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Une petite poste pour remercier les membres du SAN (et ceux qui font commentaire sur mes postes de « World of Frenchcraft ») – en particulier ceux qui parlent avec moi en Français, même si vous savez seulment peu des mots. Vous avez été très patient avec moi, et votre aide et soutien sont vraiment apprécié.

Merci beaucoup!

Note : This post was written without the aid of a Francophone, over the course of a good thirty minutes, and is therefore subject to extreme linguistic errors. No dictionaries were harmed in the writing of this post; however, my Bescherelle almost went into the shredder before I realized I was actually speaking in present-tense for once and didn’t need it.

In case I mangled the translation worse than I think I did, suffice it to say that I’m extremely grateful to everyone who’s read my Frenchcraft posts and enjoyed them, to those who’ve taken the time to comment, and to those who’ve actually been willing to speak to me in French (whether it’s just a “bonjour” when I log on, or a more detailed conversation in whispers or the SANfr channel) – to say nothing of those who kindly put up with my French item-links in the guild chat. ^^

/hug to all of you. This would be so much harder and astoundingly less fun without you.

Also note: I do have an actual real Word of Frenchcraft post in the works, just haven’t had time to pull my thoughts together on it. Soon…ish…


So I had my first few French conversations without the aid and supervision of a Francophone, or, at the very least, a bilingual Anglophone. I had an online French-English dictionary, though – that’s practically the same thing right?

I thought I had a screenshot of my very first French conversation ever, but I don’t, so here’s a transcription:

Guy whose ass I totally saved by killing a mob before it could kill him: merci!
Me: :)

Oh yeah! Check me out! I’m practically bilingual!

I upped the ante on the next one, though. I used an actual word It went like this:

Me to the guy who randomly buffed me: Merci!
Guy: de rien :)

Oooooo! says I. De rien. The French equivalent of no problem. I like that. So, naturally, I upped the ante yet again and used two words:

Guy whose ass I saved originally, upon being saved again: merci!
Me: De rien! :)

See? I’m learning!

After that, though, I got a bit ambitious. I was wandering around Redridge (“Les Carmines” in French) trying to figure out which piece of a gnoll a “patte” was so I didn’t get myself into an embarrassing situation in which I cut off and returned the totally wrong part (they wanted the paw, for the record) – especially given that I’d been looting [Groin de tripe-broches] for the last thirty minutes.

La belle langue continues to make me squirm uncomfortably in unexpected ways.

Anyway, in the end I determined I wasn’t high enough level to be cutting anything off the gnolls, so I went scuba-diving for Oslow’s toolbox instead. Because that one’s easy if you pretend there are no murlocs. Took me so long to try to swim around the fucking murlocs that I probably would have drowned, were it not for a random level 46 shaman fishing off the dock nearby who put underwater breathing on me.

I didn’t realize I had it, either, ‘till I was dragging my soggy ass back to town, toolbox in tow, when something in my brain went, hey! Why didn’t I drown? So I scroll back through my combat log to confirm it was the shaman I’d seen and then paused to consider my options.

On an English server, I would have whispered the guy and had the following conversation:

Me: Were you the one who gave me the Underwater Breathing buff?
Shaman: Yep.
Me: Thanks!
Shaman: Np!

It’s a very simple conversation, played out a million times a day on every server known to Blizzard. Looking at it on the surface, it looks relatively simple to translate.

All right, says I, let’s do this:

So, a breakdown, shall we?

Me: Est-ce que vous me donnez Respiration aquatique? :)

What I was trying to say: “Did you give me underwater breathing? :)”

I couldn’t figure out how to say “were you the one who”, and “did you give me” seemed easier. So I looked up “did” in my onlying (see what I did there?) dictionary and it returned “est-ce que”. My Bescherelle was sitting RIGHT THERE but I was too lazy to reach for it and try to figure it out. This was foolish of me.

What I apparently actually said: “Are you giving me Underwater Breathing?”

Note the fucked up tense here. My intended sentence was in the past tense. Had I realized this earlier, I probably would have translated it better, but tense is something that is second-nature for me in English, and I often don’t fully appreciate the tense I’m using. So instead of confirming whether the gentleman was the one who had given me the buff, I was demanding whether he was giving it to me or not, as though he was expected to.

Note that this doesn’t even translate into “Can you give me”. It’s “are you giving me”. Awkward phrasing, that.

What I should have said: “M’avez vous donner Respiration aquatique?”

