July 4, 2009

This week on the forum

As usual, we've seen various interesting discussions this week on the French language forum. It's interesting to see how on various occasions, a simple, innocent query about the meaning of a word or phrase can spiral into a discussion of various grammar and vocabulary points.

Some threads not to miss:
  • a discussion around expressing obligation in French, which ends up touching on the somewhat quirky behaviour of the French verb obliger, and some aspects of the use of à and de before verbs in French;
  • an overview of the curious form l'on in French: a variant of on which occurs under certain circumstances, but not others;
  • a look at the French negative with 'de': the general use of the determiner de instead of other indefinite determiners when the entire sentence is negated.
Various entries also centre on choices between sentences produced by machine translation systems. If you use such a system, it's important to understand some of the implications. Among other reading, I'd recommend an article I wrote recently on Machine Translation.