For those of you learning French, a distraction

Found on

:-)) Always enjoy that - and no wonder many find English hard to pronounce!!

Found this many years ago somewhere:

A Dreadful Language

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, tough and through;
Well done! And how you wish perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it's said like bed, not bead
For goodness sake don't call it "deed".
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose
Just look them up and goose and choose,
And cork and work and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart.
Come, come I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive
I mastered it when I was five.

Romuald, simplification and effectiveness is a moot point for my Swiss wife. Her first laguage is Italian but she studied and worked in Suisse Romande for many years and for her the numbers 70, 80 and 90 are septante, octante and nonante are far simpler than the ones used here, plus Belgians used huitante. L' Académie française actually say they are part of the French language and perfectly acceptable. L' Académie is only referring to France and neither Romande nor Belgian French. So why hasn''t that repaced the complex numbers? Each time I discuss it with people who know the etymology of your language they tell me it is because originally units of 20 were used rather than 10s, which renders 90 into a strange corner because it could easily be octante-dix! There are other differences which make the other two into distinct languages, whereas there are dialects here in France that are far further removed from the established norm. But then Standard English differs vastly from most dialects, but only two are considered distinct languages American English and Scots. The former uses over 90% of the same rules and spellings as Standard English, in many cases less than dialects. Then we have German with its many dialects that are distinct within Germany and the extreme of Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizertüütsch and Schwizertitsch in Switzerland, parts of Austria and northern Italy plus Austria with its different verb structure and vocabulary, but the Swiss and Austrian usage has only ever been considered dialects. It all gets very confusing and makes English appear simple which it really is not because of the several contrasting and conflicting roots of the language and the entire grammar being very complex when the basics are put aside. Negations are one of the most distinctly contrasting parts of each language because they all have distinctly different forms but what they have in common is that some of them when analysed should not be in the languase at all. Is that not true?

Thank you, Brian. It might be because "pas" is more easily identifiable as a phoneme in a sentence than "ne". Almost nothing sounds like "pas", in a sentence. The common use of a language generally tends to simplification and effectiveness.


I can't not agree with this. Mais oui, bien sur.

Roger, quite right. Not only is French the exception but it has nothing to do with any of the Latin, Gallic (looking at Gaelic or Cymru as examples) or Germanic roots of the language. It is a linguistic accident perhaps.

Only ONE? I thought there were at least three exceptions. lol

But , isn't that , an example in English .... I am Not displeased to read this !

Neither am I totaly incapable of understanding it !

Ha ha ha ! Good one ! Thank you.

It makes me think of a peculiarity I noticed in French language about the negation "ne... pas" :

In many languages the negation is indicated with a word beginning with "n" (no, nein, niet, ne, non, ni, नहीं,...). But, in oral French, people spontaneously elide "ne" and mark the negation with "pas" only (ex. : "je (ne) t'en veux pas", "J(e n)'en ai pas", "Je (ne) sais pas",...).

Of course, it is not correct, but it is a common practice. I don't know the reason. I guess it's a matter of euphony, as the harmony of sounds is rather important in the pronunciation.

Raised a :-)) just when I needed one!!

Just like in French, there's ALWAYS an exception to the rule :)