A good source for learning to read French quickly
Is there a good book that once read completely, will endow upon me the ability to read and understand French? I am of the opinion that duolingo is perhaps too basic, but I need to be able to read this page:
If I start learning French from Duolingo, will I be able to read that page easily? And on what level will that happen? And most importantly, how long will it take for me to be able to read that page in your personal opinion?
If you believe that Duolingo may not be the best option for me right now, then which book or source would you suggest?
I've completed both the French-from-English tree and the reverse tree, and as far as the grammar goes, everything on that page was pretty understandable to me. I admit I also have the benefit of not being the type to run screaming from any hint of math. Obviously, Duolingo won't teach you verbs and terminology specifically geared toward being able to read about mathematical theorems, but a lot of it seems to hew fairly closely to the equivalent English terminology. For instance, I didn't have to look up le nombre premier to figure out that it meant prime number.
However, you would need to get pretty far down the tree for this page, as they do use future tense. Admittedly, I'm not sure the use of "pourrait" here is entirely mystifying even if you don't necessarily know the ins and outs of future tense conjugation.
One thing I am curious of is the distinct use of passé composé despite the obviously formal context. I would've assumed that this calls for passé simple, which is in fact something that is not covered by Duolingo.
"Is there a good book that once read completely, will endow upon me the ability to read and understand French?"
The answer is no; there is not. I'm not sure why you would be in such a hurry, or even if you are making a serious query or just making some attempt to be funny or ironic. If you don't know any French at all, and I'll assume that you don't, then I would not assume that Duolingo is too basic for you. As far as that passage that you want to read goes, there is lots of material in English about Euclid's theorems so you'd be better off trying that.
I would say complete the French course of Duolingo, depending on how soon you need that page read. They've got a lot of great stuff in these courses.
I need to be able to read that page within a week or so, BUT if it is entirely impossible, that perhaps I can give it more time.
How long does it usually take, using Duolingo, for one to become a good reader of French?
I'm really bad at time estimates, plus it depends on the way you learn personally. I would say, from what I've seen on that page, you would have to complete the whole Duolingo course which could take from a couple weeks up to several months or so, AND THEN you would probably need another course like Rosetta Stone, which could be the same way, depends on how quickly you can get through it. Language does not come easy my friend. Especially not one like French.
Also, this is probably a stupid question, but are you only trying to READ that page like to pronounce the words correctly, or do you also want to understand what it means?
Then yeah it will probably take much much MUCH more than a week.
OR, I could basically just translate it for you, since I'm pretty good at French if I do say so myself.
You would have to work 'round the clock to learn to read that in a week, and it would be a miracle if you succeeded. (I wouldn't bet on your succeeding, but miracles do happen.)
Going through the Duo course, more probably in about 3 months, would get you close, although terms like "quelconque" or "porter" are probably not covered in it, although the course has been expanded since I went through it. A Duo course is a marvelous start, and if you do want to learn French, you should go through it.
If you want to use a book instead, Teach Yourself French would do as well. I could read, using a dictionary, authors like Jules Verne and Dumas after finishing it, having worked all the exercises, some of them forward and backward. It is old and clunky, but the page you wish to read is even older, so TYF would do just fine. You can download it from that site or buy it cheaply used (get the hardcover, which should cost you less than $10). Note that the Teach Yourself French book sold in the bookstores nowadays is not this book.
Why not ask someone who knows French to go through it with you?
This book was originally written in Latin. Why not learn to read the original? ;)
Look at "Huius theorematis demonstratio iam ab Euclide tradita, El. VII. 32," which is where your page starts in wikimedia or in google books (2nd paragraph in the Google book) and go on to, "Sit talis primus p, qui in altere resolutione m . . . "
[changed Google books ref. to a current link and revised the reference to it]
its is not humanly possible to be learn a brand new language up to a university-grade academic level in just one week. but yes, start with duolingo and in a few months when you are done the french tree you should be able to understand about 60-70% of your university reading materials.