French Language Blog

Ella, Elle L’a Posted by on Sep 23, 2008 in Grammar, Music

One of the biggest hits on European radio this summer has been Belgian singer Kate Ryan’s version of France Gall’s 1987 song Ella, Elle L’a.  The song is translated as ‘Ella, She’s Got It’ and is a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald who was one of the most influential jazz singers in the 20th century.  Click here to read the lyrics in French and roughly translated into English.

The title and lyrics include a particular kind of pronoun, so I thought it would be fitting to discuss this a bit here.

Perhaps you noticed that the translation sounds a bit odd in English.  Although this kind of pronoun exists in the English language, we don’t usually repeat the subject in this manner.

Ella, Elle L’a

It is an example of what in French they call pronoms toniques.  In English, we normally refer to these stressed pronouns as disjunctive pronouns.  You can break the song title down grammatically like this:

Ella,              elle l‘                      a

Subject + Disjunctive Pronoun + Object Pronoun + Verb

Singular Disjunctive Pronouns
lui, elle

Plural Disjunctive Pronouns
eux, elles

They are used in isolated cases (as is the case here with the song title) to emphasize a noun or pronoun referring to a person.  Here is another example:

Moi, je chante le rock et toi, qu’est-ce que tu chantes?

They can also be used with the connectors et, ou, and ni when a sentence has more than one subject or object.  Here are some examples:

Mes amis et moi, nous sommes allés hier à la discothèque.
Je les aime bien, lui et elle.

Another way to use them is after c’est or ce sont.  Here are two examples:

Est-ce que c’est ton chanteur préféré ? – Oui, c’est lui.
Ce sont elles qui chantent dans le film.

Also, you can use these pronouns to replace subject pronouns when the verb is understood.  For example:

Elle chante.  – Nous, aussi. (Nous chantons aussi.)
Elle chante mieux que vous.  (Elle chante mieux que vous chantez.)

And they can also be used after prepositions.  Here are some examples:

Céline chante bien; je vais chanter avec elle.
Les artistes sont toujours en tournée ; ils ne sont jamais chez eux.
Ce CD est à lui.

On a side note, disjunctive pronouns can be used with même(s) for even more emphasis to insist upon someone’s identity.  For example:

Elle a écrit la chanson elle-même.

Watch Kate Ryan’s Ella elle l’a very modern music video.

And compare it with France Gall’s version with Ella Fitzgerald in the background of the video.

I would love to hear which version people like best, so write a comment and let me know!  J’attends vos remarques!

Tags: , , ,
Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Transparent Language

Transparent Language is a leading provider of best-practice language learning software for consumers, government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses. We want everyone to love learning language as much as we do, so we provide a large offering of free resources and social media communities to help you do just that!


  1. Bill Coley:

    Hi, great Blog! Normally, music on websites irritates he hell out of me, but I love this!

    You may be interested in a song Ralph McTell wrote called “Jenny Taylor”, a lifelong Francophile, his daughter lives in Paris and he spent a lot of time busking there, in fact Streets of London was written in Paris and called Streets of Paris, he tried to sell it to someone for £15 but they turned it down..oops! Anyway, if there’s anything you need to know about RM just ask! :o)

    Meanwhile, here are the words below: Enjoy !!

    My Jenny Taylor, my Jenny Taylor
    Jenny oh oh la la
    Jenny Jenny Taylor
    My Jenny Taylor, my Jenny Taylor
    Jenny oh oh la la
    Jenny Jenny Taylor.

    Ne le fait pas le fait pas
    Le fait pas comme ca
    Ne le fais pas le fais pas
    Le fais pas comme ca
    Doucement oui c’est ca
    Doucement oui oui c’est ca
    Il va bien comme ca
    Mais il marche pas comme ca


    Ne le met la bas la bas
    Met la bas
    Ne le met la bas la bas
    Met la bas
    Pourquoi tu ne comprend pas?
    Je dit la bas
    Pas en bas
    Il marche pas comme ca
    Mais il va bien comme ca

  2. chanda:


    I’m glad I didn’t irritate you with my music entry 😉 Thanks for the song lyrics!

  3. Connie:

    I love the version by France Gall, tis very nice!

    Thank you,


  4. Carole:

    Preferred the France Gall version also, as it seemed to be a truer tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and her peers. The other appeared and sounded more like it was for someone/thing else.

    Really enjoyed your blog and look forward to the future ones.

  5. chanda:

    I didn’t really say in my article, but although I like both versions, I prefer the France Gall version as it features history and I love history.

  6. Chris:

    I like the alizee version better, have listened to both one is smooth the other is harsh,to my ear didn’t know what the song ment till now

  7. Luise:

    What Kate Ryan did to this song is horrible. Michel Berger (who wrote the song) would turn in his grave.