OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Friday, July 11

#6802

QUESTION: What French course should I take, if I want to be able to at least read short French articles and chat with Francophones? Also, do they teach France french or quebec french?

A separate question, why do French verbs (and adjectives) has so many forms? And why do French assign a random gender to inanimate objects? When I was learning English I thought it's complicated and stupid enough but French just beats English by a lightyear.

13 comments

  1. French only has two genders, compared to say German which uses three. If you believe the language is hard, you'll have a difficult time learning it. In reality, it's not that difficult and you will find it x100 easier if you're very interested in it.

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  2. You'll need more than one course if you want to have a reasonable reading & speaking french. Start from the beginning & work your way up. They teach quebec french in Canada.

    Actually a lot of languages I've learned have a lot of verb forms & gender tenses. Learning french first has helped me a lot with picking up other languages because of that. It can be a bit confusing sometimes but you'll get the hang of it.

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    1. In elementary school, high school, and university they always teach France French which is the international standard.

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    2. Edit: Parisian French, to be even more precise.

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    3. +1 2a and 2b

      They teach Parisian French outside of Quebec. Quebecois is awful and French slang.

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    4. They teach you Quebec or Canadian French.. I have studied French all the way through as well as participated in numerous exchanges and a lot of the vocabulary is Quebecois.

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    5. At least in highschool. In University the profs are a mix of backgrounds so will teach what they know, some of which is Quebecois/Ontarian French

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  3. Waterloo teaches so called "international" french, so it's "france" french instead of "canadian"french which is kind of stupid.

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    1. Quebec French is nice because of the proximity to Quebec but in terms of general usefulness (in terms of how many places you'll be able to use it), France French is a better bet.

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  4. Native French speaker who took some French lit courses at UW. They do not teach "Canadian" French or "France" French. French doesn't have as many distinctions as Spanish and Portuguese when it comes down to it. Yes, the various accents can be different in terms of pronunciations, but the grammar is universal. I've found more distinctions between Latin American Spanish and Spanish from Spain as well as Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese spoken in Portugal than French.

    Most professors speak French with a neutral accent (with the exception of one professor from Quebec), not necessarily Parisian. Some learned French as a second language, yet are perfectly bilingual. The French you will hear, if replicated perfectly, would be understood all across the Francophone world.

    In your labs, you will encounter TAs from Africa, France, Quebec, and even higher level Anglophones. That's the time to get exposed to different accents, FR 203 is particularly interesting at that level.

    If you haven't completed any French classes in high school, FR 101 would be a good bet. I would talk with the undergraduate advisor for French Studies, Tara Collington, and she will help place you in the right course.

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  5. OP here. Thanks for all your responses.
    On my separate question, I just don't understand why French verbs need to have all those forms, since they make things complicated without providing additional information. For example, "Il boit de l'eau". The form of the verb is already decided by the pronoun, and if I said "Il buvez de l'eau" (which is incorrect), no information is lost and there is no chance of misinterpretation.

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    1. It's not that different from English in that sense.

      "I drink water" vs "She drinks water". If someone said "She drink water", sure people would understand them but they would also pickup on the mistake and maybe assume that the speaker speaks English as a second language.

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  6. There is a chance for misinterpretation when it comes to similar verbs and similar sounding pronouns... Ils vs Il is pronounced the same unless the following word starts with a vowel, and sometime the only way to tell the subject in context is from verb conjugasion. German, Italian, and Spanish all work this way.

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