Oh, says I when this is explained to me, far, far after the fact. It’s passé composé. Oh. Fuck.

I actually should have known that.

Shaman: oui^^ ou es tu?
Me: Non, non! J’ai le buff. ^^ Merci pour me donner ca! (Pardon ma Francais! J’essay apprendre!)

The shaman, being a very nice fellow, appears unfazed by my rude demands for a buff I totally don’t need and he already gave me all of three minutes ago anyway. He simply says sure, and asks me where I’m at – he’s even willing to come to me to give it to me!

What I meant to say: “No, no! I have the buff! ^^ Thank you for giving it to me! (Pardon my French! I’m learning!)”

I panicked at the word “buff”. I have no idea what that is in French, and there’s no dictionary in the world going to give it to me. Like most of the warcraft words, though, I figured I was probably safe to use the English one in this case (prayed is probably a better word than “figured”). If tanks are tanks and heals are heals, buff could be buff, right?

What I apparently actually said: “No, no! I have the buff! ^^ Thank you for to give me it! Pardon my French! I’m trying learn!”

And that mangling doesn’t even take into account spelling mistakes, or gender fuck ups. To the poor shaman it probably looked more like this: “thx 4 giv me bfuf sry 4 my frnch i lrn”.


Français is a masculine noun, not a feminine one. So it should have been “MON Français”, not “MA Français”. I spelled “essaie” incredibly wrong. Also, apparently “apprendre” (the verb “to learn”) is actually part of a phrase in this case. It should have been: “J’essaie d’apprendre.” I stand corrected. Very corrected.

To quote what I was told when I proudly showed my French conversation to a native speaker: “It’s clear what you’re trying to say, you just sound like an idiot.”

That, at least, I knew.

More things I’ve learned by playing WoW in French:

  • Gender-based words are Hell. I’m so fucking glad English ditched this shit eras ago, you have no idea. Language is complicated enough. I’m terrified I’m going to add an “e” somewhere it doesn’t belong and imply that perhaps the gentleman to whom I’m speaking is perhaps more feminine than he may be claiming, and he’s going to flag himself and kill me and corpse camp me for the next few hours.
    • I take some comfort in the fact that apparently most French people barely understand the gender in their own language, so it’s unlikely to be too noticeable, but still. Accuracy is better than being lazy about it, and I should try to be correct.

  • You can totally cheat and use English words if they’re game based. Buff totally worked! He didn’t even notice!
  • Comté does not mean count. When the dude in Lakeshire tells me he needs some goods for the “comté-d’or” he does not mean for the gold count, which I personally think was a pretty good guess, supported by my onlying dictionary. It means “Shire”. Comté-d’or is Goldshire. Which I should have known, because I was standing in Comté-du-lac (Lakeshire), doing a quest I’ve done a million times that sends me to a smith in Goldshire. Sometimes I try too hard.
  • People who fuck up my questing groove still piss me off and I don’t care what language they’re speaking. Only now I don’t know how to tell them to stop being fucktards and that if they aggro the god damned pillager behind the cart ONE MORE FUCKING TIME I’m going to freak.
  • Sometimes you can just spell an English word with a French ending (reverse “er”, and an “aire”, etc.) – the written equivalent of saying it out loud with a French accent. This works a lot. It also doesn’t work a lot. And when it doesn’t work you have essentially just spouted a bunch of gibberish at someone and they stare at you like you’re crazy or stupid and you’re forced to admit that they are probably right on both counts.
  • People who use the bastardized, shortened internet version of French enrage me a bajillion times more than people who do it in English. Just because I’m trying to learn French and it’s honest to God a bigger challenge than I expected. In English I can pronounce it phonetically, and I’ve been exposed to it for so long it’s second nature to translate it. I speak typo. But in French…Jesus. All I can do is stare at the screen and mourn the death of a beautiful language before I’ve even had the chance to learn to speak it.

The biggest thing I learned – specifically from the conversations mentioned above – is that I sound like an idiot in French. I suddenly have a renewed respect and appreciation for the frustrations inherent in trying to communicate in a language that isn’t mine.

It’s very easy to write off somebody with a really thick accent or poor grasp of the language. You assume they’re an idiot or disregard them entirely, but this isn’t necessarily the case. I’ve always known this, but didn’t necessarily know it, you know what I mean?

