated belief seems to be colored by an element of fear or apprehension. Cf. below the example from Vergi 256. Such a convergence cannot seem too surprising after the treatment of craindre which, as we already saw, can be found with weakened emotional content, almost with the meaning of croire. It may very well have been a mutual influence, working either way. Lancelot 2122 Certes, je pans et croi que ce soit il. Queste 112,1 car anemis pense il bien que ce soit. Garçon 25 je croi qu'il soit mout bers. Vergi 256 je me pens que ce soit ma fame. Vergi 875 ce croi je bien qu'ele soit morte. 33 84

Ôtken, Der Modus, 123-26. ôtken, Der Modus, 123-26.



In the following examples, the negation may also help determine the choice of mood. We have a latent je ne crois pas que, combined with the expression of an attenuated belief : Paix 80 Je croy qu'il ne soit martire assez souffisant a pugnir les faiz qui lui mectent a sus. Chartier 32,14 Et croy que le trop parler en charge ou accusation d'autruy ne soit ja chose trop louable. F. Brunot 35 maintains that the subjunctive is used after croire in the case of a false belief, the same as with cuidier, but the above examples will have shown quite clearly that the çwe-clauses by no means contain false statements, but that, on the contrary, they express probability, some of them even undeniable facts, so Vergi 875 "ce croi je bien qu'ele soit morte". The speaker is here fully aware that the lady is dead, but he chooses to avoid a blunt formulation of this tragic fact. No examples were found of croire + the subjunctive, used about a false belief. Croire may very well put forth a false belief, but it is then followed by an indicative: Quinze Joies 64 il croit que el est ainsi feble. One example was found of penser + a subjunctive in connection with a false belief : Lancelot 5709 Li filz le roi d'Irlande pansse ... qu'il ait tot le los et le pris; mes laidemant i a mespris. Some examples with the verb croire (or penser) explicitly state that an opinion is false through the general phrasing of the sentence. Croire appears with a subjunctive in these cases which are not genuine examples of a false belief (as treated above), but are far more complicated with various affinities, especially in negation and judgment. The first example below states that a previously held opinion is false and consequently contains a latent 'je ne crois plus que' which determines the choice of mood. The example from Quinze Joies (below) seems to pass a judgment on a general belief, something like: 'ils croient generalement — et ils ont tort de croire que'. The general nature of the sentence may thus be said to be negative. The last example (Paris 30,3) contains a mere hypothesis ('I would rather believe', implying that this is, of course, not the actual belief held. Vergi 160 j'ai mout longuement creii que vous fussiez de bone foi. Quinze Joies 97 car quelques femmes qu'ilz ayent, ils croient generallement qu'elles soient meilleures que toutes les aultres. Paris 30,3 Si croyrois je plus tost que ce fussent esperitz que corps mortelz. A subjunctive after croire and penser is not infrequent in the 16th century, and there are examples from the 17th century as well. Cf. Corneille, Menteur 206 "La plus belle 38

Brunot, La Pensée, 529.



des deux, je crois que ce soit l'autre". This construction disappears during the classical period. SONGER, IMAGINER

These verbs govern the indicative in Old French. Songer is encountered with the literal meaning 'to dream' as well as with the figurative sense of 'to think'. Roland 719 Sonjat qu'il eret as graignors porz de Cizere. Quinze Joies 62 quar el a paravanture songié que elle estoit avecques son amy. Villon 609 J'ymagine ... Que c'est nature femenine. FAIRE ACCROIRE

This locution was found only with the indicative in spite of its meaning: make somebody believe what is not true. Conqueste LXVI.77 Et quant Morchofles vint ariere en Coustantinoble, si fist acroire qu'il avoit desbareté et desconfit seigneur Henri et se gent. Quinze Joies 10 car l'on lui fait acroire que son pere ou sa mere les li ont donnez. FAIRE ENTENDRE

Only one example was found; it shows the subjunctive: Villon 689 Abusé m'a et fait entendre ... D'ambesars que ce fussent ternes. O N DIRAIT QUE

This expression admits either mood in Modern French. My two Old French examples both show a conditional : Gace 4437 Car, se vous vous retraïés, En diroit que vous fuiriez. Ch.O. 120,35 Mais on diroit que me rendroye sans coup ferir. Cf. this 17th century example from Boileau, Satire VI "On diroit que le ciel, qui se fond tout en eau, veuille inonder ces lieux d'un déluge nouveau". ESTRE AVIS, VIS EST

Meyer-Lubke 36 lists vis est among other impersonal constructions which take the subjunctive in Old French, but admits that there is a certain hesitation. A rather large number of examples with the indicative makes it necessary to try to devise a pattern for this 'hesitation'. This pattern seems to be that of cuidier, more or less. 39

Meyer-Lubke, Grammaire, vol. 3, 742-45.



The subjunctive is used whenever a false belief is expressed : Alexis 539 Co lour est vis que tiengent Deu medisme. Piramus 801 Ja li est vis que soit o lui. But like cuidier, it can also be followed by an indicative which serves to render, or at times just simulate, reality, the latter being the case with the example below from Piramus : Alexis 343 E ço m'est vis que ço est li om Deu. Piramus 559 dont m'est a vis que vos estes devant mon vis. Griseldis 340 il m'est avis Que pou d'amour a moy avez. AVOIR ESPOIR, ESPÉRER

Espérer contains only a very weak element of volition; modally, it behaves like a declarative verb, requiring the indicative when used in the positive form. Since, as a rule, the object of a hope is an action located in the future, the main clause will generally show a future tense, although not exclusively so. Meliador 4614 c'est mes espoirs Que courtoisie me ferez. Ch.O. 131,22 Car j'ay espoir que Dieu ma guerison Ordonnera. If the subjunctive is used, hope is verging on wish or desire. Only one example was found: Ch.O. 56,8 Je vous pry que soyez joyeux En esperant que brief vous voye. Semblance Semblance is expressed mainly by il pert and il semble. Of these two phrases, the former indicates a rather high degree of probability and, consequently, shows little hesitation, as far as the mood is concerned. Conditions are less stable after il semble. IL PERT, APPERT, EST APPARISSANT QUE

The modal norm is the indicative, used to denote probability : Yvain 590 Bien pert qu'il est après mangier. Becket 61 Bien est aparissant saint Thomas aveit dreit. Paix 118 Par ceste raison appert que sans paix ne pouvons vivre deuement ne selon vertu. Quinze Joies 86 il pert bien que vous n'estes gueres sage. One example was found with the subjunctive: Gace 1325 Et en son visage bien pert Que de douleur ait monlt souffert.




A relatively low degree of probability places this expression on the border-line between the indicative and the subjunctive, in an area where modal hesitation has a rather wide scope. This often makes it difficult to establish any basic rules that were obeyed by medieval writers, and it is interesting to see that this freedom still prevails in Modern French. Il semble que can be extended through the addition of an indirect object pronoun; the two groups (il semble que and il me semble que) are treated separately. IL SEMBLE QUE

My example collection shows two cases of the indicative as opposed to fifteen with the subjunctive. This would seem to offer at least numerical proof that the subjunctive represents the modal norm. The indicative expresses a high degree of probability, much like il pert : Anjou 4852 II semble que Dex me veult nuire. Gace 2917 Bien semble qu'il est radoté. For the last example, some of the manuscripts show a variant: "qu'il soit radoté". Outside of these rare exceptions, the subjunctive is used. It can express an illusion, a false appearance, as in these examples : Conqueste LXXXII,16 il sanloit qu'il fust de cristal. Rose 902 II sembloit que ce fust uns anges. Chirurgie 272 il samble que l'un vuille entrer dedens l'autre. Elsewhere, the writer indicates that the action is possible rather than probable, or else the subjunctive renders a subjective attenuation. The latter seems to be the case with the example from Griseldis (below), which has sembler bien : Theophile 372 II samble que vous soiez yvres. Gace 3764 Et semble que d'eux ne leur chaille. Griseldù 1836 Car bien semble certainement Que eulx deux n'aient seulement En tout que une seule pensee. IL ME SEMBLE QUE

Although of a more subjective nature than il semble que, this expression generally takes the indicative in Old French. This proves that it is not subjectivity as such that determines the choice of mood here, but rather the ensuing element of doubt or uncertainty. The additional information about a person to whom an action or a phenomenon seems likely to occur or already to be in existence, expressed by the pronoun, tends to add to the degree of probability and, consequently, to the predominance of the indicative. In Modern French, this is, to a certain extent, counteracted



by a tendency to use the subjunctive as a politer form with the first person singular pronoun, but no such tendency is evident in Old French. Examples with the indicative: Queste 86,5 Si nos semble que ce est voirs de toutes choses. Quinze Joies 11 et lui semble qu'il n'a aultre chouse a faire. Paris 8,10 et me semble que la ville est assez forte. Examples with the subjunctive: Queste 83,17 ce me semble que ce soit mout grant senefiance. Rose 1975 Pechiez seroit se tu trichoies, Qu'il me semble que leiaus soies. Interesting is the following example where the difference in mood must reflect a varying degree of probability: Quinze Joies 148 car, quelque tort que elle ait, il lui semble qu'elle ait droit, et qu'elle est sage. FAIRE SEMBLANT, FEINDRE QUE

These expressions introduce an action which is contrary to reality, and the subjunctive is the norm : Lancelot 5672 et fet sanblant qu'il ait peor. Vergi 515 et a fet samblant par faintise que maladie li soit prise. Two examples were found with the indicative. It is not easy to account for this mood, since the actions expressed are at variance with reality. Could this choice of mood indicate a convincing simulation ? Paix 122 Un autre plain de convoitise faigny que les Dieux ... lui avoit enchargié que il feist un temple d'or. Quinze Joies 18 laquelle fait semblant qu'il ne lui en chault. 3. Possibility and Doubt The mood is the subjunctive. Some locutions may occasionally denote probability and take the indicative, paralleling cases of the opposite tendency in the previous section. A large variety of expressions are available to convey a notion of possibility or doubt to the reader, such as il est possible que, je doute que, etc., and all the various phrases, mentioned in the preceding section, when used in a negated or interrogative framework or when part of a conditional clause. a. The governing verb is negated ETRE CERTAIN, PROBABLE QUE,


The subjunctive is used throughout. Examples are few and from the 14th-15th centuries only:



Quinze Joies 171 car il n'est pas acertené qu'ils aient rien fait de mal. Paris Al,25 ce n'est pas vray semblable que ce ne soit sans grant sens ne entendement. The following example, though not containing a formal negation, does have a negative meaning: Griseldis 1021 Nous cuidions estre certaines ... Que plus riches feussons de soy. ESPÉRER QUE +


Ch.O. 142,21 Car, sans ce, je n'ay esperance Que nous ayons paix nullement. SEMBLER, PARAÎTRE, FAIRE SEMBLANT, FEINDRE QUE +


Lancelot 3030 si ne sanble il pas ... qu'ele puisse grant fes porter. Pathelin 1155 je ne faindray point que je soye des tiens. ETRE AVIS QUE +


Chirurgie 1025 II ne m'est pas avis que le leveur puisse estre (d)escrit par lettres. Quinze Joies 97 et ne leur est point avis qu'il en soit nulles pareilles. Declaratives, Verbs of Perception, Intellectual Verbs, etc. Rose 3261 Car je n'ai mie encore apris Qu'il ait de rien vers vos mespris. Anjou 8059 Je ne di pas que tuit tel soient. Quinze Joies 20 il ne congnoist point que elle y ait faulte. The subjunctive is even used when the subordinate clause puts forth an undisputed fact. This is the case with the following examples: Eustache 1047 Mes il ne savoient noient ke il fussent si près parent, Ne que il fussent d'une mere, ne qu'emgendré fussent d'um pere. Eustache 1747 Mes il ne savoient noient ke il fussent de riens parent. The children were unaware of this fact, but the reader knows it is true. Sometimes we find a volitive subjunctive : Pathelin 720 je n'ay point aprins que je donge mes draps en dormant ne veillant a nul, tant soit mon bienveillant. Pathelin 798 Je n'ay point aprins qu'on me serve de telz motz en mon drap vendant. An example without a formal negation, but with negative meaning: Yonec 350 Dune quidot ele bien saver Que sis amis entré i seit.



Verbs of Opinion Only examples with the subjunctive were found : Renart 803 ne quidez mie je vos hace. Vergi 191 ne creez ja ne ne penssez que je fusse onques si osez. Ch.O. 231,6 Ne pensez pas que je vous mente. Molinet VIII, 1,26 Je ne crois pas qu'en France ou Normendie Soit le pareil. Examples with negative meaning, but without any formal negation : Rose 5033 Mout est chaitis e fos naïs Qui creit que ci seit ses païs. Vergi 160 j'ai mout longuement creû que vous fussiez de bone foi. Paris 32,27 mais ce m'est une chose moult impossible a croire que le filz d'ung bourgeois de Paris puisse maintenir tel estât. The Indicative All these various groups of negated verbs yielded only one example with the indicative: Feuillèe 5 Or ne pourront pas dire aucun ke j'ai Mités Ke d'aler a Paris soie pour nient vantés. This indicative is very difficult to explain and may simply be a mistake. We saw above that even facts are presented in the subjunctive mood when following a negated main verb, contrary to Modern French syntax. All this allows us to conclude that the element of non-existence and irreality, contained in a negation, automatically leads to the use of the subjunctive in Old French. Ôtken 37 affirms that the indicative is extremely rare in the oldest periods, but becomes less infrequent in the 14th-15th centuries. He gives very few examples, none of them convincing. His example from Dolop. 2506 "N'i a un seul que ne le die Que folie est de trop plorer", contains a fully positive statement because of the double negation ( = 'tout le monde dit que'). The use of the indicative about facts arises after the end of the Old French period, possibly with timid beginnings in the 15th century, but the material did not yield any sure examples. b. The governing clause is interrogative The subordinate clause takes the subjunctive. Examples of the indicative are scarce in Old French, while Modern French shows more cases of it here than following a negation. Just like in the previous group, Old French observes no modal difference between facts and irreality. Gormont 191 Quidez vus dune k'il surrexist, ne qu'il vus puisse guarantir? 37

Otken, Der Modus, 17.



Louis 801 Cuides tu donc tes Deus ait poesté Que il te puist vers mei en champ tenser? Rose 4567 Pense il que fame ait son cors chier Qui tout vif le veaut escorchier? The Indicative A couple of examples were found with the indicative. In the first example, futurity is stressed; the second seems to contain only a rhetorical question, and these are quite frequently followed by the indicative mood : Ponthieu 44 est ce seurtés que jo Tarai ? Elid 395 Jeo quid ke il me blamera? Negative questions are relatively rare in Old French. The first example has an indicative, used in order to express a fact, the other a subjunctive: Queste 224,9 Ne savez vos que ce est l'Arbre que nostre premiere mere planta? Molinet 1,3,16 Ne te chiet il en memoire que tu me ayes veu serve ... ? c. The governing clause is conditional The norm in Old French is the subjunctive, whether the ?ue-clause indicates doubt or an objective fact. No examples were found with the indicative. Alexis 495 II nem faldrat, s'il veit que jo lui serve. Queste 229,13 car se len set que nos soions de la meson le roi Artus, len nos asaudra maintenant. Chirurgie 533 Se aucun veult dire de .2. os ou de pluseurs que ce soit .1. ... le nombre pourra estre creu ou apeticié. The subjunctive is also used in connection with a comparative clause with comme si: Paix 159 car il descript oultre, si comme s'il voulsist dire que prospérité en prince soit quant il est afermeement sans division maistre de sa seigneurie. According to Ôtken, 38 a negative conditional clause governs the indicative. I found no instances of this, but Otken quotes Mach. 293 "se tu ne crois Que c'est la crois dou bon larron". d. Other expressions of doubt IL EST POSSIBLE QUE

The modal norm is the subjunctive: »« Otken, Der Modus, 17.



Grise!dis 1893 c'est possible Qu'a son peuple grans biens en viegne. Impersonal Constructions Indicating a Happening II avient, arrive que, il est ainsi que, il est que. The indicative is used about facts; this is particularly common in past tenses where there can be no doubt as to the objective existence of the condition stated in the subordinate clause. Queste 40,33 Si lor avint a un mardi matin que il vindrent a une croiz. Quinze Joies 3 Dont est advenu que pour ce la terre est deserte. Whenever these impersonal constructions are used in the negative, interrogative or conditional form, the mood is, quite naturally, the subjunctive : Passion 1308 Nous ne verrons ja avenir Qu'enfer perde sa seigneurie. Gace 711 Se avient que soiez povrez homs ... Va tantost servir un seigneur. IL PEUT ÊTRE QUE

When negated, this locution takes the subjunctive: Roland 3913 II ne poet estre qu'il seient desevret. Lancelot 3509 mes ne puet estre qu'il la face. PEUT ESTRE, ESPOIR

These adverbs govern a çwe-clause with the indicative; they express probability: Lancelot 6362 mes espoir qu'il est anfoïz. Quinze Joies 68 Et peut estre que elle a ung amy. Chartier 33,21 Peut estre que, soubz umbre de nous, mains grans oultraiges se font. Suppositions Prenons que, supposons que, posons que, etc. These verbs are all used in connection with a gratuitously formed hypothesis ; they require a subjunctive because of the irreality involved. Posé que has become a conjunction and is treated under conditional subordination. Meliador 1399 Prendons que je voise vers soy. Ch.O. 253,12 Or, prenons que vous soyez belle. Supposer is sometimes used in Modern French with much the same meaning as croire and followed by an indicative. There are no instances of this usage in Old French which, even here, uses the subjunctive, perhaps to voice a timid opinion:



Chirurgie 1204 nous suposon que ele soit procuree selonc la doctrine Thederic. Negated Verbs of Doubt or Denial Verbs indicating doubt or denial may themselves be negated. The modal norm in Old French is the subjunctive. N E PAS DOUTER QUE

A negated doubt is not at all equivalent to objective certainty; it is not surprising, therefore, to find the subjunctive used after this locution which still preserves a certain element of doubt and subjectivity. The verb of the subordinate clause normally has a ne. Euitache 1149 Ke de mes fix ne dout je mie ke il n'aient perdu la vie. Chirurgie 115 Des autres superfluités et des dens ne semble pas grant doute qu'il ne soient superfluités. Molinet VIII,4,74 Je ne fais doubte que les dames de maintenant ne soient autant ou plus amoureuses de leurs maris comme celles du temps passé. The indicative is also found and may be considered a logical choice, judging from the meaning of the expression. I found seven cases of the indicative, but six of these were from the same source (Paix). Ne is not used in the subordinate clause; the tense is frequently, but not always, the future. Ponthieu 59 n'en doutés mie, que dou meneur esquier que vous avés serés vous plus enblaés que de moi. Paix 93 car n'est pas doubte que ... puet en semblable cas avenir en toute place. Paix 151 N'est pas doubte que de tous maulx est convoitise racine. Negated Verbs of Denial Old French does not seem to offer many cases of this ; the subjunctive is used, with or without ne. Renart 1284 ce ne puis ge pas esconduire que je n'aie sa fame amee. Gace 3021 II me semble par vostre dit Que nul de vous ne contredit Que ceste gent soient banie. An example with interrogative form (and negative meaning) of nier : Yvain 1760 puez tu noiier, Que par toi ne soit morz mes sire? My example material yielded no cases of the indicative.



