The French language in a nutshell


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The French language in a nutshell




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23 Comments

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  1. I was so happy when Y2K hit and we went from “mille neuf cent quatre-vingt dix-neuf” to “deux mille” and I saved a lung full of air each day.

    Édit: problème de grammaire

  2. As a French Canadian, you will never know the pain of having to write it all out on a cheque.

    EDIT: Thank you for the kind rewards. Just want to point out that I haven’t written a cheque since the late 90’s and I still use the British spelling for the work check/cheque. 🙂

  3. He’d like the Belgians: at least Belgian French has simple words (“septante” and “nonante”) for seventy and ninety. They’re still stuck with “quatre-vingt” for eighty, though. Want to get away from that, you have to go to the Swiss.

  4. This is why Germany keeps beating up the French as a whole. If i had to listen to my neighbor say four twenties and ten when I buy a 90c pastry every day for 2 millenia id beat the snot out of them too.

    Jk. Im jk, but also, this is why I chose Spanish over French and their nonsense languages

  5. Aren’t there French-speaking countries that use an actual word for 70, 80 and 90? They say septante, huitante, nonante, I think. I don’t remember where. Switzerland? Belgium?

  6. As someone who has been learning french for 2 years. (Duolingo) when I encountered this recently I caught on and just continued with my lesson… It didnt occur to me how weird it was until this guy fucking laid it out.

    I am laughing so hard im crying. The minute he said ‘theyre fucking normal until 16’ I knew I was in for it. C’est tres amusant.

  7. Part of it probably comes from vigesimal and duodecimal counting systems. Base-10 is really shit for counting actual stuff instead of pure mathematics. When counting things, you want numbers that create lots of even divisions, so you can partition bits easily on the fly. 20 and 12 have many more factors than 10 (and as a combination of 12 and 20, 60 has lots of factors). So, a counting system that biases toward multi-factor bases is more useful in actual everyday life.

    English used to use the same type of system. Lincoln’s “four-score and seven years ago” for 87 years is exactly the same as in French – and would have been completely understandable to 1800s English speakers. The only reason decimal completely overwrites everything today is the rise of pure mathematics as the 1800s progressed into the 1900s.

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