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French, #1

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So, I decided I sould revive my m4d french sk1llz. I've (lightly) studied French in school for approximately 7 years, but - unfortunately - I didn't put that knowledge to good use. The result is that I can now read and understand French if it's not heavy on the vocabulary, but I'm totally unable to write or compose anything in French. And of course, I can't decipher what native French speakers babble at all. Talk about speaking at light speed.

I'm using this WikiBook as a starting refresher. I still haven't set up a schedule for myself, but I'm aiming at writing at least two French journal entries per month. And by French journal entry, I mean something like "Je suis Egyptien". Yeah, I'm taking it easy in the beginning.

And I'm not only writing French journal entries, but I've hunted for some technology oriented French forums and am going to lurk there for a while. My initial attempts at finding such websites were rather unsuccessful. However, once I found the correct keywords, I stumbled upon this. C'est tres formidable!

Unfortunately, not all is well. I'm currently facing 2 issues:

First, being armed with not-so-powerful dictionaries might prove to be troublesome. For example, I wanted to know what the French equivalent of "Fantastic" was, expecting it to be Fantastique (The English word sounds way too French that it must've been borrowed). The dictionary suggested "endiable".

Suspicious.

Consulting a printed French-Arabic dictionary I have, "endiable" is supposed to mean "Satanic", "Diabolic" or "Very fast" (Wha?). Consulting a high-school level French-French dictionary I have (the ultimate source!), it says "Tres rapide". [dead]

If any kind french readers can drop me a link to a good online French-French or French-English dictionary, I'd be very grateful. So grateful, in fact, that I'd dedicate my next French entry entirely to praising you. Think How Washu Is Better style, except in French. And a bit short. As in a couple of lines or something. C'est une offre que tu ne peux pas refuser! (OMG, did I get that right? It took me ages to remember verb pouvoir)

Second, the French keyboard layout is rather weird. At least it is on Ubuntu linux. The 'q' and 'a' are swapped, for some reason. Numbers are now entered via Shift+Key, whereas Key inserts a character or symbol. Is this the way you guys do things normally, or am I missing something?

Anyway, issues aside, let me share with you the astounding knowledge I have gathered so far. Some essential C-related terminolgy:

& -> Esperluette. Frankly, this is way cooler than "ampersand"
* -> Asterisque. I cannot help but adore the cuteness of the way this is pronounced
\ -> Barre oblique inverse. Not cool
[ ] -> Crochets. Easy to remember. Similar to "Crotch", isn't it? Thankfully, it has different pronunciation
: -> Deux points.
; -> Point virgule.
, -> Virgule.
= -> egal. Umm..how do you write an uppercase 'e' with an accent? Is there even such a thing?
! -> Point d'exclamation.
> -> Superieur a.
< -> Inferieur a.
( ) -> Parentheses.
{ } -> Accolades.
% -> Pourcent. modulo?
# -> Diese. Je programme en C diese. Yay!
_ -> Soulignement.

That's it.

PS: What do you know, it looks like the French brain cells in me are waking up. I remembered a part of the following childish song:
Savez-vouz plantez les choux
a la mode a la mode
Savez-vous plantez les choux
a la mode de chez nous
[Don't remember the rest - but it had things to do with arms, elbows and feet I think. A search came up with it, though: here]

French word of the day
Pipi: Guess what this one means.
Example usage: J'ai envie de faire pipi.

Hint: Memorize the above statement, and you know you won't wet your pants if you ever get lost in France.

Exercise: Learn how to secure yourself against soiling your pants.


PS2: Just for Jack's sake. Du lait est superieur a du Cafe.
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French keyboards are indeed the AZERTY layout, and you do indeed need to use the shift key for numbers.
As far as I'm aware, accented letters lose their accents when in upper case.

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I'm totally unable to write or compose anything in French. And of course, I can't decipher what native French speakers babble at all.
[lol] So true! I refer to one of my favourite quotes:

Quote:
Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them they translate into their own language and forthwith it is something entirely different.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Quote:
Just for Jack's sake. Du lait est supérieur à du Café.
I don't understand French, therefore it must be wrong. Simple!

Cheers,
Jack

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Reading some French on gdnet always please me! [smile]

A couple of things:
  • yes, our keyboard is AZERTY, not QWERTY (this has to do with the letter frequencies, this kind of stuff, you know...).
  • the layout of the French keyboard can be found on the French wikipedia
  • we don't have uppercase letters with accents in our language (but we have an uppercase C with cedilla, which is not on our keyboard). Nevertheless, accented uppercase letters are implemented in some fonts (see WinXP's arial, unicode character code 00C0 to 00CF). Some publications are using them.
  • "trés" is "très". You got the accent rightin "très formidable" (except that we never says "très formidable" [smile]) but wrong in "trés rapide". I am nitpicking [smile]
  • "endiablé" really means "très rapide"; we don't use it in the other meanings, except in very rare cases).
  • according to wordreference.com (the online dictionary I use), fantastic means "fantastique". We don't translate fantastic to "endiablé" ("this slow movement is fantastic"...)
  • you got "c'est une offre que tu ne peux pas refuser" nearly right (not "réfuser") [smile]
  • "Some milk is better than some coffee"? Of milk is superior to coffee? If the later is the correct sentence, then the translation is "le lait est supérieur au café" [smile]


Regards,

-- Emmanuel D.

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Absolute respect, man!

Quote:
yes, our keyboard is AZERTY, not QWERTY (this has to do with the letter frequencies, this kind of stuff, you know...).

Cool, makes sense. I'll make sure I get used to this layout.

Quote:
the layout of the French keyboard can be found on the French wikipedia

And here I've been looking at the tiny layout picture showed by Ubuntu, trying to decipher where the characters were. Thanks [grin]

Quote:
"trés" is "très". You got the accent rightin "très formidable" (except that we never says "très formidable" )

[embarrass]
Will never happen again, promise!

Quote:
but wrong in "trés rapide". I am nitpicking

Ack! I probably did it because I learnt the bad pronunciation: Pronuncing it as the first 'e' in élève (which is the word that always reminds me how to pronounce accented 'e's) instead of the second, so I kinda got stuck [smile]
In fact, when I was saying "très formidable" I consulted a dictionary (instead of my memory) to check the accent, so I got it right!

Quote:
according to wordreference.com (the online dictionary I use), fantastic means "fantastique". We don't translate fantastic to "endiablé" ("this slow movement is fantastic"...)

Excellent, thanks for the dictionary link!

Quote:
"Some milk is better than some coffee"? Of milk is superior to coffee? If the later is the correct sentence, then the translation is "le lait est supérieur au café"

Ah, I meant the latter. So, thanks for the correction - it's my new sig! (Just for you, Jack. <3)

Quote:
Regards,

-- Emmanuel D.

Ok, Emmanuel, you and Ben are both my official heroes. You both earned yourselves entries of your own, written in masterful French by yours truly! Hopefully they won't suck badly, I'll try to consult as much dictionaries as possible next time [smile]

Cheers,
Muhammad

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I never expected someone to voluntarily write french, good job. (Yes, I do speak french but I hate writing it.)

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Quote:
le lait est supérieur au café

For the sake of some entirely useless discussion, couldn't this also mean "The milk is superior (when it's) in the coffee"? [smile]

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For the sake of some entirely useless discussion, couldn't this also mean "The milk is superior (when it's) in the coffee"?

Nah, I don't think so. I'm not that good yet, but I gather it'd be something like "superieur en cafe" or "avec cafe", but not "superier au cafe".

Basically, no matter how you look at it, Jack loses.

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