Parlez-vous français?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mike47, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. mike47 Banned Banned

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    Donc tu as des bons amis et tu a bien voyagé . C'est formidable .
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Inflections are perhaps the most common source of errors when speaking a foreign language. Even among closely related languages, the paradigms have shifted.
    • In English we customarily use the present progressive in place of the present indicative: I am reading, rather than I read. Germans never say Ich bin lesend. We use the indicative where the progressive might actually be more logical: I usually read fantasy and science fiction, not mysteries and romances.
    • Germans usually use the present perfect where we would use the past indicative: Ich habe in Deutschland in 1973 gefahrt not Ich fahrte in... We would simply say, "I traveled in Germany in 1973." (Or "travelled" if you're British.

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      )
    • French, because of its Frankish (a Germanic tribe) substratum, also uses the present perfect, J'ai mangée le déjeuner, "I have eaten breakfast," not Je mangeais le..." Spanish uses the preterit: Yo comé el desayuno.
    It's very difficult to get tenses right in a second language because they are not especially logical in any inflected language.
    I don't understand what you think is wrong with it. Perhaps you think it should be "Communications has been..."? In this case "communications" is the name of a department or a function, and is used as the abbreviated form of a compound noun: "(The) communications (protocol or service) has been disrupted."

    We do this more often with foreign words. "Data" is plural but you'll never hear it used that way in America.

    Some posts I haven't responded to yet, not wanting to derail this thread:
    I accept your grasp of the spirit of the word so I'm not going to quibble over the cutoff point. My apologies.
    Sure, but I'm speaking in round numbers. They will be remembered as "three thousand," not "two thousand seven hundred of whom many were foreign businesspeople, students, diplomats and tourists."
    On this board and a couple of others, I have provided a very precise definition of the word "terrorism," which I believe represents a consensus of the various definitions floating around, with the exception of official government definitions which are often biased:
    • Violence of military or near-military force and scope, directed specifically against civilians and civilian targets, in the hope of extorting a civilian population into supporting a political or military cause that is so unpopular among them that there is no other way to win their support.
    Note that the civilian vs. governmental status of the perpetrator is unimportant, only that of the victims. Thus the attack against the USS Cole, even though perpetrated by non-state actors, may have been insurrection, uprising, guerrilla warfare, or many things, but it was not terrorism because the personnel and equipment targeted were military. Thus the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were terrorism, even though perpetrated by a military force, because the targets were not chosen for their military value, but for extortion of the civilian population to stop supporting the war effort.
     
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think it is actually incorrect, it just jars.

    I think a better way of stating it would be "communication has been disrupted"
    Communication as an ongoing process, which has been disrupted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2009
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  7. przyk squishy Valued Senior Member

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    As it happens you picked a grammatically correct example that could still stand out to a native speaker. A French speaker would be more likely to have taken breakfast: J'ai pris mon déjeuner, or simply to have "breakfasted": J'ai déjeuné.

    J'ai mangé le déjeuné isn't incorrect, but somehow sounds like it's coming verbatim from a highschool French textbook.

    Incidentally,
    would translate to "I was eating the ... [when suddenly ...]" (ie. past progressive).
     
  8. mike47 Banned Banned

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    Je trouve la grammaire française trés difficile . Il y'a beaucoup de règles à suivre .
     
  9. Valentine_A Registered Member

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    La grammaire finnoise peut ëtre plus difficile – il y a encore plus de règles de grammaire à apprendre.

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  10. mike47 Banned Banned

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    Bonjour et salut .
    Malheureusement je ne sais pas la langue Finnoise .
    J'ai visité le Danemark où presque tout le monde parle du bon Anglais .
    Je souhaite visiter tous les pays de la région Scandinavienne un jour .
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Communication, like thought, love and memory, is one of those nouns that can either be a mass/commodity noun or not. We do talk about receiving a communication.

    If someone ran into my office and yelled, "communication is down!" I would probably ask, "Which? Incoming, outgoing? TV, radio, phone, the PA system, the mailroom, fax, e-mail, the owls from Hogwarts?"
    I think I started this thread by pointing out that I barely know any French.

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    I thought mangeais was the preterit, not the imperfect. What's the preterit? In the third person it's mangea, right?
     
  12. przyk squishy Valued Senior Member

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    I know - I meant to be informative rather than critical: living languages differ in their idioms as well as their grammar. I'm pretty sure I've heard somewhere that people's speech in general mostly consists of memorised prefabricated phase fragments, and that we actually do very little spontaneous inventing when it comes to using language.

