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Inter-linguistic comprehension

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suze
746157.  Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:11 pm Reply with quote

I'd agree that those verbs where some inflected forms are spelled differently than might be expected, so as to obey the orthographic rules, aren't really irregular. French too has plenty of these.

But I think that the stem-changing verbs (things like pensar - yo pienso) would have to count as non-regular, since not all verbs with an <e> in the stem suddenly insert <i>.

As you note, there are a handful of French verbs which do this kind of thing (venir - je viens, for instance), and they are considered irregular. (OK, so venir has other irregularities as well - for instance, its past participle is venu and not *veni, but I reckon it would be seen as irregular even if that <i> were its only oddity.)

But for sure, the point is a somewhat moot one.

 
suze
746160.  Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:38 pm Reply with quote

Now, on the matter of cisatlantic French. The only forms of French on which I can really comment are that of France and that of Québec.

In a formal register and in writing, differences are few except in the matter of vocabulary. There is a handful of words which are spelled differently in Canada, but nothing like as many as there are English words which are spelled differently in the USA.

There are no significant differences in grammar. Scholars have sought evidence that the use of tenses in Québec differs from that of France, perhaps hoping to find an analogy between France: Québec and Britain: USA - but have found little evidence of such.

There are however many differences in vocabulary. Until the 1960s, Québec French borrowed extensively from English where French French tried not to. For instance, a French girl has un copain; a Québec girl has - rather horrendously - un chum. And that chum refers to Québec girl as sa blonde (even if she is a brunette).

But since the 1960s, it's swung the other way. A friend in Québec would send me un courriel en mode san fil while at PFK, while a friend in France would be perfectly happy to send me un e-mail sur le wifi while at KFC.


Colloquial speech in Québec would be much harder for a person from France to follow. Quite apart from the Anglicisms that the Québécois use but deny using, and the uniquely Québécois curse words that punctuate everything they say, there are quite a few syntactical forms that French people consider ill-bred. For instance, where France would require Est-ce que tu as ... ? (Have you ... ?), in Québec it's T'as tu ... ?.

 
mckeonj
746170.  Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:00 pm Reply with quote

I well remember a slightly surreal conversation I had with an elderly German lady in Jersey. She had no English or French,
I had very little German; enough to recognise that she was speaking German. I normally speak English, but am fairly competent in Norman French (which does not suit Paris).
She was showing me pictures of her house and garden, and of grandchildren, while I made admiring comments.
I had a similar experience in Rome, sitting on a bench in a small park, next to an Italian granny of my own generation. My Italian couldn't even order a pizza, and she had no English; but we nodded and smiled to each other, and spoke of the weather, and bemoaned the noise of the motor scooters.
Incidentally, I tried speaking Latin to various Romans, including a set of Roman soldiers outside the Colosseum; but only found one Roman who understood me and responded - a priest.

 
tchrist
746220.  Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:25 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
Incidentally, I tried speaking Latin to various Romans, including a set of Roman soldiers outside the Colosseum; but only found one Roman who understood me and responded - a priest.

That's the funniest thing I've read in a long time.

Thanks!

--tom

 

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