Talk:French language

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"Je ne sais pas" or how to construct negations in French language.[edit]

Hi all,

I created this subject to avoid multiple reverses over the je ne sais pas entry of the Words section. I think that it's what should have been done by those who reverted my (very minor) contribution.

Kwamikagami seem to trust that ne is optional in negatives sentences. The negation is introduced by the use of ne adverb, without it you cannot create negative sentences while the pas adverb is totally optional and, as a negative adverb, can only be used in correlation with ne to qualify the value of a negation introduced by ne. Ne is the word who mean "not" in English or no in Spanish.

  • Je ne sais: there is no adverbs to qualify the negation. We do not know how much the speaker do not know. It can be translated as "I do not know".
  • Je ne sais pas and je ne sais point: pas and point qualifies ne as being a quasi-total negation. The speaker do not know at all as he have never made a "step" (pas) in his learning or as he do not even know something of the size of a dot (point). This last one is a stronger negation than pas. It can still be translated as "I do not know" because literal translation would not render the meaning.
  • Je ne sais plus: plus qualify ne as being something relatively "recent". The speaker did known in the past but do no longer today. It can be translated as "I do not know anymore".
  • Je ne sais guère: guère qualify ne as not being a total negation but of a low enough knowledge to use the negative form. The speaker know in fact a little bit but his knowledge is not good enough. It can be translated as "I do not know very much".
  • Je ne sais jamais and je ne sais oncques: jamais or oncques qualify ne as not being a negation specific to this moment. The speaker is never in situation to know. It can be translated as "I do never know".
  • etc. There is many more adverbs who can be correlated with ne. The previous ones are just few examples.
  • "Je sais pas", here is an affirmative sentence as there is no ne to introduce the negation but its syntax is faulty because the pas adverb is not correlated to anything. It may be translated as "I do know not".

There is a page from the Académie française who clearly and specifically state that the justification given by Kwamikagami to reverse my modification is erroneous and that "je sais pas" is a true fault of syntax (une véritable faute). Confer this web page:

So, the way I see it: Either the examples in French in this page are wrote with a correct French syntax so the text have to be Je ne sais pas or Je ne sais (pas), or the entry may be erased as there is already a lot of examples, or there should be a comment to clearly indicate that "Je (ne) sais pas" very faulty formulation is considered as informal or over-familiar, pop[ulaire] ou très fam[ilier], as stated in this famous French dictionary:

In my humble opinion, the first option is the simpler and the best one, the second one have not much interest and the last one may be a compromise if one really want to keep a faulty syntax in this page. So, what do you think all?

EDIT: For whatever reason I though the reverse was on "I do not speak French" instead of "I do not know". I've corrected my post according to the "I do not know" sentence. I've just found also that Yoyo360 wisely did the modification suggested as my third option way before I suggested it :p (I should have verified it, my bad... sorry for that). If nobody see inconvenient, I'll source what he have done. However saying that "je sais pas" is only "familiar" is IMHO misleading as it is clearly faulty (in France's French at last) as my previous links explain.

Captain frakas (talk) 13:59, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

For once I was useful :) Yoyo360 (talk) 21:26, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Thousands between 1000 and 2000[edit]

Hi Yoyo,

The observations of the French Academy say, in the source you've put yourself, that counting by hundreds is more usual in informal language while adding hundreds to one thousand is more usual in written language (French language#cite_note-86). If you think that the French Academy is incorrect for whatever reasons please add sources to support it in your edits. If you happen to not have any source to support your point, please elaborate here, in the talk page, why you think that the observation of the French Academy is not correct or why my understanding of the French Academy text that you've sourced is incorrect.

For the moment, you only argued that being French you know French language, however French académiciens are also Frenchmen and Frenchwomen so you have to accept that being French is not enough. I do not deny that in your circle most people may say mille cent instead of onze cents. It is even quite interesting as it may be an indication that this use may be a language marker (of generation, of education, of social class...) or a regional fashion.

Anyway, please either add sources to your modifications concerning this part, especially when they are contradicted by existing sources or please elaborate here so we can found sources together to support this.

Best Regards, and thank you for taking the time to contribute to Wikipedia. Captain frakas (talk) 18:18, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