Communication is so incredibly important in human interaction…and I can now confirm that it is ten times more frustrating to not be understood, than it is to not understand. My ability to relay information through words is something I have long prided myself on (rightly or wrongly) and it is physically painful to be limited in this regard, and to know that I sound like a child or worse. Some of those kids are pretty damn good at their language. This is an extreme blow to my pride and I am humbled beyond belief by it.

It’s fucking embarrassing is what it is.

But, honestly, some of the most fun I’ve had so far have been these painful, halting conversations. It’s like a logic puzzle – I’m just not very good at it yet. Every interaction is a list of questions – how can I mangle what I want to say into some version of the same message that uses words I can actually translate? Was that supposed to be future simple? Or passé compose? Was it subjonctif? How do I do the subjonctif again? When do I use été and when do I use some conjugation of avoir? How the fuck do I say “look out it’s a bear” in French?

For all it hurts my pride, though, I remain surprisingly undaunted. My pride makes it unacceptable that I continue to suck. I can’t stand the thought that I am unable to communicate effectively in this medium. It’s not okay. I have to, and will fix it. Giving up would be a big fucking stain on my Communication Record. Not gonna happen.

But in the meantime, sry 4 my frnch, i stll lrn k thx by.

With apologies for any further fucked up French in the post. I’m correcting myself from memory!

That’s a real French sentence guys. For real. I am not making this shit up. I saw it spammed in the Trade 42 times in the space of 15 minutes. “fufu up tora 10”

Okay, says I, staring the “sentence” down like it’s a rabid bear. I’ve made it all the way to level 13 with halting translations, hasty dictionary work, and angry French friends who are tired of telling me over and over again what “souhaitez” means.

Okay. I got this. I totally got this.

10 probably means 10 man. Tora is either Toravon or a French word, but most likely the former. That’s half the sentence right there.

Fufu up….

Fufu up….


I got nothing.

I ask the closest francophone I can find. She stares the sentence down like it’s a rabid bear. I watch her eagerly, attempting to discern the translation from her eyes. The suspense builds to an unbearable point, when she finally announces: “WTF? I got nothing.”

We are obviously dealing with a master of the language here, if even my French-is-her-mother-tongue friend can’t tell me what the Hell fufu up means. This guy knows his shit. That is some obscure syntax right there.

I go back to questing. A while later I’m back at the Exodar (as a gnome, because…gnomes.) and I see someone in the trade looking for somebody’s transmute cooldown (translated that one all by me onsies). But in his statement, he uses that mysterious “up” again.

“Demande,” says my French friend. I stare blankly at her and she blinks. “Ask,” she says, remembering belatedly that for all I’ve been buried on a French server for the last couple days, I don’t actually speak it.

“Oh,” I say. So I whisper the guy and ask him what it means in a decent impression of an unnecessarily formal French sentence. He whispers me back and explains what a cooldown is. My friend promptly takes over the keyboard since I am apparently less comprehensible in French than in English. She clarifies that I’m actually wondering what “up” is, since I’ve seen “fufu up” in places and I don’t know what it means.

“mdr up —> prêt” he says, which is just the most helpful thing I’ve ever seen. Truly revelatory. Seriously.

“Well,” I say, considering that. “Prêt is ready. Oh, I get it. ‘up’ is like the English ‘up’. Is your CD up. Oh. It’s English. Fuck.”

My friend is once again staring down the sentence like it’s a rabid bear. “What the fuck is mdr?” she says, making a face at the trade chat as though it’s causing her physical pain to watch these people mangle her language to the point where she no longer recognizes it.

“I still don’t know what fufu is,” I add, somewhat mournfully.

We swap places again and I whisper the guy sitting at his computer somewhere in France and tell him merci.

Google, I think. Google will have the answer.

I find mdr with relative ease – morte de rire: death by laughing. It’s the French equivalent of LoL.

Oh good! He was laughing at me! So glad we had that clarified.

Fufu is harder to find. I eventually manage to stumble across a forum post from some poor fool who’s trying the same thing as me. Via this thread I get the belated advice to go on an RP server for this kind of thing, as the grammar is better on average – the sentences less riddled with incomprehensible acronyms and random, improperly used English words.

Note to self, says I, transfer to an RP server if I get higher level.

Buried in this thread I find an impressively helpful list of common acronyms. For instance, apparently in French, a warrior is referred to as a Wawa. I can’t…quite bring myself to use that. It sounds like either a baby crying, or a euphemism, and I just…no.

