Viridzen- Français

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Viridzen- Français

Postby Viridzen » 2014-07-02, 22:11

Hey. I've decided a while ago to learn French; I used to be obsessed with France a few years ago (luckily, this passed), and I tried "learning" French back then. Now, I've decided to start again, and I'd say I'm at a good level for a beginner. I want to post about it here, especially questions I have. I want them here so I can keep them organised and they don't get lost. So, here are some of my questions:

1. In the resource for French, it says, in one of the exercises, "J'ai beaucoup de chevaux." Shouldn't it be "des chevaux", since it's plural, or does it always use "de"?

2. I also noticed that it said "Ils ont beaucoup d'yeux." should it say "d'yeux" or "des yeux"? (Also, it seems like a strange sentence to begin with--that's a different story.)

3. What's the difference between "ci" and "ceci"? I feel like I've seen both before, but didn't get there in my book yet.

Also, sorry for this being in English--I can't French enough to write this in French. Also, obviously, please correct whatever errors I may make! Merci in advance.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-07-03, 7:15

Viridzen wrote:1. In the resource for French, it says, in one of the exercises, "J'ai beaucoup de chevaux." Shouldn't it be "des chevaux", since it's plural, or does it always use "de"?

2. I also noticed that it said "Ils ont beaucoup d'yeux." should it say "d'yeux" or "des yeux"? (Also, it seems like a strange sentence to begin with--that's a different story.)
These are essentially the same question, so they get one answer. Both forms are correct, but they have different meanings. The first versions mean "a lot of horses/eyes". The horses and eyes are of indeterminate number, so the underlying article is the partitive "des", but "de" + partitive becomes just "de". Therefore, J'ai des chevaux > *J'ai beaucoup de des chevaux > J'ai beaucoup de chevaux

The second forms mean "a lot of the horses/eyes". The underlying article in this case is the definite "les", which combines with "de" as "des". Therefore, J'ai les chevaux > *J'ai beaucoup de les chevaux > J'ai beaucoup des chevaux

Viridzen wrote:3. What's the difference between "ci" and "ceci"? I feel like I've seen both before, but didn't get there in my book yet.
"Ci" is a clitic with a somewhat proximal meaning ("this", as opposed to "that"). It only appears on the end of a noun phrase modified by "ce" (i.e. cet homme-ci "this man", ces jours-ci "these days"). "Ceci" is a pronoun, also with a somewhat proximal meaning. Their distal ("that") counterparts are "là" and "cela".
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-03, 7:36

Merci beaucoup pour les explications Dormouse559! Je n'ai jamais compris la différence avant maintenant entre "de" et "des/du/de la". En fait, j'ai su que "des/du/de la" sont "de + les/le/la", mais avant ton explication, je ne traduirais pas la phrase "j'ai beaucoup de chevaux" comme "*j'ai beaucoup de des chevaux" avec le mot partitif "des".
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby melski » 2014-07-03, 8:03

You will almost never encounter the sentence "j'ai beaucoup des chevaux", or maybe only in the strict sense "I get a lot from horses", but even there I'll rather say "je reçois beaucoup des chevaux" or something like that. To me it sounds ungrammatical.
The correct form is "j'ai beaucoup de chevaux".

By the way, with an adverb you use de for both countable and non countable nouns, regardless of gender and plural/singular:
"J'ai beaucoup de lait" (uncountable, singular, masc)
"J'ai beaucoup d'amis" (countable, plural, masc)
"J'ai beaucoup de voitures" (countable, plural, fem)
"J'ai beaucoup d'idées" (same as above)
"Il y a beaucoup de gens" (uncountable, plural, masc)
"le scientifique a fait beaucoup de recherches" (countable, plural, masc)

Now without the adverb (beaucoup) it becomes a bit different :
"J'ai du lait" (uncountable) but "J'ai des amis" (countable)
Uncountable nouns use de + le that becomes du, while countable nouns use de + les = les
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-07-03, 8:19

melski wrote:You will almost never encounter the sentence "j'ai beaucoup des chevaux", or maybe only in the strict sense "I get a lot from horses", but even there I'll rather say "je reçois beaucoup des chevaux" or something like that. To me it sounds ungrammatical.
The correct form is "j'ai beaucoup de chevaux".
I admit "beaucoup des" sounds odd in that sentence, but it sounds fine (to me at least) in something like "Beaucoup des chevaux que tu as vus sont malades".
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby melski » 2014-07-03, 8:27

Well, in that particular sentence it makes sense, even if "beaucoup de chevaux que tu as vus sont malades" is also correct (and sounds more natural to me). I'd recommend Vidrizen to stick to "de" : you will be perfectly understood and you will avoid making mistakes. The sentence you proposed, Linguoboy, is already a quite high register. :wink:

(if I were to say this informally I'd use a longer construction : "parmi les chevaux que tu as vus, beaucoup sont malades" or "les chevaux que tu as vus, beaucoup sont malades (very colloquial)"
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-07-03, 8:43

melski wrote:The sentence you proposed, Linguoboy, is already a quite high register. :wink:
:hmm:

