French Language

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Re: Will be + ing?

 sweet 17 wrote:
What you describe, Chancer, is just another way of expressing the future.

I think Chancer's question was a good one: there's a difference between -

I will cut the grass when you arrive
- and -
I will be cutting the grass when you arrive

French is simpler, the use of the Present does and can mean just that, the Present.

I don't think the French is really simpler than the English.  It can certainly mean what you call the "here and now":
Je marche dans les bois; il pleut, et je pense à toi

- but it can also mean a habitual action, exactly as in your English "breakfast" example:
Je joue au golf tous les mardis 

- or something that has been going on for some time in the past and is still going on:
Elle habite en France depuis cinq ans

- and it can mean something you will do in the future (although usually quite soon):
Je te rappelle demain et on se voit la semaine prochaine

This last one is maybe a bit colloquial but it's very common.

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Re: Will be + ing?

Strangely enough, allanb, I was going to say that I understood and agreed with what you said in your previous post!

There are no real equivalents in tenses between French and English and we explored that in some detail in the French class that I attended before moving house.

In particular, it was the Perfect Tenses that gave us problems.  J'ai mangé is equally good for "I have eaten" or "I ate".

I am not very good with Future Tenses and only use the Futur Simple or the "aller plus infinitive" form but then, I accepted right from the start that it wasn't much use trying to find equivalents and that it was just best to say what the locals say and also to use some of the more sophisticated forms that educated people use.

English isn't my first language either so, because I am blessed with a very "good ear", I just tend to use what the indigenous people use and I have been widely complimented on my French Woot! [:-))] although I know in my heart of hearts that they don't mean that my French is good but that, compared to many of the Brits they know, they can understand my meaning!Big Smile [:D]Stick out tongue [:P]     Sigh....sigh...

Apprendre une langue, c'est faire un voyage différent chaque jour.
from Fle pour les curieux
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Re: Will be + ing?


How many of the French tenses and compound tenses do you feel comfortable to use in speech or writing?

Are there others that you understand or get the gist of when you hear them? Perhaps more so when you read them.

Actually its a question that I would like others to answer if they wouldnt mind, Sweet 17's response will be of interest because during the time that I have been on this forum I get the impression that our level of fluency/comprehension is similar and evolving at a similar pace. 

What is your first language Sweet?

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Re: Will be + ing?

I have always been unhappy with all the conjugaisons in french. I'm not good at language, y compris english, and simply cannot imagine using most of the nuances that my Bescherelle shows me, or is that frightens me with.

My spoken french gets me by nicely, I can and have done everything I need to with it, from sorting stuff out for me, us, and others, including french people (including very important things) .For making friends and keeping them and generally chatting to folks. My written french is not good and I have learned to just get on with it, and if I make some cracking mistakes, I also know french people who do too. In fact I know some who use a scribe as their written french is awful.

I have never got why a language has to be so complicated. I know some french people who love it for it, who do the big Dictee competitions that they have them or at least used to have on tv. For me, it made it very hard and still does, I was always happier with figures than letters. 

I admire your progress Chancer.

And I too was wondering what Sweet's first language is.

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Re: Will be + ing?

 idun wrote:

I have always been unhappy with all the conjugaisons in french.

I have never got why a language has to be so complicated.

I could not agree more! 

However, unlike you my written and reading French is adequate if not actually quite good as I studied it to a relatively high level (Alevel +), but I seem to be going backwards with spoken French, which was never emphasised in the same way as written / comprehension when I learnt at school, and I am seriously worried.....just as I think I'm making progress, I forget it all.  Tenses are my bugbear, along with numbers!  Vocab I can manage, though genders bug me too .....

So why dos it have to be soooo complicated .... and  don't want answers along the line of "because the Academie Français so will it" please!

ex W1, via 47 and 11 and now [just] in 34, equidistant from Carcassonne, Narbonne and Béziers, where I hope we'll finally stay!!

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Re: Will be + ing?

Strange as it may seem, my first three languages were all oriental ones and so none bears any relation to a western language.  Having said that, I mean I could speak and understand them but not write or think about important things in them.

