mercredi 26 août 2009

Le Chat au Chapeau - The Cat in the Hat - Dr Seuss

Cat in the Hat in English and French (Le Chat Au Chapeau)

I bought a copy of "Le Chat au Chapeau" / "The Cat in the Hat" / by Dr. Seuss written in both French and French.
When I first got it I could hardly understand any of it.

But after putting it away and then getting it out again the other day, I couldn't believe that I could grasp the storyline better. The reason why I didn't understand it the first time (when I had only just started learning French) is because the book is mostly written in the past tense, using the passé composé . I learnt it in the Teach Yourself French Starter Kit.. basically

(Pronoun) have (verb)
eg - J'ai mangé (I have eaten / I ate)
Tu as mangé (You have eaten / You ate)
Il/Elle a mangé (He/She has eaten / He/She ate)
Nous avons mangé (We have eaten / We ate)
Vous avez mangé (You have eaten / You ate)
Ils/Elles ont mangé (They have eaten / They ate)

The verb is in the imperfect form, which mostly has the acute accent over the last e (é)

The book is aimed at children aged 4-8 :)

Here are a few passages from the book:

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day.

Le soleil ne brillait pas,
Et c'était trop mouillé pour aller jouer.
Alors nous sommes restés assis à la maison
Pendant toute cette journée froide et humide.

My own literal translation:

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to go (and) play
So we stayed sitting in the house
During that cold and humid day


Here's a tricky sentence:

Votre mère n'y verra rien à redire si je vous les montre

they translated it as:

Your mother will not mind at all if I do.


Regardez-moi! Regardez-moi!
Regardez-moi maintenant!
C'est amusant de s'amuser
Mais il faut savoir comment faire.
Je peux porter la tasse,
Et le lait, et le gâteau!
Je peux porter es livres!
Et le poisson sur un râteau!
Je peux porter le petit bateau
Et un petit bonhomme!
Et regardez! Avec ma queue
Je peux tenir un éventail rouge!
Je peux m'éventer avec l'éventail
Tout en sautant á cloche-pied sur le ballon!
Mais ce n'est pas tout.
Oh, non.
Ce n'est pas tout...

Look at me! Look at me!
Look at me now1
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.
I can hold up the cup
And the milk and the cake!
I can hold up these books!
And the fist on a rake!
I can hold the toy ship
And a little toy man!
And look! With my tail
I can hold a red fan!
I can fan with the fan
As I hope on the ball
But that is not all.
Oh, no.
That is not all...


I counted approx 79 words that were new to me of the 230 or so words. A few nouns, but mostly verbs. A lot of them just seemed unfamiliar because they were not in the present tense form.

In a few weeks I hope to be able to read it all and understand it without needing a dictionary and also to be able to translate from one to the other!


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