16 October 2009

Est-ce Que Tu Parles Francais?

Today in class we were reviewing the answers to a homework sheet from last night.  We were learning the different ways to phrase questions.  There are several ways of wording, and then using vocal inflections in order to clarify that you're asking a question, not making a statement (we do it in English all the time).  But if you really want everyone to know that your asking a question, without any confusion, you add the words est-ce que ('es kuh').  For example, Tu vas où? would ask Where are you going?  But to clarify that it's a question, you would make it: Où est-ce que tu vas? 

Well, something else you need to know about the French language.  There is this lovely portion of grammar called the liaison (and now, thank's to learning French, I finally know how to spell it!).  A liaison is used (and since it is French, there is always exceptions to the rules) to link a fore word with an aft word when the aft word begins with a vowel or an 'h' (and as we learned in conferènce today, it's the non-asperated 'h's' that are liaised).  So for example, mes amis is NOT pronounced 'may ami' but rather 'may zami.'

They also use l'apostrophe to link articles and certain words to words that start with vowels.  For example, to say I have the child the words are Je ai le enfant.  But in French it's really J'ai l'enfant (which is then pronounced 'Zjay lonfon' with the 'n's' being more nasally than the anglophone 'n'). 

SO ANYWAY (there is a point to this story).  We were reviewing the homework and my prof called on me for number 5.  On utilise ce mot quand? (When do we use this word?) Add est-ce que, and you have: Quand est-ce qu'on utilise ce mot.  But I said it all wrong.  Most of the whole phrase is run-on: "Kan-tes-kuh-kon-nu-tiliz ce mo." For some reason this correction of my pronounciation struck me as really funny.  I started to laugh and couldn't stop.  The prof kept going, on to number 6: Tu parles francais? (You speak French?)  This made me laugh even harder! 

I responded to her in French: Je ne parle pas francais!  Je parle quelque chose, mais je ne parle pas francais! (I don't speak French!  I speak something, but I don't speak French!) And just to make things worse, the translation of the next two were: Do you understandWhy is this difficult?  Maybe it's just me, but I found this very funny!

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