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French

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Etaoin Shrdlu

Guest

I have been brooding about my French course. It was written by Jacques Prévert, of all people, so in theory there should be something about it out there even now, but I can't find it as easily as I expect from an internet search. It was a story about Mireille, a Frenchwoman, and Robert, an American who'd taken a year off to go to Europe to find himself. They of course hit it off, and in their wanderings about the place often found themselves being observed by a mysterious middle-aged man -- most of the class worked out at an early stage that this would turn out to be Prévert himself. Does this ring a bell with anyone?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima

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Location:
Belgium
Not with me, but it sounds interesting.
 
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Etaoin Shrdlu

Guest

The first hour consisted of watching an episode about the happy couple. The subsequent hours were devoted to explanations and discussion of what we had just seen. In theory this was all supposed to be in French.

What sticks in my mind is a hapless graduate assistant who was trying to explain 'sourire' without benefit of English. He tried to demonstrate, but the result looked more like a predatory lion. There are still probably a few people from that class who believe the word means 'teeth'.
 
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Etaoin Shrdlu

Guest

Perhaps I should have specified those from France, though I thought that was implicit in my use of the adjective over the noun 'francophones'. Belgians, as I've said, don't do the whole song-and-dance thing, nor do North or probably other Africans, though for them it's usually a second language. I don't think I've ever had occasion to talk to a Swiss speaker of French, but they'd probably be OK too. Well, apart from the fact that they're using French words, but that can't be helped. Does that cheer you up?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima

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Personally, perhaps, but it's not nice for Quintilianus.
 
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Etaoin Shrdlu

Guest

Ah. Well, not everyone in France is like that, and I'd assume that a CI wouldn't descend to such behaviour.
 

Clemens

Aedilis

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Location:
Maine, United States.
Perhaps I should have specified those from France, though I thought that was implicit in my use of the adjective over the noun 'francophones'. Belgians, as I've said, don't do the whole song-and-dance thing, nor do North or probably other Africans, though for them it's usually a second language. I don't think I've ever had occasion to talk to a Swiss speaker of French, but they'd probably be OK too. Well, apart from the fact that they're using French words, but that can't be helped. Does that cheer you up?
I don't know what you mean by this. What is the song-and-dance thing?
 
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Etaoin Shrdlu

Guest

Have you been to France? Virtually everyone I know has their own story about how at least one person they tried to speak French to initially pretended not to understand them, and then eventually worked out, through great effort, what this strange foreigner wanted. It's happened to me; it's happened to people far more fluent in French than I. It doesn't happen in Belgium, or at least not in the bits of it I know, so it isn't the quality of the speaker's language as such.
 

Clemens

Aedilis

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Location:
Maine, United States.
Have you been to France? Virtually everyone I know has their own story about how at least one person they tried to speak French to initially pretended not to understand them, and then eventually worked out, through great effort, what this strange foreigner wanted. It's happened to me; it's happened to people far more fluent in French than I. It doesn't happen in Belgium, or at least not in the bits of it I know, so it isn't the quality of the speaker's language as such.
It has never happened to me, although I’ve heard others say so. I didn’t know that’s what you were referring to.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris

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Águas Santas
Rien comme ça ne m’est arrivé non plus, à moi. Au contraire, je me sentais toujours confortable.

Mais je suppose qu’on peut avoir du mal à comprendre un accent bizarre, surtout au début, quand on n’y est pas habitué et il y a peu de contexte. Ça m’arrive parfois quand je parle aux Portugais, alors je me fâche un peu: « Après tout, c’est leur langue maternelle et en tout cas, mon accent est plus proche du portugais européen que celui des Brasiliens !». Mais je n’ai pas eu de graves problèmes de communication.
 
 

rothbard

Aedilis

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Location:
London
Je viens d'essayer de Googler le dictionnaire de l' "académie royale française".
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima

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Today I used the French verb adresser with the addressee as a direct object. I immediately realized that was wrong and I had spoken English with French words, but it was too late. ::(:
 

Clemens

Aedilis

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Location:
Maine, United States.
Today I used the French verb adresser with the addressee as a direct object. I immediately realized that was wrong and I had spoken English with French words, but it was too late. ::(:
Don't you say s'adresser à quelqu'un ?
 

Pacifica

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Don't you say s'adresser à quelqu'un ?
Yes, that's the normal construction. The erroneous one I used earlier today was adresser quelqu'un—like in English "to address someone".
 

Clemens

Aedilis

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Location:
Maine, United States.
The verbs that still sometimes trip me up in French are the ones that can be both pronominal or not, but with a nuance of difference, like approcher, apercevoir or échapper.
 

Glabrigausapes

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I prefer undresser quelqu'un. :browaction1:
 

Pacifica

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@kizolk
@interprete
@Clemens

So a conversation was started spontaneously on the Arabic thread about long and short French As and their possible qualitative difference in some speakers. That conversation led me to think again about a related issue but I'll mention it here because it's a more suitable thread.

The related issue is the Os. There are three kinds of them in my French, actually even possibly four but let's start with these three:

1) The short O is in botte, nos, cocotte.
2) The long one as in chose, pause, taupe.
3) Another long one as in globe, robe, mode.

For me, 2) is not only longer than 1) but also clearly distinct in quality. 3) is longer than 1) but I think identical in quality, or if not identical then extremely close.

And then I think there's also a shorter version of 2) that happens when it's word-final like in chaud. For me, the au in chaude is longer than in chaud.

I may post recordings later if needed.

What's your experience with French Os?
 
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