https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djubradin

A little bit of Balzac

Here is a part of the book I'm reading for learning French (La bourse), I think some useful stuff can be learned from a few sentances:

"En causant avec madame Leseigneur, car Hippolyte lui donna ce nom à tout hasard, il examina le salon, mais décemment et à la dérobée. Le foyer était si plein de cendres que l’on voyait à peine les figures égyptiennes des chenets en fer."

  • à tout hasard = on the off chance (just in case)
  • à la dérobée = on the sly (secretly)
  • causer = to talk (and to cause - other meaning)
  • cendre = ash (cinder)
  • foyer = hearth (fireplace), synonims âtre and cheminée
  • chenet = firedog (a thing for holding logs in place)

I hope this will be useful for someone.

P.S. I didn't know most of these words and expressions in English or French, so I thought I'd share them with everyone who wants to improve both languages :)

December 9, 2014

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carolyn250

A duo. friend and I just finished reading Père Goriot by Balzac. Yes, it was very old fashioned, but not impossible to figure out. It was also very interesting!

December 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djubradin

Wow! That must have been time consuming and useful. An audio book is 10 hours long, read by a french... Congratulations!

December 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Owlivern

Interesting ! But don't forget this is a very old text, and some of the expressions are rarely used today. "Chenet" or "à la dérobée" would sound weird when speaking to French people :)

Sorry for my English, I'm not a native :)

December 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djubradin

Maybe I should read something more modern, but I like imagining what life was like a couple of centuries ago. And now i will think of an egyptian firedog when drinking J.P. Chenet :)

PS Your English is great, no need to apologize! :)

December 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nithuigim

When I read "foyer" my mind automatically associated it with our English use of the word, and I went, "what? 'The foyer was so full of ashes'?"

In that sentence, à tout hazard, doesn't actually mean "on the off chance," it means "at random," like the English word "haphazard."

Here's a favourite snippet of Balzac, en français, from a biography I read in English,

Il faut toujours bien faire ce qu'on fait, même une folie.

December 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wonderboy6

Did anyone else read this like 'A little bit of ball sack'? lol

The top three ill definitely try to remember, thanks for the post ^^

December 10, 2014
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