    It looks like it. I'm a near-native French speaker and I needed all the power of Google and Wikipedia to tell me a) what a "preterit" is (I'm no linguist) and b) that there actually is such a thing (called passé simple) in French. Even then it was a while before I found examples that seemed at least a little familiar to me. According to the French Wikipedia's page on passé simple, it's used for describing successions of events like in the example passage they give. Half the article consists of a section on its decline in use and its near-disappearance from spoken French.

    Some highlights/summarised translation of the section (which itself is classified as a stub): apparently this started in the twelfth century following competition with passé composé. In the sixteenth it was used in recitals describing events taking place in a more "distant" past and of limited consequence for the present, and in the seventeenth century there was a "twenty-four hour rule" in the literary world stating that events having taken place more than 24 hours ago must be expressed in passé simple. Nowadays it's essentially disappeared from spoken French apart from certain dialects, and in third person in some traditional turns of phrase (that I don't recognise) and "solemn" speech. They state, as an example, that nowadays most French speakers don't know that the (third person) preterite of coudre (to sow) is cousit (sew), so I guess I don't have to feel too guilty or ignorant over actually needing to look this stuff up.

    Now that I think about it, je mangeai (the absence of s makes all the difference) maybe does ring a bell, but you'd only likely use it if you were recounting all your morning activities in succession (where I suppose it sounds slicker than cluttering up your sentences with a load of extra ai's and je suis's - I've always wondered about that in French), and even there I doubt I can have heard it used very often. Otherwise wherever you'd say "I ate" in English, you'd just say j'ai mangé in French.

    I guess you learn a new thing or ten every day.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  13. mike47 Banned Banned

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    Je mange du pain chaque jour .
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The preterit existed in Latin and was passed down to all the Romance languages. E.g. the famous quote, Veni, vidi, vici, "I came, I saw, I conquered." It's commonly used in all the Romance languages except French. As I mentioned, the Franks' preference for the present perfect carried over from their native Germanic language into Old French. There is at least one tense, the pluperfect subjunctive, that has disappeared from all of Latin's successors.
    Ah yes. French grammar is much easier to master if you don't bother to learn to read and write.

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    The present indicative of most verbs comes down to three inflections instead of six, and most nouns and adjectives don't have a plural form.
    Virtually identical to Modern German and Yiddish usage. I don't know if that's also the case in Dutch and Frisian, the other surviving Western Germanic languages besides English.

    And I must say, if the superimposition of the present perfect over the simple past tense goes back so far that all the Germans on the continent have it, then why didn't the Anglo-Saxon invaders have it, who turned southern Britannia into Angle Land?
     
  15. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    This is not good French, I bet.
    I can understand every word.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
  16. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    They probably know better than to do that

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  17. mike47 Banned Banned

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    Parier n'est pas mon genre .
    Je suis trés content de mes connaissances .
    Je peux communiquer avec les gens en trois langues et couramment .
    Donc je ne vois pas de problèmes .
     
  18. noodler Banned Banned

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    A bientot!
    Pardonnez, je ne sais comment, a compose les characteurs comme accent, aguile, ....
    Peut-etre on peut assiste moi? En dessous, je copy-paste d'une dictionaire au internet !?
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    * * * * NOTE FROM THE MODERATOR * * * *

    It depends on your browser. In the current release of both Internet Explorer and Safari, under the EDIT menu, there should be a command called SPECIAL CHARACTERS or something similar.

    In IE that will give you a table with most of the characters you'll need for both the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets, as well as mathematical symbols, etc. As usual, Macintosh is better, and Safari will give you a long list of sub-menus for every writing system from Arabic to Korean.

    If you don't have that, then you're right, your only choice is to copy and paste. Here's the character set for French, you can copy from here:

    à â ç é è ê ë î ï ô û ù ü ÿ œ æ
    À Â Ç É È Ê Ë Î Ï Ô Û Ù Ü Ÿ Œ Æ
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
  20. mike47 Banned Banned

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    If you goggle how do you write all the french accents on a computer ; you will have a list of options and my favorite the ones with ALT plus some numbers such as é is ALT = 130.....etc .
     
  21. mike47 Banned Banned

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    À = ALT+0192
    ....etc.
     
  22. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    If you are using your language skills to communicate with friends of many nations, it does not matter too much whether your sentences are perfect.
    They probably forgive your mistakes as you do theirs.

    Honestly, I don't know whether your French is good or not. It's certainly better than mine.
    Just that I've found that I can understand non-French people speaking French better than French people speaking French.
    On holiday in France, with a little French I can make myself understood, and I think people appreciate it.

    I think it is very ignorant to go to another country and expect other people communicate with you totally in English.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  23. mike47 Banned Banned

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    Il y'a beaucoup de langues dans le monde qui sont plus utilisées que la langue Française . Plus de gens parlent Espagnol, Russe, Chinois, Arabe, Anglais, Indien.....etc que le Français .

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    .
     

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