But anyway, that's good to know. Thank you.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby melski » 2014-07-03, 8:52

Oh sorry Dormouse I just mistook you for Linguoboy - since he usually comments on French threads too...
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-03, 16:25

melski wrote:Well, in that particular sentence it makes sense, even if "beaucoup de chevaux que tu as vus sont malades" is also correct (and sounds more natural to me). I'd recommend Vidrizen to stick to "de" : you will be perfectly understood and you will avoid making mistakes. The sentence you proposed, Linguoboy, is already a quite high register. :wink:

(if I were to say this informally I'd use a longer construction : "parmi les chevaux que tu as vus, beaucoup sont malades" or "les chevaux que tu as vus, beaucoup sont malades (very colloquial)"

Dans la phrase "beaucoup de chevaux que tu as vus sont malades", que veut dire "de"? Parce que, pour moi, "de" égale "of" en anglais et "des" égale "of the" en anglais. (C'est le même avec "du/de la"). Donc, dans la phrase "j'ai beaucoup de chevaux", je la traduirais comme "I have a lot of horses". Alors, de la même façon, je traduirais "beaucoup des chevaux que tu as vus sont malades" comme "a lot of the horses that you saw are sick". Si c'est le cas, pourquoi on peut dire "beaucoup de chevaux..."? Pour moi, cette phrase veut dire "a lot of horses...", qui n'a pas de sens.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby melski » 2014-07-03, 17:06

beaucoup des chevaux que tu as vus sont malades = des chevaux que tu as vus, beaucoup sont malades
In English it translates to "of all the horses that you saw, many are sick"

Here's another example of this construction :
"de tous les médecins qui se sont penchés sur ce cas, aucun n'a su trouver la maladie"
(of all the doctors who studied that case, no one found the illness).

Hope this clarifies it...
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-03, 17:19

Let me try explaining in English; my French level isn't up to par!

I understand that "des" = "of the". But, in my mind, "de" just equals "of". So in all the examples you gave with "beaucoup des", I would translate those examples the same as you: "a lot of the". But you wrote that it sounds more natural, for you, to say "beaucoup de chevaux que tu as vus sont malades" instead of "beaucoup des chevaux que tu as vus sont malades". I don't understand why you use "de" instead of "des" in this sentence. For me, since "des" equals "of the", and the English translation of the sentence is "a lot of the horses that you saw are sick", you could only use "des chevaux". And if I use "de chevaux", I would translate the sentence into English as "a lot of horses that you saw are sick", which makes no sense.

I hope that explains better my confusion.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-03, 17:23

dEhiN wrote:And if I use "de chevaux", I would translate the sentence into English as "a lot of horses that you saw are sick", which makes no sense.

1. French isn't English.
2. If I heard someone say that in English, I wouldn't think twice about it.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby Viridzen » 2014-07-03, 21:17

*ahem* I still don't quite get it. In simpler terms, can someone explain the difference between the partitive and the other thing? I don't get it.

Also, my second question was about if it should use the apostrophe with a "y"; "de yeux" or "d'yeux", what is correct?

I also don't understand the difference between "ci" and "ceci". Can you use them in a sentence?
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby melski » 2014-07-03, 23:05

I'll try to explain it as simply as possible.
"A lot of", "many", "much" can be translated as "beaucoup de". Unlike English, you always need "de" in French.
Je n'ai pas beaucoup d'argent : I haven't got much money.
Il y a beaucoup de gens: there are many people.
J'ai beaucoup de travail: I've got a lot of work (to do).

Now, when using "de" without an adverb (beaucoup, peu, etc), you have to add the article

J'ai de l'argent : I have money (de + l')
J'ai du temps : I have time (de + le = du)
J'ai des frères : I have brothers (de + les = des)

But when using negation, you always use "de" without the article:

Je n'ai pas d'argent: I don't have money.
Je n'ai pas de temps (à perdre...) : I don't have any time (to lose...).
Je n'ai pas de frères : I don't have any brothers.

Now, there is a construction using "de + article" that would translates to "of the":
"de toute ma vie, je n'ai jamais vu ça!" = "Of all my life, I've never seen this" (I've never seen this in my entire life!)

"Des (de + les = des) temples et amphithéâtres grecs, il ne reste aujourd'hui que des ruines" = from the Greek temples and amphiteathers, only ruins remain today.

"De tous les temples et amphitéâtres grecs, il ne reste aujourd'hui que des ruines" = Of all the Greek temples and amphitheaters, only ruins remain today.

Now with beaucoup:
(a) Beaucoup de temples construits par les Grecs sont tombés en ruine = Many/a lot of temples built by the Greeks have fallen into ruins
(b) Beaucoup des temples construits par les Grecs sont tombés en ruine = Many of the temples built by the Greeks have fallen into ruins.

in sentence (b), beaucoup des = beaucoup de + les.

Another example, maybe somewhat clearer :

J'apprends beaucoup de conversations en anglais : I learn a lot of conversations in English (i.e. I learn them by heart from my phrasebook)
J'apprends beaucoup des conversations en anglais : I learn a lot from conversations in English (i.e. I learn a lot from conversing with other people).

