That title is “Words Big and Small,” if you were wondering, but I bet you figured it out.
I posted on Instagram (@kristen_hg) about my adventures in century-old French, and an online friend in France offered to help me “with the big words.” I told her that it’s not the big words that are the problem; it’s the little words that I can’t ever remember how to use.
Big words in French are often very similar to big words in English. Either English straight-up borrowed the word at some point in the past thousand years or so, or it comes from a Latin root and both languages use it to mean the same thing. So les mots gros ne sont pas la problÃ¨me.
I’m now being reminded of the usage and placement of little words, like dans. It means “in,” but it really means “physically inside,” like being in a box. For a less location-based in, French uses en.
I admit, like a lot of English speakers learning a language with gendered nouns, I get tripped up. Why do I consistently think jardin should be feminine? It is not. I also think livre should be feminine. It also is not.
Each lesson is short and introduces a new set of grammar rules and a short vocabulary list. The exercises are long, however; it takes me thirty to forty-five minutes to write out each one. But I’m glad I chose to write rather than type. It’s etching every vocab word and sentence construction into my brain. Though I do feel a little like Bart Simpson at the chalkboard when I have to do a conjugation exercise.
Note, please, that that last conjugation is asking about having ink and pens. There are a lot of exercises about ink and pens, and I am still waiting for me ink refills and new pen to arrive. I’ve resorted to–shudder–a roller ball pen. Prior to having a fountain pen, this pen was perfectly acceptable, mais maintenant, non.
7. OÃ¹ est votre encre?
Where is your ink?
8. OÃ¹ est ton autre plume?
Where is your other pen?
Plume is an outdated word for pen; I learned stylo in high school. There are lots of old words in here. The people who learned French in 1913 apparently had different concerns than I do. I’ll dive into those in the next post.