A fufu, it turns out, is a rogue. Apparently it’s a bastardization of “furtif”, the French word for “furtive; stealthy; sneaky.” Fufu. Rogue.

I have no words.

At least no French ones.

Other useful stuff I’ve learned

I’ve managed to learn several words I will never be able to use in a real conversation, unless I’m talking to a gamer or a serial killer:

  • Tuer (verb) – to kill
  • seigneur de l’effroi – Dreadlord
  • maudite – cursed
  • âmes – souls
  • mâcheroc – Rock Eater
  • souffrances – suffering
  • assassiner – murder (I’m guessing assassinate probably counts too)
  • parade – parry
  • esquive – dodge
  • nain(e) – dwarf
  • etc.

I’ve also learned some more useful ones, and am slowly starting to be able to piece together the meaning of various sentences with less help required. And I mean very slowly. Like…there’s been a 1% reduction in the number of “somethings” I have to throw in when I’m translating out loud.

I’ve learned that a lot of words are the same:

  • Tank – tank
  • heals – heals
  • dps – dps
  • need – need (seriously. They say stuff like “need tank et heals pour aleatoire hero”)
  • up – up in the sense of “ready” (apparently)
  • plz – please, same as in English (though I do see stp and svp as well)

By the same token, a lot of the slang is very different:

  • Jojo = JCer. Joaillerie is Jewelcrafting.
  • Fufu = rogue. Who knew?
  • Comp = skill (from “competence”)
  • JCJ = PvP
  • LQR = BoP (lié quand ramassé)

I’ve learned that when the French decide to mangle their own language, they take it even farther than the English do. My friend understands perhaps two thirds of the trade channel, total. For instance, they randomly replace the “qu” that occurs so frequently in French with a “k” (which, for the record, totally fucks me up. I don’t know the words well enough to recognize a mangling).

They don’t appear to have the equivalent of “WTB” or “WTS” acronyms. They just preface an item link with either “vend” (sell) or “achete” (buy).

I’ve learned that sometimes the French words can be awkward, because my brain tries to read them as English first before trying to translate. If they actually match an English word it can take me a moment:

  • “Parade” means “parry”. “Rate” means “miss.” So what keeps happening, is I hear the parry noise, followed by a swoosh, and Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text informs me that my combat skill is so terrible, the battle is like unto the chaos of a parade, and follows it up by telling me it is going to rate me based on this.

    I know that’s not what it’s actually saying, but my brain momentarily interprets it as such and I get really offended.

  • “Râpé” means “worn out.” But when I see the following:

    my brain automatically translates it as “Rape Cape” and I feel really awkward. Why is there a cape for that, I wonder. And, more importantly, why am I wearing it?

  • Lame = blade. But that’s not when I’m thinking when I see these guys:

  • “Bague d’oeil de tigre” = Tigerseye Ring. But I automatically read Bag of Tiger Oil. Judging by the AH, I’d say the Tiger population is in steep decline.

It is simultaneously completely different and undeniably the same. Since I started playing on the French server I have seen people LFGing in the Trade, gotten randomly dueled by three, unconnected high level characters while waiting for a boat, had my kills ninjaed, gotten randomly buffed, and been killed sixty-three times by various bears.

When all is said and done, the game and the community (so far, anyway) are exactly the same – they just speak a different language. It’s a curious thing to experience. The words are foreign and unfamiliar, but no matter how you translate them, they’re always saying the same thing:

Looking for group/gear/guild/recognition/fun/company.

fufu up tora 10.

So, the drama around trying to actually play Warcraft in French continues. Now I’ve paid to upgrade my account to a full version, both expansions too, and I’m trying to download and install the French client and bugger if I haven’t fouled the whole thing up to a spectacular degree. I have e-mailed Blizzard in the EU to attempt to get some kind of professional help for the issue, as I think Google may have led me astray and made it worse. C’est la vie!

So for some reason, while I was futilely waiting for a response from Blizzard on a Sunday, my brain went: “Know what would make you feel better? A PuG.”

As you can see, I have clearly lost my mind.

Not so much than I went on any of my tanks – no, no. I’m not quite there yet – but I loaded up my Shaman and off we went. Turned out to be AK:OK. The obligatory two healers join the group and leave again, and we’re finally on our way.

