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I'm torn about how to translate this into English. I consider two alternatives:
I just came from there.
I am just coming from there.
The tense of the former has a sense of the past (passé); that of the latter, the present. Perhaps both translations are acceptable for their meanings are indistinguishable to me.
What do you think?
I think you are right and either translation would do.
I can't understand why you think their meanings are indestinguishable as you seem to have described the difference quite well.
I would try to work out from the context which of the english translations approximates closest to what the french phrase intended.
Actually I wonder why you are adding "just" to the translation since "I come from there" would also be possible (meaning perhaps that you were a native of Yorkshire or similar).
You are not confusing the "je viens de faire..." construction in your mind are you.
That is a very common way of saying "I have just done.." but it doesn't apply in this (j'en viens) case.
If you need to translate this one way or another it is going to depend on the context.
You're correct, I did have the venir de faire construct in the back of my mind.
Unfortunately, there is no context. It is simply of the "translate the following sentence" type.
Then it is "I come from there" or "I am coming from there" I suppose although there could be alternatives I can't think of.
Actually yes .Perhaps if you were asked "Est-ce que tu viens de le faire?" you could answer " Oui, j'en viens " meaning "Yes I have (just done it)"
I am not sure but it sounds plausible!
As an answer to "Est-ce que tu viens de le faire?", it doesn't sound quite right to me. The answer to that would probably just be "Oui", or "Oui, je viens de le faire" if it's an exercise where one has to answer with a whole sentence.
I'd go with the meaning you and Dwayne first went with.
I know this is a French language site, but in order to do the French correctly, we all have to be careful initially of our English. "I just came" works in English in the way "I just ate" and "I just saw" works: a sort of short hand. What we actually mean is "I have just eaten" and "I have just seen" . When this is understood, you can see that the passe composee doesn't enter into the discussion, and "Je viens de venir de..." works easily enough in order to say "I have just come from..." "Je veins d'arriver de.." ("I have just arrived from...) is a reasonable alternative as well.
Est-ce que tu as téléphoné ta belle-mère?
Oui ,ma belle.
Tu en es sur?
Je viens de le faire.
Tu viens de le faire?
Si je viens de le faire.
C'est pas vrai tu es vraiment lâche!
Mai si je viens de le faire.
Mais j'en viens.
Does that work? Does it sound natural (the last line of course)?
To me, no. I'd repeat "Je viens de le faire" instead. But it could be correct, if he just hanged up the phone in another room, as there would be a meaning of deplacement.
Same thing with something like: "Est-ce que tu es allé mettre ta lettre à la poste?" "Oui, j'en viens," because it's about coming back from the post office, not from the fact that he posted a letter.
("Si, je viens de le faire" should be "Oui..." IMO, since the last sentence isn't negative.)
Just thought about it, but "j'en viens" can also be used as following:
"J'en viens au fait que tu aurais dû..." (I'll come to the fact that you should have...)
"J'en suis venu à l'apprécier" (I came to like it.)
Thanks for those examples.
I will accept that there has to be a meaning of deplacement involved
I used "si" because it is supposed to be a heated or testy argument and "Tu viens de le faire?" is ,as I imagined it, a rebuttal couched as a question which the interlocuter has ,in his mind, taken as a negative (that may be a bit circuitous)
I don't have examples but that must surely be very common.
Heh, at least that's my take on it, but you'd probably have to ask Neil to be certain, he certainly knows the rules better than I! (French being my first language, I use them without knowing them, if it makes sense?)
I see why you used "si" in this case, but I'd rather insist on the "oui" instead, even adding a "mais" ("mais OUI, je viens de le faire!"). Or maybe "Mais OUI, je viens de te le dire", it would work too. But yeah, I think if the person felt a rebuttal in the previous sentence, he'd feel right using "si".