Friday, 6 July 2012

History about the French negative form ne+pas, point, goutte,,,
Have you ever wondered why French people use two words for the negative form? For instance, they say: "Je ne mange pas", Je ne veux pas", elle n'est pas contente",...
In the middle-age, only "ne" was used to express a negative sentence. Gradually, other words like "pas" / "point" were added and those words expressed a small quantity, a small thing, a small area,...
Examples: je ne marche pas (I am not doing a step) , je ne vois point (I can't even see a dot), je ne bois goutte (I don't drink a drop), je ne mange mie (I don't eat a crumb).
 Those little words lost their meaning and became a negative word associated to "ne".
It is the reason why we say today: Je ne veux pas partir, je ne veux point aller en ville, je ne vois goutte, ...


Each language reflects a different way of thinking and a different perception of the world. The sayings and proverbs are a good example of how differently people can think. Here are some examples of sayings in English and in French:

- Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide. / Once bitten, twice shy.
- On n'apprend pas à un vieux singe à faire des grimaces. / Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs.
- C'est en forgeant qu'on devient forgeron. / Practice makes perfect.
- Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué. / Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.
- La curiosité est un vilain défaut. / Curiosity killed the cat.

A literal translation will usually be a big mistake to avoid. Learn to think in the target language!