As PuGs go, in terms of behaviour, except for our massively over-geared hunter, it was fine. The hunter was on the wrong targets almost constantly (when she’s not AoEing indiscriminately) and bitching about the tank not being able to hold aggro (she’s doing 4K DPS in a heroic. If she’s not on the right target, NO tank will be able to hold her aggro), but our tank is skilled, if silent, and our healer is lovely, and the warlock is just sort of doing his thing and minding his own business. So, not too bad.

Then, instead of darting straight for Volaj, the tank veers off to go after Jedoga – which makes me happy as a clam. I want badges, and I think skipping bosses kind of defeats the purpose of doing instancing at all. If we don’t go get the plant guy, fine, but come on! She’s right there and you pretty much have to kill the trash blocking the way to get to Volaj anyway. And they nerfed her!

The hunter, though, oh she doesn’t like that.

Those last two lines, btw, were typed simultaneously.

Also, strangely enough, here’s my Recount (from just after Volaj):

How is it her numbers show her HIGHER than mine, and everyone else LOWER than mine?

Also, as a point in fact, I haven’t been on the shaman in a while and I’m still learning the class, so I was watching my DPS like a hawk. I’m pretty sure I never once dropped under 1.6K until Volaj (fucking insanity), and was averaging about 1.7K. I don’t remember ever seeing 1.2K.

All of this is besides the point. As I acknowledge in the party chat, I had the lowest DPS by far, which is accurate. I had the lowest gear score, being appropriately geared for the content, with a healthy number of blues mixed in with my epics. I also, probably, had the least amount of experience as a DPS.

But, and excuse me for my bias in using my numbers instead of hers, 1.5-1.7K DPS is completely adequate for heroic content. And with a warlock doing 2K and huntard doing 4K…I’m not really seeing an issue.

So, while I’m not actually offended or hurt at the fact that my DPS was where it was supposed to be, I’m shocked and offended that someone would be willing to put that so rudely or so bluntly.

And I’m flabbergasted (though I know I shouldn’t be after so many PuGs) that someone would actually try to claim that DPS that is sufficient for the content at hand “sucks.”

No, actually, it doesn’t.

I wish I could type the following sentence to conclude this post on:

“This story does have a happy ending, though. The hunter stood in that lightning puddle on Jedoga and totally died before the end – pretty sure my 1.5K beats her nothing while she was lying on the floor.”

But I can’t. Because while it is entirely true that she stood in the lightning puddle and very nearly bought it, as I mentioned earlier, our healer was lovely, to say nothing of skilled. He kept her sorry, rude ass up and going no matter what she was standing in, or which of the wrong targets she was on.

So instead, I shall simply offer a salute to my anonymous healer and hope to see him again some day!

The hunter, I shall ignore, and let that be the end of that.

Sooooo…I’ve been playing French WoW when I get the chance for the last week (which has been a grand total of…twice, between normal raiding schedule in English WoW and the rest of what has been (if the lack of posts on Thurs/Fri was any indication) quite the, um, week). And I was thinking to myself, hey! If I play today, maybe I’ll have enough things to talk about in a blog post.

So I reinstall the trial version for the third time (loading up my full version of English WoW deletes the trial version from my computer, so I have to redownload every time), and get the following message:



So I go and find a francophone to translate for me, since I’d rather know exactly what I’m dealing with instead of some poorly transliterated version of the error message.

The loader needs write access to the path C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft Trial\ in order to update the game. Please authorize write access to this path using an adminstrator account.

Which makes me wonder…why did it work twice, and break the third time? I’ve tried redownloading/installing a few times. I’ll go google it for a bit to see if I can find a workaround.

In the meantime the question becomes:

Are the two, brief times I played it (Ding! Level Five! Oh, sorry. Niveau Cinq!) enough to convince me to invest in the full version of the French game and sign up for my account…

I more or less had myself talked into it in my earlier post, so perhaps that’s actually the simplest way around it.

Plus…it is kind of irritating to have to constantly redownload the trial…

I will leave you with this thought while I go google my foreign error message:

“Cloth” (as in armour) is translated in French as “Tissu”, which just goes to prove what most of us have always known: clothies are made of Kleenex!

Je ne parle pas French, either, but I think I might have concocted a brilliant scheme to learn it. It’s different from my usual brilliant schemes to learn French in that:

  1. It actually has a chance of success (slight though it may be, it’s a real chance. I normally settle for completely imaginary chances of success);
  2. It’s not completely boring;
  3. It’s actually less expensive than most options, outside a larger initial investment;
  4. I don’t have to sit in a fucking ten-foot-by-ten-foot classroom with a bunch of strange, strange people all having basic conversations with each other.