Negative Verbs of an Objective Nature A few verbs have a negative meaning when used without a negation, so ignorer = 'ne pas savoir', and oublier = 'ne pas se rappeler'. Oublier is a factual verb which, in no way, is considered as simply the negative counterpart of se rappeler ; it is normally constructed with the indicative, whether positive or negated. Molinet IX, 30 et n'oubliés point Que c'est oeuvre saincte. The rare occurrence of ignorer in Old French does not permit any conclusions concerning its mood. I have only one example; it is negated and shows ne and a subjunctive in the subordinate clause : Gace 1588 il n'est en tout le mont seigneur Qui en rien devroit ignorer Qu'elle ne face a honnorer. 4. Impossibility Expressions of impossibility may not contain an element of doubt, yet they take a subjunctive because of their negative nature. Examples are very scarce. Paris 34,12 II est bien fol de ainsi legierement despendre ung si grant trésor, lequel est impossible qu'il luy puisse longuement durer.



This position of the çwe-clause presents special problems as to mood because of a different relationship between the main clause and the subordinate clause. With the normal sequence of these two clauses, the governing verb explains the relationship between them by indicating whether we have volition, doubt or certainty, whereas the reverse position for a while leaves the reader in doubt. This doubt persists, until we get to the main verb; it thus pervades the entire subordinate clause, and this has led to the generalization of the subjunctive in this type of clause. It has spread to sentences indicating certainty, and is used, in Modern French, even in connection with le fait que, la certitude que. This is in H. Soltmann's words a "ganz âusserliche und tôrichte Regel"39 which Old French, in its oldest periods, does not observe. My example collection shows that the preceding ^we-clause obeyed the general rules for the use of the subjunctive up until about 1300. The earliest examples 'sinning against' these rules are from Mondeville, but the possibility of an even earlier occurrence is, of course, open. Ôtken, 40 who favors a later date, maintains that the subjunctive was generalized after 1500. 39 40

Soltmann, Syntax der Modi, 72-76. Otken, Der Modus, 167.



Examples with the indicative : Alexis 22 Qued enfant n'ourent peiset lour en fortment. Elid 1098 Que vive estes grant joie en ai. Theophile 48 C'on m'apeloit seignor et mestre De cest pals, ce sez tu bien. Examples with the subjunctive: Becket 5265 Que riens en seit arriéré, ne m'en puet souvenir. Ch.O. 284,61 Qu'on meure de fain ne vueil pas. Examples of the subjunctive used with expressions of certainty or probability : Chirurgie 330 Qu'il soit chaut et sec naturelment, ce apert par la legiereté de son mouvement. Gace 1527 Et que ainsi doie estre fait, La sainte escripture de fait Le nous moustre assés clerement. Paix 64 Et qu'il soit vray qu'en vertu soit toute joye le preuve Aristote par vray argument. Paix 79 et qu'il soit vray le nous aprent pure experience. Ch.O. 21,15 Qu'il soit ainsi bien le me fist aprandre Ma maistresse. No medieval examples were found with le fait que. In the following example, ce que stresses reality; the mood is the indicative, as is to be expected in the 13th century, which is still free of any 'grammaticalization' : Queste 102,2 Et ce qu'ele vos sembloit plus juene de l'autre n'est pas merveille.



A question is indirect when it depends on a main clause. The governing verb is of an interrogative nature, such as demander, or else it indicates information, generally speaking, so savoir and dire, etc. Verbs of emotion, mainly ne pas chaloir and the group expressing wonder and astonishment, may also govern an indirect question. Formally, the indirect question is thus very closely related to the noun clause. Latin uses the subjunctive in indirect questions, but shows a rather late generalization of this mood after a period of modal hesitation in older Latin. The indicative may have been used in spoken Latin; the grammarian Diomedes seems to say as much when, after "nescio quid facis", he adds: "imperitia lapsi ... dicunt: Nescio quid facias". 1 We find the same modal hesitation reflected in Old French where the choice of mood is, at times, difficult to explain. Modally, the indirect question is related to the noun clause, but Gamillscheg's theory 2 to the effect that the indirect question follows the same modal rules that apply to the declarative verbs and the verbs of opinion, is not acceptable. Having mentioned the use of the subjunctive after a negated main clause, Gamillscheg points out that the indirect question may also take an indicative in Old French: "Daneben wird aber schon im Rolandslied auch in solchen Fällen der Fragesatz auch rein objektiv im Indikativ ausgedrückt". 3 In fact, there are even earlier examples of this (Alexis). Negated declaratives always take a subjunctive in Old French whereas, in a negated indirect question, the subjunctive is used for uncertainty, the indicative if the doubt concerns the interrogative word alone without pervading the entire clause. The indirect question may further appear with a subjunctive of volition. The subjunctive is used after a negated main clause with its traditional value of doubt. Some grammarians believe that this subjunctive also renders a notion of obligation, so Lerch4 who equates ne set que face with il ne sail pas ce qu'il doit faire, as opposed to ne set que fait = 'il ne sait pas ce qu'il fait'. 1 2 8 4

Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 314. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 634ff. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 634ff. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 67.



Roland 1982 or ne sai jo que face. Piramus 739 Ne sai quel duel me soit plus forz. Guig 325 Ne sai u ele seit trovee. Ponthieu 537 moi ne caut seur qel terre chou soit. Miracles 11,827 Lasse! je ne sçay que je face. The indicative is used when the uncertainty concerns the interrogative word alone and not the action itself. Two examples will illustrate this difference : Guig 325 Ne sai u ele seit trovee. Guig 331 Ne sai u jeo sui arivez. In v. 325, there is doubt as to whether or not the person will be found; in v. 331, the expressed doubt is centered wholly on the word u, whereas the arrival itself is in no way being questioned. Examples with the indicative : Alexis 122 Ne vos sai dire com lor ledice est grande. Roland 191 Mais jo ne sai quels en est sis corages. Roland 735 Mais il ne sevent li quels d'els la veintrat. Queste 227,24 Savez vos cornent ceste espee a non? A volitive subjunctive is used about an intended or willed action: Lancelot 3914 chascuns se painne et angresse cornant il puisse a lui tochier. Two examples were found of the preceding indirect question ; one shows the indicative, the other the subjunctive : Chirurgie 30 Comment tous les nombres de ceste cyrurgie soient senefiés par nombre ... pour ce sont.ll. choses a noter en general. Anjou 6145 Que je sui, ce ne doutez mie, sui quens de Borges la garnie. The Infinitive An infinitive construction is found in both Old and Modern French, being somewhat less frequent in Old French where identity of subjects does not automatically call for the use of an infinitive. Theophile 560 Ne sai que fere. Queste 209,18 il n'en savoit cornent issir. Villon 1644 Item, ne sçay qu'a l'ostel Dieu Donner. SE

An indirect question introduced by se (si) is expressed in the indicative. Theophile 12 Ne sai se Diex les pestera. Villon 930 Je ne sçay s'a tous si rebelle A esté.

70 Later



The subjunctive continues to be used in indirect questions in the 16th century, and there are rare occurrences of this mood even later on, but the predominance of the indicative (and the infinitive) is firmly established from the 15th century on, and the indicative has completely replaced the subjunctive in the modern period.



The subjunctive is used in the adverbial clause with exactly the same values as in the previously treated types of clauses: volition and doubt. A volitive subjunctive is found above all in the final, consecutive and concessive groups. Elsewhere, we have mainly a subjunctive of doubt.


The action of a temporal clause can be prior to or follow that of the main clause, or else the two can be simultaneous. The subjunctive will mainly occur in the case of anteriority, since actions which have not yet taken place are often viewed with a certain element of doubt. Posteriority and simultaneity are less interesting from our point of view because of the more factual nature involved. 1. Posteriority Après que, depuis que, etc. Since actions which have already taken place contain no element of doubt, we cannot logically expect to find the subjunctive used in such clauses, and Old French presents no examples of this mood. For Classical French, Richelet authorizes the use of the subjunctive after après que; this usage is still encountered sporadically in Modern French, but is not considered correct by purists. Historically, this subjunctive has arisen by analogy with avant que. 2. Simultaneity Quand, lorsque, que que, pendant que, comme, etc. Latin conjunctions expressing simultaneity, such as dum, donee, etc., were always followed by an indicative in the classical period, while cum often took a subjunctive. In Vulgar Latin, the subjunctive gained some ground, spreading from cum to other conjunctions. The mood in French is normally the indicative:



Yvain 4965 Que que il partaient einsi, Lunete del mostier issi. Queute 42,15 Endementiers que il estoit en tel dolor a\int que Galaad vint cele part. The indicative appears also in the case of actions located in the future and therefore open to doubt. Spanish usage is more logical here with its use of the subjunctive after cuando when it designates an action in the future. Becket 3562 Quant vendrunt devant li e juste e pecheiir, ... Il jugera le munt. The only conjunction of modal interest in this group is comme which, in the early Renaissance, began to take the subjunctive, no doubt under influence from Latin. Old French has the indicative after cum 'comme': Roland 1994 Sun cumpaignun, cum il l'at encuntret, sil fiert amunt sur l'elme a or gemet. Roland 2917 Cum jo serai a Ais en ma chapele, vendrunt li hume, demanderunt noveles. The subjunctive, which appears in the beginning of the 14th century, seems to be used mainly after the causal comme. Only one of my examples contains a temporal comme or, at least, a temporal-causal conjunction : Chartier 5,6 Et entre autres escriptures, comme je leusse le tiers chapitre de Ysaïe, le cueur m'est troublé de freeur. Old French cum was practically never used in a causal construction; one may therefore assume that both causal comme and the mood it governed, were late medieval innovations, inspired by Latinists, and introduced independently of the already existing temporal conjunction. 3. Anteriority Ainz que, ainçois que, devant que, avant que, etc. Treated here is also a series of conjunctions which do not normally serve to indicate anteriority, but rather state a limit in time beyond which the action of the main clause does not extend, such as tant que, jusqu'à ce que, etc. Common for these conjunctions is the use of the subjunctive in Old French for actions which are uncertain or doubtful, while the indicative appears about facts or whenever a high degree of probability is present. Old French does not show the same degree of 'grammaticalization' as does Modern French, where the subjunctive is used without exception. AINZ QUE, AINÇOIS QUE, USQUE

The subjunctive is used almost exclusively. Ne does not appear with any conjunction of anteriority in Old French and is even rare in Classical French. Nevertheless,



Damourette 1 maintains that it has "ancient roots", but these roots are, beyond doubt, the comparative ainz que. Cf. this example from Becket 4988 Ainz les despenderai tuz ... Que jo ne face tut l'orguil Thomas chaeir. Examples with the subjunctive : Alexis 287 Nel reconoissent usque il s'en seit alez. Wace 559 Ronpés liiens ou jo sui mise, Ançois que mort m'ait trop sosprise. Feuillée 899 Alons ent dont ains ke li gent Aient le taverne pourprise. Paix 170 Salemon dist que signe est de folie respondre ains que on ait ouy. As shown above, the subjunctive is used even about actions in the past, where no doubt is implied. One might expect to find an indicative in such cases, but this is obviously rare, as I found only one example: Anjou 6463 Li bon proudons ... Fu ja issuz du chastel, ainz Que n'ot li quens gueres erré. Ainçois que may also govern an infinitive construction in Old French : Gace 1975 Si li convient aler dormir, Ainçois que le faucon quérir. AVANT QUE

This conjunction appears much later; the first examples occur in Joinville, according to Lerch,2 but it is not frequently found in the medieval period. Modally, it behaves like ainz que. Miracles 11,951 Je m'en revois a mes nonnains, Avant que nostre evesque viengne. Gace 161 En peril est qu'il ne le tue Avant ce qu'il viengne a la mue. An example with the indicative and a coordinated clause in the subjunctive : Miracles 1,849 Grant temps avant que je fu nez Et avant que fusse engendrez, Tant les servirent et amerent, Que pour eulz chaasté vouèrent. The indicative here expresses a fact in the past, but the modal difference between the two clauses is not immediately apparent, unless the second clause should be interpreted as 'and perhaps also before ...'. Most likely, we simply have a formal analogy from the coordinated conditional clause and its special syntax. DEVANT (CE) QUE

This conjunction is much more common in Old French than avant que, and it goes back about a century further. Cases of the indicative are far more frequent here than 1 2

Damourette-Pichon, Des Mots, vol. 5, 532. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 48-49.



with any other conjunction of anteriority (with the exception of tant que, jusqu'à ce que). Examples with the subjunctive: Conqueste XXXI,3 et devant che que li vaslés ne li message fussent venu a Jadres, si s'en fu li estores alés en l'isle de Corfaut. Queste 19,17 car nus en si haut servise ne doit entrer devant qu'il soit netoiez. Chartier 23,4 Le fourmy ... prévoit sa nécessité devant ce qu'elle le sourpreigne. Examples with the indicative; only future/conditional tenses were encountered: Queste 57,9 car il ne sera ja mes aeise devant que il savra qui il est. Vergi 552 ja mes jor que ele vive, une heure a aise ne sera devant que plus apris avra. Passion 77 Jamais o vous ne mengerai Devant que de mort resusciterai. The addition of a demonstrative ce stresses objective existence, yet, strangely enough, only examples with the subjunctive were found after this combination. Devant la que, on the other hand, was found only with the indicative, both with future/conditional tenses and with past tenses. It may be a Picard form, since it was encountered only in Robert de Clari. Conqueste XI,46 sachiés que vous ne vous moverés de cheste isle devant la que nous serons paié. Conqueste LXXXV,46 ne s'en pooit partir devant la que li buhotiaus li avoit suchié chele maladie toute hors. TANT COM

'as long as'

The subjunctive occurs with its traditional value of doubt, but this conjunction may also take an indicative to express probability. There does not seem to be any basic difference between the two moods here. Examples with the subjunctive : Roland 544 Ço n'iert ... tant com vivet sis niés. Louis 2225 Mais ce n'iert ja tant com puisse durer. Lancelot 5696 ja mes tant com il soit vis n'avra talant d'armes porter. Examples with the indicative : Alexis 164 Ne por onours qui lui fussent tramises N'en vuelt torner tant come il at a vivre. Roland 2126 Ne lor lerat tant com il serat vis. Quinze Joies 121 Vous savez que je suis seigneur de la meson, et seray tant come je vivray.



TANT QUE ' u n t i l '

Tant was originally an adverb of quantity and was quite frequently separated from que in Old French. Cf. Roland 2689 Tant chevalchierent qu'en Saraguce sunt. An easy transition in meaning then led from 'so much ... that' to 'until': 'they travelled so much that they arrived' > 'they travelled until they arrived'. Tant que may be combined with either mood, the subjunctive indicating intentional or expected actions, involving doubt, the indicative objective facts or happenings. Examples with the subjunctive : Yvain 1332 Soiiez an pes tant que je vaingne. Renart 2349 Aidiez moi tant que fors en soie. Anjou 802 Alons nous ent grant aleure Tant que soiens en la forest. Surprising is this example from Mondeville, where the subjunctive seems to be used to express a fact : Chirurgie 337 et de la thorasce a l'espine est continué tant qu'il soit un meisme pannicle continu. Examples with the indicative: Louis 2001 Puis s'en alerent tant qu'il sont a Peitiers. Yvain 4700 Jorz i sejorna ne sai quanz, Tant que il et ses lions furent Gari et que râler s'an durent. Examples with future/conditional tenses : Anjou 5716 Dieu ... m'aïdera Tant que de ceste angoisse istrai. Miracles, 1,92 Sachez que je n'arresteray Tant que ceste besogne ert faite. With the use of future/conditional tenses, probability is expressed. Tant que may also replace tant com 'as long as', as in this example from Villon 1070 Item, a Jehan Raguier je donne ... Tant qu'il vivra ... une tallemouse. DE c i QUE ' u n t i l '

This conjunction behaves modally like tant que. Examples with the subjunctive : Biscl 76 Ja mes n'avreie mes sueurs De si k'il me fussent rendu. Elid 526 N'en partirai en nule guise De si que sa guere ait finee. Examples with the indicative: Elid 715 Ne ja mes joie nen avra De si que s'amie verra. Yonec 345 Icel sentier errât e tient Desique a une hoge vient.



Lerch3 mentions a conjunction des ci que which shows influence from dès ; it is very rare. A confusion with this conjunction, however, may help explain the following example from Biscl 145 De si qu'il a le rei choisi vers lui curut querre merci. The meaning cannot be 'until'; we must have the equivalent of dès que. JOSQUE, JUSQUES

This conjunction mainly requires a subjunctive in Old French. Roland 2438 Jo vos defent que n'i adeist nuls hom Josque Deus voeillet qu'en cest champ revengom. Roland 2662 Ne finerai en trestot mon vivant Josqu'il seit morz. Following are two 15th century examples with the indicative: Paris 9,4 si ne trouvèrent adventure aulcune ... jusques ilz furent bien avant dedans Espaigne. Paris 63,13 ne vous bougez jusques je le vous diray. Lerch4 has an even earlier example with the indicative, from Moniage Guillaume 4029 "Mes cors repos n'ara, Jusques Guillaumes fors de prison sera". This is probably extremely rare; Gamillscheg5 maintains that only the subjunctive is found in Old French. TRESQUE

Gamillscheg6 asserts that tresque and josque are carefully kept apart in Old French in such a way that the former is used only with the indicative to express factual happenings, the latter with the subjunctive to indicate doubt. Such a separation does not exist at all; modally, tresque behaves exactly like jusques a(d) ce que, admitting either mood, the indicative for facts, the subjunctive for doubt. Becket 4061 Mais il ne volt, ço dit, n'en plait n'en cause entrer, Tresque li reis li ait fait del tut restorer. Piramus 43 De tel sajete ... Navra Amours ... Le jovenciel et la meschine, Tresque la mort lor fu voisine. JUSQU'A TANT QUE

This conjunction, which represents a combination of jusque and tant que, is followed by either mood, according to the usual pattern for tant que or jusques a ce que. The 3 4 5 6

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 35. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 38-42. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 674. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 674.



indicative is quite frequent, especially the future/conditional forms, but not to the exclusion of the subjunctive here. Gamillscheg's attempt 7 to establish such a clear-cut difference in modal behavior, between jusqu'à ce que + subjunctive and jusqu'à tant que + indicative, is manifestly refuted by my example material. Examples with the indicative: Queste 38,10 Je sui senglement jusqu'à tant que je trespasserai. Chirurgie 338 il se continue ... duc'a tant qu'il est conjoint o le derrain des .12. spondilles du dos. Gace 3845 Tu ne t'en yras Jusque atant que responsse aras. Examples with the subjunctive: Chirurgie 240 des lors il tousse continuelment duc'a tant que ce qui est entré, soit débouté hors. Gace 4691 Car ja n'yert la fleiche veiie, Jusques atant qu'elle soit cheue. Ch.O. 218,9 Mon cueur se tient emprisonné ... Jusqu'à tant qu'ait fait son devoir Vers vous et se soit raenconné. Interesting are these two examples from Miracles, which show two coordinated clauses, the first one in the indicative, the second in the subjunctive: Miracles 1,673 jamais ne mengeray Jusques a tant que je saray Se je suis crestiens ou non, Et que je sache l'achoison Pour quoy vous n'avez joie au cuer. Miracles 742 Or priez Dieu qu'il me sequeure ... Jusqu'à tant qu'a Romme vendray Et que je crestienne soie. As similar cases are not uncommon, my conclusion is that we have a formal analogy from the coordinated conditional clause. There does not otherwise seem to be any difference between the two clauses. JUSQU'A CE QUE

The addition of a seems to stress finality, yet this conjunction admits either mood just like the other conjunctions of a similar meaning. Jusqu'à ce que appears rather late in French; the examples are from the 15th century only. Examples with the subjunctive: Quinze Joies 82 car il ne mengera jusques ad ce que vous soiez venue. Quinze Joies 110 je ne seray jamés aise jusques ad ce que je m'en soye acquittée. Examples with the indicative: 7

Gamillscheg, Syntax, 674ff.



