Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dangerous Liaisons

I need some help out there from some French speakers in France. Yesterday in my mom's car she was playing her new Pimsleur French CD's, preparing for our trip. As the man was speaking, I noticed he was not making the liaisons. At first, I thought it was a mistake. Then he continued on and on. For example, for we went, phonetically it was this: noo-sohm-allay. For I am here it was zhu-swee ee-see. No "z" sounds linking the words together. Completely contrary to what I have been taught.

Then in English he explained it. He said that more and more people in France are dropping the liaisons and so they are now teaching it that way. Well, I asked my relative in France about it today, and he said he had no clue what I was talking about.

Question #1: Is it true that liaisons are being dropped more and more?

Question #2: Is this just the equivalent of teaching "I dunno" and "D'ya wanna?"

Moi, chais pas.


Cécy said...

I was wondering what you were going to talk about when I saw the picture... Not quite what I had in mind.

I never heard that the liaisons were being dropped in France.
I think you would be speaking correctly either way though. I do liaisons when I speak in French, not sure who is dropping them...

Samantha said...

That's funny, I was told the exact opposite in my fancy-pants French classes. The profs all said that there was a trend towards more liasons, even in places where there shouldn't normally be. Jacques Chirac and several newsanchors were credited with starting it.

It's true that in informal speech (or when speaking to 'uneducated' people), they don't tend to use liasons as much, but in formal French, they're definitely alive & kicking.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

I thought I'd throw everyone with the picture :) Thanks for your much needed input!

Thank you, as well, for your input. Verdict...I will keep speaking with the liaisons as I was taught, and as I speak.

Betty C. said...

Moi, chuis ici et chais pas trop non plus.

Helene said...

I never been to France and glad I discovered your blog. That makes me want to visit it one day.

Ken Broadhurst said...

There are three categories of liaisons: obligatoires, facultatives, and interdites.

The ones you mention in your blog entry are facultatives -- optional. You can say "nous somme' allés" or "nous-sommes-z-alle's" either way. Or "je sui' américain" or "je suis-z-américain".

Liaisons between articles and nouns like les-z-oeufs or les-z-années are obligatory. Nobody drops those. The interdites ones are where you hear French people make more mistakes. Les-z-haricots used to be wrong but so many people say it that way that it's okay now. And then there are to completely crazy ones: there's a chef on French Cuisine TV who often says something is "trop-z-épais", for example. That's just wrong.

Optional liaisons are just that, and more informal ways of speaking drop them.

As a foreigner speaking French, you do better to make the optional liaisons than to drop them. And don't use slang. It's better to stick to standard, slightly more formal styles of speaking.

Anonymous said...

Pour moi, le liasons sonne mieux et est plus facile a prononcer.

Anonymous said...

It's been a few years the liaisons have been dropped by scholars. It's becoming more mainstream now.
Moi aussi je pense que les liaisons sonnent mieux!

Betty C. said...

Thanks to Ken for all of that information! I've heard some doozers lately, especially with numbers: quatres-z-années ou cents-z-hommes. Grating.

I must admit I've tended to pick up most of the informal styles of speaking though. But then again, I'm not a foreigner anymore, though. Na!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Betty, I love the chuis and chais, don't you? :)

Helene, Thank you very much for stopping by my blog! I will check out yours ASAP. Yes, France is wonderful, especially the south.
We are going back in about 6 weeks, so check back and take a 'virtual trip' with me. :)

Thank you VERY much for your wonderful explanation. I prefer to use the liaisons, but I have to confess my friends have taught me some slang and I used certain things quite often. I'm always making people giggle! Especially if I say "z-y va!" Mostly, I tend to say ouais instead of oui, probably a very bad habit, non? And chuis and chais pas, etc. Things like that. Oups.

Colleen et ZenChef, Ouais, je suis d'ac! :)

cjscriven said...

I've just started formal French lessons (finally) and I have been told to use the 'z' sound. However, my teacher explained that there is a bit of a 'revolution' going on in terms of language and it is, in part, driven by Zarkozy. His speech is quite a bit less formal than Chirac and some see this as a move toward a more casual, or 'modern', French. Any relation to your question? not sure

La Belette Rouge said...

I have noting to add as I am not a French speaker. I do, however, love that photo. Fantastic find!! Love!

Angélique said...

I also have an old Pimsleur with a lesson on how to order in restaurants. The customer called the waiter 'garçon'. However I've also read in French etiquette books and articles that one must never use the word 'garçon' when addressing a waiter. Confusing.