    “Bonjour, Jerry. Comment ca va?”
    “Comme ci, comme ca. Il neige.”
    “Oh…um…c’est…c’est…fuck. Um…il fait froid!”
    “Oui! Froid! Il fait…um…shit…je suis…um…”
    “La coeur gelée de Naxxramas vous attend!”

I only know that last line because of this movie (which is the awesomest thing ever, ever, ever and is basically the reason I started raiding. The sheer, unmitigated triumph at the end…fuck yes). I’ve long fantasized about somehow working it into a conversation though. I can also say “rotting flesh” and “you cannot escape me.” Some day I will whip these out on a French teacher and it will be awesome.

Anyway, back to my original point – in case you haven’t figured it out yet (despite me talking about learning French on a blog about Warcraft and quoting the smexy, smexy French!Kel’Thuzad (don’t get me wrong…his British accent in English is wonderful, but it makes me want to cuddle him more than cower in fear (the patrolling Mr. Bigglesworth doesn’t help this instinct). He sounds much more frightening and wicked in French), I’m considering learning French by playing World of Warcraft.

Last night I downloaded (télécharger! See? I learned a word already) the 10-day free trial of the French World of Warcraft, registered a second account (compte! I’m on a roll!) and rolled up a Gnomish warrior on a French server (mer…um…shit…Merekage? Marcaj? SomethingthatsoundslikeMerekage Zangar). I debated playing the French game on an English server, but immersion is supposed to be the best way to learn anything, and I’m fairly anti-social anyway. It’s unlikely I’ll have to talk to people often (in which case I can just dust of my handy “Desole! Je ne parle pas Francais!”…and look like a total tard because WTF am I doing on a French server, but still), but I will be exposed to them talking to each other. Hopefully I can pick up some (horribly misspelled, completely mangled) vocabulary through osmosis. Can’t wait to see a line of French, with the words “Chuck Norris” thrown in somewhere.

Failing that, it’s time to start reading quest text. On the upside, I already own a good French-English Dictionary and a Bescherelle (a conjugation guide) from a few years back when I was crammed into the aforementioned class room with the aforementioned strange people (“Tu as belle cheval.” “Um…I think you mean cheveux….”).

I should point out that I’m not trying to learn French from scratch. I have a background in French as a second language that English people would consider decent (and French people would consider atrocious). Similarly, my grasp of the language is considered good by English standards, and terrible by French standards. This may not be helpful to you, but I’m not quite sure how to describe how good I am or not at French.

Say there are two Francophones having a conversation about how one of them has a Pitbull and it chews up the furniture all the time. And the other one says they have a Chihuahua and it’s well trained and gets along well with the kids. I would be able to tell you that they are discussing dogs. I might be able to tell you that one is happy with their dog and the other is not. I might even be able to identify something about furniture and or kids if they’re talking slowly and clearly enough. But the finer details would escape me. For all I know the Chihuahua chews up the kids, and the pitbull gets along well with the furniture, you see?

I do better if I can read it, as opposed to hear it, but even then. Last time I tried to read French out loud it went something like this: “And so, the Minister of…uh…something travelled to the, no! Will be going to the…to…something…where he will have a meeting with the President of America and they will…something an agreement something trade. This will…something between the two countries.”

So my French is at an okay level to try something like this, but it’s still going to be a lot of work. I’m still going to have to look up every fifth word, and I’m sure the fucked up phrases the French use everywhere will continue to cause me extreme pain (“mis a niveau – WTF does that mean? Put…to…level? Put…give…put a level? Put…that’s mettre, right? To put?” It means upgrade, by the way. Had to ask, though. Transliteration failed me epically).

But tell me something…what’s more interesting? The “sentence” above about the Minister, in which I have no involvement, investment, or interest? Or the following:

“Last night, while I was sleeping, Defias…something came and something my cows. I want you to find…something and bring it to the something to the west of here. When you’re there, in order to prevent something from coming, you’ll need to something the stones and arrange them in the order of something. If you don’t, you’ll die.”

I mean, there’s a personal investment there. I don’t want to die. And I want to know what the fuck the Defias were doing to the cows (or then again, maybe I don’t). I’d also appreciate some info about the link between the two. In this case, not only is it worth it for me to pull out my dictionary and start defining some of those “somethings”, but I actually want to. It would actually be fun.

