Navire.net has some beautiful writing, though I repeatedly stumble over the French: Could lapin be a new word for laptop, I wondered, at first, because what would a rabbit have to do with this? It turns out that the narrator calls her boyfriend her lapin, her rabbit*, and when he’s not with her, she writes blog posts to him:

Je suis dans un cafÈ ‡ Marseille qui a un accËs Internet. Mon lapin, jíen profite pour te dire que je tíaime, et quíil níy a rien qui níait plus de valeur au monde. Jíembarque demain matin ‡ líaube. Sache quíil níy aura pas un quart ‡ bord sans que je pense ‡ toi. **

Isn’t that sweet? Tomorrow she’ll travel into the dawn***, to Montreal, perhaps, to her lapin. Or perhaps not, it seems a sea voyage is involved, from Marseille and around Spain arriving in La Rochelle. I might find the answer if I read more of the blog, but I like this uncertainty. The possibilities and openness of the stories in an newly found blog are only heightened by my creative interpretations of the French.

What happens, in a blog, when a post is directed to you in the singular rather than to the plural you of all possible readers? You, my lover, this is for you, and I dare to speak my love in public, in front of all my readers, knowing that it may be commented, linked to and archived. In French the private “tu” replaces “vous”, yet despite this public declaration of love, the use of “tu” keeps the identity of the lover private. A secret. The public secrets of blogs.

* Apparently the French find our English terms of endearment as strange as we find theirs: Honey? Ooh, but that’s so sticky! How could you possibly call anyone that?

** “I am in a cafÈ in Marseille which has Internet access. My rabbit, I profit from it to tell you that I love you, and that there is nothing more valuabel in the world. I travel tomorrow morning into the dawn. Know that not a quarter of an hour passes without my thinking of you.” Or perhaps “Know that there won’t be a place aboard (the ship) in which I won’t think of you.” I think a sea voyage is involved.

*** On further consideration I suppose embarking “‡ l’aube” doesn’t mean to travel into the dawn but to embark at dawn. How disappointing. I far prefer my original misunderstanding. I’d already made plans to catch a morning flight to New York some day, simply so that I could say that I was travelling into the dawn.

(And should the title of this post have had aimer in conditionnel? Oh dear. French is beautiful, but so difficult! I’ll look it up when I get home.)

8 thoughts on “si je te disais que je t’aimerais

  1. vika

    si je te dirais que je t’aime?..

  2. Francois Lachance

    Oh the narrative possibilities! “If I told you, ‘If I loved you…’.”

  3. Jill

    OK, I’ve got my French books. Now, my first title here was

    Si je te dire que je t’aime

    which is almost certainly wrong, because dire is in the infinitive, that’s clearly not right, it needs to be conjugated to match “je”. I think I need to use the conditional here. I’m doing conditionnel present, because the others are just too hard. “If I were to tell you that I loved you”, or “If I had told you that I loved you”, see, I can do that in English (and you English-speakers, just appreciate that that is inCREDibly advanced grammar, there!) no, no, but I can do “If I tell you that I love you” and, as far as I can work out, that comes out as, oh dear, look:

    Si tu viens, nous irons au cinema

    – that’s present tense first (if you come), and so then the next has to be future tense (we will go to the cinema).

    or

    Si tu venais, nous irions au cinema

    which starts with imparfait (“if you came”) and then leads to conditionnel present (“we would go to the cinema”)

    and even

    Si tu etais venu, nous serions allÈs au cinema.

    where you start with the plus que parfait (“If you had come”) and thus must continue with a conditionnel passÈ (“we would have gone to the cinema”)

    OK. Let me then try

    Si je dis que je t’aimerai…

    so I’ve put dire in the present tense (first person) and aimer in first person future. I think this may be correct. I hope so.

    I find grammar immensely challenging, except in the abstract, I’m great at grammar in the abstract, it’s just like maths. Real grammar is much harder. It’s possible that I think too hard.

    Vika, I think that if you do je disais, which is imparfait, then you need aimer to be in conditionnel present, which is aimerais.

    So I have no idea whether “If I say that I love you” is more correct in French than “If I said that I love you”. Now I’ve confused myself so thoroughly that I don’t even know which is best in English.

    Regardless, yes, Francois, the narrative possibilities are tempting, aren’t they?

    But for now I’ll change the title to “Si je te dis que je t’aimerai” and if a French person corrects me I’ll change it again…

  4. Jill

    I dreamt about le conditionnel and le subjonctif and my dream conclusion was that my previous title, “Si je te dis que je t’aimerai”, means “If I tell you that I will come to love you”, and that’s not what I mean. So I’ve changed it again, to “Si je te disais que je t’aimerais.” You see, that’s the way that song goes: “Si j’etais un homme, je serais romantique…”

    The “que” worries me, though. Also, reading about le subjonctif, I’m reminded that it’s un mode de coeur, for expressing sentiments in all their nuances: j’ai peur que tu partes. Perhaps I should be writing “Si je te disais que je t’aime.” Which is what Vika suggested, but aime is in the subjonctif and not present indicatif, which is probably what she meant all along. Aime and aime just look identical.

    I think too much.

  5. mouche

    Hi Jill,
    sorry to interfere with your “creative interpretations of the French” but just a few details : it’s his boyfriend, and Navire (Laurent) has the chance to sail on the Belem from time to time but this has nothing to do with the “Lapin” being canadien.
    As for your title, “si je te disais que je t’aime” is what you want to say, kind of “i just want to say i love you”. “Si je te disais que je t’aimerais” is correct but it’s more like a promise, kind of “let’s make love”, or so it seems to me.

  6. Jill

    Thanks, Mouche! French is very difficult. And fascinating.

  7. Jill

    Here’s another example of the direct address to a singular you, in English this time: Lane’s birthday post to her boyfriend. Found this via Torill, who wanted to check up on how Lane and Stu’s blog romance was doing. It’s over, but Lane sounds happy 🙂

  8. Norman

    It was so much simpler when I was young. None of the snow bunnies ever wanted to be a lapin.

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts

Machine Vision

Cultural Representations of Machine Vision: An Experimental Mixed Methods Workshop

Call for submissions to a workshop, Bergen, Norway
Workshop dates: 15-17 August 2022
Proposals due: 15 June

The Machine Vision in Everyday Life project invites proposals for an interdisciplinary workshop using qualitative approaches and digital methods to analyse how machine vision is represented in art, science fiction, games, social media and other forms of cultural and aesthetic expression.

Digital Humanities Machine Vision

What do different machine vision technologies do in fiction and art?

For the Machine Vision in Everyday Life project we’ve analysed how machine vision technologies are portrayed and used in 500 works of fiction and art, including 77 digital games, 190 digital artworks and 233 movies, novels and other narratives. You can browse […]