Chartier 27,5 et n'a oncques cessé jusques a ce que ta parfaicte paix a esté troublee et muee en tres-cruelle division. Paris 10,9 car jamais il ne les prendrait a mercy jusques a ce qu'il verroit et viendroient tous les nobles a genoulx. In Classical French, the indicative and the subjunctive were still both equally possible after jusqu'à ce que, but Littré lists this conjunction as one which "governs" the subjunctive. We thus have yet another case of 'grammaticalization'. In order to stress objectivity, Modern French can no longer use the indicative here, but has to resort to expressions like jusqu'au moment où. Such expressions are also found in earlier stages of the language, although there is less need for them there. They take the indicative: Queste 166,8 Donc vos créant je ... que je mes ne mengeré fors pain et eve jusqu'à cele hore que je seré a cele table que vos dites. Meliador 1429 Vous n'orés ja de moy parler ... Jusques, au jour qu'en ceste place Ou nous sons, m'en ferés response. Gamillscheg8 has attempted to prove that Old French had two different sets of conjunctions with the meaning 'until'. One group should express objectivity and take the indicative (tresque, jusqu'à tant que), the other a desired or doubtful action and take the subjunctive (jusque, jusqu'à ce que). My example material clearly shows that no such difference exists, and that Gamillscheg is trying to ascribe to the conjunctions what really is the domain of the moods. Separate conjunctions would be a redundant feature for which Old French sees no need. QUE 'until' Que alone may function as a temporal conjunction in connection with the verb attendre-, it has the same value as jusqu'à ce que and takes the subjunctive. In other cases, attendre que introduces a noun clause with a volitive subjunctive. Due to a total lack of formal distinction, it is a very delicate matter to keep these two functions apart. Attendre que introduces a noun clause: Alexis 389 Vis atendeie qued a mei repaidrasses. Renart 2234 chascuns atant qu'il soit vangiez. Attendre que introduces a temporal clause (the first example has the rare form attendre tant que) : Lancelot 4618 mes tant atandre vos covient que an mon lit soie couchiee. Passion 209 Atendez qu'il soient conté. Paris 70,16

Si nous a faillu attendre que quelcun aye ouvert l'uys.

» Gamillscheg, Syntax, 674ff.




This conjunction had come into existence in the late 15th century; it is followed by a subjunctive, as shown by : Molinet XIII, 154 En attendant que son bregier Soit en eage, picque en Bourgonne.


Pour ce que, puisque, vu que, etc. An indication of cause is always of an objective nature and does not imply any doubt or volition; the causal clause, therefore, presents very little interest in respect to mood, the indicative being used almost exclusively. Conqueste 1,12 et molt de gent le sivoient, pour chou qu'il estoit si preudons. Paris 71,11 et que luy peult cela nuyre, veu qu'il a si noble estât. Only three cases deserve a closer examination as to mood: comme, the negated causal conjunction and the appended justification. 1. COMME

Comme emerges as a causal conjunction in the 14th century in direct imitation of Latin cum. It takes a subjunctive, which sets it apart from the Old French temporal comme + indicative. Comme does not introduce a new cause, but one which is already known; it is the equivalent of puisque, not of parce que. Proof of a direct Latin influence is further corroborated by the fact that this conjunction is mainly found in learned writers, like Mondeville, Christine de Pisan, Alain Chartier. Griseldis 224 Si loëroie, voir, que, comme La chose soit bonne et loisible, Nous en preïssons un sensible Qui la parole prononçast. Paix 63 Comme toutes choses ça jus soient falibles, seulle vertu, dist Tulles, est en la puissance d'elle meismes. Paix 171 Ton secret ne dis a homme qui s'enyvre, comme yvresce ne sache rien celler. Comme being synonymous with puisque, it is only natural to expect the latter conjunction to appear with an occasional subjunctive. This is no doubt, rare, and only one example was encountered : Molinet V,76 ja n'arés los ne pris, Puisque repris soiés de desraison. Comme + subjunctive is common also in the 16th century, but rare in the 17th, although Vaugelas declares it elegant.9 •

G. Gougenheim, Système grammatical de la Langue française (Paris, 1939), 200-01.



2. The Negated Causal Conjunctions Non mie que, ne que, non pas pour ce que, etc. These conjunctions, which may introduce either an objective fact or a supposed cause, state that this cause, whether real or imaginary, does not exert any influence on the action of the main clause. In case of a supposed cause, the mood is the subjunctive, both in Old and Modern French. The same seems to hold true of an objective cause, judging from the first example below. Examples, all with the subjunctive : Lancelot 3780 Ne vos nel devez pas voloir, non pas por ce que il ne l'ait bien vers vos et vers lui mesfait: mes por ... Queste 135,30 De celui lac issirent nuef fluns, ce furent nuef persones d'omes qui sont descendu de celui; non mie qu'il soient tuit si fil, ainz ert descenduz li uns de l'autre par droite engendreure. Pisan 1062 C'est de vostre bien sans faille, Non mie que je le vaille. Gamillscheg10 keeps the negated objective and the negated imaginary cause modally separated, the first group taking the indicative, the second the subjunctive. Unfortunately, his earliest example is from Pascal, and he also quotes a few modern examples. The Old French material is not abundant, but the above example from Lancelot shows that Gamillscheg's rule is not always observed. In Modern French, the subjunctive is the norm after the negated causal conjunction. 3. The Appended Justification Following a direct question, a causal çwe-clause may serve to indicate why this question was asked. I have here closely followed De Boer's definition11 of the queclause as bringing a "justification après coup" of the existence of the question. Lerch12 describes the relationship in somewhat similar terms by defining the conjunction as the "que des Fragegrundes" (or "des Erkenntnisgrundes"). Latin here used quod + indicative or ut + subjunctive. Lerch13 conjectures that this particular construction does not take a subjunctive in French until the 16th century. In order to prove this assertion, he quotes various translations of the following passage from the Bible: "Quid est homo, quod memor es eius?" A medieval translation has: "Quels chose est huem, que tu es remembrerre de lui?" A 16th century translation also shows an indicative: "que tu as souvenance de lui?", but the same passage appears with a subjunctive in the Ostervald edition: "que tu te souviennes de lui ?" Although the existence of this subjunctive in Old French is thus categorically denied by Lerch,14 I have, nevertheless, encountered the following 13th century example: 10 11 12 13 14

Gamillscheg, Syntax, 664. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 665-69. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 75-78. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 75-78. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 75-78.



Queste 97,33 Estoit li lyons vostres ne en vostre subjection, que vos vos deussiez combatre por lui ? Lerch15 believes this subjunctive to be caused by direct influence from Latin ut + subjunctive during the Renaissance period. Learned influence is, indeed, very likely, but it must be of a much earlier date, judging from the above example. Strangely enough, nobody seems to have pointed out the similarity between this que and the causal conjunctions comme and puisque, all three having in common the fact that they introduce an already known cause ( = 'since'). It seems legitimate to assume that que and comme began to take a subjunctive at roughly the same period of time, and that the two uses are related. Modern French admits either mood in the appended ^«e-clause. Examples, quoted from Lerch: 16 Claudel, Annonce: "La maison est-elle vide que toutes les portes soient ouvertes?" A. France, Histoire Comique: "Tu ne m'aimes donc pas, que tu n'es pas jalouse?"


Final clauses are colored by volition, since they express desired actions, purpose or intention. These various notions, which are all incompatible with objectively existing facts, call for a volitive subjunctive. This mood is used almost exclusively, the same as in Latin: cf. Terence: "adiuta me quo fiat facilius".17 Examples with the indicative, mostly a future, are very rare in Old French. COM

Only one example exists of this final conjunction: Eulalie 19 Enz enl fou lo getterent com arde tost. QUE

This was the most common final conjunction in Old French. Due to its multiple uses, it was later disfavored, being much too ambiguous. It is preserved in Modern French only in connection with an imperative or, in rare cases, other syntactic equivalents of an order. In Old French, it was not so restricted. The main clause contains an imperative: Roland 3136 Sonez vos graisles que mi paien lo sachent. Wace 113 Fai moi, biaus sire, delivrer, Que tostans te puisse aourer. 15 14 17

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 75-78. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 75-78. Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 343.



Eustache 986 Mes donne mei cuer que soffrir Puisse la dolor et la painne. Villon 787 Fremin, sié toy près de mon lit, Que l'on ne me viengne espier. Other conjunctions may also occur after an imperative, but examples are infrequent: Roland 3981 Baptiziez la, por quei Deus en ait 1'anme. The main clause does not contain an imperative: Yvain 3365 Et met l'escu devant sa face, Que la flame mal ne li face. Becket 2059 Gris dras d'un frere ad pris, k'il puisse estre celez. Becket 2140 Fist estaindre les cirges, qu'um nel peiist veeir. Queste 201,2 puis atachent lor nef, que li floz ne la face esloignier. A negative purpose ( = 'lest') can also be expressed through de peur que, de crainte que; such cases are treated under the group Fear, above. A final clause with que may precede the main clause : Anjou 4362 Et, que seurté soit greigneur, Vous jurez que ceste aventure ... Ne direz en nulle maniéré. L'UTILITÉ, LE PROFIT EST QUE

These expressions, which are quite common in Mondeville, but which are not much used in literary texts, seem to contain a noun clause, serving as a predicate. Surprisingly enough, the mood is the subjunctive, but in some cases this can be easily explained as due to an element of volition (necessity, order, etc.). So in this example: Chirurgie 805 La .2. riulle est que la diete soit asubtilie. In other cases, the subjunctive may be caused by an element of intention or purpose. We still seem to have a noun clause, but the ambiguity of que precludes any foolproof interpretation: Chirurgie 84 La .2. (utilité) est que ... la fumosité du cuer soit ostee. Chirurgie 208 L'utilité pour quoi elle est cartilagineuse est qu'el se soustiengne miex. The presence of final conjunctions after Vutilité est makes another explanation of que quite plausible; it is, indeed, tempting to draw a parallel here and assume that we have a final que instead of a noun clause. Examples with final conjunctions other than que: Chirurgie 124 L'utilité pour quoy il est roont, est pour ce qu'il soit plus fort. Chirurgie 229 la .2., a ce qu'el les puisse miex retenir. Following is an example where que is coordinated with pour ce que: Chirurgie 94 Les .3. utilités de la char glandeuse sont: .1., qu'el convertisse



le sane a couleur samblable a lie ... la .2., pour ce qu'el traie et reçoive ... les superfluités ... la .3., pour ce qu'el soit repos et pais. A rare case with car + indicative shows a causal connotation : Chirurgie 223 L'utilité pour quoi elle est partie est, car la veue vient parmi. POUR CE QUE, POUR QUE, PAR QUOI

Pour ce was originally separated from que; it belonged to the main clause where it helped prepare and perhaps clarify the ambiguous que. This stage is illustrated by the following examples : Queste 11,23 Car por ce vos a Diex envoié entre nos, que vos parfaçoiz ce que li autre ne porent onques mener a fin. Passion 307 Pour ce est drois que on l'ocie, Que la loy n'en soit abessiee. An example with preceding que, to which por ce is later added as a further clarification of the final relationship : Eus tache 750 Ke ne soion en reprovanche A ceuz qui ont nostre poësce Weuee et nostre grant richesce, Por cen ... Vers Egipte tendrons nostre erre. The modal norm after these final conjunctions is the subjunctive : Roland 3981 Baptiziez la, por quei Deus en ait l'anme. Wace 164 Mon cors lairai metre a torment Por ce que m'ame soit salvee Et o les virges soit posee. Queste 22,24 Et il se lieve et essuie ses eulz por ce que cil qui le verront ne sachent le duel qu'il a mené. Anjou 6411 Li quens aussi veut retourner En son païz ... par quoi sa gent veoir le puissent. Pour que was created in the 17th century, according to Brunot, 18 but Roland has the form por quei, as seen above. After 1400, pour ce que was abandoned, probably because it could also function as a causal conjunction up until the 17th century. One isolated example was found, containing a future tense: Anjou 642 Et lez clez de l'uis du vergier Pourchacierent tout sagement Pour ce que plus secreement Et miex s'en istront de 1'ostel. A CE QUE

This conjunction is mostly found in the 14th-16th centuries, but probably also earlier. The mood is the subjunctive. 18

F. Brunot, Histoire de la Langue française des Origines à 1900 (Paris, 1905ff), vol. 3, 397.



Chirurgie 243 la langue tourne la viande par la bouche a ce qu'elle soit mieux maschie. Chartier 10,22 Et toutesvoies ne mettez les mains en œuvre a ce que je soye secourue par vostre travail. AFIN QUE, A CELLE FIN QUE, etc.

Like the previous conjunction, this group contains the preposition a, which stresses the idea of purpose or intention. Afin que appears in the 13th century and is, from the 15th to the 17th century, the most common of the final conjunctions. Examples, all with the subjunctive: Chirurgie 20 g'i entent a demourer plus longuement, a tel fin que il soient descleiriees. Paix 92 Te sont doncques nécessaires deux choses par especial afin que le bien de paix soit tousjours avec toy. Pathelin 496 II nous fault estre tous deux fermes, affin qu'il ne s'en apparçoive. The following example shows a coordination of an infinitive and a subordinate clause: Griseldis 87 il s'accorda a femme avoir Affin de faire son devoir Et que d'elle eûst lignie. One apparent exception to modal usage is contained in this final clause: Paris 15,5 n'entendez pas que monseigneur mon mary et moy soyons si presumptueux que le vous ayons dit et requis a celle fin que la prenez. But, as seen earlier, we are here faced with a purely morphological problem, stemming from the fact that the 1. and 2. person plural of the present tense are inconclusive as to mood.


These clauses had in Classical Latin ut and a subjunctive, but in Vulgar Latin quod and the indicative gained ground. They differ from final clauses in that they do not always state an action as being desired or willed; in addition to such usage, they may, quite frequently, express already existing objective results. The consecutive clause is characterized by a rather loose combination of que and an antecedent, indicating manner or degree. We find, as antecedents, adverbs of manner or degree (si, tant, tellement) or adjectives (tel, ce). Nouns may also serve as antecedents, but they seem to combine more readily with que into true conjunctions (de sorte que, de façon que, etc.) The modal situation is far more complex than in the final clause,



with which this group is closely related. The subjunctive is used, if the action is willed or desired; this is a transitional group from final subordination. The subjunctive also serves to express something purely imagined or supposed, especially in connection with a negated, conditional or interrogative clause (cf. the noun clause). Elsewhere, the indicative is used for objective facts. si — QUE, si QUE

Antecedent and que are here often combined into the consecutive conjunction si que, which is used until the end of the 16th century, but which then becomes rare and is replaced by si bien que. The indicative is used to express an objective result: Nîmes 1263 L'uis del palés nos a si encombré Que l'en n'i puet ne venir ne aler. Lancelot 762 et fiert celui si qu'il l'abat. Yvain 1469 il sont plain de lermes, si que n'an est ne fins ne termes. Ch.O. 26,13 Elle fait tout si gracieusement, Que nul n'y scet trouver amendement. An example with a future : Freisne 110 Jeo vus en deliverai ja, Si que honie ne serez. The subjunctive is used to express a desired result: Piramus 869 feites ma main si fort, Qu'a un seul cop reçoive mort. Queste 54,32 dites moi la senefiance, si que je la sache conter a cort. Chirurgie 288 mes il soufist au cyrurgien savoir les lieus des grans ners ... si que il les sache escheiver, quant il fera incisions. Passion 614 En deus moitiés le partirons Si que sa part en ait chacun. The subjunctive is used to express doubt, especially following a negation. The action of the subordinate clause is imagined or doubtful. This is a very loose construction which reveals syntactic affinities with the noun clause, and which is directly related to the comparative clause. A relative construction may also appear here. Yvain 6254 N'estes si estonez ne vains, Que je autant ou plus ne soie. Conquesîe XVIII,78 Et li Grieu ne furent onques puis si hardi qu'il en osaissent parler. Molinet XVII,4,16

N'est sy dur fruict qu'enfin ne se meurisse.

The doubt arises from a conditional clause in this example: Villon 1791 Se si plaine est de desraison Que vueille que du tout devie, Plaise a Dieu que l'ame ravie En soit lassus en sa maison.




