Friday, March 25, 2011

The Bigger the Better

I’ve always loved English as a language.  Especially now that I’ve learned to speak and write in another language, I realize just how much I adore our mother tongue. 

Our verb conjugation is a piece of cake compared to French or most other modern Latin languages.

We don’t give non-living objects abstract sexual connations.  In short- we don’ t have a feminine or masculine tied to our nouns.

 In French, every word is either feminine or masculine.  As someone who didn’t grow up with this system, I have a really hard time figuring out the how or why ‘the table’ is more girly than ‘the pen’.  I mean, who the hell decided which objects would be feminine and the others more manly? And more importantly, how did they decide?

Anyways-  Just because I have a preference for English doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the nuances and beauty of the French language.  I mean, those French love them some words.  And not just any words.  They have thing for big, unpronounceable, seven syllable words.  It’s no wonder the page count is so much higher for books translated into French. 

A vacuum, for example is an as-pi-ra-teur. 

A zipper?  Fer-ma-ture E-clair.  (5 syllables)

How about a little word, like ‘pin’? 

E-pang-le à nour-ice.   Yes.  That’s seven syllables right there.  
                    
You get the picture. 

No wonder the French are stealing nifty little english words like ‘stop’, ‘go’, and ‘okay’ and sticking them into everyday conversation.

It’s to save time, pure and simple.

And of course, in exchange we Americans like to use French words like ‘deja-vu’ and ‘rendez-vous’ in order to glamour up  and draw out our conversations:)

Au revoir! (see you!  OH! - just a side note.  French don't say 'à dieu' very often.  That means 'to god' and you only say it if you don't think you'll ever see the person again.  Like, when they're on their death bed.  Definitely not something to say if you're just hoping out to mcdonads and back)

  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

*CQG*

16 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I remember learning French in highschool and love listening to people speak French. Beautiful language.

Ella said...

I love this post! It was fun to read~
Yes, I can see why the adoption process has gone over. I wonder is it a boy or a girl, when I say a french word. I do remember that convo coming up in French class~
Au revoir and Happy Weekend to you!

Jessica Bell said...

lol. I have a hard time with Greek for the exact same reason. Except there is also 'neuter': no gender. And everything has pronouns! You can't just say 'trapezi' (table), you have to say 'to trapezi'. And you have to figure out which pronoun to use depending in whehter it's masculine, femenine, or neuter. lol. they're all different. And sheesh, they change the endings of personal pronouns too, depending on who you're talking about. Argh! Too much trouble!

Wes said...

Bonjour!

It's the extra letters that got me in French. Beaucoup, pronounced bo-cu. Why does it have so many letters?

Shain Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shain Brown said...

The horror of conjugation, high school French class is all coming back.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Lol! Started my kids on French last fall and they aren't liking it! Only problem is going to be that they'll understand me and the DH when we don't want them too. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh, wow. Don't remember learning the last part in school. The French textbooks are just setting us up to be laughed at, aren't they?

Carolyn V said...

That is so interesting! I took French my first year in college. I won't tell you the grade I got (it's just embarrassing).

Angelina Rain said...

Great post. Most European languages have male and female nouns. I don’t know about French as I don’t speak it, but in Lithuanian, not only are nouns male and female, they are pronounced and spelled differently depending on how they are used in a sentence. One noun could be said in seven different ways. If you ask me, that’s just dumb. Like who really cares if the table is male or female. As long as I can eat my dinner on it, I don’t care.

LTM said...

but it's so pretty! :D I don't ever pronounce it right, but I like pretending to speak French...

Fun stuff, and if you don't say a'dieu, what DO you say??? Bye? <3

Old Kitty said...

I love that zipper has the word "eclair" in it!!!!! And what other language can make pin sound so sexy smoochy - oooh la la!!

LOL!!!! I failed my French O level so miserably because seriously I was all "who the blazes said that a table is feminine and bread not?!?!" and I still don't get it today!!! LOL!! Take care
x

Joanna St. James said...

ah yes the girly and butch words. Don't you just love some of the pronunciations tho? my fave word to pronounce is Hyper - I just love it.

Sarah said...

Great post! I always struggled with this in Spanish. English is actually easier than many other Latin-based languages--you're absolutely right. I married into a Portuguese-speaking family and they frequently talk about how much easier English is to learn.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Okay, now you have me wondering! How DID genders get assigned to all those nouns???

Vicki Rocho said...

When I was at the story yesterday, I heard a mother talking to her little girl about French and teaching her to say "My name is..." and "I am 8". I lingered in the area because I had to get a look at them when they came out and the little girl looked JUST like Madeline from the books/cartoon!

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