Street French 3 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
About the Author
- Publisher : John Wiley & Sons; 1st edition (April 4, 1997)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 260 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0471139009
- ISBN-13 : 978-0471139003
- Item Weight : 15.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.59 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,472,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In America and Canada, we speak a version of English in our daily lives that can be understood by more than 300 million people, from coast to coast and from the arctic circle to the Florida keys. It is, basically, the language we hear in our schools, on television and in the movies. Sure, there is a lot of crude language that the teacher doesn't use and that you wont hear on Fox News. But essentially, we all speak the same English.
In France, all French people can understand the French they learned in school. But most French people speak another language in their daily lives that is incomprehensible to anyone who only understands correct French. It is, properly speaking, a dialect of French. Think of the most arcane black English you can imagine and multiply it by 1000 and you have popular French.
And the popular jargon gets outdated fast: "Titine aussi sec elle l'a remouché: elle y a cloqué une sévère va-te-laver!" Not completely impossible but try to parse twenty of those sentences, spoken very fast by someone with cigarette a hanging in his mouth and half drunk.
Virtually every word of correct French has a corresponding word in the spoken language: voiture-bagnole, maison-baraque, garçon-mec, fille-gonzesse, and the list goes on and on. And on.
I have the first version of Street French which is dated 1989. More Street French is dated 1991. The versions will never end because Street French will never stop changing. I imagine that a Parisian of 1937 would have as much trouble understanding a Parisian of 1973 and 2007 as they would have understanding him.
This is not a criticism of Burke's tapes, simply a heads up so you will know what is going on. But if you try to speak this way in any official capacity in France, especially if you can't speak correct French, the French will turn their back on you and not even give you the time of day. ("This is a fuckin cool headquarters ya got here mon. Have can I a drink wine?") They are not even remotely tolerant of foreigners who can't speak correct French even though they rarely speak it themselves.
With those caveats, buy the tapes but don't trash your French teachers. They are fully aware of this problem and the consensus of many years is to teach correct French and leave the rest to your discretion.
One last comment. Burke uses his own voice in his tapes. We are accustomed to television announcer voices but Burke's voice is closer to what you will actually hear in France so it is better that you get used to it. I suspect, in the final analysis, it was not ego or cost considerations that led Burke to use his own voice but the recognition of that fact. Don't curse him for it, thank him.