Ainsi que is rare. It appears in this example with an indicative used about an objective result : Lancelot 4287 et por ce que il mal se face le chief de la ceinture lace ..., ensi que nus ne l'apparçoit. TANT — QUE, TANT QUE

Tant que consists, just like si que, of an adverb of degree + a que, referring back to this adverb as its antecedent. A transition to a temporal meaning is an extremely common phenomenon with tant que and has already been dealt with under temporal subordination. Only the non-temporal tant que is treated here, although the two groups are related. The indicative is used to stress objectivity. We have mostly future/conditional tenses, but other forms also occur: Yvain 445 Tant fu li tans pesmes et forz, Que çant foiz cuidai estre morz Des foudres. Miracles 1,86 Je feray tant a ceste voie Que ja Dieu ne m'en sara gré. The subjunctive is used about an intentional action: Anjou 3304 Un varlet enseigne et enhorte Que des vinz tant boire li face Que il s'endorme en celle place. Miracles 1,84 Alons devers eulz tant bracier Que l'ame de chascun soit moie. The subjunctive expresses doubt, especially after a negation: Renart 249 Renart ne hé ge mie tant, ... que je le voille ore honir. Chartier 3,18 en quelle part pourroit l'en trouver tant de reliques de son nom que gens se puissent monstrer nez de sa semence ? Potential meaning is shown in this example from Queste 56,11 Et neporquant il n'a mie tant de pooir qu'il remaigne en sele. ( = 'qu'il puisse rester'). TEL — QUE, TEL QUE

Modally, this combination behaves like the preceding groups. The subjunctive appears about intentional or doubtful actions; the indicative denotes objectivity. No cases were observed of tellement que. Examples with the subjunctive :



Becket 1606 Or vus pri e cornant tel conseil me doinsiez Que jo ne seie a Deu ne al siecle avilliez. Gace 4713 Car elle veult faire tel guerre Que trestout soit rué par terre. Pisan 1024 II n'est pas tel qu'il nous face Vilennie. Examples with the indicative : Yvain 1203 Por ce tel duel par demenoit La dame, qu'ele forsenoit. Yvain 1536 D'autre part a tel coveitié De la bele dame veoir Au mains, se plus n'an puet avoir, Que de la prison ni li chaut. Tel que may also introduce a comparative clause : Villon 16 Tel luy soit Dieu qu'il m'a esté. Substantival Antecedents These are very rare in Old French. Lerch 19 has an example of en sorte que from Joinville, but Busse20 declares this form completely isolated, maintaining that there are no other examples before the 16th century. As a result, these expressions are mostly outside of the period treated in this work, but a transitional form, containing the adjective tel, is encountered in the 13th-14th centuries. Some of these examples have a subjunctive denoting intention, others an indicative used for an objective occurrence. Examples with the subjunctive: Queste 59,9 regardez moi par vostre pitié, en tel maniere que eist maus dont je me travail me soit assouagemenz en brief terme. Anjou 6880 Si est bien droiz que je entende A respondre en telle maniere Qu'aiez response droituriere. Examples with the indicative : Queste 115,4 si s'esvanoï li preudons en tel maniere qu'il ne sot qu'il devint. Meliador 3932 En l'espaule li embara, Par tel façon qu'il ne l'ara Sanee dedens quatre mois. The examples illustrate the double nature of de sorte (maniere, façon) que, half-final, half-consecutive conjunctions, governing the subjunctive or the indicative, respectively. QUE

Que alone may function as a consecutive conjunction when following the main 19

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 388. C. Busse, Das finale Satzverhältnis in der Entwicklung der französischen Syntax (Göttingen, 1905), 20-22.




clause, of which it states the result. The main clause does not contain any antecedent; it is the context alone which shows the relationship between the two phrases. These clauses express objectivity and take the indicative. With the subjunctive, we have a final que; cf. final subordination, above. Roland 451 Tuit li preierent li meillor Sarrazin Qu'el faldestoel s'est Marsilies asis. Louis 2304 Une broïne comence a espeissier, qu'on ne poeit veeir ne chevalchier. Piramus 80 uns sers ... Les fist départir et garder Qu'ensemble ne porent parler.


The concessive subjunctive expresses doubt as to the objective existence of the action contained in the clause. It is a subjunctive of a volitive nature with the modification, however, that concession represents a rather weak degree of volition. Some concessive clauses are original optatives, so malgré en ait-il which gives us the concessive conjunction malgré que, and this speaks in favor of the volitive nature of the subjunctive here. Ch. Bally21 has concluded from the Latin concessive conjunctions quamvis and quamlibet, that the main purpose of concession is to denote politeness, modesty or precaution; it serves to "faire avaler une objection". The numerous concessive conjunctions are all rather well grammaticalized in Modern French, following a period of great freedom in the choice of mood. A concession may refer to the action of the clause, and this action may be either real or supposed. In the case of a real concession, Classical Latin used quamquam, etsi, tametsi + indicative, or cum + subjunctive; with unreal (supposed) concession, etsi, tametsi + subjunctive. A concession may also refer to part of the clause and not to the action itself ; this is true of the indefinite relatives, where Latin had quisquís, utcumque + indicative, or quamvis + subjunctive. Finally, a concession may take the form of a hypothesis (soitlj or of an alternative (for both of these, see the main clause). Latin expressed an alternative through sive ... sive + subjunctive. All this changes radically via Vulgar Latin into Old French; the loss of the Latin conjunctions is complete. 1. The Indefinite Relative Clause The indefinite relatives consist of a que added to a pronoun, an adjective or an adverb, mostly of an interrogative nature. In Latin, a relative was made indefinite simply by repeating it : quisquís, quoquo. 31

Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 45.




Qui que is used in Modern French only in connection with the verb être, but is not subject to any such restricted use in Old French. Que is a petrified adverbial form, yet Old French yields a few examples of qui qui as a subject form. In Modern French, qui qui cannot occur, because the indefinite relative always functions as the predicate of être, never as a subject; we have qui que ce soit qui le dise and not *qui qui le dise. The mood is the subjunctive. The first example below contains a dative cui que. Alexis 503 Cui que seit duels, a nostre ues est il joie. Nîmes 71 Qui que il fussent, si les ot Deus formé. Aucassin VI,5 Qui qu'en eust joie, Aucassins n'en fu mie liés. Griseldis 1365 Ains vueil, qui qui s'en puist doloir, Que tu t'accordes a ce faire De franc vouloir. Villon 1004 Qui que l'ait prins, point ne m'en loue. No examples of the indicative were found after qui que. QUE QUE, QUEI QUE, QUOI QUE

These are all neutral forms, used about things. The subjunctive is used throughout. Becket 408 Ki que venist al rei, de quei qu'oust mestier, Errament 1'enveast ariere al chancelier. Aucassin XXVI, 17 que que de vous aviegne, on m'ocira. Theophile 603 Quoi que j'aie fait, or sui ci. Villon 32 Quoi qu'il m'ait fait, a Dieu remis! The relative que que is not to be confused with the temporal conjunction, equivalent to pendant que, and which takes the indicative: Yvain 649

Que que il parloient einsi, Li rois fors de la chanbre issi.

Common after temporal que que is a pleonastic et, never found with concessive que que: Yvain 61 Que que il son conte contoit, Et la roïne l'escoutoit. QUEL QUE, LEQUEL QUE

Quel que is used about qualities, the rare lequel que about a limited choice. Both take the subjunctive. Lancelot 283 or si vos prieroie ... que vos, ou a prest ou a don, le quel que soit, me baillessiez. Becket 1238 Quel qu'il seient, seijant sunt en la Deu maisun. Vergier 462 Je vueil chascun mon serf clamer, Quel qu'il soit, soit contes ou rois.







The subjunctive is used about something purely imagined or doubtful : Roland 2034 Quel part qu'il alt, ne poet mie chadir. Becket 6094 Mais quel semblant qu'il face, il prendra bone fin. Gace 1327 Car, quelle chiere qu'elle face, Toute a esplouree la face. The indicative serves to stress the factual, objective aspect: Wace 412 Ne fai se moi conbatre non Contre les homes de cest mont, De quel mestier qu'il onques sont. Yvain 5170 Aiez, quel part que buen vos iert! Queste 165,11 Li cuers de l'ome si est l'aviron de la nef, qui le meine quel part qu'il veut. QUELQUE +




This is a secondary development from the previous group and dates back to the 12th century. Modally, it behaves like the group it originates from. The subjunctive is used about something purely imagined : Rose 1563 Car toz jorz, quelque part qu'il soient, L'une moitié dou vergier voient. Pisan 1683 Et mon cuer trop adoulez Seroit, quelque povre femme Que je soye, s'autre dame Avoit la joye de vous. Quinze Joies 132 Or est l'homme, de quelque estât qu'il soit, gasté et affolé en ce monde. Paria 46,29 si vous prions toutes que, quelque chose qu'il doyve coster, que nous le voyons. The indicative expresses facts; cases of this are few: Eustache 63 Ses ennemis par tout cachoit Em quel que lieu qu'il les trovoit. QUELCONQUE +




This combination is rare. Only one example was found; it shows a subjunctive for something imagined and is equivalent to quelque + noun + que. Meliador 4134 Ce me fait estre en grant joie Qu'en quelconque lieu que je soie, Si croist l'amour de jour en jour. QUICONQUE

This word, derived from qui que onques, is first encountered in texts from the 15th century, where the modal norm seems to be the subjunctive.



Quinze Joies 31 et se tiennent bien aises, quiconques ait la peine de le quérir, quelque temps qu'il face. Syntactically, quiconque soon changes. It cornes to denote objectivity and takes the indicative. One example of this was found, from just before 1500: Molinet X,3,30 quence.

Quiconques vous prent en desdaing, ja n'ara bonne conse-


Quant que 'as much as' introduces an objective statement of quantity in Old French and takes the indicative. No true element of concession seems to be involved here. Roland 1541 Yait le ferir li bers quanque il pot. Yvain 1284 Quanqu'ele puet, vers lui s'aquite. Anjou 2535 Tout li conte quanqu'a veii. According to Johannssen,22 quanque may also be concessive ( = 'however much') and take the subjunctive; he quotes an example from Roman de Troie 27535 "Quan qu'il fussent riche manant, Or sont-il povre et pain querant". Gamillscheg23 does not mention this use, and I found no cases of it. OU QUE, DONT QUE

The subjunctive expresses something imagined: Alexis 85 O qued il seit de Deu servir ne cesset. Lancelot 1551 La riens ... soit bien veignanz, don qu'ele veingne. Griseldis 278 Je sui voz homs ou que je soye. Molinet XXI,41 Amours, ou qu'elles soient, Deviennent amourettes. Cases of the indicative, used to stress reality, are few in Old French : Leger 40 sempre fist bien o que el pod. Alexis 93 Larges almosnes ... Donat as povres o qu'il les pout trover. Following are a couple of examples, both containing the expression en leu ou, where the context, combined with the lack of any article, explains the use of a concessive subjunctive : Lancelot 5551 et desfandi qu'il ne parlast de lui, an leu ou il alast. Queste 127,2 ja mes en leu ou tu viegnes n'avras honor. COMMENT QUE

Que is here combined with an interrogative adverb indicating manner or degree. The 83


Johannssen, Der Ausdruck des Concessivverhaltnisses, 28-29. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 658.



modal norm is the subjunctive; Johannssen24 has one example with the indicative from Froissart, but I did not find any. Indicating manner, this expression is mainly found in a few set formulas: comment qu'il soit, aille, prenge, en doie avenir. Lancelot 4452 cornant qu'il soit, la honte est moie. Renart 1713 comment qu'il praigne, je vos ai folé la vandange. Anjou 4856 Je suis trais, comment qu'il aille. Used outside of these formulas, comment que mainly expresses an indefinite degree ( = 'however much'), and it verges on the function of a conjunction ('however much' becomes 'although'), being equivalent to combien que. Yvain 6800 onques mes Ne fu de rien nule si liez, Cornant qu'il et esté iriez. Rose 5315 Ne Fortune ne peut pas faire, ... Que nules des choses leur seient, Cornent que conquises les aient. Miracles 11,236 Mais c'est pour nient que mon cuer bee, Conment que soit enclin mon corps. COMBIEN +




One example was found; it shows a subjunctive: Queste 162,31 Et quant il i a esté dis anz ou vint, ou combien de terme que ce soit ... il le vonche hors. MALGRÉ QUE

Malgré originally took an independent subjunctive : Lancelot 3756 Come avugle et come eschacier le mainne, mau gré en ait il. Theophile 373 Or en serai demain délivrés, Maugrez en ait vostre visages. The indefinite relative, malgré que, was created in the 13th century. The mood is the subjunctive : Theophile 95 Maugrez qu'il en puissent avoir, Vous ferai vostre honor ravoir. Miracles 1,176 II le vous convendrá souffrir, Mavais gré que vous en aiez. Ch.O. 41,19 Je feray, maugré qu'il en ait, Encontre lui une aliance. No examples were found of malgré que as a conjunction in Old French. 2. The Concessive Conjunctions When a concession deals with the content of a whole clause, concessive conjunctions replace the indefinite relatives which can only refer to such items as quantity, in34

Johannssen, Der Ausdruck des Concessmerhaltnisses, 30.



tensity, quality or manner. Most of the conjunctions originate from the indefinite relatives and show a transition in meaning from 'however much' to 'although', but it is often difficult to determine exactly when this semantic change occurs, as both meanings may sometimes be equally possible. a . QUOIQUE

In Old French, the normal meaning of quoique (or quoi que) is 'however much'; it is, in other words, an indication of quantity or degree, as seen above under indefinite relatives. The first sure examples of quoique as a conjunction ( = 'although') are from the 15th century. Modal conditions after quoique are rather surprising for the 15th century. In view of later developments, one may be tempted to assume, as indeed everybody does, that the subjunctive is used in connection with something uncertain or supposed, the indicative with objective facts, but my 15th century examples do not at all conform to this well-known pattern. This standard rule, which applies to a large number of conjunctions in Old French, is not operative for quoique in the 15th century where only the subjunctive appears, even for objective facts. It is, of course, not an easy matter to determine whether or not doubt is implied, but I did find a few very convincing examples that leave no room for doubt. See below, examples from Paix. We saw that the indefinite relative quoi que (or que que), from which the concessive conjunction is derived, always requires the subjunctive. In the beginning of its existence, the concessive conjunction continues this mood, and it is only at a later date, probably the 16th century, that it is able to free itself of the syntax of the indefinite relatives. This development is in perfect harmony with a characteristic feature of pre-classical French: the subjunctive and the indicative are equally possible after a large number of conjunctions, the former expressing uncertainty, the latter objectivity. Modern French reacts against this modal freedom through what is termed a 'grammaticalization'. A conjunction now 'governs' the subjunctive or the indicative, as the case may be, and it is no longer possible to yield additional information through the choice of mood. The subjunctive is used, if doubt is implied : Molinet XXIII,39 Mais quoy que Mort y ait prins son assenne, Au premier cop n'abat on point le chenne. The subjunctive also appears with an objective fact: Paix 61 Mais néant moins, quoy que de Dieu soit tout venu, t'en appartient louenge. Paix 74 Car, ... quoy que les viellars n'aient si grant force de corps comme les juenes, neantmoins ilz ont plus grant discreción et vertu en conseil. Paix 91 Vraiement, ... quoy que la vertu soit venue de Dieu qui le t'a inspiré et ne pas de toy, néant moins l'euvre qui en est ensuivie si est par toy.


Ch.O. 62,9 Quoy que m'ait fait guerre mortelle, Je suy content de l'esprouver. Molinet XI, 187 Quoy qu'elle soit haulte et bien carpentee, Son bourg fondit. Only one example did not show a subjunctive; it contains a conditional as the mood of potential action. This is quite normal and cannot serve as a proof of modal use here: Paix 59 Et très doulx Dieux plain de bonté et infinie misericorde, quoy que assez se pourroient dire et raconter ... devons nous taire de non te louer et magnifier. b . COMBIEN QUE

This conjunction appears in the 14th century. It was originally a quantitative expression of the indefinite relative type ( = 'however much'), then underwent a change in meaning and in function ( = 'although'). The quantitative value is still present in this example from Robert Gamier, Hippolyte, v. 1363 "Et combien Que Thésé soit chery du peuple Athenien, Vous Testes devantage". Modally, the examples seem to show that we are in a transition period, during which concession is ridding itself of the impact from the indefinite relatives which demand the subjunctive, and is moving towards a greater freedom by creating conjunctions which admit either mood. We saw the same thing happen with quoique, only there the change occurred a little later, approximately in the 16th century. In the case of combien que, the 14th century examples all show a subjunctive; the indicative appears in the 15th century, used for facts, but the subjunctive is still used, even in the case of objectivity, although it here meets an ever increasing competition from the indicative. Bruss25 has examined the proportional relationship between the two moods and has come to the following conclusion: subjunctive/indicative = 2/1 (14th century); = 1/1 (15th century); = 5/1 (16th century). Combien que seems to deal mainly with objective reality (cf. quanque which forms an interesting parallel), as seen from the examples below. The tremendous rise in the use of the subjunctive in the 16th century, as reflected in Bruss' studies, could be caused by the fact that combien que came to be used also for doubtful actions, showing the same modal distribution as many other conjunctions. This is a far more natural explanation than the one offered by Lerch26 who sees a direct influence from Italian benchè + subjunctive. Examples with the subjunctive: Miracles 11,803 Dame, combien que pecheresse Aie esté et le soie encore, De tes doulx yex me regarde ore. 2

» Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 202-04. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 202-04.




Gace 2662 Je ne m'en puis plus taire, Combien que soie la meneur. Quinze Joies 50 et (le bon homme) se siet bien loing du feu, combien qu'il ait grant froit. Ch.O. 238,3 Je devise avecques Plaisir, Combien que ma bouche se tayse. Examples with the indicative : Quinze Joies 42 et semble un foui, combien qu'il ne l'est pas. Quinze Joies 119 Et combien qu'il a aussi bon sens qu'il eut oncques, si lui font-ilz acroire qu'il est assoti. Ch.O. 119,8 Au meins j'en feray mon povoir, Combien que je congnois et sçay Que mon langage trouveray Tout enroillié. An example with the conditional, expressing potential action: Gace 1237 Combien que Se seroit bien fait Qu'il fust pugny de son méfiait, Se ces trois suers le veullent bien, De tout ce ne sera ja rien. c . NONOBSTANT QUE

This conjunction is rare; it normally takes the subjunctive, although there are examples, at least in Middle French, with the indicative. Meliador 2090 II ne creroit nulle riens tant Que la lettre et moy, non obstant Que mon pere tiegne en prison. Molinet VIII,2,91 et, nonobstant qu'elle ait esté ventillee du tourbillon d'adversité ... toutefois est elle demouree ... humble. d. MAIS QUE (BIEN)

Mais que bien introduces a concessive subjunctive, probably of independent, optative origin. It is the addition of bien which makes this idiom concessive, mais que alone being mostly conditional. Lancelot 1589 et quant je vous truis an aeise, mes que bien li poist et despleise, vos an manrai. But mai* que alone may also appear with concessive value, as in this example from Queste 40,25 Et je la vos otroi, fet Galaad, mes que je en deusse estre grevez. 3. The Concession Refers to a Predicate This syntactic construction is mainly found with an adverb of quantity, such as tant, tout, quelque, but also with pour, which, of course, was frequent as a preposition in Old French, but rare as an adverb. No examples with the adverb si precede the year 1500, judging from my material. The more recent use of si here could be drawn by analogy from the construction with tant.



a . TANT

Old French has the following formula: tant soit (-il) riches. With this word order, Modern French has only preserved tant soit peu. Later developments go via tant riche soit-il (rare in Old French) to tant riche qu'il soit, with an indefinite relative que, but this type is mainly found after 1500. Only the typical Old French formula was represented in the example material. The mood is the subjunctive. Aucassin XL,10 mais ele se lairoit ançois pendre u ardoir qu'ele en presist nul tant fust rices. Aucassin XL, 16 por l'amor de li ne voul je prendre femme tant soit de haut parage. Quinze Joies 34 car aultrement ilz n'y demoureroient point, tant fussent ilz bons et loyaulx. Pathelin 720 je n'ay point aprins que je donge mes draps en dormant ne veillant a nul, tant soit mon bienveillant. Other verbs than être are rarely found : Louis 1662 Guardez n'en isse nuls om qui seit soz ciel, Ne clers ne prestre, tant sache bien preier, Que il n'en ait toz les membres trenchiez. One example of the indicative was found : Molinet XVI,65 II n'a baron qui ne vaille ung Ogier, Tant sont hardis, soubtilz et esprouvés. Common for the cases with the subjunctive is the fact that we operate only with hypothetic qualities: 'however rich he may be'. Here, on the contrary, we seem to have objective qualities: 'in spite of the fact that they are daring'. The indicative seems to be extremely rare. b . TOUT

