"Est-il franc ?"
Translation:Is he frank?
I agree with you - "to be frank with you" would sound normal as a phrase, but a little old fashioned. The question "is he being frank?" would sound odd, and "is he frank?" would sound even odder. I think generally speaking, "frank" has been replaced by "honest" in this usage in English. The only time I hear "frank" used where it sounds normal is in sort of negative contexts. The President will make a formal statement that he has had a "frank" discussion with another world leader in a very tense situation, for instance. Or you might say that you had a "frank" talk with a staff member who was out of line. Hope that helps!
Correct. Frank is seldom used outside formal conversation.
Starting a conversation with may I be frank indicates the following conversation will not only be spoken in a free manner but should be taken seriously.
Of course frank has other much less common meanings. It can refer to a body of certain legal implications connected to the postal service.
It also designates a historical European subgroup known as the Franks. They were called Franks because they were able to remain independent of the Roman Empire. Thus they were free. Over an extended period, these people went through multiple major transformations that resulted in what we consider historical France.
I hadn't thought of that but it seems likely. Most people think of the Franks as being French in some way but actually they were Germanic speaking at the time of Rome's difficulties with them. Now frank has come to mean choosing relatively unrestrained bluntness that exceeds the restrictions of normal courtesy.
No, "frank" is not out-dated. I'm a native English speaker (Canadian). Sometimes people like to joke about using "frank". When someone says "I'll be frank" maybe the other person will try to be funny. Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster, two late Canadian comedians, had a skit where one of them was saying, "I'll be frank". (His first name was Frank). It was very funny, but I don't remember how the skit went, but they were using the word "frank" like this, plus making fun of it being his first name too.
Yes. The problem isn't just the level of formality though, and it's not always used in negotiations - that's one example. I feel like the construction's normally different too - it's like the difference between saying someone IS difficult and saying that they ARE BEING difficult. Frank seems to be used more in the second way, to describe behaviour that someone is expressing in a certain situation rather than a general personality trait.
Yes, the c is silent. The n is too, except that it tells us to pronounce the a as a nasal vowel. The r is pronounced, but sounds different from an English r. French r is a fricative, which is a sound made by restricting the flow of air through the mouth a little, rather than cutting it off. Examples in English are v, f, z, th, j, as opposed to sounds that cut off the air temporarily, like b, d and k. French r is said with the tongue held in a similar position to English g and k, but just not quite cutting the air off like they do. Compare the way the tongue is in the same sort of position for d and t as it is for the two versions of th (as in 'this' and 'thing') - the tongue cuts off the air for d and t, but lets it buzz past for either th. Try letting the air buzz past with your tongue in the right position for a g. This should get you a French r. (English r is a little different, and said with the tongue further forward than French r). Hope that's useful! It can be an awkward sound for English speakers, so sometimes we take too long saying it too - you may be finding it hard to hear because it's being said quickly, as it often is by native speakers more used to the sound.
"Franc" doesn't mean "straight" the way a line is straight; it means straight-talking, honest. The question here is whether a person is being frank. That's not a question you would ask about an inanimate object, so "it" isn't really an accurate translation in this case. If the adjective were different, like "petit" for example, then "est-il petit?" could mean either "is he small?" or "is it small?".