Asking questions in French

In the grammar bot the form of asking questions in French is with « Est-ce que », when the proper way is to use inversion. I have C1 level of French and study twice a week with a professor. He prohibits to use any other way of asking questions than inversion. Memrise! You need to fix this and teach people proper French!

I’m very fluent in French, almost like a mother-tongue, and I was married to a native French speaker. Many professors, included the one I had when I studied French, teach a very formal, sometimes a French that almost nobody speaks. By the way, it has been the same when I studied German. If you go to France and speak with natives, you hear more “est-ce que…” than inversion.
Other common expressions are: y a pas d’quoi (il n’y a pas de quoi), j’ai pas de… (je n’ai pas de…), je mange pas de (je ne mange pas de…) where the “ne” is neglected.
What language do we want to learn? Personally, I’m very strict (read nazi-grammar) when it comes to my language (Italian), but when I learn a foreign language I try to stay close to used language. When I moved to Germany was so weird how the people looked at me when I used the Präteritum of Starke Verben (irregular verbs). :smile:

I am aware of the nuances you’ve described. My professor doesn’t teach me some sort of dead academic French. As for the native speakers and learning how they speak, i believe we need to learn proper way first and have a high level of language. It’s always easier to go down than up. Language isn’t just speaking it’s also writing and in French in writing official correspondence it is inversion that’s used. The same applies for reading. I don’t care how people look at me and what they think about me (like you mentioned in Germany) because if I speak proper language already in couple of weeks I can adjust and speak colloquial. But it doesn’t happen other way around.

Yes, of course first of all we need to learn the proper language, but in my opinion " the prohibition to use any other way of asking questions than inversion" is an exaggeration. We learn a language first of all to communicate and build relationships.

Going back yo my example: once I used a Präteritum (like for example: I went) instead of the Perfekt (like for example: I have gone) and the person didn’t understand me because she didn’t know that verb! Furthermore, sometime speaking in an aulic style can build a wall between us and who listens. I’ve been told that because sometimes when I didn’t know the German word I “germanized” the Italian one (ex: important instead of wichtig) because most of these words exist in German, but they’re considered aulic, accademical.

So, I’d prefer to find both expressions with a clear distinction in Memrise, as with formal and non-formal expression.
In conclusion: instead of “fix this” I suggest to teach both forms and mark the distinction.

By the way, it’s very interesting discussing these linguistics topic :slight_smile: thanks to memrise we can exchange ideas and grow.
Ciao! :vulcan_salute:

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Hello Angelo! And thank you for your valuable feedback. It is an interesting discussion indeed.
In my opinion,whether spoken or written, the purpose of language is to clearly communicate thoughts and feelings. If you go to a busy restaurant in Paris and start your question with Est-ce que, by the time you finish asking the waiter would have been already gone :slight_smile: And I am sure you know what I am talking about. Over the phone, when people cant hear you clearly, not asking questions properly can lead to huge misunderstandings as people can perceive question as an affirmation. And, for someone like me, it is also very important to be able to speak and write clearly and persuasively as I am learning French for business use and will have to use it in email communications, official meetings, presentations etc…
I agree that eliminating this from Memrise wouldnt benefit, however they shouldnt have Est-ce que as the ONLY way to ask questions as they do now.

By the way… I do prefer the inversion :blush:
A form very similar est-ce que… was very common in Italy exactly in my region, Piedmont. We often asked (in negative form) “non è che vai…” litterally “n’est-ce pas que tu vas…”. When I was child I hated it