July 31, 2011

French Forum prizes: survey

I am currently conducting a survey to find out your opinion on introducing prizes for the best questions and answers posted on the French Forum. Over 2,000 people either use or have passed through the forum, and so I would like to try and encourage a bit more participation. Your opinions will be gratefully received!

July 23, 2011

23 July 2011: This week on the forum

Well, things are pretty much winding down for the summer holidays, so there is a little bit less activity on the French forum. People are naturally thinking more about their sun tan lotion and bathers right now than their French verb conjugations. For that reason, I'm going to cheat slightly in this summary and mention a couple of posts from actually just over a week ago.

One interesting question always liable to lead to sub-questions was on the use of the French preposition 'de'. Like various French prepositions, 'de' has special status as it is used pre-infinitivally, and because in some cases it is arguably used as a 'case marker' rather than a preposition as such.

Another almots equally vital topic was of playground nomenclature. As a UK speaker, I confess I'm still not entirely sure what a "teeter totter" actually is.

Issues of tense usage commonly cause problems, as evidenced in this interesting question touching on tense usage and the subjunctive in French. A particular issue highlighted by this question is that in different languages, elements of a sentence such as "pastness" may actually be encoded in different parts of the sentence: there isn't always a one-to-one correspondence between e.g. which part of the sentence is in the past tense and which in the present, even though overall, the sentences convey a similar meaning.

Your questions about French language and culture are always welcome on the forum. I know you're probably too busy packing your bucket and spade to be worrying about weighty matters of subjunctive usage, but at least some of us will still be around!