Friday, February 15, 2008

"I'll be back"

It's been over a week since I've posted here, and that's an indication of the amount of studying and using of French that's been going many other things happening recently.

But with the end of a week (and the intent to be in Lyon at the end of next month for a few weeks!) I feel renewed imperative to get back on the horse. No better time for the quote in the title for this post, the famous words of the "Governator" of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And this isn't all just a play with words, or play on words. In French class today my small discussion group was assigned the task of presenting a famous person with a bit of l'humour. We couldn't think of too many things to say, other than the fact (rumor?) that he uses botox, that are really entertaining. But we did think we could mention his famous deadpan line from the movie The Terminator as he prepares to storm into a building in search of the innocent Sarah Connor:

"I'll be back."

I was going to say this since I was the only guy in the group and we thought we could get a laugh from the class when we said in French,

"Je retourne."

And this is what happened. And it came off well--people laughed. But it seemed something was missing from the glossary, or we had found another example of faux amis as our teacher told us that, actually, and despite what our Chez Nous glossary told us, "retourner" wasn't the appropriate verb. Rather, we should use "Revenir".

So...the little question of the day is, what's the difference between these two verbs? It seemed like our teacher was telling us that one described events in the past, and the other was a statement of things to come. Is this right? I'm going to leave this blog entry hanging, waiting for an answer that I'll have to find, so that I can give voice to Arnold in a proper fashion, and, oh yeah, maybe even learn how to speak this language. :)

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