mardi 24 mai 2016

Language Drill

The powers that be in France have recently introduced a reform of the language which is supposed to simplify spelling by doing away with some of those pesky accents that we foreigners struggle so hard to remember - and replacing the "ph" in words like nénuphar (water-lilly) with an "f" . However, it would appear that it's not just non native speakers who don't know when they should use the circumflex ^ - which is a pity, because sometimes the meaning of the word changes completely depending on whether it has an accent or not. Which brings me to the drill of the title: the word un foret means a drill bit. Une forêt, on the other hand is a transparent word for English speakers thanks in part to the circumflex accent which reminds us that there used to be an "s" after the letter "e".  Google translate knows the difference. Unfortunately for him, the pupil who thought he'd take a short cut to doing his English homework by writing it in French and then using Google to translate it, didn't. Garbage in, garbage out: "They are standing on the edge of a drill."
He obviously couldn't see the wood for the trees.