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It is there where I become puzzled
Thread poster: Jean-Pierre Coeurnelle

Jean-Pierre Coeurnelle
Local time: 09:15
English to French
+ ...
May 18, 2005

I have just read the following:
"it's in the romantic arena where most problems are caused by Anglo-American misunderstanding" (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/05/17/ftusa17.xml).
This is not the first time I come across this structure "it is ... where".
As a French-speaking person I would have said and written "it is ... that".
Are both structures correct? Is the structure with "where" perhaps influenced by Spanish?


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
OK May 18, 2005

I think it is OK, because of "arena" - referring back to a sort of geographical location. In this context, I would also say "where", not "that", but you are right, "that" is grammaticallly more correct.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
Correct May 18, 2005

As a speaker of US English and Mexican Spanish, I agree that "where" is appropriate because it refers to an imagined location. In Spanish the same device is also common, but I do not know whether this is due to one language having influenced the other.

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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:15
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
yes, OK May 18, 2005

I'm a native speaker of US English. This syntactic structure sounds fine to me. No time right now to do an analysis and say why it is that way.
Note that it is the same structure in French.

Jeff


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Jean-Pierre Coeurnelle
Local time: 09:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
C'est là que je ne suis plus d'accord ;-) May 19, 2005

As a native French speaker I would not say the emphasis strucure is the same in French, except perhaps in rare and rather archaic constructions.
Grevisse (13th edition, § 447, p. 696) mentions e.g. as an older but surviving structure: "C'est votre coeur où j'aspire (Henri BOSCO, _Balesta_, p. 293)". I think maybe an example with "où" followed by a litteral location instead of a figurative one would be considered less "standard", though I cannot really say, as I would have described this example as non-standard anyway.
Otherwise, the standard structure is "c'est ... que/qui". A more criticized structure is "c'est ... dont". You do hear sentences like "C'est là où je vais", but these are limited to a few expressions and are definitely not considered as standard French. Of course the construction "c'est la maison où je vis" is correct, but that is different.


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Prisca
Local time: 03:15
Spanish to English
Not incorrect, but awkward Jun 2, 2005

"it's in the romantic arena where most problems are caused by Anglo-American misunderstanding

Rephrasing the sentence takes away the ambiguity:
Most problems caused by Anglo-American misunderstanding occur (or take place) in the romantic arena.


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:15
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
correct and perfectly acceptable Jun 6, 2005

I think it's absolutely fine. I am a native UK English speaker. Also Prisca, the way you rephrased it, the meaning of the sentence is different to the original.

[Edited at 2005-06-06 02:13]


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