OK. So, what could I say ? First of all, I know it might be strange that I contradict myself. But I'm gonna try to explain everything (and I hope I won't fail...). Counting above mille can be done in two ways, as you know. L'Académie recommends mille cent; mille deux cents in written language and for scientific, administrative, etc. works. They also say that in oral French, the other way onze cents; douze cents is the more common but I don't really understand why they say that. Everybody would say mille six cents mètre and not seize cents mètres. When I'm talking about prices, I say mille deux cents euros. My friends say Il y a mille cinq cents élèves au lycée. But, contrary to what YOU said, from 1700, I sometimes change and say En dix-sept cents quatre-vingts or On en a pour dix-huit cents euros. Maybe the académiciens aren't well informed. Or, maybe, as you say, it is a regional thing... But I'm not sure. A part of my family live hundreds of kilometres away and they also speak like me. It's true that I've already met people saying seize cents or something else but 1. It's very rare 2. Either they were much older than me, either they were in a "high class". So maybe it's about social class or generation... I don't know. At school I've learnt to say mille cent; mille deux cents. I'm just trying to help. And if it's even worse, then I'm really really sorry. If we can work together to improve that, it will be great, and it will make the article be better.
EDIT : I think I got it. After reading the source I've put, I understood everything. The On dit plutôt of l'Académie Française is not an observation of use. It's also a recommendation, but in another form. It means on doit (devrait) dire.Yoyo360 (talk) 21:19, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
1. Firstly, I don't like the But, contrary to what YOU said, of your message with YOU in all capitals. It's not what "I" say because, I have sourced this with a book who is quite a reference ! A source that you've erased without justifying why and that I had to edit into the article again:
2. I think we can all have specific way of speaking (like saying pain au chocolat/chocolatine or sac/poche) and I suspect that it may be a question of generations (and French old peoples are quite numerous). However our personal experiences do not have, IMHO, any real academic value. At school, I did learned mille deux cents, which is coherent with the French Academy who say that using douze cents is informal. In my family however I've heard douze cents. And dates were quasi always said by hundreds, like quinze cent quinze, Marignan. I don't think I should put that into the article. What we should do, IMHO, is to find a source either that report the number of occurrence or that contest what is said by the French Academy and the Imprimerie nationale. I'll try to find something.
3. I am not sure that the Academy would have said on dit plutôt to mean on devrait dire, especially when they said that it is informal use. Perhaps that you could ask them a clarification?
I am sorry but I have to go in Southern England for few days, I'll not be able to help before my return.
Cheers! Captain frakas (talk) 10:46, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I know that it seems strange, but in French, the present can have a tip value, especially with the plutôt. In On dit plutôt onze cents, I think it means On dit onze cents plutôt que mille cent but as a tip. I sent a mail to the Academy to be sure but I don't know how it will constitute a source. I'll post other messages if I receive the answer during your stay in England. If not, well, we'll talk when you'll be back.
Greetings (and apologises for the capital you. I guess I didn't think about what I was writing)Yoyo360 (talk) 16:50, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Number of Native Speakers[edit]

This side box of this article lists the number of native speakers at 75 million based on 2007 edition of Nationalencyklopedin whereas the List of languages by number of native speakers lists it at 74 million based on the same source. Which one is accurate as per that source? It should be consistent. GLG GLG (talk) 03:55, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree and I propose to keep the article at 73.8mio, as the source states, at least for now. I am happy to discuss this here. Morgengave (talk) 18:35, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
For who disagrees on the number, I am open to discuss any reliable and neutral sources. But we should always remain true to the source; we should not give another figure than the source does. A real rounding can be defended, like 73.8 can become 74, in case no decimals are provided. But moving from 73.8mio to 75mio based on own gut feel is indefensible. Plus we should remain consistent in sources in-between language articles. Like this article, other language articles use the Nationalencyklopedin for the speakers figure. The reason why there is a strong preference for one source for all the language articles is to avoid cherry-picking sources per article, which is often done to advance a certain position (about the importance of the language). Morgengave (talk) 20:18, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Changes to the lead[edit]

Just a quick note to explain the changes to the lead. In my view, the lead was too detailed, too focused on demographics and importance and contradicting the infobox. I still find it too focused on those areas, and not enough on the history/evolution, the dialects, the linguistic specificities, the standardization, etc. This is remarkably visible if one reads other language article leads, like as random examples: the English language, the Chinese language, the Turkish language, the Catalan language or the Dutch language. I also believe we need to be careful in using certain sources. It sometimes appears we are cherry-picking to get to the highest number possible. I believe we need to be extra careful here, and rely on the best and most reliable and neutral sources only, and preferably not on sources that are promoting the French language or have any other vested interest in the French language. Morgengave (talk) 06:44, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

UCL: reliable source?[edit]

Hi there,

We all know that the University College London is one of the most ancient and respected universities of the United Kingdom. So I may consider any page they display on their website to be reliable, and a good source for us to use, especially when it comes to a language (French), that they teach.

This links indicate that "French (français) is a Romance language globally spoken by about 110 million people (native speakers). Around 190 million people speak French as a second language, and an additional 200 million speak it as an acquired foreign language."

That makes the total number of French speakers up to 500 million, which is in my view kind of overestimated (even if it is one of the fastest growing world languages, because of Africa's demographics and education improvements over the past years/decades - it will reach that threshold, but not quite yet). The UCL states at the very end of its article that its source is Wikipedia, but that it has been "adapted".

So, what should be done? If it is adapted, and displayed on their own website, one could consider it to be their claim, not ours. And in that case, we could use that link as an appropriate link. However... I would however believe that we should stick with the best sources currently available, that is, those which are either:

  1. from academic papers (and not only links that this one);
  2. serious estimate by renowned governments (such at that of France, Switzerland or Canada);
  3. La Francophonie's reports (I think that they are regularly published, something like every three years or so).

What do you think? Kind regards, Huiva (talk) 23:34, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Francophonie's reports are published every 4 years, the current one is from October 2010 and the next one is for November 5th 2014. The number mentioned above seem high but I think they estimate speakers while Francophonie's estimate literates (readers and writers of French).--Loup Solitaire 81 (talk) 07:54, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Loup Solitaire 81 : c'est une possibilité, je n'y avais pas pensé, mais ça semble bien possible ! Le plus sensé semble donc attendre le nouveau rapport, comme vous le suggérez. Cordialement, Huiva (talk) 16:06, 25 October 2014 (UTC)