Sunday, November 04, 2012

French for Romney

Roger L. Simon at PJ Media has posted an article in English translation, from the French daily Libération, about the minority of French people who are for Mitt Romney. Their reasons are mostly economic, but some of their insights on our disastrous foreign policy are sound:

On the diplomatic front, America has weakened herself, and it is probably due to this that in France, from the extreme Right to the extreme Left, she is so loved. In Egypt, in Libya, in Tunisia, or in Syria, the United States has buttressed Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood. Was this Obama’s grand design while he went to deliver his speech in Cairo in June 2009? If yes, he has achieved his objectives. Facing Iran, Obama does not know how to be firm, leaving this country, the major supporter of international terrorism, to advance toward obtaining atomic weapons. Can the free world accept living with the sword of Damocles, that would be an Iran with nuclear weapons, capable of threatening Europe and its neighbors thanks to its ballistic capability?

I found the comments very helpful as well. One commenter provided this link to Mitt Romney speaking French just before the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. He has an American accent, but he makes himself understood.

On a side note, here is a video of actress Jodie Foster speaking French in an interview on French television. Her French is perfect, and is an example of what very early language training can produce. She lived in France and went to a French high school. Because of this, and because she still travels to France, she will never lose her accent or her fluency. Romney spent two years in France and while this is enough to learn to speak, I believe five years minimum are necessary to achieve total fluency. And time must be spent learning the grammar and structure of the language: you cannot rely just on the "direct method" of total immersion, unless you happen to be a person of unusual ability who can actually hear, comprehend and mimic intelligently without any pre-existing analysis. I have no idea how this is done, I have only heard that the military, in dire circumstances of national security, has had programs such as these.

When we were attacked on 9/11, we learned to our dismay that very few Arabic-speaking Americans were available for service in the fields of diplomacy and intelligence. We have been relying, I believe, on native speakers of Arabic, which can be problematical if they are of split loyalties.

As I post, a Swiss website is saying the two candidates are tied 48-48.

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At November 05, 2012 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMHO. I do not think the candidates are tied.

I believe that the POTUS is actually behind, but the MSM would never allow this to come out. As appearances are everything.

The second reason for believing Obama is behind is due to two revelations regarding funding. As data had revealed that the president was several/ten million dollars behind Romney. That he had to go to bank of America for funding and his website was accidentally taken money from overseas donors. After all that shenanigans Obama was still behind.

Thus leaving one to ponder. No Money. No backing. No Votes.

Several weeks ago, I heard an American panel say, that Romney should just quit now because Obama was so far a head, it was just a matter of time. Sorry, I can't recall which American channel. The MSM is shameful and disgusting.


At November 05, 2012 2:11 AM, Blogger Sancrucensis said...

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is for Roney (no surprise):

At November 05, 2012 5:15 AM, Anonymous Jewel said...

There is a book, a small one, called the quick and dirty guide to learn any language. It centers around the need for information. It was written by a Navy SEAL. I find it useful to acquire necessary language, which is a starting point, rather than useless phrases and bad learning. It helps, of course to have someone to practice with in your language. I learn languages by using musical methods, by analyzing voice placement or pitch, whether the voice raises or drops when accenting a syllable. Which syllables are usually accented, rhythm, flow, lilt...all these qualities are the kinds of things you look for in music.
Even if you don't know a lick of a language, you can figure out certain things like articles, definite or indefinite, and you can pick out tenor of the conversation, the tone of language, the emotions that are being expressed. All of these things are what I listen to long before I start to even learn the mechanics of a language. It is a very interesting hobby.

At November 05, 2012 5:47 AM, Blogger tiberge said...

@ Jewel,

Very interesting. I think the problem with Mitt Romney's French, which was perfectly correct, was in his voice placement. He was saying French words, with an American voice. The facial muscles have to be much more tense than his were. Jodie, on the other hand, had no such problem, because the voice placement was set long ago, and is never forgotten - a little like yoga positions that the body never forgets.

Have you studied Ancient Greek? No one knows how it sounded, but the rise and fall of pitch were very important. I once heard a tape of some professor who felt he knew what Ancient Greek sounded like - a bit like wild Indians at war. The language itself is so beautiful I can't believe they sounded like that.

At November 06, 2012 1:50 AM, Anonymous Jewel said...

A brilliant woman named Susanna Zareysky has written extensively on resonance in language learning. Language must have some resonance in order to 'sound'right. Which is why music is so important in language study. Learning popular music, where the sounds are broken down into manageable syllables really helps the ear and mouth connect. The plus with Romney is that he can speak or read French at all, since the only president who could before that was Coolidge, of whom it is said "He was modest in 5 languages." I would think that the French would find his badly pronounced French more tolerable than the Russians found with Hillary Clinton's public display of linguistic ignorance when she presented the Russians with a silly 'reset' button. Stupid symbols don't translate any better than jargon.
I have studied Latin, but I prefer the Liturgical Latin pronunciation to the Classical. Really, how can anyone be certain how an ancient tongue was pronounced?
On the other hand, I read a most enlightening essay on why modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation has nothing in common with its ancient predecessor: It originated in Eastern Europe! It has more in common with the pronunciation of Austrian German and French than with Ancient Hebrew. In fact, Ancient Hebrew pronunciation sounds more like Arabic than Israeli Hebrew. Go figure.


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