Interest - French (the language)

Originally created by Prometheus
6 years ago.

on 3 Roots

6 Comments

Anhelm
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Anhelm 21 Czech Republic MelancholicPhlegmatic INFJ 451 86C
Many people say French is hard. But I find it quite easy, when I comprehend the system. And that's what's whole French about, n'est-ce pas?
Seiryuu
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I'll have to say that while French has a beautiful flow, great structure and rigidity, it can be a little too rigid. It's also hard to understand if you know very little French and you hear a native speaker speak to you because many words are homophones. If you want an easier language, go with Spanish.
Wanderer
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β Wanderer 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 512 288C
Actually that's very true. I remember being constantly disheartened by the fact that after studying it for nearly a decade and then listening to a recording, I was still struggling to comprehend basic phrases because of the phonetic similarity between the words. I haven't tried any other languages to compare them, though, and so (perhaps naively) I assumed that this would be the case for any language.
Wanderer
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β Wanderer 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 512 288C
Interesting diversity here. I tend to find French to be a far more logical language than, say, english. There are always thousands of irregulars, but structurally, the ordering of things, the way words are shaped and pronounced and the formation of phrases seems very rational and phonetically pleasing.
Majora4Prez
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Majora4Prez 21 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 512 37C
I find it a little strange that you think that about French; my experience with French led me to completely opposite conclusions. How a word is spelled often has very little to do with how it sounds, half the letters are not pronounced, and the diphthongs seem nonsensical and redundant (the "oh" sound, for example, can be spelled o, au, aux, eau, or eaux). There are rules, but the rules themselves are quite senseless and lead to a situation similar to India's political system: "functioning anarchy". These are all also reasons to dislike English (which I only speak because it's my mother tongue and most fluent language) and I think that French, brought to Great Britain by the Normans, may be at fault for that.

Some things about German are a bit illogical (eu=oy, the word for "belt loop" has no root, etc.), but I find it to be a much more sensible and pleasant language to hear. The sound of French reminds me of wealthy people trying to sound better than everyone else. Latin, as well, is far more logical and pleasing to the ear than French, which is confusing to me: why would a language as orderly as Latin produce an heir so unlike it?
Wanderer
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β Wanderer 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 512 288C
You clearly need a little more grenouille in your life. Just look at that phonetic pronunciation!

I do find it horrible that it's full of so many redundant/silent letters and sounds (-ent verb endings and completely unpronounced -s at the end of words are probably the most egregious from the top of my head), but because English is the same, it's never really affected my opinion of the language. I suppose it's a problem of inductive reasoning - I have a basic knowledge of two languages, so I assume that all other languages follow the traits of them. As M  ScintillaPurpose said to me recently, chances are, the letters originally were pronounced, and having that in mind makes things easier for me. In verbal communication, we slur through sentences in a very ugly way. "Drive t'store, Ken." Or as my friend said today, "shop?" We invent new contractions all the time, just for the sake of practically whizzing through our words to get to the point. I don't think that it's fair to say that the language is ugly because pronunciation has changed to reflect that.

Anyway, sounds aside, since I'll concede that it's far from superior there from any logical standpoint, I do like the general rigidity of the rules compared with English, which I find to be considerably less structured. Perhaps it's just because English is my native language so I never learned to speak it through such methodical templating, but I do think that French comes across with such eloquence and grace on a subjective level.