Can the French Speak French?

We keep repeating it –perhaps are we trying to justify ourselves: French is a very complex language. Illogical spelling, complicated grammar rules, way too many exceptions to those rules… Nothing here is very appealing for a foreigner willing to get to know Molière’s language. And that is understandable: even French speakers cannot manage to speak it correctly…

Indeed, quality French is threatened by extinction. The language has suffered known damage with some linguistic phenomena such as Verlan, and spelling is handled quite roughly, especially among the young generation. Moreover, despite the previous generations’ annoyance, words borrowed from English are now everywhere. However, there is no need for linguistic phenomena to mangle the French language. French people make way too many mistakes way too often in everyday life. Here are a few examples.

French grammar may be complicated but two huge mistakes are constantly seen in written sentences and they could easily be avoided. Thus, the imperative form of the first group of verbs for the first person is given an S at the end, despite the rule: we certainly cannot say “Appelles-moi”, but “Appelle-moi” (“Call me”). Another problem, but still with the same guilty letter, is the first person of the future tense: the future form of the verb “Appeler” (“to call”) is not “Je t’appellerais” (conditional – “I would call”) but “Je t’appellerai” (“I will call”).

In the same spelling matter, many French are confused between “censé” (“supposed to”) and “sensé” (“wise”), “quand” (“when”) and “quant” (“as for”), “autant pour moi” (“the same for me”) and “au temps pour moi” (“my mistake”), and keep on adding a D at the end of the word “cauchemar” (“nightmare”) by following the spelling logic of the verb “cauchemarder” (“to have nightmares”). Here is the big problem: French language is not logical (and spelling mistakes too numerous to be referenced!).

Furthermore, French people keep on using incorrect words or expressions… Who does not say “des fois” (wrong) instead of “parfois” (“from time to time”)?

There is another common mistake, you hear it so often that it makes you doubt: the verb “se rappeler” (“to remember”) is transitive, thus, we cannot say “Je me rappelle de toi”; we have to use the verb “se souvenir” and say “Je me souviens de toi” (“I remember you”).


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