I’ve long been curious about the fact that French seems to have developed grammatically redundant constructions at the same time it has lost many terminal sounds that may or may not be reflected in the spelling. For instance:
Qu’est-ce que c’est? = “What is it?”, but if it were literally parsed into its morphemes (if that’s the right word), it would be, “What is that what it is?”
Or the word aujourd’hui meaning “today”. I assume the hui particle initially meant “today” all by itself, descended from Latin hodie and a cognate of Spanish hoy. But for some reason, the language today uses an expression which parses into, “to the day of today”.
On an unrelated note, where does jamais (“never”) come from? The earliest document considered to be in French, the Oaths of Strasbourg, still has numquam for “never”, so when and why did jamais supplant numquam or a similar word?
Do these peculiarites of French have anything to do with the Gallic language spoken there before the Romans took over? Or with the Germanic Franks who ruled after the end of the empire?