The formula tout soit (-il) riches is rare in Old French. Queste 95,32 Diex ... qui m'esleustes a vostre serjant, tout n'en fusse je mie dignes, ... ne soffrez vos mie que je isse de vostre servise. Pisan 1157 Et, tout soit il bien grant maistre, En son fait n'en son accueil N'ot ne mauvaistié n'orgueil. It is found, at least at a later date, with the indicative, but no Old French examples of this were available. In Modern French, the indicative is the norm, and the expression shows a transition towards a causal meaning, as illustrated by this example: Tout appliqué qu'il est, il atteindra son but ( = 'il atteindra son but, parce qu'il est appliqué'j. Tout + subjunctive is encountered also outside of the above-mentioned formula:



Yonec 77 Si je peiisse od gent parler ... Jo li mustrasse beu semblant, Tut n'en eusse jeo talant. Rose 5303 Vraiement sien ne sont il mie, Tout ait il entr'aus seignourie. c. QUELQUE

This adverb originates from the indefinite relative construction quel + noun + que. The steps in this development are: quel femme qu'elle soit > quelque femme qu'elle soit > quelque pauvre femme qu'elle soit > quelque pauvre qu'elle soit. Quelque has thus become an adverb, modifying an adjective. Examples are few, and none earlier than the 15th century. The mood is the subjunctive. Paix 68 c'est chose comme noble et très nécessaire a prince, quelque soit le petit nombre des ans, avoir cuer meur. Quinze Joies 181 Je vous ay ja servi quatre ans leaument, quelque pauvre que je soie. d . POUR

Pour is used before a noun without any article, and followed by an indefinite relative clause which takes a concessive subjunctive. Only examples with the subjunctive were found. Queste 137,8 car por amor qu'il eussent a toi ne voloient il prier Nostre Seignor. Rose 5804 jamais ne te faudra Nule chose qui te couviegne, Pour mescheance qui t'aviegne. Meliador 3897 Ja de moi ne serés eskieus Pour aventure qui m'aviegne. Quinze Joies 82 mes pour enqueste qu'il puisse faire il N'en aura ja aultre chouse. Pour may also be combined with quelque. The mood is the subjunctive. Examples, both from the late 15th century: Pathelin 2 pour quelque paine que je mette a cabasser n'a ramasser, nous ne povons rien amasser. Molinet VIII,12,19 Marie ... pour quelque tribulation qu'elle ayst souffert, est demouree unie et entiere. The adverbial pour, followed by an adjective, was first used in the 16th century. The development would follow the lines indicated for quelque, via a noun with preceding adjective, then with the adjective alone. 4. Conditional Concession A concession may be expressed in hypothetic form through various syntactic means. Modern French has developed special conjunctions for this particular area, such as même si, but at the same time it continues most of the Old French syntactic uses.



a. A Past Subjunctive with Inversion This construction is common with devoir, être and avoir, but rare with other verbs; is it seldom used outside of the third person. As inversion is the norm, que is rarely found in this construction. The examples seem to show that this type of clause represents a rather late development, the earliest examples being from the late 13th century. Semantically, such phrases are the equivalent of a Modern French clause with même si. Rose 5798 Sui je pas bele dame e gente, Digne de servir un preudome, E fust empereres de Rome ? Miracles 11,614 nulle mercy N'aray de vous ... Se de ce la truis ynocent, Et fussiez aussi bien un cent Conme deux estes. Quinze Joies 33 il ne pourroit plus metre remede en moy, et me deust l'en tuer. Pathelin 1127 Donc auras tu ta cause bonne, et fust elle la moitié pire. An example with que from Villon 1956 Voulentiers beusse a son escot, Et qu il me coustast ma cornete! This example shows no inversion, and it has a verb other than those most commonly found in this type of clause. We do not have any petrified formula in this case. b. The Type


A concessive subjunctive is used in formulas which, as a rule, contain the neutral pronoun que. This type of sentence may originally have contained an indirect question. No examples were found from the earlier periods of the language; the examples listed below are all from the 15th century. The quotations from Pathelin are of this type, although they do not have the neutral que. Many of these short laconic expressions are still used in Modern French. Quinze Joies 38 et suy d'accord de lever demain, et aille comme aller pourra. Ch.O. 166,21 Adviengne qu'avenir pourra. Pathelin 215 couste et vaille! Pathelin 1494 autant vaille. c. The Alternative or Disjunctive Concession The disjunctive concession also belongs here; for practical purposes, however, it was treated above, under the concessive main clause. d.



This conjunction may introduce a conditional-concessive relationship. The indicative is used to denote reality, such clauses being of a strong adversative nature:



Queste 219,26 Et se cil Arbres cru et embeli, ausi lisent tuit li autre. In case of a hypothetic relationship, the subordinate clause takes an imperfect indicative, depending on a main clause in the conditional, or else both clauses take a past subjunctive. Queste 237,27 car vos n'i porriez durer se vos estiez li meillor chevalier de tout le monde. ( = 'même si') Lancelot 1911 et si la lieve ... mialz que dis home ne feïssent se tot lor pooir i meïssent. Yvain 1525 II ne s'an alast mie certes, Se eles li fussent overtes, Ne se la dame li donast Congié. The concessive aspect may be reinforced by the use of concessive-adversative words, such as bien, neporquant : Yvain 550 Le chevalier siure m'osai, Que folie feire dotasse; Et se je bien siure l'osasse, Ne soi je, que il se devint.


The action of an adversative clause is in opposition to the one contained in the main clause. Adversative conjunctions, such as cependant que, tandis que, alors que, introduce objectivity and are followed by the indicative. Of modal interest is the adversative clause only when colored by an element of concession, as is the case with ja soit ce que, encore que. a . JA SOIT CE QUE, JAÇOIT QUE

Considering that most of the concessive conjunctions came into existence in the 14th century or later, it is somewhat surprising to find ja soit ce que represented as early as in a 10th century text. This is probably due to the fact that this conjunction is adversative, rather than concessive. It seems to have been originally an independent clause in Old French, as proved by an isolated case of ja fust ce que, quoted by Johannssen,27 or by an example with ja soit ore ce que (see below, Queste 271,8), where an adverb is inserted. In a few examples, the indicative is used to denote facts, but the subjunctive seems to prevail, whether or not doubt is involved. Gamillscheg28 does not mention the use of the indicative at all. Johannssen 29 offers a somewhat fanciful explanation according to which the indicative is used when the que-clause is felt to be the real 27 28 29

Johannssen, Der Ausdruck des Concessivverhältnisses, 46-48. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 692-93. Johannssen, Der Ausdruck des Concessivverhältnisses, 46-49.



subject of soit, with que functioning as a temporary subject. The subjunctive is independent, optative-concessive. This explanation has the advantage of comprising all cases of the indicative, but it fails to offer any stringent interpretation of the modality. The difference in mood is, indeed, extremely difficult to account for, as it does not seem to reflect any basic change in value. Examples with the subjunctive: Becket 296 Ja seit ceo que il fust e orguillus e vains ... Chastes ert de sun cors. Queste 271,8 Car il se sont torné a peor vie et a seculer, ja soit ore ce qu'il aient adés esté repeu de la grace. Quinze Joies 81 et jasoit ce que elle soit proude femme, elle met son intención d'estre mestresse. Examples with the indicative: Renart 2923 ja soit ce qu'il n'en fait sanblant, le cuer en a tritre et dolant. Ch.O. 103,110 Et ja soit ce qu'a present suy pourveu De jeunesse ... Ce n'est que sens de me pourvoir contr'elle. b . ENCORE QUE

This conjunction dates from the 15th century, is found in Commines, but is not common until the 16th century. It is an adversative conjunction, derived from the adverb encore followed by an independent subjunctive. No examples were found, but here are a couple of cases of an independent concessive-adversative subjunctive after the adverb encore : Queste 100,18 car en ceste roche ou je sui ne me savoit nus fors Diex et moi. Et encor m'i seussiez vos, ne cuit je mie que vos sachiez mon nom. Queste 143,22 Et quant il furent ajosté ensemble, si furent li noir vaincu, encor leur aidissiez vos, encor eussiez vos plus gent qu'il n'avoient. c. An Isolated Case of Adversative COM In the following example from Mondeville, com seems to be adversative ( = tandis que). The phrase being of an entirely factual nature with no element of concession involved (cf. the indicative as the only possible mood after alors que, tandis que), it seems only logical to assume that the subjunctive may have been caused by a formal imitation of causal comme", it is a case of learned influence: Chirurgie 296 L'utilité pour quoy les mámeles des fames sont ou pis, com pluiseurs autres bestes les aient ailleurs, est treble.




The subjunctive appears in a conditional clause because of doubt concerning the fulfilment of the condition stated. Lerch30 sees in it a subjunctive of volition, and he is led to this belief by the fact that the conditional clause can be replaced by an imperative or an optative subjunctive (ex. : qu'il vienne, je serai content = s'il vient, je serai content). Such a comparison, however, is hardly a sufficient basis for any conclusions as to the nature of a structure. In his syntax, Lerch himself maintains 31 that one would logically expect any condition to be in the subjunctive because of the uncertainty involved. 1. The Conjunction si ( Old French SEJ a. The type: S'IL VIENT, JE PARTIRAI The condition here concerns the present and is most likely carried out. This is the type known as realis\ it is characterized by the use of the present indicative in the conditional clause and the future in the main clause. Other tenses are possible too, but for our purpose, such variations from the norm present no interest, except of course the rare cases where a subjunctive appears. Latin likewise used the indicative after si; cf. Terence: "si id facis, hodie postremum me uides."32 A few examples will illustrate this type : Roland 258 Se li reis voelt, jo i puis aler bien. Elid 396 S'il est curteis, gré me savra. Feuillée 225 S'il en meurt, ch'iert par s'okison. Normally, the mood of the conditional clause is the indicative, a rule which, in Modern French, suffers no exceptions, but which in Old French was not always strictly followed, leaving room for a rare subjunctive. The present subjunctive after se (si) occurs by analogy with the si — et (que) construction, but cases of this are extremely rare. An example from Roland 2682 S'en ma mercit ne se colzt a mes piez, E ne guerpisset la lei de chrestiiens, Jo li toldrai la corone del chief. Brunot 33 underlines both colzt and guerpisset as examples of such a subjunctive, but guerpisset can be eliminated, as it represents a perfectly normal construction in Old French, corresponding to Modern French si — et que, where the subjunctive is used whenever a second condition is added. Gamillscheg34 mentions 13 cases of the sub30 31 32 33 34

Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 31. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 208. Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 375. Brunot, La Pensée, 887. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 717-20.



junctive in les Lois de Guillaume, but adds that 10 of them appear in coordinated conditional clauses. He explains the other cases in that Anglo-Norman text as due to an analogy with the coordinated condition from where the subjunctive has been permitted to spread into the first conditional clause. This would, of course, also fit the above example from Roland. According to Sechehaye,35 one manuscript has colça, an indicative; colzt would then be a mistake, ascribed to an Anglo-Norman copyist. Lerch,36 too, is in favor of a dialectal explanation, since most of the cases of the subjunctive happen to come from les Lois de Guillaume, but to this may be objected that the frequence of the si — et (que) construction in a work of that nature is perfectly normal. Following is an example from Chirurgie 899 Se le temps soit chaut, et la plaie a été ouverte, etc.,ceste cure ne doit pas estre commenchie. This is the reverse of the normal si — et (que) construction; it is therefore tempting to consider it simply an inadvertence. Different from these extremely rare occurrences of the subjunctive are the cases where se is followed by an independent optative subjunctive. Such clauses do not present any real condition; their function is to assure or guarantee the enunciation of the main clause. Lancelot 6591 et se je Deu voie an la face, ja mes n'iert jorz que je ne face quan que vos pleira comander. Miracles 1,174 Se Diex me doint bonne sepmaine, Dame, je ne m'en puis tenir. Further examples of this are listed under the rubric of the independent subjunctive. The condition may take the form of an independent subjunctive, mostly without que. Latin already had this construction; cf. Cicero: "Roges me: nihil fortasse respondeam." 37 And an Old French example: Roland 1744 Vienget il reis, si nus purrat venger. A past subjunctive may also occur here; the action is then located in the past, and we have a case of irrealis: Roland 1102 Fust i li reis, n'i oiissom damage. Outside of these groups, only one example of the subjunctive was found : Becket 2571 Quant nel poent trover en trestut'Engleterre, Ne trover nel purrunt, s'a Sanz ne l'augent querre, Sun mautalent e s'ire li reis mustre e desserre. 35 84 37

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 172. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 209-11. Ernout-Thomas, Syntaxe latine, 386.



Se here seems to be equivalent to à moins que, and this might explain the choice of mood. b. The Type : S'IL


This type is used to denote realization in the past (potentialis) as well as mere suppositions with no chance of realization (irrealis). It is not a very common construction in Old French where forms with two past subjunctives or mixed constructions are preferred. Brunot 38 dates this type back to the 13th century, while Lerch39 seeks the origin in Chrétien de Troyes whom he believes to have been the first to use the imperfect indicative as an expression of modesty and courtly refinement. Yet Lerch's cultural explanation of the appearance of this construction is contradicted by its even earlier occurrence in the 12th century epic. It is missing only in the oldest texts, including the Chanson de Roland. Latin used present or past subjunctives, according to the following pattern : si habeam (habuerim), dem si haberem, darem si habuissem, dedissem. Examples of this construction : Louis 1951 Se ore esteie de son pere vengiez, Molt en sereie balz. Yvain 5974 Por ce plus buen gré vos savroie, se vos me randiiez mon droit. Yonec 403 Si vus ci esteiez trovee Mut en seriez turmentee. Ponthieu 240 se nous l'aviens çaiens, aidier nos poroit il. c. The Type: si


This construction is used to denote a supposition or hypothesis, generally without any chance of realization (irrealis), although a few transitional cases may approach the potentialis group. Both clauses are in the imperfect subjunctive, but quite often, the value of this tense is that of the pluperfect subjunctive. These two past subjunctives were not differentiated in the oldest periods of the language in this type of clause where the imperfect subjunctive assumed both roles. A parallel development occurred in Latin where the type si haberem, darem was replaced by the pluperfect forms si habuissem, dedissem, a change which can be dated to the 7th-8th centuries. French soon created analytic subjunctive forms for the pluperfect : si je l'eusse eu, je Veusse donné. This pluperfect subjunctive appeared in the 11th century, approximately, but it may have been preceded by a period in which the pluperfect subjunctive was used only in one clause, preferably the main clause. Imperfect subjunctives with pluperfect meaning tend to disappear from about the 13th century. In Modern 38 89

Brunot, Histoire, vol. 1, 471ff. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 212.



French, conditional clauses in the past subjunctive are not found outside of the refined literary language. Both Clauses Are in the Imperfect Subjunctive Alexis 420 Se Deu ploiist, sire en deusses estre. Gormont 532 Si creissiez en Damne Deu, meudre hom ne pust hom trover. Aucassin XL, 18 et se je le seusce u trover, je ne l'eusce ore mie a querre. Griseldis 99 car mieulx le feïssons, Se mieulz faire le sceiissons. Pathelin 826 se j'eusse aide, je vous liasse. Both Clauses Are in the Pluperfect Subjunctive Cases of this are rather few. The earliest occurrence is the 14th century, according to Brunot. 40 Gace 337 se vilain ne l'eûst clamé, Son oisel eust recouvré. Villon 817 Se du Ladre eust veu le doit ardre, Ja n'en eust requis réfrigéré. The Conditional Clause is in the Imperfect Subjunctive, the Main Clause in the Pluperfect Subjunctive In the earliest periods of the language, this type is far more common than the previous one. Alexis 490 Se mei leust, si t'ousse guardet. Roland 691 Sed il fust vis jol ousse amenet. Gace 2459 il li eust le col Rompu, se le pre ne fust mol. Griseldis 702 Se j'eusse sayette ne dart, Incontinent l'eusse mort! The Conditional Clause is in the Pluperfect Subjunctive, the Main Clause in the Imperfect Subjunctive This is the opposite tense pattern of the previous group. It does not by far occur with the same frequence as the reverse sequence, and examples are somewhat later too. Gace 4381 Car il ne peussent pas sans doubte Foisonner a si grosse route, s'i ne leur fust venu secours. Villon 201 Hé! Dieu, se j'eusse estudié ... J'eusse maisoD et couche molle. d. Hybrid Constructions Treated here are constructions which represent transitional forms between the abovementioned groups "a" and "b" on one hand, and "c" on the other; in other words, 40

Brunot, Histoire, vol. 1, 471 ff.



cases where an indicative or a conditional is combined with a past subjunctive. The past subjunctive mostly occurs in the conditional clause. Some of the sentences may express potentialis rather than irrealis. Past Subjunctive + Conditional Roland 1804 Se vedissom Rodlant, ainz qu'il fust morz, Ensembl'od lui i donrioms granz cols. Biscl 73 Kar, si jeo les eusse perduz E de ceo feusse aparceiiz, Bisclavret sereie a tuz jurs. Past Subjunctive + Imperfect Indicative Yonec 131 Mes ne poeie a vus venir ... Si vus ne m'eussez requis. Conqueste XLVII.5 s'il kemandaissent: "Pongniés!" on pongnoit, s'il kemandaissent: "Alés le pas!" on aloit le pas. Past Subjunctive + Present Indicative or Future This combination is not very common. Nîmes 1132 A grant merveille avez or beaus enfanz, S'il se seûssent vestir avenamment. Ponthieu 262 Se j'en fuise creus, nos en ferons present au soudant d'Aumarie. The Past Subjunctive is in the Main Clause The conditional clause is in the imperfect indicative; the past subjunctive appears as a variant of the conditional. Queste 233,12 se a Nostre Seignor ne plesoit, ja tant d'omes n'eussons ocis. Ch.O. 37,15 Car se faire ce povoit autrement, J'aymasse mieulx de bouche le vous dire. e. SE NE FUST, NE FUST, N'EUST ESTÉ, etc.

These formulas, which all contain the verb être, seem to have been originally independent optatives, as proved by the fact that se is often omitted. They correspond to the positive fust which appears in this example from Roland 1102 "Fust i li reis, n'i oiissom damage". As far as modal conditions are concerned, these expressions behave like the previously treated groups. The negation is ne alone. The word order is generally believed to be inversion, but as some examples appear with a neutral subject pronoun, doubt may arise concerning the function of the noun. The normal word order also occurs.



