French: une histoire de caoutchouc

Hello, a rather short story with some interesting forms, I think…


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      1. No worries. Here’s my transcription:

        Les débats publics sur l’économie sont très confus, en grande partie parce qu’on fait mal la distinction entre l’argent et les choses tangibles qu’il représente. On peut illustrer cette confusion à travers une histoire que nous a racontée le grand géologue, M. King Hubbert, au début des années 1970. Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les Britanniques, sachant que le Japon était sur le point d’envahir la péninsule malaise, grosse productrice de caoutchouc pour l’ensemble de la planète, se lancèrent dans une vaste opération pour déplacer le plus de caoutchouc possible dans une réserve située en Inde. Ils arrivèrent tout juste, alors que les Japonais envahissaient la Malaisie, à stocker ce qu’ils pensaient être une quantité suffisante de caoutchouc pour pouvoir fabriquer des pneus et d’autres produits dont ils allaient avoir besoin jusqu’à la fin de la guerre. Mais non, une nuit, la réserve de caoutchouc prit feu et fut entièrement dévastée. « Ce n’est pas grave. » Répondirent certains économistes britanniques en apprenant la nouvelle. « Nous étions assurés. »

        Some very minor things:
        1. Line 1 – sur l’economie should be two outlines: one for sur and another for l’économie. See #7 later on about this.
        2. Line 1 – it looks as if grande ended with a circle vowel, where it shouldn’t have any (grand and grande have the same outline: g).
        3. Line 2 – parce qu’on should be written together as a phrase.
        4. Line 3 – on peut is also a phrase: o hook-n-p.
        5. Make sure that the hooks are clear. Sometimes the pen gets stuck to the paper and makes writing the hook a pain (it happens to me). For example, in au debut in line 4, the hook looks like -tion, not like a longhand u as it is supposed to look like. Also the first time you wrote caoutchouc in line 7 was very nice, but then in line 8, 10, and 12, the oo-hook looks like a retraite. The key is to think of making the two straight sides of the hooks parallel to each other.
        6. Line 6 – d’envahir is a phrase, and the dot is not needed (d’envoyer wouldn’t make sense in context).
        7. Line 7 – pour l’ensemble should be two outlines, one for pour and another for l’ensemble. The general convention that they followed in the book is that in phrases such as sur le/la, pour le/la, and similar phrases that are usually written together (with the exception of de + article), if the article is liaised with the following word, the first word is separated so that it’s clear that the second part of the phrase is one outline. (To be honest, if I were writing it quickly, I would write everything together, but that’s just me.)
        8. Line 7 – se lancèrent is written together (another one of those …)
        9. Line 8 – the l in déplacer looks like an r.
        10. Line 9 – tout juste can be written together.
        11. Line 9 – envahissaient has a broken circle, not a double circle.
        12. Line 10 – à stocker can be written together.
        13. Line 10 – ce qu’ils pensaient can be written together.
        14. Line 11 – As an FYI, in Simplified French the p in pneu is not written because pneu is considered a prefix (pneumatique and pneumonie are written without the p), even though the p is pronounced. In French DJS/S90 they put back the p in all those words. Of course, pneu was not in the list of most frequent French words in the 1930s; in 2009 it ranks 4514th in Lonsdale and Le Bras’ A Frequency Dictionary of French. (If you leave the p out, could des pneus be confused with des nouveaux/nouvelles, a phrase that is written separately, as opposed to de nous/nouveau which is written together? Something to think about …)

        1. First, thank you, Carlos, for this long list of very minor things…

          I agree with all except one point, the number 11, “envahissaient”… When you say it, you don’t hear the sound “ill” but first the sound “a” and then the sound “i”. I agree it’s a problematic form to write but I tried various ways and came up with this form… which doesn’t satisfy me completely.

          Another form I had problem with is “d’envahir” (but about this form, I agree with you). At first, I made a phrase and then after I noticed I made the “v” almost parallel to the “d” because otherwise it would have bumped into the ”d”. I will do what I can…

          Just one minor thing about your excellent transcription: at the end (but it’s hard to guess), it’s not “Mais non, une nuit…” but “Mais en une nuit…”

          Voilà…  it’s just one point of disagreement… 🙂

          For “pneu” and its derivatives, I know that in English you don’t pronounce the “p” of “pneumonia”. Well in French you pronounce the “p” of “pneumonie”. I suppose it’s unavoidable that there are differences between English Gregg and French Gregg as this shorthand is based on phonetics…

          1. You’re welcome!

            About #11, check paragraph 114 of the manual, which I believe covers this case; Simplified French has the same rule as paragraph 114 and uses the broken circle for the same word. In French DJS/S90, the broken circle was eliminated from the theory and instead they used a double circle for the word (there are no double circles in either Anniversary or French Simplified), even though the double circle rule is not mentioned in the manual. To be honest, I think it’s more cumbersome and slower to write it with the double circle.

            1. I find that the solution that has been adopted in “Exercices à écrire” paragraph 191, line 9 of the manual is a elegant compromise. In “se haïssaient” the circle is broken but also divided in two parts. You have indeed two sounds and not just one…

              Alas I don’t think I can apply this solution to “envahissaient”… So I think you’re right: the broken circle is the less cumbersome solution… (and if you say the word quickly, you have indeed the sound “aill”…

              Corrections will be made shortly… Thanks! 🙂

              1. The broken circle of haïssaient is divided in two parts because the outline starts with the broken circle, and the next stroke (the s) is a downward stroke (like f, v, j, ch, p, b), so it will end up divided. What is interesting about that example is that the writer decided to use the clockwise s, making it much more cumbersome to write! In English, a similar word to haïssaient is “icy”, and that is written with the counterclockwise s!

                Oh well …

                1. I see…

                  I made the corrections.

                  As an aside, I don’t mind not writing the “p” of “psychologue” although it is pronounced in French. This one and others words that share an identical root are rather long words and there’s no risk of confusion…

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