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Snoopy
04-03-2010, 11:47 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/7540588/French-government-picks-new-words-to-replace-English.html

Any other French speakers here? While I'm all in support of making sure French doesn't become a dead language (hmm, says the woman who didn't teach any of her 4 kids to speak the mother tongue!), I'm very very glad they didn't choose "niouzlettre" for "newsletter"!

Shoe
04-03-2010, 10:59 PM
French is the second most widely spoken language in the world after English (by country not population)...I don't think it is in danger.

In answer to your question though, my wife grew up in a bilingual French/English household and her "real" first language is French. I used to be able to converse fairly fluently in French, but I've lost a lot since I moved away from Montreal, Quebec, Canada several years ago (though I see you're from France...maybe you don't count Quebec French as really French?)

Je comprends le francais mieux que je le parle, mais si vous parlez lentement et tranquillement, d'habitude je pourrais vous comprendre.

(I tried my best...I need to start studying again...)

Snoopy
04-03-2010, 11:54 PM
Schu00, vote francais est encore tres bon! Pardonnez l'absence d'accents et de cedilles, je suis paresseuse!

How interesting that your wife grew up being bilingual. Does she still speak French fluently? I lost of lot of mine because I don't practice very often and .. well, I find that the language has indeed changed a lot since I've moved away (22 years ago), mainly due to technological changes. I never know whether to say "email" to my brothers or "courrier electronique" so it's often comical because I'll invent words for concepts that didn't exist when I actually spoke French. I disagree with you when you say that, being the second-most spoken language in the world, it's not in danger of disappearing. Actually, French is already peppered with many foreign words (as English is), many of them introduced in the past 20 years. I have much trouble understanding emails from my brothers, for example. Their colloquial expressions all seem to be new and using words that have been recently invented (a little like the niouzlettre of my example) or just borrowed from English. Similarly, I was asking them if they understood what "lol" meant and they laughed that they've been using it for at least 15 years. But lol doesn't mean anything in French. It's like using schadenfreude in English. Why can't we just use an English word?

Your question about whether I count Quebecois as French is funny. In my arrogant 20s, I would have told you that Quebecois is NOT French. I'm more mellow now although I still think that Quebec people are not French. They're Quebecois! That's its own culture! The language Quebecois is to French what British English is to American English. Same language but with variations in vocabulary. Quebecois uses lots of old French words for modern concepts (abreuvoir for bar, if I remember correctly, for example) so it's kind of funny for a French person to hear Quebec people talk that way. And their accent is funny too :) Back when I visited Quebec in 1992, I was the official translator for Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters during their Quebec tour for the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. Our Quebec guides had a lot of fun at my expense. The worst example of it, is that they never told me when I said things (in French) that would get me in trouble. Well, we spent 2 weeks touring Children's Hospitals and visiting sick kids. The French word for "kid" is "gosse". But "gosse" in Quebecois means "testicle". Do you think they could have told me that right away? No! They let me talk to parents for 2 weeks, while in my Disney costume, about how cute their testicles were!! I was mortified but if I ever go back to Quebec, I'll know to avoid that word! Also the Quebec word for blueberry is "bleuet", which, in France, means "cornflower". The first time I was offered what I thought was "cornflower pie", I was very mystified!

dbmamaz
04-04-2010, 12:09 AM
lol Nathalie I think I told you that my husband is french canadian? He tries to follow a few french websites, and occasionally play World of Warcraft with other french-speaking players, to keep up his french. But i do think its slipping. we tried raising our son bilingual, but he was a late talker and we gave up (plus he eventually would say NO! English! when his father tried to speak french to him . . .it was a losing battle. I do think i'll try french with them eventually . . . tho i dont know it. I studied german and italian in school. i much preferred german, which i started in 8th grade, but the high school teacher was such a jerk, i dropped it.

