French Language

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Re: What does this mean?

Its best not to try to relate to your own language, translate etc, I know its impossible in the early stages but you have been here a long time Powderesal, eventually you will know what is said in certain circumstances and start doing so yourself, bien sur there will be big mistakes usually pronunciation thinking that you have heard a word you know whereas in fact its another etc.

There are many French words and phrases that I know well and am comfortable using but just could not translate into English, there is not an equivalent and a literal translation is nonsense yet often unwittingly that is what I do these days when speaking English, my family think I am going mad but its all going on at a subconscious level.

For instance if you think about the literal translation of "je vous en prie" you will just get really confused but its obvious when to use it and what is being conveyed.


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Re: What does this mean?

''Its best not to try to relate to your own language, translate etc, I know its impossible in the early stages but you have been here a long time Powderesal, eventually you will know what is said in certain circumstances and start doing so yourself, bien sur there will be big mistakes usually pronunciation thinking that you have heard a word you know whereas in fact its another etc.''

Chancer,

I trust your comment about being here a long time refers to my forum membership rather than an assumption that I am resident in France ( which I am not - yet ).
It is, in my opinion, quite logical to try to translate what you hear into your own language, especially when trying to further the French learning experience. That's how people learn.

There are many local phrases / slang phrases used in different parts of any country, France is no different in that respect. Hence my original question.
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Re: What does this mean?

Hadnt realised that P, I thought that you lived here when not working offshore.

Logical it may seem and I (and I am sure most people) did the same initially but it is often counter productive for anything other than nouns, eventually, and I suppose this depends on your level of immersion, you gradually stop attempting to translate and just to understand, you start thinking in French, and thats when the learning shifts up several gears and is very rewarding, the downside is you can find yourself struggling to express yourself in English, you know what you want to say, you know how you feel but in French not English.

I agree with you, thats how people learn, but with thea addition of "adult people" and "initially", eventually they unconsciously revert to learning as a baby or a child does, the survival instinct can also play a part dependant on the circumstances.

A child would just work out that the bar owner (OK not likely to be him!) would say "Allez" before saying goodbye or whatever, after being sure they would mimic, initially to him and then to their family, wider circle of friends etc, they may sense that their parents or grandparents dont like this (it could be a vulgarity or too commmon for them etc) and they learn which words can only be used in which company, this is exactly what happens with me and I am cautious when first repeating an expression and watch carefully the reaction of the other person(s) a child probably does this intuitively far better than me.


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Re: What does this mean?

From my experience of learning Swedish  I found it very easy to fall into the trap of doing mental word for word translations which sometimes resulted in very poor language. I was told by a language teacher at least to switch to sentence by sentence tranlations which has helped both in Sedish and French. The real secret is to learn to think in the foreign language - a goal I still aspire toSmile [:)]
"There are some causes worth dying for - there are no causes worth killing for" Albert Camus
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Re: What does this mean?

I have in fact retired from offshore / overseas work and now spend my ''retirement'' between France and England, attempting to make the French house fully liveable in before committing to a permanent move.

I have been told, on numerous occasions, by a fluent French speaking Irish acquaintance, that my French language skills are quite good, I don't feel they are but.............

The Bar owner is definitely a ''Mr Grumpy'' and I wondered ( fleetingly ) whether his 'allez au'voir' was possibly a grumpy anti-English use of language as no one I know had heard / used it before.
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Re: What does this mean?

Without the description I would have said no, "Allez! Au revoir!" is normally said positively but of course if a normal person were to say it in a grumpy way it could be sarcastic, sounds just like he is not an enthusiastic or happy person.

Around here at least you only meet a certain "speciale" type of personne in the cafés and that includes the patrons!


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Re: What does this mean?

 Chancer wrote:

I agree with you, thats how people learn, but with thea addition of "adult people" and "initially", eventually they unconsciously revert to learning as a baby or a child does, the survival instinct can also play a part dependant on the circumstances.

A child would just work out that the bar owner (OK not likely to be him!) would say "Allez" before saying goodbye or whatever, after being sure they would mimic, initially to him and then to their family, wider circle of friends etc, they may sense that their parents or grandparents dont like this (it could be a vulgarity or too commmon for them etc) and they learn which words can only be used in which company, this is exactly what happens with me and I am cautious when first repeating an expression and watch carefully the reaction of the other person(s) a child probably does this intuitively far better than me.

 

I realise that I am going to fly in the face of "conventional wisdom" and disagree that you have to learn a language as a child would!

This is because we are NOT children and cannot go back to that "blank slate" (tabula rasa or whatever the jargon expression is) in order to learn with no pre-conceived ideas.  Of course, that is not possible!  In fact, whenever I see an advertised course that says, learn as a child, look, listen, repeat and learn, it turns me off completely.

It's not only natural but desirable to "translate"!  Why, because you are then able to bring to the new language all the things you already know about the old language.  My German fellow-French student tells me that I am very lucky, knowing English as English and French have so many words in common.  With that, I have to agree.  I often find that, if I don't know a word in French, I only need to use the English word with French pronunciation, and there I have it!

With adverbs, this is wonderful:  thus silencieusement, tranquillement, rapidement, evidemment, précisement, simplement etc etc.  Easy, peasy, no problem translating any of those, is there?

What I would say is, you use ALL the tools you have available.  I am fortunate to have quite a good ear for sounds and also a facility for taking the mick.  So, I do just copy sounds and learn a lot that way.  OTOH, I also use grammar books, French classes, etc to help.   Nobody learns just using one method; you use everything you have available to you.  You might prefer to learn from the written word or just orally; doesn't really matter.  What I WOULD say is, it's a lot easier learning if you have a REAL reason to learn (survival as Chancer has pointed out) or just sheer curiosity or merely loving the sounds and "feel" of a language or even because you need it for work. 

If I am unsure whether a word or phrase is socially acceptable, I don't always just try it out.  As an adult learner, I am able to ask a trusted person, such as my French teacher whether the word or phrase is "familiar" and "pas derogatoire" or would definitely "choquer " mes voisines.


N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
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Re: What does this mean?

I don't suppose that the bar tabac is in Percy in Manche is it?
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