Examples with se\ Gormont 606 se ne fussent barges e nés k'il laissierent a l'arriver, ja n'en peust un eschaper. Queste 84,17 et tolue li eust il se ne fust Ii conseuz Josephe. Quinze Joies 24 si ce ne fust vostre honneur et le mien, je n'en parlasse ja. Examples without inversion: Yvain 940 Toz eïist esté porfanduz, Se ceste avanture ne fust. Queste 176,32 car ele fust honie se Diex et ses cors ne fust. Rose 1862 Je fusse morz e mal bailliz Se li douz oignemenz ne fust. Examples without se: Gormont 147 Ne fust la hanste que li brise, celui l'ust geté de vie. Lancelot 4019 et je fusse morz grant piece a, ne fust li rois qui de ci va. An example with the imperfect indicative: Quinze Joies 25 si n'estoit la fiance de vous, elle n'yroit point. Louis shows a couple of examples of the construction ne fust por ce que; it is followed by an indicative, denoting an objective fact. The objectivity is further stressed by the demonstrative ce ( = 'le fait que'). Louis 1851 Ne fust por ce que tu ies messagiers, Je te fesisse cele teste trenchier. Louis 1866 Ne fust por ce qu'esteie messagiers, Il m'eiist fait toz les membres trenchier. f. The Coordinated Conditional Clause si — ET (QUE)

Modern French grammars commonly state that the conditional conjunction si is repeated by que, and that the coordinated conditional clause takes the subjunctive. Rather than repeating the si of the preceding clause, however, this que originally introduced an independently formulated wish; this accounts for the use of the subjunctive and for the fact that Old French prefers a construction without que, in line with the independent optative subjunctive in the earliest periods of the language. The Old French construction is si — et, but si — et que and si — et si are also found, although they do not seem to have been very common in Old French. Si — et que is used when both conditions are simultaneously necessary for the fulfilment of the action of the main clause si — et si when either one of the two conditions would be sufficient to trigger the action. This general rule, established by Tobler, 41 is, however, not always observed. 41

Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, vol. 4,12-25.



Examples of si — et + subjunctive : Becket 3591 E se li reis Henris ad sa custume enprise, E voille guerreier e clers e saint'iglise, Ainz qu'il en sace mot ert la venjance prise. Elid 359 Si il le receit bonement E joius seit del mandement, Seùre seez de s'amur. Queste 188,13 par aventure ses freres meismes i sera, s'il est près d'iluec et il ait santé. Quinze Joies 104 s'il entre jamés en vostre meson, et que je sache que vous parlez jamés a lui, je ne tiendroy jamés mesnage o vous. An example without et: Paix 80 jamais ne sera drois sires s'il ne persecute fort toute maniéré de gent, face copper testes, mourir de malle mort. si — ET + indicative The imperfect indicative seems to be the tense most commonly found ia this construction, which corresponds to Modern French si — et si. Aucassin VI,41 et se vos i parlés et vos peres le savoit, il arderoit et mi et li en un fu. Queste 63,21 Car se il vos a esté plus larges que a autre et il ore i perdoit, mout vos en devroit len blasmer. The present indicative is also found: Louis 1704 Je l'amenrai, se Deu plaist et je vif. No examples were observed of the modern constructions si — et que and si — et si. g. The Subjunctive of 'Véventuel' The imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive is used in Old French to express what is termed 'l'éventualité', actions that might occur, but towards the realization of which no specific conditions are assigned. Modern French has still retained the pluperfect subjunctive in this function (in literary style), but it has abandoned the imperfect subjunctive for which a conditional or a past conditional is preferred. The pluperfect subjunctive is not too common in this function any more, nor does it seem to have been very frequently used in Old French. Although it may often be possible to supply the missing condition or hypothesis, one should avoid such an explanation of these forms, as this is linked with the outmoded theory of ellipses. Nothing is omitted; the clauses containing these verb forms are perfectly clear and self-sufficient expressions which do not imply the presence in the speaker's mind of definite conditions or circumstances restricting their validity. Examples with the imperfect subjunctive :



Alexis 413 Ta grant maisniede deusses governer. Louis 1079 Par le pertuis i passast de volee uns esperviers. Renart 136 j'amasse mieulz assez la pais. Queste 185,22 et la deussent garder come mere, mes non font. Examples with the pluperfect subjunctive: Theophile 306 J'eiisse eue l'eveschié, Et je l'i mis, si fis pechié. Quinze Joies 40 je fu si folle de vous que je n'eusse(s) pas prins le filz du roy de France. The conditional is, of course, also used : Becket 4888 mar i sereit veiiz. In other cases, the sentence itself contains information which assumes the role of a hypothesis : Gormont 103 Vus fussiez miez en Estampeiz. Louis 471 N'i volsist estre por tot l'or de Cartage. Aucassin IX,3 por cent mile mars d'or mier ne le fesist on si lié. Garçon 77 par anuiement eusses eût que que soit. (— 'si tu avais insisté'). Quite frequent in Old French, particularly in the epic, are cases where the condition is expressed through an adverb of place or time, là, lors, followed by the verb voir -, by means of this syntactic device, the readers are told that, had they been present at the battle, they would have witnessed great exploits : Roland 1399 La vedissiez tante hanste sanglente. Gormont 502 La veissiez tant cop d'espee. Gormont 1895 La veissiez fier estor comencier. Yvain 6460 Lors veïssiez jans arriers treire. Pisan 174 La veissiez bergiers hordez De gans blans. 2. Other Conjunctions Characteristic of the conditional clause, introduced by si, is its tendency to precede the main clause. Conditional clauses other than the ii-clause generally follow the main clause to which they add a restriction. The strong interdependence of the two clauses which can be observed with si, is here replaced by a relatively high degree of independence of the main clause. MAIS QUE

Mais que, 'provided that, on condition that', is the most common of the Old French conditional conjunctions which indicate a restriction. Originally, the subjunctive



expresses a wish following the word mais, but it is difficult to follow Tobler 42 when he gives this as the origin of the conjunction itself, as one would then expect to find a large number of cases with mais + subjunctive in the older periods of the language where the optative subjunctive took no que. I found no examples of such a construction, but Tobler 43 quotes a case from the Roman de Troie, 16347 "Mei ne ehalt, s'il m'aveit ocis, Mes de lui fust vengement pris". The modal norm after mais que is the subjunctive. Roland 234 Saveir i at mais qu'il seit entendut. Ponthieu 537 moi ne caut seur quel terre chou soit, mais ke jou soie hors de cest ille. Vergier 760 Car il ara joie et confort, Mais qu'il soit loiaus et secrez. Villon 970 a maistre Ythier Marchant... Donne, mais qu'il le mette en chant, Ce lay. The subordinate clause very seldom precedes the main clause: Gace 1584 Sire, mais que n'aiez ennoy, Veulliés faire parler Prudence. Villon 419 Mais que j'aye fait mes estrenes, Honneste mort ne me desplaist. Mais que, with the meaning 'unless', appears in Aucassin VI,24 Je n'i quier entrer, mais que j'aie Nicolete. One example was found of mais que + indicative, in this case a future, used to stress futurity: Miracles 1,316 Je l'ottroy, mais que sanz faillir Je l'aray au chief de set ans. INO QUID, PAR CE QUE, POR CE QUE, POR TANT QUE, POR QUE, PAR SI QUE, PAR TEL QUE,

etc. A series of other conjunctions were used in Old French with the meaning 'provided that, on condition that'; they take the subjunctive. Strasb 2 si saluaraieo cist meon fradre Karlo ... Ino quid il mi altresi fazet. Lancelot 6594 Ne me savroiz ja demander chose nule, por que je l'aie, que vos ne l'aiez sans delaie. Queste 40,20 il nel doit mie escondire par droit dou premier don qu'il li demande, por que ce soit chose resnable. Theophile 57 Or n'est nule chose si fiere ... Que volentiers ne la feïsse, Par tel qu'a m'onor revenisse. Conjunctions which contain nouns, such as cas, condition, couvenant, are relatively recent formations and not very common in Old French. Detailed modal rules cannot be inferred from the few examples available. 42 43

Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, vol. 3, 84-96. Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, vol. 3, 84-96.



Conqueste VI,25 nous ferons volentiers markié a vous, ... par tel convenant que g'irai avec. POURVU QUE

This conjunction replaces Old French mais que which does not survive into Modern French. Expressing a wish, it takes a subjunctive. Villon 1348 Je donne la tour de Billy Pourveu ... Qu'il mette très bien tout a point. But it may also be constructed with a future/conditional in the 15th century: Villon 1038 je donne a maistre Jaques Raguier le Grant Godet de Greve, Pourveu qu'il paiera quatre plaques. POSÉ QUE

This conjunction is followed by a subjunctive. The first example shows an indicative in the coordinated clause. Quinze Joies 95 Et quand la livree ne souffist pas a la dame, pousé qu'elle soit bonne preude femme, et que elle n'a nulle volenté de mal faire, si ne lesse elle pas a croire que son mary est de moindre puissance que les aultres. Chartier 17,22 si venons a vous remonstrer en brief que la justice de querelle, posé que ja autre ochoison n'y trouvissez, vous doit rebouter le hardement es courages.


The hypothetic comparative clause, introduced by comme si, is closely related to the conditional clause. Otherwise, comparative clauses point to the group of modal (or circumstantial) subordination, dealing like it with manner and representing but a special form of this larger group. Latin used the indicative in comparisons of equality whereas, in the case of inequality, besides the indicative, the subjunctive might occur, caused by a notion of supposition. This is more or less continued through Vulgar Latin into Old French. 1. The Hypothetic (Conditional) Comparative Clause A hypothetic or conditional comparison is introduced by comme si. The mood of the subordinate clause is in most cases an imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive, but similar indicative tenses are also found, although they are not very common before the 16th century. In Modern French, the indicative predominates, and the imperfect



subjunctive is not used. The choice of mood is the same as we saw above under conditional subordination of the types potentialis and Irrealis. Latin here uses the subjunctive throughout. Examples with the imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive : Alexis 143 Si l'at destruite com s'ost l'oüst predede. Gace 2432 Leurs faucons ... s'entrechassoient Com se se fussent deux corbeaux. Examples with the indicative: Rose 1567 Si n'i a si petite chose ... Don demontrance n'i soit faite, Con s'ele iert es cristaus portraite. Miracles 1,24 II est ja si elevez ... et si membruz Con s'il avoit quinze ans ou plus. The present subjunctive is rare and is restricted to Old French: Yvain 3051 Et la dameisele autressi Vet regardant anviron li, Con s'ele ne sache, qu'il a. Comme is sometimes used without se, mostly in sentences which contain another comparative word, such as aussi, autant, tel. Modally, these constructions behave like the comme se group as shown by the following examples with aussi con (se) and tel con (se): Lancelot 6791 mervoilles li sont avenues ausins granz con s'il fust des neues ... cheiiz. Renart 794 Ausi com venisiez de Rome ... bien saiez venuz. Conqueste XXXVI, 18 si me meterai ains jour en mer, ausi com je m'en vausisse fuir. Aucassin XII,22 et avoit les mameletes dures ... ausi con ce fuissent deus nois gauges. Rose 663 II chantoient un chant itel Con fussent ange esperitel. QUE SE

In Old French, que se is sometimes used instead of con se. The mood is in Old French a past subjunctive, whereas Modern French prefers a past indicative. Eustache 731 l'en n'em puet un soul trouver, Que s'il fussent noiee en mer. Pathelin 24 je say aussi bien chanter ou livre avecques nostre prestre que se j'eusses esté a maistre autant que Charles en Espaigne. Kiene44 has an example with the indicative from Adam de le Hale, Canchons 151,1,7, "Aussi liés sui et goiaus, ke se plus avant estoie". 44

G. Kiene, Zur Syntax der Bedingungssätze im Französischen (Berlin, 1914), 21.



2. Comparisons of Equality or Inequality The comparative clause represents a rather weak degree of subordination; consequently, it reveals some modal hesitation, the subjunctive being used whenever the writer wants to stress the element of doubt, the indicative when objective existence is emphasized. The latter is by far the more common construction, and Latin, which has the same modal hesitation, also shows a preference for the indicative. a. The Indicative in Comparative Clauses The indicative stresses objectivity. In comparisons of equality, comme or que is used, generally referring back to a comparative word, such as aussi, ainsi, etc. Queste 30,12 Si se drece si navrez come il estoit. Queste 134,5 Lors li conte tout mot a mot einsi com il l'avoit veue. Feuillée 1030 Aussi bien cante jou k'il font. Comparisons of inequality express superiority or inferiority. A comparison of superiority is followed by the conjunction que which refers back to a comparative word in the main clause: plus, mieux, etc. The subordinate clause takes ne with the verb, caused by the negative idea implied. Roland 1572 Plus est isnels que nen est uns falcons. Louis 2479 Roge est la maille plus que n'est feus ardenz. Piramus 826 Plus aime mort que ne fet vie. Aucassin XII, 19 Ele avoit ... lé levretes vremelletes plus que n'est cerisse ne rose el tans d'esté. Villon 1134 C'est vïande ung peu plus pesante Que duvet n'est. Inferiority is expressed through moins, or by adding a negation to the antecedent. Cases are rare, and only examples of the negated type were found. The conjunction is que or comme. Becket 5374 Ne il ne sunt pas mielz apresté del ferir Que mis curages est del martire suffrir. Queste 124,5 je ne sui pas ausi mauvés ne ausi desloiax come sont mi voisin. With future/conditional forms : Queste 128,14 il recevront autant de honte et de vergoigne come li autre recevront d'onor. An infinitive construction may be used, or the verb is not expressed at all : Eustache 1327 Mielz li deûson obeïr ke il a nos. Passion 1213 Miex vosisse estre morte que de lui départir.



b. The Subjunctive in Comparative Clauses The subjunctive is used in comparative clauses in Old French, concurrently with the indicative. It becomes rare in the late medieval period and seems relegated to the dialects, especially of the East or the North-East. Nyrop 45 considers it a dialectal phenomenon throughout Old French. In a comparison of inequality, the subjunctive is used after que 'than', probably with the value of a supposition, as opposed to the corresponding construction with the indicative to denote facts, although, in several instances, no basic difference is discernible. Meyer-Lübke46 advocates a concessive value of this subjunctive. The main clause is affirmative, and the subordinate clause has a ne with the verb. This particular construction disappears with the medieval period, apart from sporadic occurrences later. Nyrop 47 quotes an example from Ch. Perrault: Conqueste XCVII,4 et valoient mix li warnement qu'il avoit seur lui que li trésors a un rike roi ne faiche. Feuillée 407 Je sui mieus prinches k'il ne soit. Griseldis 2398 Car trop plus grant est de noblece ... Que ne soit Griseldiz la saige. The subjunctive may express potential action (Véventuel): Roland 1475 Plus aimet il tradison e mordrie Qu'il ne fesist trestot l'or de Galice. Eustache 1493 Melz walloient cent chevaliers Ensemble o lui que deuz milliers Ovuec un autre ne feïssent. If two actions are compared, one would expect a double que in the subordinate clause {que que from Latin quam quod), but the most common construction in Old French has only one que. This que was generally believed to represent a reduction or contraction of que que, but Tobler 48 proved that such was not the case. He explains the use of one que as a paratactic construction that goes back to Latin syntax where potius quam is far more common than potius quam ut. Paratactic constructions were, on the whole, much favored in Old French, as seen throughout my example material. Normally, ne is not used here. Modern French prefers an infinitive phrase wherever possible, but constructions with one que or with que si are still encountered. Examples with one que : Eulalie 16 Melz sostendreiet les empedementz Qu'elle perdesse sa uirginitet. Roland 1091 Mielz voeill morir que hontages me vaignet. 45 46 47 48

Nyrop, Grammaire historique, vol. 6, 331-34. Meyer-Lübke, Grammaire, vol. 3, 748. Nyrop, Grammaire historique, vol. 6, 331-34. Tobler, Vermischte Beiträge, vol. 1,184.



Queste 179,28 Certes mielz fust que toutes les puceles dou monde fussent despucelees que il fust ocis. Anjou 1957 J'aing miex qu'aillor son fet pourchace Que de nostre hostel bordel face. Que que was not attested in my example material. It is a rare form of which Müller 49 quotes an example from Joinville : "Car vraiement je ameroie miez que uns Escoz venist d'Escosse et gouvernast le peuple dou royaume bien ... que que tu les gouvernasses mal apertement". And Lerch50 quotes an example with no que at all from Raoul de Cambrai 5761 : "Mieus vossisse estre ou arce ou desmenbree, D'autre de vos fuse ja mariee." Other constructions are : que ce que, que non que, que non pas que, etc. : Vergier 811 Et dit qu'assez mieus ameroit, Qui de ce a chois le mettroit, Qu'on le pendist ou traïnast, Qu'on l'ardist vif ou escorchast, Que ce qu'il fust en la saisine De la joie qui tant est fine. Passion 508 Miex aing qu'il aient mon mentel ... Que ce que pardisse la vie. QUE SE

Que is sometimes followed by a conditional clause. Examples are not numerous, and they all show a past subjunctive: Queste 115,4 onques puis que vos venistes devant moi ne senti mal ne dolor, ne plus que se je onques n'eusse plaie. Rose 3956 Car je sui a plus grant meschief, Por la joie que j'ai perdue, Que s'onques ne l'eüsse eue. An example of que for que se: Alexis 435 Net conoisseie plus qu'onques net vedisse. The Infinitive An infinitive construction is widely used in comparative clauses in Modern French, and it appears also in the older periods of the language, but is, of course, of no modal interest. An example : Queste 238,11

Certes nos voldrions mielz morir que soffrir tel desloiauté.

The Subjunctive in Comparisons of Equality The subjunctive is not restricted to comparisons of inequality in Old French, but is also found with equality where no element of supposition can justify the choice of 49 50

E. Müller, Die Vergleichungssätze im Französischen (Göttingen, 1900), 90-91. Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1,153.



this mood. This is, indeed, a weighty argument in favor of the theory of a concessively colored subjunctive in comparative clauses, as maintained by Meyer-Liibke51 and others. Of the two examples below with si com, the first subjunctive expresses /'éventuel, but the second example clearly shows a subjunctive which is concessively colored: Lancelot 6666 Soëf le menoie et atire si com ele feïst son père ( = 'aurait fait'). Becket 3541 Jugiez voz plaiz si cum vus place ( = 'in whatever way you wish'). Related is the phrase autant que je sache ; see above the independent subjunctive and the indefinite relative clause.


The conjunctions of this group indicate way or manner, a rather vague definition, but which takes in all the various clauses that do not fit into any of the previous categories. An obvious weakness of the traditional terminology is that a modal group would also comprise the comparative clauses. Modal conjunctions are taken to mean those which introduce an accompanying circumstance (propositions circonstancielles). The modal conjunctions, most commonly found in Old French, are que, que — ne, sans ce que, sans que. QUE — NE

This was the normal expression in Old French for sans que ; this latter conjunction remains rare in the oldest periods of the language. When following a positive main clause, it takes the indicative; no cases of the subjunctive were found here. Queste 188,24 et vos me lessastes aler, que onques ne m'aidastes. After a negated main clause, que — ne requires a subjunctive to denote a supposed action: Louis 764 One n'i passastes un pas, par vérité, Que ne fussiez o feruz o botez. Becket 4767 Ne volt pas longement en sun sié demurer Que il n'alast al rei de la terre parler. Meliador 3709 Nulz au chevalier ne se poet Prendre qu'il ne soit desconfis. Molinet VI, 140 Jamés n'en eschappe une seule, Qu'elle ne soit mise en tisons. In the following example, the main clause has positive form, but negative value : 61

Meyer-Liibke, Grammaire, vol. 3, 748.



