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Youtube auteur sktgamerdudejr13: genius, recluse, pedagogue

It is our intent, here at whatthefrench.com, to periodically acknowledge the Youtube heroes out there making French-related content. Sktgamerdudjr13 has the best “être” verb song on the internet. Far better than the dozens of  Ke$ha rip-offs. Sadly, he never responded to our request for an interview, which leaves my imagination free to make the whole thing up.

Marc: Jr—May I call you Jr.?

Jr: No

Marc: So, Jr. Why être ?

Jr: It’s quite simple, really. The two most important verbs in the French language are arguably “to be” (être) and “to have” (avoir). Avoir or Être?  Whichever you choose as the most important says a lot about your values. Are you a “have” or a “be”? I, for one, am a “be.” Are you a “have” or a “be”? I, for one, am a “be.” Conjugating the verb is an invitation to being. Je suis, tu es, il est, elle est…I am, you are, he is, she is…without consciousness of being, we have no authenticity.

Marc: Mind. blown.

Jr: I have that effect on people.

Marc: Who are your biggest influences?

Jr: Well, Godard, of course.

Marc: Of course.

Jr: But also German expressionistic cinema by way of Guy Maddin’s early work.

Marc: Really? How surprising. I would have guessed cinéma vérité inflected through Vertov’s notion of “Kino-Pravda,” or “film-truth” had influenced your choice to capture the banal act of watching television on a handheld videocamera.

Jr: Was that a question?

Marc: Um, no.

Jr: Were you just regurgitating things you found on Wikipedia to sound smart?

Marc: Maybe. Moving on…Your critics have called you “incompetent,”laaaaameeee,” and “stupid,” is there anything you’d like to say to them?

Jr: I believe it was Lars Von Trier who once said, “I think it’s a very strange question that I have to defend myself. I don’t feel that. You are all my guests, it’s not the other way around, that’s how I feel.” Critics are jealous. It’s as simple as that.

Marc: I realize that you have probably heard this question a million times on the indie film festival circuit, but what kind of budget did the film have?

Jr: $1.2 million.

Marc: Was that mostly spent on post-production? marketing?

Jr: Mood enhancers, mostly. And catering.

Marc: Well, thanks for not actually responding to my request.It’s been a pleasure to have this imaginary interview.

Jr: Likewise. Anytime.

Chartopia: 5 Nineteenth-Century French Grammar Charts

In What The French?!,  we have an appendix called “PTK’s Chartopia” (PTK=Pretentious Technicality Kid, a recurring character in our grammar review book)—a land full of nothing but charts, for people who are into that sort of thing. Charts probably put most readers to sleep (myself included), but they can also be useful, and sometimes even beautiful. Here are five examples excavated from the massive Gallica online collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France:

Titre : Paradigm or model on which all French regular verbs are conjugated, thereby reducing the numerous conjugations and exceptions, has hitherto given in every French-english grammar, to only one conjugation... by M. H. Chauvier,...1850

Titre : Paradigm or model on which all French regular verbs are conjugated, thereby reducing the numerous conjugations and exceptions, has hitherto given in every French-english grammar, to only one conjugation… by M. H. Chauvier,…1850

I don’t know who colored this verb chart, but I love it.

Abécédaire français, ou leçons tirées de l'histoire de France... Seconde édition...

Abécédaire français, ou leçons tirées de l’histoire de France… Seconde édition…

This book goes from individual letters, to the alphabet, to syllables, to words, and so on.

Jean-Baptiste Say. Papiers. III Grammaire et reliquat littéraire. 1701-1900

Jean-Baptiste Say. Papiers. III Grammaire et reliquat littéraire. 1701-1900

Individual manuscript pages from 1701-1900 are grouped into this book. I never knew that personal pronouns could look so elegant.

Tableaux synoptiques des deux parties de la grammaire française...

Tableaux synoptiques des deux parties de la grammaire française…

hmmm. could somebody please get out the watercolors?

How to learn the genders of fourteen thousand five hundred French nouns in ten minutes ! by professor Fairchild... Third edition, 1866

How to learn the genders of fourteen thousand five hundred French nouns in ten minutes ! by professor Fairchild… Third edition, 1866

From a short pamphlet that promises to teach you the gender of 14,500 French nouns in 10 minutes. All I have to say is “What the French?!”

 

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