English is the language that I use to think and dream in and also the one I can write, read and understand the best.  Having had quite an expensive English education helps, I suppose!

I have always had a fascination for languages and, as a youngster, I could read and write Esperanto and I tried learning Japanese once but it was very complex and I wasn't that interested in things Japanese and therefore the motivation was absent.

Which brings me to the most powerful tool for learning a language and that is motivation. 

French is special for us because we came to live here specifically with the aim of learning the language and the culture as we love French music.

I have a good smattering of Italian because I love opera and I play the piano. 

I learned some Spanish for a year or two in later life and I surprised myself greatly when I remembered a fair bit when I walked in Spain last year.

Then, of course, having lived in Wales for a number of years, I know some Welsh.  It's a very logical language and not as difficult as some people believe but then I didn't much like living there and so I never really made a lot of effort.

I have a good memory and a good ear for sounds and I learn through absorption, immersion, whatever you want to call it.  I am quite an instinctive learner and the grammar rules and so on are only used to understand the language better after I can already use it. 

When I lived in 17, I went to French classes and the teacher always despaired that I didn't want to "learn" grammar but she realised that I understood a lot and could say things in French so she soon put me up a class.  I struggled in the new class for a few weeks and then I was as good as the others. 

I am not telling you this, Chance and idun, to try and impress.  I don't say I am good at all but I manage just fine and we have many French friends and neighbours with whom we can chat OK.

I do read quite a bit:  newspapers, magazines, books so, although I only use a few of the tenses you mention, Chance, I can understand most of the others when I see them written down.

I could learn French formally if I wanted to (and OH wanted to pay for me to) and I considered it but then I decided I didn't mind taking time over learning and. after a few months here, I thought it would actually be more fun to learn it socially in everyday life. 


Apprendre une langue, c'est faire un voyage différent chaque jour.
from Fle pour les curieux
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Re: Will be + ing?

I got an unclassified at O level in the days that you were allowed to fail, a "U" grade meant there was nothing to give a  mark to, nulle point!

I did a couple of years of evening classes before coming to France, they were not up to much, most of the class just used it as an excuse to get away from the home, most of the teachers were not (real teachers), the one that was was good though!

First thing I did in France was to do a 2 week intensive course, actually 2 * 1 weeks with a 2 week break as she went away on holiday, involving a return trip the length of France each time, as you can tell it was my first priority.

After that it took me 18 months to find someone around here, she and her family are now my best friends, we did about 18 months of  3 hours a week term time only.

I reckon in total I have had about 200 hours of tuition, I really struggled with all the grammar and to be honest I found my friends formal French education style of teaching (she teaches English and French) quite uninspiring compared to other learning but it really gave me the basics to work on, I would say that 80% of my learning has been done after my classes finished in 2007 either on the pillow or from television but without the basics behind me I doubt that I would have been able to pick up the language as I have.

I have had no access to UK television since 2007 other than when I return to the UK, apart from writing on this forum and the rare phone call or trip to the UK I never get to communicate in English, I think the television has probably been the major factor for me, 5 years ago I could just sort of get the gist of what was being said if I really concentrated 100%, now I understand everything and am even able to listen and understand it now as I think and type in English.

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Re: Will be + ing?

You have a real gift with languages SW17, but you are right about motivation being the main spur to taking up and continuing to learn another language.
I think I was about 14 when I realised that the French I'd been learning at school meant something to French people and that I in turn could understand what they were saying in their language. It was when I worked as a Saturday girl in a baker shop and a group of young French kids on an exchange visit came in the shop. We met up again in the evening and talked in our broken French (me) and English (them).

After that I was hooked. I love the French language and feel that I'm still learning after plateauing a few years ago. Now that I am able to spend several months at a time in France, I notice my improvement, and yes, French television helps. It also helps that in England, I have a conversation class which helps keep my usage up.
And importantly, I've recently bought a Petit Robert College edition, which is fantastic for explaining the meanings of words in French. I've found that once you can communicate, you become interested in being correct, as well as mastering all the nuances of the language.

So vive la difference I say. And good luck to all of us who're still learning, we'll probably still be learning in our dotage, but that's a good thing, isn't it?

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