On 14 November 2012 19:27, J. 'Mach' Wust <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> That's what I wonder, too. Pelouse--blouse? At least I think that leaving
> the
> schwa away will not cause much ambiguity.
When an article is present (and in French nouns are always accompanied with
some sort of determiner), the schwa is usually taken away: _la pelouse_
[laˈpluz] -- _la blouse_ [laˈbluz]. [lapəˈluz] is possible, but uncommon.
*[labəˈluz] doesn't exist (if a French person heard it, they'd wonder what
the hell the word *_belouse_ means :P).

So based on this example and my native instinct, I'd say the schwa is
phonemic, but only just.

> I'm told that in German-speaking Switzerland, radio speakers must learn to
> write and read in the dialect so their dialect becomes not all artificial
> from
> translating written standard German into spoken dialect. I guess that for
> television, they do the same thing.
The Dutch spoken on Dutch TV, to me, sounds indistinguishable from the
Dutch language people actually speak, including regional variants (even
dialects are sometimes heard, although never by the people running the
shows). I do think news anchors get some training to get rid of regional
accents and speak as neutrally as possible, but they are the only ones.
Everyone else just speaks as they would speak in their private life.

> I doubt whether dubbing into other languages is any better. I am under the
> impression that there must be no more than half a dozen (poor) voice actors
> who do virtually all the dubbing into German (I imagine the pay is poor,
> too).

Germany is just as bad as France as far as dubbing goes. I'm happy the
Netherlands subtitle most programmes (although some commercial channels
have started dubbing shows meant for children and teenagers. Luckily I
don't watch those as the dubbing is horrendous, as expected).

> It all sounds artificial and exactly the same, and they seem to want to
> turn
> everything into fake comedy. I often can tell whether something is dubbed
> or
> original sound long before I can actually understand what they are saying.
The only cases of good dubbing I've seen are all in anime, and even then
there's a lot of crap. In English, the only good anime dubbing I've ever
seen is _Gundam Wing_. The rest usually sounds far too over-the-top to
work, especially when you can listen to the original instead. In French,
most anime in the 80's and 90's was well dubbed (anime was very successful
back then in France, so they had relatively big budgets for dubbing, and it
showed), but the quality has gone downhill since :( .
On 14 November 2012 21:32, Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> It's been a while since taking French at school, but I'm sure we learned
> something closer to the bookish "correct French" than the absolutely
> bizarre things I've read in your posts about Modern Spoken French. It's
> probably just as well you dó code switch a little for the benefit of us
> poor benighted foreigners!
I've often complained on this list about the poor quality of
French-as-a-foreign-language teaching. But at least it's on par with how
French is taught to French people as well :/ .

> I was looking into some of the differences between the written and spoken,
> and came across an anecdote where a (presumably book-educated) tourist
> went into the Metro station only to be told something like "yapdtrain". I
> couldn't make heads or tails of it at all, except that "train" must
> be "train". Another tourist, apparently more adept at the wonders of
> spoken French "translated" this for the other guy as "il n'y a pas de
> train", or something like that, which I can at least understand to mean
> there ain't no more trains!
Yes, [japadˈtʁɛ̃] would be correct Spoken French for "there's no train". If
I wanted to write it down, I'd write something like "Y'a pas d'train". And
indeed, "il n'y a pas de train" is the correct Written French equivalent.
When spoken, it would probably come out as something like [ilɲapadˈtʁɛ̃]
usually, although I'd expect a "truly correct" pronunciation would be
something like [ilni.apadəˈtʁɛ̃]. That last one is how the Académie would
like us to pronounce French, although nobody does. The first one is actual
Spoken French in action. The middle one is how Written French-influenced
formal spoken registers actually sound like when used by people.

> > I hate speaking like a book). But "in the wild", Spoken
> > French has nearly
> > turned into a non-configurational language, with agreement
> > markers for
> > subject, object and indirect object on the verb, and near
> > free word order
> > for noun phrases (but not within noun phrases, hence the
> > *nearly* non-configurational).
> Sounds utterly fascinating! Since obviously one doesn't learn this kind of
> French at school, are there any treatments of the language? A nice little
> grammar or something?
I'd love to find something like that. I actually remember reading some kind
of linguistics article which referred to the claim of Spoken French as a
polysynthetic language (but only as an aside), but have never found
anything that actually studied it.

