French Vs. English: Round One

2 Dec

English vs. French, Bulldog Style (courtesy of http://houndbound.com/dogblog)

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the French language versus the English language.  Not to pit them against each other or anything, and I know I’m not an expert on French (quite the opposite really- the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know), but I feel like the French language is very simple compared to English.  The Academy Française has regulated French so much throughout the years that the French language seems less expressive than the English language… English has been allowed to mutate whereas French has not had that opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong though- I love both languages- but I sorta feel like its a pity that you can’t “cute-sify” (very technical term there) things the way you can in English.  For example, I’ve been to a few English language films with French subtitles (version originale sous-titré) since I’ve been here.  I saw The Boat that Rocked (the French title is Good Morning England) a few months ago, Twilight’s New Moon (called Tentation in France & believe me, it wasn’t my choice to see it), and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus just last week.  Because they are subtitled in French, I can sort of gauge the translation and compare what is really being said to what the subtitles say.

Of course I can’t think of any concrete examples right now, but it just seems to me that the French is lacking.  If you’re curious, try watching an English speaking film with the subtitles on in French and maybe you’ll understand what I mean…

In the mean time, I’m going to have to rule in favor of English…

Round One: ENGLISH

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2 Responses to “French Vs. English: Round One”

  1. Athénaïs April 15, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    Hi,
    I’m french and I’m fluent in English and I can tell you that the two languages are very different but none is easier than the other. They just work differently. Whereas you have more vocabulary in general in English, we use more words in a sentence. And about the subtitles, it’s right that the scripts are simplified but I think that the reason why the translators do so, is to enable people to follow the film. If they translated properly, there would be at least 3 lines of text to read and no time to actually watch the film.

  2. Athénaïs April 18, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    Hi again!
    I just wrote an article about French bands that write English lyrics and thought you might be interested! Take a look: http://thingswelistento.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/the-french-misfits-or-the-effects-of-globalisation

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