If you want more examples check out this WordReference thread.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby Viridzen » 2014-07-04, 22:12

Okay. That makes a tad more sense.

I'd like to say something: Are there any dialects of French that don't use [ʁ] or [y]? Those sounds bug me and make it impossible to pronounce words almost. I'm wondering, if I ever get over my foreign language anxiety and gain the courage to speak French with people, would I be able to pronounce the letters differently and say it's my accent or something?
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-04, 22:32

Viridzen wrote:I'd like to say something: Are there any dialects of French that don't use [ʁ] or [y]? Those sounds bug me and make it impossible to pronounce words almost. I'm wondering, if I ever get over my foreign language anxiety and gain the courage to speak French with people, would I be able to pronounce the letters differently and say it's my accent or something?

There are North American accents (e.g. Acadian French, Missouri French) with [r] instead [ʁ], but I don't know of a single native variety of French without [y]. The distribution varies (e.g. tu is pronounced with [i] in Louisiana), but it's always present to some degree.

Maybe some varieties of African or Caribbean French? I know that [r] is common in Africa and /y/ is absent in Haitian Creole.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-05, 3:40

By [y], I take it you mean the French u? The best explanation I heard for how to pronounce it is this: make the "ee" sound of "bee" and then round your lips like in "tool". It may not the exact sound of the French u (though that probably depends on accent as well), but it's really close.

As for the French r, I think of it as a velar rhotic. So I lift the back of my tongue up, like I'm going to pronounce an English k, and instead vibrate it slightly like I do for the English r. Again, I know different accents have this sound (the French r) as a velar fricative, a uvular rhotic, and a uvular fricative. But the velar rhotic is easier for me, and it is one of the ways the French r is pronounced.

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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby JackFrost » 2014-07-05, 17:26

Dormouse559 wrote:It only appears on the end of a noun phrase modified by "ce" (i.e. cet homme-ci "this man", ces jours-ci "these days"). "Ceci" is a pronoun, also with a somewhat proximal meaning. Their distal ("that") counterparts are "là" and "cela".

Not only. It can appear by itself or attached before words such as ci-joint, ci-dessous, ci-contre, ci-après, fais pas ci fais ça, comme ci comme ça, etc.

Viridzen: I wouldn't fret too much figuring out its usage considering it's not really common and it's a bit advanced French. Basically, French doesn't require to make a difference between "this" and "that" at every instance, unlike English. For example: "je veux ce stylo" can mean either "I want this pen" or "I want that pen". When you want to pick one of the two pens, then you'll need "-ci" and "-là": "je veux ce stylo-ci" and "je veux ce stylo-là" mean "I want this pen" and "I want that pen".

Viridzen wrote:Are there any dialects of French that don't use [ʁ] or [y]?

[y] is a rather important sound in French, so I'd just master saying it instead of trying to find a way to avoid it. Just like linguoboy, I don't know any dialect that doesn't really use it.

As for the rhotics, it can be uvular, velar, flap, or apical, but the uvular r's are the most common types used by the speakers. The velar and flap ones are the least common ones basically and the apical one is marginalized these days at least in the European variants.

dEhiN wrote:But the velar rhotic is easier for me, and it is one of the ways the French r is pronounced.

If you mean velar trill, yeah you'd sound Canadian enough... Quebecois to be more exact. ;p Although, we generally use the uvular trill, not velar.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby dEhiN » 2014-07-05, 18:55

JackFrost wrote:
dEhiN wrote:But the velar rhotic is easier for me, and it is one of the ways the French r is pronounced.

If you mean velar trill, yeah you'd sound Canadian enough... Quebecois to be more exact. ;p Although, we generally use the uvular trill, not velar.

Yeah I mean the velar trill; maybe sometimes I make it a uvular trill, but I think because my native language in English I'm not used to uvular sounds. Plus I learned how to make the trill/rhotic by telling myself it's the same place of articulation as an English k, thereby making it velar. I'm sure if I start learning Arabic or another language which uses uvular sounds quite a bit, my French trill will vary between velar and uvular.
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Re: Viridzen- Français

Postby Viridzen » 2014-07-05, 22:13

I've realised that the only time I have trouble with the French "u" is either when it's next to "r", or when I'm trying too hard. This was similar with Icelandic; one of the reasons I stopped was because of the "u" sound. I tried way too hard to make that sound. But, I've also noticed that the sound occurs in the English accent around my area; it's a bit closer to [ʉ], though, maybe even exactly that, like how "move" can be anywhere from [mʉˑv] to [myˑv] (the vowel length also changes). Would this sound suffice in place of [y]? I'm afraid it would get confused with [œ].

Yiddish has [ʀ], as well as French, but I hate hate hate this sound! The trill, [r], is a little hard, and my best choice is [ɾ], which I can only do between vowels. I can only do [r] after a consonant and before a vowel. My only other choice would be to use my precious [ɹ] and yell at whomever makes fun of me. That is, if I ever talk to people in French at all.
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