Brighter French: Colloquial and Idiomatic, for Bright Young People (who Already Know Some) by Harry Thompson Russell (Paperback, 2010)
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- DescriptionA witty guide to idiomatic French written in 1927 by a remarkable author identified for decades only as 'H-T-R-'. -- 'H-T-R- doesn't just want you to parrot French phrases. The essential of fluent speech is to think as the French do. As he says, it won't do just to formulate in English what you want to say and then utter a translation. Those who have reached a good level in French (or, indeed, any language) will recognize the hurdle of idiomaticity - the native speakers always have a way of saying things which is different from your correct but painfully generated French.'[ - Elsevier SYSTEM MAGAZINE (2010), Robert Vanderplank, Director, Language Centre, University of Oxford]. -- Example:  'What did he die of?' 'Nobody kws. But then body knew what he lived on, either.'  De quoi est-il mort ? -- On ne sait pas. D'ailleurs on ne savait n plus de quoi il vivait. -- Or (to illustrate a use of the subjunctive):  'One moment, Monsieur - I can't see you. I'm in my chemise.' 'Take your time, my dear, I'll wait till you take it off.'  Un instant, Monsieur - je ne peux pas vous recevoir. Je suis en chemise. -- Prenez tout votre temps, chere amie, j'attendrai que vous l'ayez retire. -- New extended edition, with new biographies (including 28 photos) of the author, Harry Thompson Russell, and of the illustrator, Eric Fraser. Contains all of the original 1927 drawings, plus many new drawings by Fraser, who was one of the leading illustrators of the 20th Century. Equally suitable for French or English speakers -- 'Ces ouvrages ont le merite de servir egalement a l'usage des francophones et des anglophones.'
- Author BiographyWhen 'Brighter French' was first published in 1927, the author was identified only by his initials 'H-T-R-'. No one knew who 'H-T-R-' was, but he seemed to be someone well-heeled. In his world, 'the real French of everyday life' was 'the spoken language of the dinner-table, the boudoir, the theatre, race-course, promenade-deck, stables, garage, etc.' His full name was Harry Thompson Russell, a multi-talented man who lived an eventful life - the first part of it conventional, the second less so. He was born in Ireland in 1875, brought up in Milford House, County Limerick, and went to school at Cheltenham College in England (where he excelled academically) and then joined the Royal Artillery as a cadet. He was mentioned in Despatches in the second Boer War; authored a number of military manuals, including 'A French-English Military Vocabulary'; won a prestigious prize for a remarkable military essay in 1911, and retired with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel at the end of World War I. He had married Alicia Studdert of Bunratty Castle, County Clare, in 1902, and they had four children. Prior to the war, they lived in South Africa, in Ireland (County Cork), and at Dinard in France. So far, so very conventional; then in 1926, H-T-R- divorced and remarried, to Marion Lee of County Dublin. Cut off from his former comfortable life and needing money to support a new family, a H-T-R- emerged that the Bright Young People might have found easier to understand. He and his new wife worked as private detectives in London for a time. Then 'Brighter French' was published and was a huge hit. Two more books followed, including 'The Brighter French Word-Book' in 1929 and 'Still Brighter French' in 1932, and Harry and his family moved to Montpellier in the south of France. In 1940, the family returned to England as war refugees, with nothing except 'what they stood up in.' In his final years, Harry worked as a head gardener and did translations of books from several languages, including Italian and German. He died in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, in 1953, where his granddaughter still lives. Other grandchildren (by his first marriage) live in County Cork.
- Author(s)Harry Thompson Russell
- PublisherPhaeton Publishing Limited
- Date of Publication01/05/2010
- LanguageEnglish & French
- Series TitleBrighter French
- Series Part/Volume Numberv. 1
- Place of PublicationDublin
- Country of PublicationIreland
- ImprintPhaeton Publishing Limited
- Content Note20 b+w drawings + 28 b+w photographs
- Weight259 g
- Width110 mm
- Height178 mm
- Spine18 mm
- Illustrator(s)Eric Fraser
- Edition Statement2nd Revised edition
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