The whole endeavour will be helped by a couple things (or so I’m hoping):

  • I know this game like the back of my hand. As long as I stick to classes I’ve played through to Northrend so I don’t get hit upside the head with an ability I’ve never seen before, I don’t need the descriptions to know which buttons to press. I already know how to play, so my ability will not be impeded by the language barrier.
  • It’s been FOREVER since I last actually read through my quests, so doing so again, in another language, won’t be boring. I’m familiar enough with the material to be able to intuit some things, and the rest I can look up. Being familiar with the material means I’ll have a better grasp of context (which is absolutely crucial to fully understanding the appropriate uses for a word).
  • ”Language Drills” (i.e., trying to read and understand my quest text and what the NPCs are saying to me) are interspersed with long stretches of “killing shit” (i.e., killing shit). I can take out any frustration over the amount of work it takes to understand Joe NPC when he wants me to go kill 10 wolves on the wolves I need to kill. It’s like, I’m actually rewarded for doing the work with fun stuff. Which is not like my French classes at all. I was rewarded for doing work with awkward conversation in a language no one understands.
  • If I get super frustrated, or even lazy, and don’t feel like reading my quest text, I don’t have to. I don’t read it now and it’s written in English. Between Blizz’s map enhancements and my mods, I know where my objectives are. I don’t need to understand the why of it. I can just zone out and go and not worry about working at the French. You can’t do that in a class.
  • Even if I am being lazy, even if I’m not translating quest text, I’ll be seeing French everywhere. In the chat channels, in my quest logs, in the game interface…whether I want to take the time to understand it or not, it’s there and I’m exposed to it. This counts for more than you might think. I’ve learned more French over the years just by being around French people, than I have exchanging endless pleasantries with English people speaking French.
  • There is so much about the game that I’m familiar with, the “intrusion” of a foreign language into my play space won’t be offensive. It’s actually a relatively minor inconvenience.
  • It will be a 100% clean break (when I need one) from the daily stress of running a guild/raid group. They might be able to follow me faction to faction, and even server to server, but nobody’s going to bother buying a second account to follow me to a foreign realm. Also, I doubt I’ll tell them. It’ll be like the ultimate secret-alt. It’s not just not in the guild, it’s not in the country. And, honestly, the separation is good. Otherwise I would have English friends with me, which would somewhat dilute the immersion experience.
  • Fifteen bucks a month is a lot cheaper than twenty bucks an hour, which is approximately what French lessons cost assuming you’re not part of a huge-ass group (in which case it’s still a fuck tonne more than what Warcraft costs). And ultimately, I’ll get more out of it.

Which is not to say this is a perfect plan. There are already some cons I can see right off the bat:

  • Even in English, I am attracted to archaic words and syntax. I’ve been accused of it on more essays and papers over the years than I care to count. I’ve gotten into fights with teachers over whether a given phrase or word is actually archaic, and (when I inevitably lose that argument) whether it’s fair to dock me marks for using an archaic phrase in an English Literature course (it’s an essay on Shakespeare, I should be getting points for this!). It doesn’t help that the bulk of what I read is either classical literature or fantasy – both of which use archaic language. Warcraft makes its own use of archaic language (being a fantasy game), and I’m sure it’s no different in French. Except, in French I have no way of telling an archaic phrase from a modern one. This will likely result in idiosyncrasies in my use of the language, but meh. That’s no different than when I’m speaking my native tongue so I’m not overly concerned.
  • The chat channels in Warcraft, if the English servers are any indication, are not exactly pillars of the institution of language. I will have to be very careful to not absorb any common spelling or phrases from the chat channels too readily. Last thing I want to do is learn Trade Channel French. I think I would rather be unilingual forever.
  • This whole plan basically precludes me from doing any grouping for a long time. Until my French is at least at the conversational level, and I’ve gotten a solid grasp of the French equivalents for Warcraft slang (OMG! The acronyms! They’re all going to be different! Quick! What’s LFG in French?), it’s probably not a good idea for me to be joining groups. Mind you, lately they’ve all been silent, grim marches into death’s cold embrace, which I suspect is the type of experience that sort of transcends a language barrier, but still. Again, not a huge concern since I’m not a huge fan of grouping with strangers, but it does limit some questing/instancing options.

The more I think about it, the more excited I get, and I can honestly say I’ve never been excited about the prospect of trying to learn French. The prospect of one day being able to speak it, yes. But the whole…learning process? No.

And if I can actually do it while simultaneously playing my favourite game?

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