Saturday, 22 October 2016

Intro to French Language


Bonjour. Comment alley vous?- (commotalay vu?) How are you? Merci beaucoup – (Maxi Booko.)- Thank you very much... C'est Table – (Say Taab.) This is table.. and so on. Until now I thought Dzongkha is the most complicated language. The spellings, the pronunciations and so on.

The script of French language is english alphabets but do not think that it would be easy. Most of the vowels in the end are silent with lots of exceptions. 'ment' in the end of the word is pronounced as 'mo' with exceptions. Every thing is either feminine or masculine and there is no set way to know which is which. The article both definite and indefinite article changes according to the gender of the word or the stuff. 'La' or 'Le' being definite article attached according to the gender. 'Le' is not pronounced as 'lee' as most of us must be thinking. It is pronounced as 'Lu'. So the famous hotel – 'Le Meridian' is neither 'Laa Meridian' nor 'Lee Meridian' but 'Lu Meridian' meaning 'The meridian' if the origin of the name is from French.

To add on to the misery the name of the countries does not remain same in French. Bhutan becomes Bhoutan, Bhoutanes for male resident and Bhoutanese for female residents. China becomes Chine, USA becomes Etats-Unis and India becomes Inde. The confusion does not end there. The so called accent that phonetic symbols that we put on top of the vowels, there are five accents, which is difficult to put it if one is not IT savvy.

However, after couple of days learning French, I came to know my own limits and the complexities that every language has. It was a good experience to get exposed to the new language. Most of the English words are borrowed from this language or perhaps the other way round, I do not know. The common words that we use in military, 'RV' or 'Rendezvous' is sure a French word therefore, it had to be pronounced as such – 'Rondey vu'.

If a French says – 'Silver Play', He or she is not asking to play with silver. It just means 'please' – 's'il vous plait'. There is an accent on 'i' in 'Plait' which I am not able to put. With keenness the language was fun to learn and with google translate installed in the smart phones only the grammar and basic construction of sentences need to be learned. The Bhutanese instructor was too good in the language which can be seen as he wrote on the white board and pronounced completely differently, as the French was supposed to be. The French lady showed us the types of sound a simple 'au' can be made to produce.

As I write this journal for myself and for those interested to read, I would like to say something in French – 'Je suis fatigue.' The all time favorite sentence. Pronunciation is a bit different – 'zhay si Pha ti gay'. I do not forget that word because in academy days 'phatgye' word was used frequently almost referring to the same meaning as French. 'PhatGaye' – 'to tear apart' – something tears apart when you are 'Fatigue' or scared....