French

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
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
Staff member
Not with me, but it sounds interesting.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
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'.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
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
Staff member
Personally, perhaps, but it's not nice for Quintilianus.
 

Clemens

Civis Illustris
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?
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
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

Civis Illustris
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.
 
Top