Griseldis 822 Pou puet le marquis demourer Qu'il ne viegne a ses espousailles. A form with ne alone is also encountered in the oldest periods of the language. Although some difficulty of interpretation is involved here (cf. above, the relative clause), we do seem to have a modal clause in the following example: Roland 2294 Nel odrat hom ne t'en tienget por fol. SANS CE QUE

This conjunction appears in the 12th century. Just like que — ne, it can be followed by either an indicative or a subjunctive. At the beginning, the most common construction is sans ce que + ne + indicative. The concessive-adversative element, normally present in sans ce que, is here weak; instead, the conjunction stresses modality, i.e., it expresses accompanying circumstances. Examples with ne and the indicative : Yvain 4580 Et tuit a lor seignor ofrirent Lor servise si come il durent, Sanz ce, que il ne le conurent. Queste 97,29 Et vos ... l'oceistes sanz ce que ele ne vos demandoit rien. An example with the indicative, but without ne : Molinet XXV, 189 Et la teste copperent Au viellart empereur, Sans ce que ailleurs monstrerent Mainte aultre grande horreur. Sans ce que may also take a subjunctive, normally without ne. The subjunctive has a concessive value which is stressed more than the purely circumstantial aspect. Yvain 3824 Joie por lor oste enorer Font sanz ce, que talant an aient. Anjou 6257 Entour sez bras estroit l'acole, sanz ce qu'il ait pensee foie. Quinze Joies 38 je le cognoissoye bien sans ce que elles s'en apperceussent. SANS QUE

Sans que appears in the 15th century and later completely replaces sans ce que. It is mainly used after a positive main clause, que — ne being preferred after a negated governing clause. The conjunction sans que may originally have been a combination of the preposition sans and a relative as the following example seems to show: Eustache 1377 En quinze jors i ssont venu Sanz destorbier qu'aient eu. Only examples with the subjunctive were encountered: Pisan 1077 Mais du tout obeïray Sans que nulle riens remaigne. Paix 127 le peuple ala par XL ans par les desers sans que leurs vestemens fussent de riens empirez.



Ch.O. 114,434 Prins congié, sans que plus mot dye. Sans que + indicative ( = 'si ce n'est que') is a 16th-17th century feature which was not encountered in my medieval example material. FORS QUE

Only examples with the subjunctive were found. Common for all the cases observed is the fact that the clause introduced by fors que expresses a wish or an order. It would seem that fors exerts no influence on the choice of mood. Fors que, in other words, is not a full-fledged conjunction, and the mood is determined by the main verb (demander, rover, etc.), or else we may have an independent subjunctive. This would, no doubt, mean that the indicative is equally possible here, but there were no examples, fors que being very little used. Anjou 5904 je ne vous veil rouver Rienz, fors que m'i fâchiez mener. Gace 2628 II pensserent pou de demain, Fors que l'air soit cler sans gros vent Et qu'aient temps a leur talent. Other modal conjunctions seem to be rare, or else they present little interest for our purpose. An example was found of ne mes que ( = 'sauf que') + indicative: Eustache 1453 Mes dont il ierent ne savoient, Ne mes que norriz les avoient.



A few special problems merit a brief mention.


The example collection has provided ample proof of the fact that Old French often uses a subordinate clause where identity of subjects permits Modern French to use an infinitive construction. Conversely, early Renaissance French may show examples of an infinitive construction used even when no such identity exists. The infinitive, in these cases, has its own subject, different from that of the main clause. A learned Latin influence explains this unusual syntax. An example: Chartier 65,12 Toutesvoies, afin que en vain n'ait esté gastee vostre saison, je ordonne voz raisons estre escriptes a ce que chascun y congnoisce sa faulte par autrui. Mixed constructions (coordination of infinitive and subordinate clause) are also encountered : Paix 133 un sage duc d'Athènes ... leur commanda a exercer leurs mestiers et que plus ne s'armassent. B. MODAL AUXILIARIES

Some scholars maintain that auxiliaries are sometimes used in Old French as analytical subjunctives. As the auxiliaries, generally speaking, also obey the rules of the subjunctive, this would amount to modal redundancy. Besides, it is a very delicate problem to determine whether a modal verb is used because of its inherent meaning, or whether it simply functions as a syntactic tool. Becket 3378 Ne purra en bataille seurement aler ... Que le peril de s'aneme ne puisse mult duter.



Is the above sentence to be understood simply as 'without fearing for the danger of his soul'? Or does puisse add a notion of capability or possibility? The latter interpretation seems to be the more natural one. Modal auxiliaries may be used where the mood is not otherwise clear, as illustrated by a constructed example: il écrit qu'ils réparent le tort as compared with il écrit qu'ils aient à réparer le tort, but apart from such cases, auxiliary verbs seem to be used for semantic as well as syntactic reasons. Ôtken's examples1 of auxiliaries as mere syntactic tools are not convincing. For the possible modal role of pouvoir, see above, the adjectival clause.


A subjunctive may sometimes appear to be caused by analogy with a preceding verb in a similar mood, without being justified by the normal modal rules. A sentence with a periphrastic c'est can serve as an illustration of this problem : Queste 182,18 car il cuide bien ... que ce ait esté fantosme que il ait veu. It is quite clear that il ait veu is the essential verb of the subordination, and also that it depends on il cuide bien-, in other words, the subjunctive is fully justified. A couple of similar examples : Queste 230,19 il ne cuident mie que ce soit hons mortiex, mes anemis qui laienz se soit embatuz por aus destruire. Paix 84 Doncques, comme il soit vray, si que chascun scet, que ycestes choses soient requises en amour vray, n'est mie a entendre que l'amour soit fainte. In this last example, the second subjunctive depends on comme as does the first one and is not caused by a purely mechanical attraction. Attraction, then, represents a rather doubtful and problematic explanation of modal facts. It would further constitute a case of 'grammaticalization' of which Old French, with its great syntactic freedom, cannot easily be accused. All alleged cases of attraction can find a natural explanation, as shown in the examples above.


ötken, Der Modus, 142-53.



1. The Subjunctive in the Main Clause The volitive subjunctive is in a very strong position and shows practically no changes. Of interest here is the use of que which, apart from its appearance in the opening formulae of French epics, seems to gain ground somewhat earlier in imprecations than in expressions of a genuine positive wish. A 12th century example of que, used to indicate an order, was also encountered. Like Latin, Old French exhibits examples of subjunctives of exclamatory or deliberative value; they are grouped under the convenient heading of the polemic subjunctive. A comprehensive list of disjunctive subjunctives is furnished. Concerning the subjunctive of doubt, an example was found disproving Tobler's theory 1 that que je sache occurs only after a negation. 2. The Subjunctive in the Adjectival Clause When dealing with desired qualities or characteristics, we have a subjunctive of the volitive order and, consequently, little if any modal hesitation. Under the heading of negative antecedents, the difficulty of interpretation inv olved in the que — ne construction is stressed. It is suggested that que may not function as the relative pronoun subject of a clause and that, where it appears to do so, it may conveniently be interpreted as part of the modal que — ne construction. Where the antecedent is a superlative, the verb pouvoir seems to play an important role, since there is a strong indication that cases of the indicative are rare outside of clauses containing this auxiliary. A concessive value of qui without an antecedent is suggested; this type of clause seems to be closely related to the indefinite relative clause. An example was found in further support of such an interpretation of qui. 1

Lerch, Syntax, vol. 1, 220-31.



3. The Subjunctive in the Substantival Clause Volition represents the strongest domain of the subjunctive mood, and practically no changes have occurred here. Under the heading of judgment, one example was found of louer + indicative; this may reflect a weakening of the volitive element normally contained in this \erb. Verbs of emotion are followed by an indicative throughout the period under discussion. The isolated position of ne chaloir, n'avoir cure, ne se soucier, which require the subjunctive at a time when the indicative is the modal norm after verbs of emotion, can best be explained by their close relationship to the verbs of fear or to the indirect question. One example was encountered of ne chaloir with a future, yet Simon2 maintains that this verb always takes a subjunctive. A not uncommon coordination of craindre and croire in Old French seems to point to an occasional weakening of the emotional content of craindre; if this is so, it could help explain the few cases of craindre + indicative which, incidentally, are mainly found in the 16th century. Governing expressions calling for a subjunctive of doubt are divided into four main categories: certainty, probability, possibility — doubt and impossibility. Expressions of certainty involve no modal hesitation, the indicative being used practically without exception. One instance of dire + subjunctive is explained as a case of false belief. In other cases, dire expresses an order and takes a volitive subjunctive. Far more interesting modally is the group of governing expressions which denote probability, specifically verbs of opinion and verbs indicating semblance. Verbs of opinion. Cuidier is quite frequently found with an indicative in spite of Schmidt's 3 and Lerch's 4 theory to the contrary. Cuidier seems capable of assuming the same functions as croire, and this again means that the modal behavior of croire and cuidier is insufficiently explained through the theory of a basic semantic difference between the two verbs. A large number of examples of cuidier + indicative is given. Cuidier + subjunctive sometimes indicates an attenuated belief, but its main function is to express a false belief. Croire, when followed by the subjunctive, always transmits an attenuated belief, a timid or subjective opinion, at times with a possible coloring of fear or apprehension. Penser follows croire very closely, yet one example was encountered of penser + subjunctive, used in connection with a false belief. Croire may be used about a false belief, but it then requires the indicative; faire accroire was found only with the indicative. Modal conditions after vis est are explained along the lines of cuidier, with the subjunctive appearing for a false belief, the indicative for objective facts. Semblance. II pert occurred once in the source material with a subjunctive which was probably selected with a view to stressing subjectivity, thus forming a parallel to 8

* 4

Simon, Die Rektion, 22. Otken, Der Modus, 110. Lerch, Die Bedeutung der Modi, 74-76.



croire (bien) + subjunctive. The modal norm after il semble que is the subjunctive, but exceptions do occur. Modal hesitation is somewhat greater after il me semble que. Faire semblant and feindre yielded two examples with the indicative, a choice of mood which is rather difficult to account for. Noteworthy under the category of possibility and doubt, is the seemingly automatic use of the subjunctive after a negated governing verb even when objective facts are involved; the source material has cases of this with ne pas savoir. Otken's examples5 of the indicative after negated verbs are not convincing. Ne pas douter takes a subjunctive, generally speaking, but is not uncommon with an indicative. The category of impossibility is very scarcely represented in the old language; hence this group furnishes no adequate basis for observations. Concerning the preceding gwe-clause, my example material seems to show that it obeys the general rules of modal usage up to about 1300, after which time the subjunctive is generalized. This is much earlier than indicated by Otken. 6 4. The Subjunctive in the Indirect Question Though closely related to the noun clause, the indirect question has its own modal rules different from those pertaining to the declaratives in general. An occasional volitive subjunctive may appear in an indirect question. 5. The Subjunctive in the Adverbial Clause a. Temporal Clauses Comme + subjunctive is extremely rare as a temporal conjunction, yet one such example was found. Causal comme seems to have developed independently of the already existing temporal com. An isolated example was found of aim que -f indicative about facts in the past. Devant que, on the contrary, is often found with an indicative, and the indicative is the only mood observed after devant la que. Gamillscheg's theory7 of a difference in modal behavior between jusque and tresque is refuted. Nor is there any modal difference between jusqu'a ce que and jusqu'a tant que. The difference in value resides alone in the choice of mood and not in the choice of conjunction; otherwise, we would be operating with a theory that implies redundancy or 'grammaticalization'. My contention is solidly supported by the source material.

6 6 7

Otken, Der Modus, 17. Otken, Der Modus, 167. Gamillscheg, Syntax, 674.



b. Causal Clauses Comme + subjunctive is a learned feature, in direct imitation of Latin syntax; one isolated example of puisque + subjunctive is probably analogical from here. Old French does not seem to distinguish modally between the objective and the imaginary negated cause; they both appear in the subjunctive mood. The appended justification, believed to be exclusively expressed in the indicative up until the 16th century, yielded an example with the subjunctive as early as the 13th century; a parallel is drawn with comme and puisque + subjunctive. c. Final Clauses This type of clause, which contains a subjunctive of the volitive order, is modally very stable. No changes were observed in modal usage. Uutilite est que is proved to take a final que which explains the use of the subjunctive. d. Consecutive Clauses Here is seen a rather loose construction with various affinities and a complex modal pattern. Substantival antecedents were not found, with the exception of a transitional form containing the adjective tel as well. e. Concessive Clauses The indefinite relatives are followed by a subjunctive of the concessive order with very few exceptions; the only cases of the indicative were observed after quel + noun + que and quel que + noun + que. It was proved that the concessive conjunction, quoique, follows the syntax of the indefinite relatives throughout the 15th century: it consistently takes the subjunctive, even when used about facts. This contention is supported by sure and convincing examples. Combien que behaves much the same way as quoique, only it begins to admit either mood already in the 15th century. It seems to be mainly used about objectivity, but from the 16th century on also about doubtful actions. This accounts for a spectacular rise in the use of the subjunctive during that century. Where the concession refers to a predicate, it may be noted that tout was found with a concessive subjunctive also outside of the formula tout soit-il riche. Within the domain of conditional concession, the construction involving a past subjunctive with inversion as well as the type containing the neutral pronoun que were found to be rather late developments. f. Adversative Clauses The use of the indicative after ja soit ce que, overlooked by some scholars, has as yet found no adequate explanation.



An adversative comme + subjunctive was encountered, no doubt influenced by causal comme. g. Conditional Clauses The efforts to explain si + present subjunctive as an Anglo-Norman feature are not convincing. Since si + present subjunctive occurs mainly with a coordinated condition, it is only natural to assume that we have a spread of the subjunctive mood from the coordinated clause into the «'-clause proper. The special syntax of the coordinated conditional clause may even spread to other coordinated clauses. The use of the imperfect indicative after si precedes Chrétien de Troyes and cannot be considered only as an expression of courtly refinement, the more so as there are cases of it in the epic. Lerch's cultural explanation8 can thus be disregarded. h. Comparative Clauses An example was observed of the subjunctive used in a comparison of equality, which stresses the theory of a concessively colored subjunctive in comparative clauses. i. Modal Clauses The que — ne construction is here encountered once more. This group is of little interest, as far as modal usage is concerned. 6. Special Cases The infinitive construction. Problems pertaining to style as well as to direct Latin influence are briefly mentioned. Modal auxiliaries. No convincing examples were found of auxiliaries functioning as mere analytical subjunctives; their use always seems to reflect a clear semantic purpose. Subjunctive by attraction. Attraction is shown to represent a doubtful explanation of modal usage; it is above all much too mechanistic in a period of great syntactic freedom.


Lerch, Syntax, vol. 2, 212.

INDEX OF EXAMPLES (Listed by Abbreviations Used)

Critical editions were used whenever available, mostly of the series Classiques Français du Moyen Age (Cflna) and Société des Anciens Textes Français (Satf). ALEXIS: La Vie de saint Alexis, ed. Gaston Paris (Cfma) (Paris, 1965). ANJOU: Jehan Maillart, Le Roman du comte d'Anjou, ed. Mario Roques (Cfma) (Paris, 1931). AUCASS1N : Aucassin et Nicolette, ed. Mario Roques (Cfma) (Paris, 1963). BECKET: Guernes de Pont-Sainte-Maxence, La Vie de saint Thomas Becket, ed. E. Walberg (Cfma) (Paris, 1964). BISCL: Bisclavret. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). CHAITIVEL: Le Chaitivel. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). CHARTIER: Alain Chai tier, le Quadrilogue invectif, ed. E. Droz (Cfma) (Paris, 1950). CHEVR: Le Chevrefoil. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). CHIRURGIE: La Chirurgie de Maître Henri de Mondeville, vol. 1, ed. A. Bos (Satf) (Paris, 1897). CH.O.: Charles d'Orléans, Poésies I, ed. P. Champion (Cfma) (Paris, 1956). CONQUESTE: Robert de Clari. La Conquête de Constantinople,ed. P. Lauer (Cfma) (Paris, 1924). DEUX AM : Les dous Amanz. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). ELID: Eliduc. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). EQUIT: Equitan. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). EULALIE: Sainte Eulalie, in Förster und Koschwitz, Altfranzösisches Übungsbuch (Leipzig, 1911). EUSTACHE: La Vie de saint Eustache, ed. H. Petersen (Cfma) (Paris, 1928). FEUILLÉE: Adam de le Hale, le Jeu de la Feuillée, ed. F. Langlois (Cfma) (Paris, 1951). FREISNE: Le Freisne. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). GACE: Gace de la Buigne, le Roman des Déduis (w. 1-5000), ed. Â. Blomqvist (Karlshamn, 1951). GARÇON: Le Garçon et l'Aveugle, ed. M. Roques (Cfma) (Paris, 1921). GORMONT: Gormont et Isembart, ed. A. Bayot (Cfma) (Paris, 1914). GRISELDIS: L'Estoire de Griseldis, ed. B. M. Craig (Unir, of Kansas Publications, No. 31) (Lawrence, Kansas, 1954). GUIG: Guigemar. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). LANCELOT: Chrétien de Troyes: le Chevalier de la Charrete, ed. M. Roques (Cfma) (Paris, 1958). LANVAL: Lan val. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). LAUSTIC: Le Laustic. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). LEGER: La Vie de saint Léger, in Förster und Koschwitz, Altfranzösisches Übungsbuch (Leipzig, 1911). LOUIS: Le Couronnement de Louis, ed. E. Langlois (Cfma) (Paris, 1925). MELIADOR: Jean Froissart: Meliador (w. 1-5000), vol. 1, ed. A. Longnon (Satf) (Paris, 1895). MILUN: Milun. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). MIRACLES: Miracles de Nostre Dame par Personnages, vols. 1-3, ed. G. Paris et U. Robert (Satf) (Paris, 1876). MOLINET: Les Faictz et Dictz de Jean Molinet, Poèmes de Circonstance, I-XXXI, vol. 1, ed. N. Dupire (Satf) (Paris, 1936). NÎMES: Le Charroi de Nîmes, ed. J.-L. Perrier (Cfma) (Paris, 1931). PAIX: The Livre de la Paix of Christine de Pisan, ed. C. C. Willard (s'Gravenhage, 1958).



PARIS: Le Roman de Jehan de Paris, ed. E. Wickersheimer (Satf) (Paris, 1923). PASSION: La Passion du Palatinus, ed. G. Frank (Cfma) (Paris, 1922). PATHELIN: Maistre Pierre Pathelin, ed. R. T. Holbrook (Cfma) (Paris, 1956). PIRAMUS: Piramus et Tisbé, ed. C. de Boer (Cfma) (Paris, 1921). PISAN: Christine de Pisan: le Dit de la Pastoure, vol. 2, ed. M. Roy (Satf) (Paris, 1891). PONTHIEU: La Fille du comte de Ponthieu, ed. C. Brunei (Cfma) (Paris, 1926). QUESTE: La Queste del saint Graal, ed. A. Pauphilet (Cfma) (Paris, 1949). QUINZE JOIES: Les Quinze Joies de Mariage, ed. F. Fleuret (Paris, 1936). RENART: Le Roman de Renart. Première branche, vol. 1, ed. M. Roques (Cfma) (Paris, 1948). ROLAND: La Chanson de Roland, ed. T. A. Jenkins (Chicago-New York, 1924). ROSE: G. de Lorris et J. de Meun, le Roman de la Rose (w. 1-6342), vol. 2, ed. E. Langlois (Satf) (Paris, 1920). STRASB: Les Serments de Strasbourg, in Förster und Koschwitz. Altfranzösisches Übungsbuch (Leipzig, 1911). THEOPHILE: Rutebeuf, le Miracle de Theophile, ed. G. Frank (Cfma) (Paris, 1949). VERGI: IM Chastelaine de Vergi, ed. G. Raynaud (Cfma) (Paris, 1921). VERGIER: Guillaume de Machaut, le Dit dou Vergier, vol. 1, ed. E. Hoepffner (Satf) (Paris, 1908). VILLON: François Villon, le Grand Testament, in Œuvres, ed. A. Longnon (Cfma) (Paris, 1932). WACE: Wace, La Vie de sainte Marguerite, ed. E. A. Francis (Cfma) (Paris, 1932). YONEC: Yonec. Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. J. Lods (Cfma) (Paris, 1959). YVAIN: Chrétien de Troyes, Yvain, ed. T. B. W. Reid (Manchester, 1952).


