Days of our Lives!

February 9, 2009

The French connection

Filed under: I at IIM I,Travels — Santhosh @ 3:26 AM

“Neenga endha college?”
College aa? Naanaa?
Mummmyyyy!!!

Remember the face of the girl who asked that question in the ad? Now replace it with a crestfallen face of a once hopeful looking guy who’s just heard the response. That pretty much sums up how us guys feel about our French tutor. Some bugger got lucky.

The classes are all in French with not a word of the Queen’s language, so that it pretty much resembles a kindergarten class with us 20 somethings repeating after our instructor’s sing-along voice. And I’ve started realising how beautiful French is. Especially since Jennifer Decker in Flyboys happened.

French is such a soft language though – no harsh consonants or abrasive phonates. So it’s no wonder that French men are considered sex gods. I mean, all he would have to do is wonder aloud if he’s about to fart, and the lady he’s with, if she can’t understand the language, would start giggling away with “Oh, naughty you”s. Even “oru romantic smile” Goundamani needn’t have to give orae oru romantic smile if he spoke a little French.

Now, why the sudden love for the French language? Two words: Student Exchange. I’ll be in Germany for their fall semester and well, a bit of French isn’t going to hurt, is it? Wink, wink!

A few classes have gone by and the number system is what has me pretty interested. Take a look at the table below and you’ll also join me in wondering how two drastically different civilizations could have such similar phonetics for numbers.

No.
English
French
French pronunciation
Hindi
0
zero
zéro

1
one
un
aan
Ek
2
two
deux
dhe
dho
3
three
trois
thwa
theen
4
four
quatre
khathru
chaar
5
five
cinq
sanq
paanch
6
six
six
seize
che
7
seven
sept
seth
saath
8
eight
huit
hueet
aat
9
nine
neuf
nof
nou
10
ten
dix
dhiss
dhuss

The craziest part is the number system. I mean, how lazy should the Frenchman who thought their number system up must have been to make his entire countrymen use addition and multiplication tables to spell out half of it. The numbers have individual names only upto 69 (yeah, 69’s a pretty important number in the romantic language) and after that you either add up from the 60s for the 70s, or in the case of the 80s, multiply from 20. For example, 80 is 4 times 20 (4*20), 81 is 4*20+1, and so on.

But, what’s with the French and not ending anything fully anyway! I mean, why have such long words if you’re just not gonna use the final consonant?

For all that I’ve said here, though, the classes do seem to be progressing pretty well. In fact, I think I know more French than I do Hindi, which isn’t necessarily saying much, but still!

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