Thursday, March 29, 2012

at the TEF blog

Some excerpts from a book my French Papa gave me years ago: La foire aux cancres (i.e., The Dunce Fair), a collection of writing samples from students who had given up on school before even trying. Despite being published in 1962, the book is still on sale on the French-language Amazon site (I've provided the link at the TEF blog)-- a testament to the enduring charm of human stupidity. My own copy of La foire aux cancres is very old and weather-beaten. Here are some excerpts that I didn't include in the TEF post, along with my translations:

La Lune est habitée, puisqu'il y a de la lumière.
The Moon is inhabited, because there's light.

Il y a des corps solides, des corps liquides, et des corps gracieux. Les corps se dilatent sous l'action de la chaleur. Exemple : en été, les jours s'allongent sous l'action de la chaleur.
There are solid bodies, liquid bodies, and gracious bodies. The bodies enlarge under the action of heat. Example: in summer, the days become longer under the action of heat.

(NB: The student was trying to write "corps gazeux," i.e., "gaseous bodies.")

Principe d'Archimède : Tout corps plongé dans un liquide, s'il nest pas revenu à la surface au bout d'une demi-heure, doit être considéré comme perdu.
The Archimedes Principle: Any body immersed in a liquid, if it hasn't returned to the surface after half an hour, should be considered lost.

I remember once seeing, years ago, a similar collection of writing by English-speaking students. One student claim stuck with me:

The ancient Ionians believed the universe was a giant orgasm.

America has more than its share of cancres, but I do wonder whether that student might have inadvertently stumbled upon something profound.



Elisson said...

Il fait des merveilles, car il a un cul rond et il fait des étrons carrés.

Kevin Kim said...

J'ai dû rechercher la référence.