16 Comments

  1. She’s perfectly understandable, as far as I’m concerned.😉
    Have you ever heard ‘Le diner’, by Bénabar?

  2. @ Olivier – Perhaps you may be able to understand what she is singing, but a comparison of the pronunciation (as sung) with the lyrics as shown confirms something that I have always suspected: French pronunciation rules are even wackier than those used for English. Either that, or she’s singing with a non-standard dialect.

  3. She sings in standard French, no dialect and no accent.
    French pronunciation is taught in a small book: “La méthode Boscher”. Parents use it to teach their children reading (4yo for me). English is much more difficult, of course 😉.

  4. Olivier, do people still give a sound (and syllable) to “mute e” in reciting poetry and songs?
    Or, if not for contemporary works, maybe for older materials when they need to read them aloud, or sing them? If it’s a form that has an expected scansion or syllable count, that depends on putting in those “mute e” instances?

  5. Well, AFAIK, for poetry and reading, there is no such thing as a silent e in the middle of a line, except when followed by another vowel (hiatus). An e at the end of a line is always silent.
    E.g.:”LE vas(e) où meurt cettE vervein(e)” (Sully Prudhomme)=8 syllables.
    For songs, rythm is important, so anything goes.
    E.g.:”UnE souris vertE,
    Qui courait dans l’herbE” (nursery rhyme)=6+6 syllables.

  6. Thanks!

    In the excellent song here today, since they conveniently show the lyrics (tho sadly not a translation), it fits with what you describe.

    I’ve been checking a few versions of “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” on youtube and for the most part the singers give three syllables to that ” jetée” and to the “restée” at the end of the second line. Which I think is still standard operatic performance practice, for works this old (1875) at any rate. I’m supposing this is not how a contemporary francophone adult would say it, if for some reason you were going to just say (not sing or recite or quote ..) “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée dans ma prison m’était restée…”.

  7. Absolutely: say, recite or quote = jeté(e)/resté(e). 3 syllables when sung because the music requires it (and maybe because it would be difficult for the singer to end on the sound “é”?).

  8. And you have the opposite in that Bénabar song I suggested earlier:
    “On command(e)ra des pizzas, toi, la télé et moi.”
    (A classical writer would also have avoided the hiatus between “télé” and “et”.)

  9. Catlover, there was (hey, is) a pretty famous scholar of religion named Martin Marty.

  10. Wasn’t there a serial killer named Edward Edwards?

    (Of course, the ultimate serial killer name would be Lee Lee Lee)

  11. Merci! I took French in High School, but remember next to nothing. 😦

    Some of my favorite songs are French. Back in the late ’80s or so I got turned on to an amazing French band by the name of Malicorne.

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