Annoying French Words

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Jan 14, 2018 00:42
One of my biggest headaches of studying English is that I have a hard time pronouncing and memorizing French words in it. When reading some books and magazines, I come across French words here and there. Some words such as “bourgeoisie” and “renaissance” are not difficult because they are frequently used, but there are so many others that I don’t know how to pronounce, let alone spell.

For example, when reading art or design criticism, I tend to come across many French words. Some words such as “panache” and “avant-garde” are not difficult since I’ve seen them many times. However, when seeing expressions like “trompe I’oeil” and “je ne sais quoi,” I think to myself, “What the hell is that?” Even when I come to know what they mean after looking them up online, I still have no idea how to pronounce them and that’s pretty daunting.

The English language has absorbed tons of words from other languages. When I tried to pronounce words like “politico” and “El Niño" (from Spanish), “kitsch” and “blitzkrieg” (from German) following English pronouncing rules, I find I can almost pronounce them right. Even for words from Russian such as “politburo,” “apparatchik,” and “refusenik,” I think they are easy to pronounce as well. Japanese words in English, mostly with monosyllable sounds, are the easiest to pronounce. But for French words, I usually find the rules not working. Some French words are even disguised in the English form. For example, I picked up on the word “badinage” after coming across it a couple of times. I knew it means “banter,” but not until lately did I come to know it’s a French word! And it seems like the final consonant of this word doesn’t exist in English.

I once consulted a friend of mine about whether I should study French to tackle these words. My friend, a Chinese person who speaks French fluently, laughed and said that there’s no need to do that. But the bottom line is, I don’t even have the most basic knowledge of French, so I can never pronounce expressions such as “trompe I’oeil” correctly. The idea that I should attend a preliminary French course to study English is still haunting me.
对我而言,学英语最令人头疼的问题是英文中的法语单词太难记,太难发音。在看一些书和杂志时,我经常碰到法语单词。一些单词比如“bourgeoisie” 、 “renaissance”倒不难,因为我经常碰到,但还有很多法语我根本不会读,更不用说拼写了。

比如,在读一些艺术和设计的评论文章时,我经常碰到各种法语单词。一些单词比如“panache” 和 “avant-garde” 倒是不难,因为我多次看到。但是看到一些法语表达时,比如“trompe I’oeil” 和 “je ne sais quoi",我心里想这些是什么鬼?即便是后来查了意思后,我还是不知道怎么发音,真令人泄气。

英语从其他语言里吸收了很多的词汇。当我尝试着用英语的基本读音规则读西班牙语词汇 “politico” 、“El Niño“和 德语词汇 “kitsch” 和 “blitzkrieg” 我发现基本上都能读对。甚至俄语词汇(“politburo,” “apparatchik,” and “refusenik“”)也不难。日语单词由于都是单音节,就更简单了。但是,这些读音规则貌似对法语就不管用了。一些单词看起来是英语单词,但其实是法语词,比如我碰到badinage,知道了意思和banter差不多,哪知道最近我才知道它的读音是法语!而且尾音貌似在英语中不存在!

我曾经问过一个好友解决这些单词要不要专门学习法语。他是中国人,法语很厉害,笑着说不用。但问题是,我的法语知识基本为零,对于“trompe I’oeil” 这样的表达的发音完全没有头绪。直到现在,我还在想要不要参加一个基础法语班,虽然只是为了学习英语而已。