dimanche 11 mai 2008

Je suis plein!

This is a blog post for any of you out there who have been through the ridiculous and confusing task of learning a new language. French is especially interesting, i feel, because english vocab is 60% french. So there are a lot of words that are the same but pronounced differently. Take the word "different," in french it is "different" or "sensation" which is "sensation" in french. Actually, pretty much any word that ends in -tion in english is probably the same in french. Same with words that end in -ive in englsih are probably the same in french only with a -if at the end. However, sometimes I find myself trying to talk with somebody and I will need a word . . . "Oh what's the word?? what's the word?? comment on dit???" My mind searches and searches and comes up with nothing. SO, I just take the word in english and pronounce it in french. This often works. Like . . . "distruction." But sometimes it doesn't. Like the english word "partition" you would think that you could just pronounce the same letters but in a french accent . . . think again! "Partition" is a musical score in french . . . the word I needed was "cloisin." Argh! It's so frustrating to always sound like an idiot.

Pronunciation is always fun but even more tricky is trying to figure out if something in english translates into french. For example . . . if you want to tell the restaurant guy that you want to take your grilled chicken "to go" you have to think . . . "hmm . . . i wonder if that translates . . . i'll try it." and you say in french "pour sortir" and voila! he understood you. However, sometimes you want to tell people that you are excited about the upcoming marriage of your neighbor and so you think "surely 'excited' translates!" so you say "Je suis tres excite pour vous!" Well, what you think is "I am very excited for you" actually translates into "I am very horny for you!" and now you have offended some people. The same goes for the french word for "full" or "plein" but when you have eaten a lot of food and you want to tell your hosts that you can't eat anymore goat testicle - that you are full - you cannot say "Je suis plein" because that means that you are pregnant and then they will probably just want to feed you more.

My other favorite activity is circumlocuting a word you don't know. I can never remember the word for speakers so I am always saying "You know . . . the thing that you attach an mp3 player to and sound comes out . . . what do you call that?" Like the other day I wanted to use the expression "Wolf in sheeps clothing" but couldn't remember the word for wolf or coat (not that they would understand it because there aren't wolfs here) so I ended up saying this "You know the savage dog who wears the hair of the sheep and he is not nice like the sheep and he eats of the sheep but it is hidden because he wears of the sheep hair like the other sheep" Good GOD these people must think I am an idiot.

That is just a sample. You people who have learned another language know what I'm talking about. It is a bumpy bumpy road. Hmm . . . I wonder if that translates . . . le chemin est . . .

2 commentaires:

Molly a dit…

Oh, MAN! Sheep hairs? Savage dog? I guess these are people who call airplanes "stranger eagles." Do they call cars "horseless carriages?" I think we should bring that one back. It's at the top of the page.

jenny a dit…

j'adore su francaise problemes.... Avec moi and mon l'histoire de l'art, Je comprende.