Friday, August 1, 2008

quatre vingts huit et douze font shoot me now

The last few sections I did in my French book have dealt with fairly complicated grammatical points, so when I turned the page and saw that I would be learning numbers, I was thrilled.  What could be easier?

Oh. My.  Goodness.

It started off easy enough: un, deux, trois, one, two, three.  Direct correlation.  But then I noticed something funky going on when I got to the number 70.  The number 10, I had learned, is dix. The number sixty is soixante.  70 is soixante-dix, literally "60-10."  

Hey, that's not how we do it in English!  That's addition!

I kept going, and it kept getting worse.  80 is "quatre-vingt," literally "4-20."  That's multiplication!!!  Are you ready for 99?  It's "quatre-vingt-dix-neuf."  In other words, "4-20-10-9."  So first you have to figure out that 4-20 is 80, then add ten, then add nine.  Or 19.  It's all the same.

At the end of each section of new information, there's a section called "Reading Preparation," which is basically like a little quiz where you go through a bunch of phrases and try to figure out what they mean before looking at the translation.  Guess what.  For the numbers section, the phrases are actually Math Itself.  [shudder]  

For example, "Quatre-vingt-deux et douze font-quatre-vingt-quatre/quatre-vingt-quatorze."  Et means and (or plus) and font means makes.  The bold parts are the two answer choices.

SO.  I first have to figure out what the first number is: quatre-vingt-deux (4-20-2 but actually 82).  Then I have to figure out the second number: douze (12).  Then I have to add them.  This takes a minute.  94.  Then I have to figure out which one of the answer choices means 94.  Either (4-20-4 but actually 84) or (4-20-14 but actually 80-14, which is indeed 94).

There were 38 of these problems.  I'm going to go cry now.

5 comments:

Leah said...

I'm impressed that I actually remember this part of my 4 years of French - I probably learned the numbers 12 or 13 years ago, so not bad. Now, actually adding & subtracting, not my strong suit!

Andrew said...

Are you using "French for Reading" by Karl Sandberg in this course? That's the book I had to use for my French reading knowledge course this summer. Wait till you get to the end chapters, where there are readings about the "inferior races" in French. It's a period piece....

Aunt Peggy said...

Oh Mon Dieux!! Six years of French and I would be in deep doo-doo.

Andrea said...

That was always annoying for me in French too, but wait til you get to years. As in, I was taking French in the late nineties. So if you don't like 99, Imagine 1999! I believe that would be mil-neuf-cent-quatre-vignt-dix-neuf. Literally (1000, 900, 40, 20, 10, 9).

YAY FRENCH. If it helps, eventually "quatre vignt" sounds like 80 instead of 40 20.

Lauren said...

French. Reason number one I'm stopping at the MA. Ugh. If you finish my thesis revisions, I'll do your math...