Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Hard Things Made Easy #2

Do you remember sitting in French lessons at school reciting the days of the week and how to count from one to ten. Of course this would come in handy if you needed to meet someone at the Eiffel Tower at 6 on a Wednesday but otherwise it was pretty useless.
I would expect that, like me, you spent the best part of a year saying things in a weird accent and then forgot them. How about if i said to you that by the time it takes you to read this post, about 3 mins approximately, i could teach you to speak thousands of French words? Sacre Bleu as they say.
The thing to remember is that a good majority of the words that make up the English language are taken from the French, with the endings subtly changed.

How many words can you think of that end in -ible? Possible, incredible, visible. Knock off the -ible at the end and replace it with -ebe and you are speaking French. Possebe, incredebe, visebe.

Same with words ending in -able. Table, acceptable, debatable. Knock off the -able and say -arb instead so its becomes tarb, acceptarb, debatarb.

Easy isn't it, and here's some more. Words ending in -ent and -ant. Arrogant, assistant, independent, transparent all have the -ant or -ent knocked off and replaced with -unt so its pronounced arrogunt, assistunt, independunt and transparunt.

The way to pronounce words ending in -ary is -aire so stationary, necessary and secretary become stationaire, necessaire, secretaire.

Know many words ending in -tion and -sion? Pronounce it -seeon so position become posiseeon and condition becomes condiseeon.

To round off your thousands of words, find words ending in -ical and say -eek instead. So political is politeek and economical is economeek.

Remember, this is only a very rough guide and isn't the spelling and it only works with the spoken word. It is also important to get the emphasis in the right place which is generally where the change is made so it is independ-UNT, condi-SEEON, deba-TARB or econom-EEK.

There, as promised, you have just added thousands of words of a foreign language to your vocabulary (vocabul-AIRE) in less than 3 minutes.


Cheezy said...

And if all that doesn't work then I find SHOUTING! at foreigners a handy back-up plan :)

Cunning, Lucy, although I think these particular words -

"arrogunt, assistunt, independunt and transparunt"

- sound more kiwi than froggy.

Anonymous said...




Lucy said...

I find myself shouting very very slowly which must be quite frightening really.