Hour 21 of Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF) brings us real French. Or so it says.
I don’t mean crude French, but practical French. Don’t like using the subjunctive all the time? Neither do the French, and they can creatively get around it, if willing to sacrifice some nuance in expression. But from the beginning of the chapter, the emphasis is on the idea of le mot juste “the right word”, and French that is simple, clair, et logique. Reasonable goals in any language, I’d say.
In any case, the majority of the lesson is on ways to avoid the subjunctive, that “oh, so important” mood of French that Essential French (EF) nearly ignored entirely. Hum.
Avoiding The Subjunctive
|Expression to Avoid||Notes|
|Falloir + Subjunctive||Instead of il faut que, simply state the need as a future fact. Follow with another expression like C’est nécessaire.
Or, use an indirect object pronoun expressing who the need belongs to and replace the subjunctive with an infinitive.
Use the imperative instead of the subjunctive, with a softener like s’il te plaît or s’il vous plaît.
Or, ask a polite question.
Or, reform the statement with mais.
|Conjunction + Subjunctive||Use a conjunction that doesn’t require the subjunctive (obviously, not always possible). One example that does is choosing mais “but” rather than bien que “although”.|
|Expressions of Emotion + Subjunctive||Most of these expressions are impersonal (être + adjective + que). You can separate the expressions with the conjunction et, or just form two separate sentences.|
|Other||You can sometimes use a preposition with a noun rather than a conjunction which requires the subjunctive.|
These are some common interjections offered by ATYF:
- Ah! → “Ah!”
- Bis! or Encore! → “Again!”
- Bof! → “Who cares!”
- Chut! → “Shhhh!”
- Hélas! → “Alas!”
- Hum! → “Ahem.”
- Zut! or Tonnerre! → “Darn it!”
The text offers more, but those are some highlights.
The text continues into vocabulary, this time sharing parts of the body, then parts of a car, and finally a list of computer related terminology. A lot of vocabulary, actually. But how else will one learn terms like la cheville “ankle” and le cerveau “brain”? And it would be nice for me to know how to say “program” (un programme) and “bug” (une bogue). Most of the computer-related terminology is more oriented to typical word processing style users, and not a programmer like myself. But still, good to know.