Bally, Ch., Le langage et la vie, 3 e édit. (Genève, 1952). Bourciez, Ed., Éléments de linguistique romane, 4 e édit. (Paris, 1956). Brunot, F., Histoire de la langue française des origines à 1900, 14 vols. (Paris, 1905-). —, la Pensée et la langue, 2 e édit. (Paris, 1936). Brunot, F., et Ch. Bruneau, Précis de grammaire historique de la langue française (Paris, 1949). Busse, C., Das finale Satzverhältnis in der Entwicklung der französischen Syntax, Dissert. (Göttingen, 1905). Damourette, J., et E. Pichon, Des mots à la pensée. Essai de grammaire de la langue française, 7 vols. (Paris, 1911-1950). Dauzat, A., Où en sont les études de français? (Paris, 1949). De Boer, C., Essais de syntaxe française moderne (Groningen, 1923). —, Syntaxe du français moderne (Leiden, 1947). Ernout, A., et F. Thomas, Syntaxe latine (Paris, 1953). Fouché, P., Morphologie historique du français. Le Verbe (Paris, 1967). Foulet, L., Petite syntaxe de l'ancien français (Paris, 1968). Gamillscheg, E., Historische französische Syntax (Tübingen, 1957). Gougenheim, G. Système grammatical de la langue française (Paris, 1939). Grevisse, M., Le bon usage (Gembloux, 1949). Haase, A., Französische Syntax des XVII. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1888). Johannssen, H., Der Ausdruck des Concessivverhältnisses im Altfranzösischen, Dissert. (Kiel, 1884.) Kiene, G., Zur Syntax der Bedingungssätze im Französischen, Dissert. (Berlin, 1914). Le Bidois, G. et R., Syntaxe du français moderne, 2 vols. (Paris, 1935-1938). Lerch, E., Die Bedeutung der Modi im Französischen (Leipzig, 1919). —, Historische Französische Syntax, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1925-1934). Levy, R., Chronologie approximative de la littérature française du Moyen Age (Tübingen, 1957). Meyer-Lübke, W., Grammaire des Langues romanes, trad. Rabiet, 4 vols. (Heidelberg, 1908-1921). Müller, E., Die Vergleichungssätze im Französischen, Dissert. (Göttingen, 1900). Nyrop, K., Grammaire historique de la Langue française, 6 vols. (Copenhague, 1899-1930). ötken, J., Der Modus des Objektssatzes im Französischen, Dissert. (Göttingen, 1911). Plattner, P., Ausführliche Grammatik der Französischen Sprache, 5 vols. (Freiburg, 1899-1908). Sandfeld, K., Syntaxe du français contemporain (Paris, 1936). Schreinecke, W., Die Entwickelung des Modus im indirekten Fragesatze im Französischen, Dissert. (Göttingen, 1910). Simon, E., Die Rektion der Ausdrücke der Gemütsbewegung im Französischen, Dissert. (Göttingen, 1907). Sneyders de Vogel, K., Syntaxe historique du français (Groningen, La Haye, 1927). Solltmann, I., Die Rektion der Ausdrücke der Furcht im Französischen, Dissert. (Göttingen, 1918). Soltmann, H., Syntax der Modi im modernen Französischen (Halle, 1914). Tanase, E., Essai sur la valeur et les emplois du subjonctif en français (Montpellier, 1943). Tobler, A., Vermischte Beiträge zur Französischen Grammatik 5 vols. (Leipzig, 1886-1912).



van der Molen, W., le Subjonctif, sa Valeur psychologique et son Emploi dans la Langue parlée (Amsterdam, 1933). von Wartburg, W., et P. Zumthor, Précis de Syntaxe du Français contemporain (Berne, 1947). Vossler, K., Frankreichs Kultur und Sprache (Heidelberg, 1929). Wagner, R. L., et J. Pinchon, Grammaire du français classique et moderne (Paris, 1962).


acceptance 40-41 accusativus cum infinitive 33, 42, 46 adversative clauses 99-100 advice 42-43 agreement 41 aim 36-37 alternative or disjunctive concession 98 antecedent expressing doubt 27-28 anteriority 72-79 appended justification 80-81 attenuated belief 54 attraction: subj. by attraction 119 Bally 88 Bischoff 13,20,55 blame 43 Briiss 94 Brunot 14, 56, 83, 101,103, 104 Busse 87 causal clauses 79-81 certainty 51-53 command 35-36 comparative clauses 110-115 comparisons of equality or inequality 112-115 compliance 40-41 concession 40-41 concession refers to predicate 95-97 concessive clauses 88-99 concessive conjunctions 92-95 concessive subj. 20-22 conditional clauses 101-110 conditional concession 97-99 conditional relationship 23 consecutive clauses 84-88 consent 40-41 coordinated conditional clauses 106-107 council 17-18 curse 17

Damourette & Pichon 14, 29, 38, 50, 51, 73 de Boer 7, 13, 14, 80 declaratives 61 denial 51-66 desire, see will or desire desired quality or characteristic 24-25 doubt 51-66 effort 36-37 emotion 45-49 endeavor 36-37 Ernout & Thomas 15, 16, 20, 25, 33, 37, 46, 68, 81,101,102 Estienr.e 34 éventuel, see subj. of l'éventuel exhortation 17-18, 35-36 false belief 54-57 fear 49-51 final clauses 81-84 Fouché 5 Foulet 7-8 Gamillscheg 13, 14, 54, 68, 76, 77, 78, 80, 91, 99, 101, 122 Gougenheim 79 Graime Ritchie 15 Grober 13 guarantee 41 Haase 32, 48 Holder 31 hypothetic comparative clauses 110-111 impersonal constructions 53 impersonal constructions indicating a happening 64 impossibility 66 imprecation 17



indefinite relative clauses 88-92 infinitive 69,118 intellectual verbs 61 irrealis 102, 103, 111

realis 101 relative without antecedent 32 reproach 43 request 35-36

Johannssen 20, 21, 91, 92, 99 judgment 42-45

Schmidt 53,121 Sechehaye 102 semantic explanation : croire and cuidier 53-54 semblance 58 Simon 46, 47, 48, 121 simultaneity 71-72 Sneyders de Vogel 15, 28, 31, 49, 51 Solltmann 49, 50 Soltmann 13, 18, 27, 29, 30, 46, 51, 66 special cases 118-119 subjective judgment 43-45 subj. by attraction, see attraction subj. in adjectival clauses 24-32 subj. in adverbial clauses 71-117 subj. in indirect questions 68-70 subj. in main clauses 15-23 subj. in substantival clauses 33-67 subj. mood 13-14 subj. of doubt 22-23 subj. of réventuel 107-108, 113, 115 superlative adverbs 30 superlatives as antecedents 28-31 suppositions 64

Kalepky 14 Kiene 111 Kowalski 20 Lerch 14,15,16,23, 32,46, 53,68,73, 76, 80, 81, 87, 88, 94, 101, 102, 103, 114, 120, 121, 124 Littre 78 Lücking 14, 46 Meyer-Lübke 23, 29, 57, 113, 115 modal auxiliaries 118-119 modal clauses 115-117 Müller 114 necessity 42 negated causal conjunctions 80 negated verbs of doubt or denial 65 negative antecedent 25-27 negative verbs of an objective nature 66 Nyrop 28, 36, 52,113 ötken 33, 34, 38, 39, 51, 53, 55, 62, 63, 66, 119, 121, 122 order 17-18 parataxis 23, 26, 27, 35, 38, 39 past subj. with inversion 98 periphrastic c'est 119 permission 40-41 Plattner 46 plea 35-36 polemic subj. 19 possibility and doubt 60-66 posteriority 71 potentialis 24-25, 103, 111 potential value, see potentialis precaution 37-39 preceding ^ue-clause 66 prevention 37-39 probability 53-60 prohibition 40 promise 41 purpose 36-37

temporal clauses 71-79 Toblerl3, 23, 31, 32, 48, 106, 109, 113, 120 Ulbrich 46 uncertainty 51-66 van der Molen 14 Vaugelas 79 verbs of opinion 53-58, 62 verbs of perception 61 volition 33-41 volitive subj. 16-19 von Wartburg 31, 52 Weissgerber 48, 53 will or desire 33-34 wish 16-17 Zumthor 31, 52


accorder (soi) 41 accort: estre d'accort 41 accroire: faire accroire 57, 121 a celle fin que 84 a ce que 37, 83-84 admettre 40-41 advienne que pourra 32, 98 afiert 42 afin que 84 agréer 43 ainçois que 72, 73 ainsi 19; il est ainsi 64 ainsi - comme 112 ainsi que 86 ait: se m'ait Deus 19 ainz que 72, 73, 122 alors que 99, 100 apercevoir 51 apparissant: il est apparissant 58 appert: il appert 58 apprendre 51 après que 71 arrive: il arrive que 64 attendant: en attendant que 79 attendre (tant) que 34, 78 aussi - comme 111 aussi con (se) 111, 112 autant: autant que je sache 22,115; autant comme 111 avant que 71, 72, 73 avenir bien 44 avient: il avient 64 avis: (ne pas) estre avis 57, 61 avoir 22 bel: estre bel 21, 44 (It.) benchè 94 bien 99 blâmer 43 bon: estre bon 44

car 83 cas 109 ce 46, 84; a ce que 37, 83-84 ce, see se cependant que 99 ce que 67 certain: (ne pas) estre certain 51, 60-61 certitude: la certitude que 66 c'est à dire, see dire (ne) chaloir 47, 68, 121 com (advers.) 100, 124 com (final) 81 com (temp.), see comme combien que (conj.) 94-95, 122 combien que (indef. relat.) 92 commander 35 comme (causal) 79, 81, 122, 123, 124 comme (temp.) 71, 72, 122 comment que 91, 92 comme qui dirait, comme qui eût dit 32 comme si, comme se 63, 110-111 con, see com or comme conclure 52-53 condition 109 confesser 40-41 conseiller 42 consentir 40 coûte que coûte 32 couvenant 109 covient 42 craindre 50, 51, 121 crainte: de crainte que 82 creanter 41 cremeient 50 croire 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 121 ; croire bien 54, 122 crois: que je crois 23 cuidier 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 121; cuidier bien 54 cuique 89

132 cum, see comme, com, con (La t.) cum (causal) 79 (Lat.) cum (concess.) 88 (Lat.) cum (temp.) 71 cure: n'avoir cure 47, 121 daigner 22 de ce, de ce que 47-48 de ci que 75 défendre 40 demander 68 depuis que 71 de quoi 48 dernier 31 des ci que 76 deservir 44 désirer 33 desplaire 21 dès que 76 deust-il 98 devant (ce) que 72, 73 devant (la) que 74, 122 Dieu: Dieu voulut que 34 digne: estre digne 44 dirait: on dirait que 57 dire 51, 52, 68, 121 ; c'est à dire 51-52 dites 35-36 (Lat.) donec 71 donner 36 don(t) 22, 48 dont que 91 doute: je doute 60 douter: ne pas douter 65, 122 droit: estre droit 44 (Lat.) dum 71 écrire 51 empêche: n'empêcher 38; empêcher 37, 38 en 46 encore 20,100 encore que 99, 100 enseigner 42 ensuit: il s' 44 entendre 51 ; faire 57 (s') entremettre 36 eschiver 37, 38 espérer 58; ne pas espérer 61 espoir 64 espoir: avoir espoir 58 est: il est que 64 estuet 42 (Lat.) etsi, see tametsi eust-il 98 façon: de façon que 84, 87


faillir: ne puet faillir 38 faire 36; faire accroire 57,121 \ faire entendre 57; faire semblant 60; ne pas faire semblant 61,122 faites 35-36 fait: le fait que 66, 67 faut: il faut 42 ; il ne s'en faut guère 44 ; il s'en faut (de) peu 44 ; peu s'en faut 44 feindre 60; ne pas feindre 61, 122 fin: a celle fin que 84 fors que 117 fortune: la fortune voulut que 34 fust-il 98 (se) garder 37, 39, 49 garde: prendre garde 37, 39, 49 guère: il ne s'en faut guère 44 hasard: le hasard voulut que 34 ignorer 66 imaginer 57 inoquid 109 jaçoit que, see ja soit ce que ja fust ce que 99 ja soit ce que 99-100, 123 josque, see jusque juger 52-53 jurer 41 jusqu'à ce que 72, 74, 77, 78, 122 jusqu'à tant que 76, 77, 78, 122 jusqu'au moment où 78 jusque(s) 76, 78, 122 jusques a(d) ce que 76 la + subj. of voir 108 laisser: ne (pas) laisser 38 lait: estre lait 21, 44 lequel que 89 lors + subj. of voir 108 lorsque 71 louer 42, 121 mais que (bien) 95, 108-109 malgré (que) 88, 92 manière: de manière que 87 (se) membrer 22 même si 97, 98 mielz: estre mielz 44 mieux - que 112 moins que, moins comme 112 à moins que 103 mostrer 42 muder: ne puet muder 38 ne (explétif) 38, 39, 49, 50, 65, 66, 72, 112, 113 ne (negat.) 25 n'eust esté 105

WORD INDEX nefust 105-106 ne fust por ce que 106 ne mes que 117 neporquant 99 ne que 80 nier 65 non mie que 80 nonobstant que 95 non pas pour ce que 80 nul 25 on dirait que, see dirait ordonner 35, 36 otreiier 41 oublier 66 ou - ou 20 ou que 91 paraître: paraître + adj. 44; ne pas paraître 61 parce que (causal) 79 par ce que (cond.) 109 par quoi (final) 83 par si que (cond.) 109 par tel que (cond.) 109 pendant que 71 pense: que je pense 23 penser 53, 55, 56, 121 permettre 40 pert: ilpert 58, 121 peu 26; a peu que 44; peu s'en faut 44; il s'en faut ( de) peu 44 peur: de peur que 82 peut: peut estre 64; il peut (bien) estre que 53, 64 (se) plaindre 47 plaire 21, 43 plevir 41 plot: il plot a Nostre Seignor que 43 plus - que 112 por ce que (cond.) 109 por que (cond.) 109 por quei (final) 83 por tant que (cond.) 109 posé que 64, 110 posons que 64 possible: il est possible que 60, 63 (Lat.) potius quam (ut) 113 pour (concess.) 97 pour ce que (causal) 79 pour ce que (final) 82, 83 pour que (final) 83 pourvu que 110 pouvoir 28, 29, 30, 31, 119, 120 premier 31 prendre: prendre garde 37, 39, 49 prenons que 64 prez 23 ; prez que 40


prier 35 probable: il est probable que 53; il n'est pas probable que 60-61 profit: le profit est que 82-83 promettre 41 puisque 79, 81, 123 puisse 18 (Lat.) quamlibet 88 (Lat.) quamquam 88 (Lat.) quam quod 113 (Lat.) quamvis 88 quanque 91, 94 quant 49, 71 quant que, see quanque que (causal) 80, 81 que (compar.) 113 que (complétif) 15, 16, 17, 33,120; (preceding)66 que (consec.) 84, 87-88 que (final) 81, 123 que (modal) 115 que (relat.) 22, 23, 26, 32 que (temp.) 78 que ce que (compar.) 114 quei que, see quoi que quelconque - que 90 quel que 89 quel - que 90, 123 quelque (concess.) 97 quelque - que 90, 123 que -ne 26, 115, 116, 120, 124 que non (pas) que 114 que que (compar.) 114 que que (concess.) 89 que que (temp.) 71, 89; que que - et 89 que se, que si (compar.) 111, 113, 114 qui (relat. without antecedent) 32,120 quiconque 90-91 qui que 89 qui que onques 90 qui qui 89 (Lat.) quisquís 88 (Lat.) quod 80, 84 quoique (conj.) 93-94, 123 quoi que (indef. relat.) 89, 93 (Lat.) quoquo 88 raconter 51 raison: estre raison 44 rare 31 (se) repentir 22 reprocher 43 requerre 35 rien 25 sache: autant que je sache 22, 115; que je sache 22, 120; je ne sache pas 22



saison: estre saison 44 sans 26 sans (ce) que 115, 116, 117 savoir 30, 51, 68, 122 (Lat.) sciant: quod sciam 22 se (concess.) 95, 98-99 se (cond.) 49, 101, 102, 108, 124 se (independent wish) 18-19; se m'ait Dieus 19 se (indirect question) 69 semblant: faire semblant 60; ne pas faire semblant 61,122 semble: il me semble que 59; il ne me semble pas que 61, 122 sembler 51, 53 ; sembler + adj. 44 semondre 35 se nefust 105-106 sens: estre sens 44 seul 31 si (cond.), see se si (consec.) 28, 84 si (concess.), see se si: négation -1 28 si bien que 85 (Lat.) sic 19 si com 115 si - et (que) 101, 102, 106-107 si - et si 106 si n'estoit 106 si que; si - que 85 (Lat.) sive - sive 88 soit 20-21, 88 songer 57 sorte: de sorte que, en sorte que 84, 87 soucier: ne se soucier 47, 121 souffrir 40 (se) souvenir 22 suffit: il suffit 44 supposer 64 supposons que 64 sûr: estre sûr 51

susse: que je susse 23 (Lat.) tametsi 88 tandis que 99, 100 tant + independent subj. 20 tant (concess.) 95, 96 tant com (temp.) 74, 75 tant que (temp.) 72, 74, 75 tant que, tant - que 86 tant soit peu 96 tarder 33 tel 84, 87 tel comme, tel con (se) 111 tellement 84; tellement que 86 tel que, tel - que 86, 87, 123 temps: il est temps 42 tenir: ne peut se tenir 38 tout (concess.) 95,96-97,123 ; tout soit-il riche 123 tresque 76, 78, 122 un des bons diners 31 usque 72 (Lat.) ut 15, 33, 80, 81, 84 (Lat.) utcumque 88 utilité: l'utilité est que 82-83, 123 (Lat.) utinam 15 valoir + adj. 44 venir + adj. 44 vienne 18 vis est 57, 121 voir 51 vouloir 33, 34; vouloir bien 40 voulut: Dieu voulut que 34; le hasard voulut que 34; la fortune voulut que 34 vrai: estre vrai 51 vraisemblable: il est vraisemblable 53 vueillet o non 21 vueil - vueil 21 vu que 79