> Spoken French sounds like a thing worthy of study.
I agree. I believe it might be difficult to study though, since by and
large the diglossia isn't recognised by French people, and most would
probably even deny its existence if pointed to it, or would dismiss it as
"bad French" (prescriptivism in France is unfortunately beaten into people
very early in their lives, and most never manage to get rid of it) and not
worthy of study. You'd have a hard time finding people willing to
collaborate to such a study, and even if they did the data you would
collect would probably not be representative, as people would likely
"correct" themselves and speak formally when in presence of a researcher.
Eavesdropping and recording people without their knowledge might be the
only way to get reliable data, and those are big no-noes in France (privacy
laws are still quite strong there).

> > while Written French is an artificially conserved version of Spoken
> > French as it was about 100 to 150 years ago, updated for vocabulary (and
> > partly for spelling) but hardly for grammar.
> Ah, so if I travelled back in time I'd be able to chat with Napoleon with
> some level of comfort. Assuming, of course, that he'd understand me when
> I asked him where the closest Metro station is!
LOL! Yes, although pronunciation would be slightly different. For instance,
while the digraph _oi_ is now pronounced /wa/, in the time of the
Revolution it was still /wɛ/. /wa/ did exist, but it was considered an
uneducated pronunciation found only in the countryside (how thinɡs chanɡeː
nowadays /wa/ is the standard and /wɛ/ is the uneducated pronunciation
found only in the countryside :) ).

> What I wonder, though, with this obvious level of diglossia, might we
> eventually witness a split somewhat like that seen in the Romance - Latin
> split centuries ago?
Could be, although the level of literacy is such that it's unlikely.

> All it took in the old days was for the troubadours and balladeers to
> make use of Romance as a written language... Give it a literature and
> the language exploded into a wonder of the age.

Yes, but by that time mutual intelligibility between Romance and Written
Latin had completely ceased. We're not at this point yet in the case of the
French diglossia.

> Are there modern analogs
> of those early French litterateurs that are turning this speech of the
> ordinary folk into a new mode of artistic expression? Or is education
> and the culture of official linguistic prescription keeping down?

The latter I'm afraid. I don't believe you'd have any hope of getting
published if you don't use Standard Written French in your texts.
On 15 November 2012 14:02, BPJ <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On 2012-11-14 10:05, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets wrote:
>> True, orthography started lagging behind, but there are
>> still big orthographic changes to be found during that time.
> Actually French orthography started lagging behind speech
> some 700-800 years ago, so thåat it now lags behind humonguously.
> French orthography actually stated out as pretty phonemic, you know.
That's not completely true. While it did start *lagging* by then, it
certainly didn't *stop* evolving. French orthography nowadays looks very
little like how it was then, and the gap was relatively small until about 2
to 3 centuries ago (when people really started moving away from
pronunciation spellings and started to adopt etymological spellings, not
always correctly by the way :) ). Since then the gap has grown a lot, but
it's mostly due to new developments rather than due to freezing the
orthography early (in fact, in some case Middle French orthography might be
a better fit for Modern French than Modern French orthography is. Not a
single plural _-x_ in sight for instance :P ).
On 15 November 2012 14:33, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'm having French classes now in Brazil and it seems that now teachers have
> adopted the new French rules, because they have never cited the
> subject-verb inversion in questions, but things like "est-ce que", "ouais"
> and  "j'sais pas" are frequently used.
As long as they also teach you when it's appropriate to use those, it's the
way it should be done :) .

