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Preceding direct object

Posted: Wed 05 Sep 2018 10:54
by martyn94
There was a quiz in Le Monde today about when past tenses formed with “avoir “ do and don’t agree with their objects. The rules are arbitrary and pointless and have tortured millions of schoolchildren, but much to my surprise I got them all right. It was inspired by proposals in Belgium to scrap them. I am already mourning the hours of my childhood spent learning them, just as I already mourn the hours I spent learning the passé simple.

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Wed 05 Sep 2018 11:05
by martyn94
martyn94 wrote:There was a quiz in Le Monde today about when past tenses formed with “avoir “ do and don’t agree with their objects. The rules are arbitrary and pointless and have tortured millions of schoolchildren, but much to my surprise I got them all right. It was inspired by proposals in Belgium to scrap them. I am already mourning the hours of my childhood spent learning them, just as I already mourn the hours I spent learning the passé simple.
Though I imagine anyone younger than me just ignores the issue: apparently you can’t be marked down in exams for getting it “wrongâ€￾.

Posted: Wed 05 Sep 2018 15:24
by Kate
It may have changed now but our brief when teaching GCSE French in England many years ago, particularly in the speaking test, was that it should be good enough to be 'understood by a sympathetic native French speaker' ie accuracy didn't matter. Agreement with avoir certainly didn't matter (even at A Level some liberty for error was tolerated) but it really isn't actually all that difficult as long as you understand the basic rules of agreement.
I do believe that communication is the most important part of learning for adults and stuffy stuff like agreement isnt relevant.

Posted: Wed 05 Sep 2018 17:53
by polremy
I remember being told that if it was good enough to be understood by a "sympathetic Frenchman" then it was good enough for a GCSE pass.

Posted: Thu 06 Sep 2018 13:58
by martyn94
polremy wrote:I remember being told that if it was good enough to be understood by a "sympathetic Frenchman" then it was good enough for a GCSE pass.
As Mrs Beeton might have said, first catch your sympathetic Frenchman. Though of course they almost all are, and often almost too keen to practice their English.

Posted: Thu 06 Sep 2018 14:03
by martyn94
[quote=but it really isn't actually all that difficult as long as you understand the basic rules of agreement.
[/quote]

The Le Monde story quoted two teachers (admittedly Belgian, but francophone) as saying that it took 80 hours of school time: not just the exceptions, but the exceptions to the exceptions.

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Wed 05 Dec 2018 12:14
by Ashforim
Preceeding direct and indirect is alive and kicking as well as gender agreement. As you might guess I am trying to learn French after leaving school 40 years ago.

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Wed 05 Dec 2018 14:16
by Kate
Welcome Ashforim. A great time to learn a language cos you probably have more time on your hands....but not so good for some from a memory point of view! :( Forget about picky little things like agreement of objects - they won't make any difference to the understanding of either the written or the spoken word. Just enjoy putting together and using the language you do learn in real life situations and don't worry about mistakes. Eets sexy to 'ave an accent.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation!

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Fri 07 Dec 2018 11:47
by Cahill
I enjoy learning and studying French grammar in its own right and for itself. I've turned into a geek in recent years. Reading anything in French now, such as Le Monde, seems to have a dual purpose, to understand the subject matter, and to observe, critique and learn about grammar constructs. I haven't a clue about English grammar but bizarrely intrigued by French.

I think I need a lie down

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Fri 07 Dec 2018 16:21
by martyn94
Cahill wrote:
Fri 07 Dec 2018 11:47
I enjoy learning and studying French grammar in its own right and for itself. I've turned into a geek in recent years. Reading anything in French now, such as Le Monde, seems to have a dual purpose, to understand the subject matter, and to observe, critique and learn about grammar constructs. I haven't a clue about English grammar but bizarrely intrigued by French.

I think I need a lie down
When I first started reading Le Monde on line, I was always amused by the comments “below the line”: half the people paid no attention to the substance of the piece they were commenting on, but just slagged off the French it was written in, and the French of the comments that had preceded them. And then other people piled in to contradict them, and so on.

That seems to have abated a bit. But it remains notorious (though probably not true) that most subscribers to Le Monde are provincial schoolteachers: it certainly reads as if they are.

Incidentally, if you are going to use “critique” as an English verb, you need to give your English some attention too. Or at least your English English if that’s the dialect you are trying to write.

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Fri 07 Dec 2018 17:13
by Cahill
martyn94. I'm just an under educated working class lad from the north who has an interest in the French language, not looking to score any points or anything. :D

Re: Preceding direct object

Posted: Fri 07 Dec 2018 17:36
by martyn94
Cahill wrote:
Fri 07 Dec 2018 17:13
martyn94. I'm just an under educated working class lad from the north who has an interest in the French language, not looking to score any points or anything. :D
[/quote

Me neither. I just find the verb use of “critique” a bit tiresome, and in your context just meaningless. It’s pretentious enough even as a noun.

These things are more straightforward in France. The Académie Française dictates what is and isn’t good grammar and the rest of us just obey.