Snoopy
04-04-2010, 12:28 AM
Hey Cara, I had forgotten about your husband! Tell him my testicle story, he'll laugh. I did end up buying a French/Quebecois dictionary before I left Quebec. I've never had to use it but it was funny leafing through it. Similarly last year I leafed through a French/Cajun French dictionary and that was really interesting as well. I took a year of German when I spent a year in college here in the States and I was quite good at it (because of the 8 years of Latin I had had by then) but I barely remember anything. All those harsh sounds were really hard for me... plus I was born in the East of France, which went back and forth from being under French control to German control, back to French control, and so on and so forth for almost 100 years so there's a lot of hard feelings against the Germans. So I never pursued it after that. I went to Italy and I would have thought that, with French and Spanish under my belt, I would be able to make myself understood, and I could for the most part, but some words are totally different. Apparently French is the easiest foreign language to learn for an Italian. I love hearing people speak Italian, it sounds like they're singing!
My first English teacher was a real piece of work, I hated English and wanted to drop it. My dad had started learning it for his job at the time and he wanted someone to practice with him so he made me keep it... aren't I glad! lol. My 2nd year I got the best teacher ever and it changed my life, really. I emailed that teacher a couple of years ago to thank him because without him, I would have had a totally different life. He made me fall in love with the language and I knew from then on that whatever I did, I wanted English to be part of it. Still wish I would have had the discipline to study to become a translator though. That would have been my dream job... books all around me, thinking of a way to say something in another language... no one to bug me... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! lol

dbmamaz
04-04-2010, 01:48 PM
Just told my husband your testicle story - yes, he thought it was funny. But he said most people would have understood what you meant, that its just a colloquialism (spelling, sorry) to use it to mean balls.

also, i grew up jewish - my sister says she will never even VISIT germany. i just dont take things that personally, i guess.

Shoe
04-07-2010, 01:26 PM
Schu00, vote francais est encore tres bon! Pardonnez l'absence d'accents et de cedilles, je suis paresseuse!

How interesting that your wife grew up being bilingual. Does she still speak French fluently? ... I disagree with you when you say that, being the second-most spoken language in the world, it's not in danger of disappearing. Actually, French is already peppered with many foreign words (as English is), many of them introduced in the past 20 years. ...

Your question about whether I count Quebecois as French is funny. In my arrogant 20s, I would have told you that Quebecois is NOT French. I'm more mellow now although I still think that Quebec people are not French. They're Quebecois! That's its own culture! The language Quebecois is to French what British English is to American English. Same language but with variations in vocabulary. Quebecois uses lots of old French words for modern concepts (abreuvoir for bar, if I remember correctly, for example) so it's kind of funny for a French person to hear Quebec people talk that way. And their accent is funny too :) Back when I visited Quebec in 1992, I was the official translator for Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters during their Quebec tour for the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. Our Quebec guides had a lot of fun at my expense. The worst example of it, is that they never told me when I said things (in French) that would get me in trouble. Well, we spent 2 weeks touring Children's Hospitals and visiting sick kids. The French word for "kid" is "gosse". But "gosse" in Quebecois means "testicle". Do you think they could have told me that right away? No! They let me talk to parents for 2 weeks, while in my Disney costume, about how cute their testicles were!! I was mortified but if I ever go back to Quebec, I'll know to avoid that word! Also the Quebec word for blueberry is "bleuet", which, in France, means "cornflower". The first time I was offered what I thought was "cornflower pie", I was very mystified!

Snoopy, yes, my wife is still fluent, but is slowly starting to lose it. I really should try to speak with her in French more often.

I would agree with you that French has changed over the years, but so does any living language. Modern English is very different from Shakespearean English...but both are still the same language. We may prefer one over the other but not that one is any "less" of the language than the other (just like your child is different as an infant than a teenager, but is not any "less" himself because of it-just evolved).

As to the Quebecois vs. French-I agree with you completely. Same basic language but totally different cultures...but it seems that both the French and the Quebecois intertwine culture and language together much more closely than do most English speakers...hmmm, I'll have to think on that a bit more to better articulate what I mean...

The "gosse" story is just hilarious!

Cheers.