> But I'm affraid that we're moving from the academy dictatorship to a
> streetwise dictatorship. Soon, one may be considered as a pedant if s/he
> does not adopt teenagers' slangs. When I was an adult-education Physics
> teacher, I told the Language teacher that I used the "mais-que-perfeito"
> tense sometimes and she told me that she would "correct" a student if he
> did the same it, because "it's not used anymore". However, I have learned
> it in school and there some songs and many books that use it.
Sometimes, you have to accept that things are changing. I used to be
considered a pedant because I still made the distinction between /a/ and
/ɑ/ in French (and thus pronounced _patte_ differently from _pâte_). Given
that nobody else made the distinction anymore, I eventually stopped doing
it as well, and frankly in many cases I wouldn't even remember where to use
/ɑ/! Languages change, and trying to resist the flow is mostly useless.

> Brazilian Portuguese has been experiencing the same 2nd-person
> formal-informal inversion as English thou-you inversion. Now,  "você" is
> considered as informal and "tu" as more formal because it's associated with
> the Bible and classical literature. But there are still some regions, such
> as Pará and Maranhão states, where "tu" is used and the verbs conjugated
> properly (OTOH, in São Paulo, they use "tu" but conjugate the verbs as in
> "você"). A friend of mine who is from Pará told me that people in São Paulo
> usually said to him that his 2nd-person conjugatio was a "frescura", but as
> he didn't want to conjugate the verbs wrongly, he stopped used "tu" and
> started using "você".
That's a different issue. Intolerance towards other people's dialects is a
big problem indeed. But it's not on the same level as correcting people
using outdated constructions, which I consider is far less of an issue.

> Isn't this type of apocope rather related to fast speech?
No. Even in slow speech the pronunciation would remain the same:
[japadˈtʁɛ̃]. Most likely, if you asked someone to repeat that slowly,
they'd just lengthen the vowels and add a schwa after [d]:
[jaːpaːdəˈtʁɛ̃ː]. The only apocope present in the fast speech version is
the omission of the schwa. The rest of the sentence is the way it is not
due to apocope, but due to the different grammar of Spoken French.

I do agree, however, that historically speaking, apocope has been one of
the main drives that has separated Spoken French from Written French. But
it's not the only one.
On 15 November 2012 21:33, Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> > >
> I remember learning that "ouais" was the kind of snarky, low-class way
> of saying "yes", but that "oui" was definitely the way to go. Cos, everyone
> in France talks like a 19th century novel, apparently! ;)))
Well, _ouais_ can definitely sound sarcastic (especially when repeated with
a bored tone of voice: "ouais ouais..."). But in a normal tone of voice,
it's nowadays just an acceptable, if informal, way of saying yes. But
there's nothing wrong in always using _oui_. It's acceptable in all
registers, from the most informal to the most formal ones, and it's always
neutral in meaning, unless the tone of voice makes it clear otherwise.

> > But I'm affraid that we're moving from the academy
> > dictatorship to a streetwise dictatorship.
> In all honesty, this is where it's always been. The would-be academic
> dictators like to think they can define & control, but it's really the
> people who have always held the reins.
Exactly. The only thing language academies have ever managed to create are
written vs. spoken diglossias (or is it diglossiae? :P ).

> > Soon, one may be considered as a pedant if s/he
> > does not adopt teenagers' slangs.
> No, I'd consider you a pedant only if you insìsted that the only right
> way to talk was using ninety year olds' slang!
LOL! :)

> > Isn't this type of apocope rather related to fast speech?
> Dunno. Tis French. They always seem to talk fast, for me at least!
That's because a Spoken French sentence is typically shorter than the
equivalent Written French sentence :) . Also, the prosody is quite
different from English, with French having phrase accent rather than word
accent, which makes it more difficult to get word boundaries (IMHO, Spoken
French words are quite different from how they are written in Written
French. In particular, incorporation plays a strong role in Spoken French,
that isn't recognised by the orthography).

> All depends on what you're used to, I guess. I find English orthography to
> be very regular. I had no problem with French either. Both of them are
> highly historical -- they haven't changed much in five hundred or a
> thousand years.
"Not much" is relative here. I believe French orthography has changed a lot
in the last five hundred years, just not necessarily coming closer to
actual pronunciation (or sometimes not going all the way, like the
imperfect endings _-ois_, _-oit_ replaced by _-ais_, _-ait_, which do
represent actual pronunciation better, but only if you know that _ai_ is a
digraph and that final consonants are usually silent).
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.