21 August 2015


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 122

The results from yesterday's spur-of-the-moment poll are in, and they are unanimous: the "Two or Three" Book Club has another classic to read! =D

I'm sure that many of us have read Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery before, so we won't really be covering new ground. But one thing we haven't done yet is discuss the book with each other. So this should still be interesting!

As I've said, I'm going to be reading in German (and bringing up the Filipino translation now and then), but blogging mostly in English. Mrs. Darwin and Brandon have said that they might tackle the original French. If you'd like to join us with a copy in another difficult language--like, you know, English =P--don't let the book club name put you off. There's always room for one more!

If you're game, let's start the discussion a bit early. Language learner that I am, the burning question I'd like to ask everyone is: What's the story behind your becoming competent enough in another language to be able to read a novel in it?

Image Source: Der Kleine Prinz


MrsDarwin said...

I had two years of French in college, and wanted to take a minor in it, but the necessary classes beside the basic language study were all at night, when I had to be at the theater. I did watch a number of French movies at the time, though I don't remember much about them now.

I also, my senior year, translated the play No Exit for my senior production, and spending that much time dealing with the grammar and searching for the right words to accurately translate each phrase fixed a lot of vocabulary in my head. That was fifteen years ago now, so I'm coasting at this point on old expertise.

I'd like to find a source -- and in this day and age of blogging, there is certainly one -- to read modern French with all it's stylistic quirks. English is a very flexible language for individuality, and as French has not seemed to me to be as flexible, I'd like to see how French stylists are writing now.

Brandon said...

For Spanish, I took four years of high school Spanish and minored in Spanish literature in college (technically a certificate, but that was just the minor with some study abroad); although even that was mostly short stories rather than even short novels. I have gotten very rusty in it; I will certainly have to see if I can dig up a copy of El Principito.

French is a far messier matter. I have a year of college French, and the rest was self-taught in graduate school while studying Nicolas Malebranche, who's a seventeenth-century French philosopher. Because of this, my French is a bit patchwork, being mixed bits and pieces of contemporary and seventeenth-century and tending vocabulary-wise toward the rather abstract.

Enbrethiliel said...


Mrs. Darwin -- "Coasting on old expertise" would be me if I attempted to read Regulus! But you sound as if you did a lot more work in French than I ever did in Latin, so you'll probably just need a few days of strong focus to kick your mind back into its French gear. =)

Brandon -- Your long-lost identical twin who grew up in France sounds rather interesting! ;-)

Itinérante said...

I had the privilege of being brought up speaking two languages at home, French and Arabic.

At the age of 16, I had to travel alone and I have a "zero sense of orientation". I was terrified of being lost so I thought I'll self teach myself English so I can at least catch a wider audience that might help me when I have no idea where I am! and it sort of worked except that the fist part of the trip was to Germany and they almost speak zero English! ^^

Then at university we had to take two foreign languages so I took Spanish and Italian and then continued alone to be more advanced in Spanish.

ps. Le Petit Prince is one of my favourite books :)

Enbrethiliel said...


I was also brought up with two languages, English and Filipino--but I ended up becoming more proficient in English, which is a little embarrassing. I must say that I envy your command of four languages. But according to a British friend of mine who has moved to Switzerland and had to add two more languages to her arsenal of English and French, four is pretty much par for the course in central Europe!

Germans have a reputation for speaking good English--or at least my occasionally-frustrated French, Spanish, and Italian learners gave them that credit--but I've talked to one German lady who said that Germany is actually falling behind the Nordic countries in terms of English proficiency, because the former dub all English language media in German as a matter of course. In contrast, the Nordics can't really afford to dub much, so they watch it in English and end up getting better in English.

I hope that you will join our readalong of Der Kleine Prinz! And maybe even do the additional foreign language challenge. =) In any case, I hope you will let us know if any of the quotations I add in English (or translate into English from the German) are vastly different in the original French!

Itinérante said...

I gave my copy away just last week but today I'll be getting a new one and join :D

Enbrethiliel said...


You know, I also gave my first copy away several years ago--to a friend who surprised me by revealing she had never read it. I got a second English copy later, when I realised my library did not feel complete without it. I'm looking forward to seeing your comments, Itinerante!

Sheila said...

This is one of my mother's favorite books. I think she first read it in French class. I've only read it in English. It's full of fond memories of my mother reading it to me. :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Did your mother do the voices? =)

I'll bet you could read this in Latin or Attic Greek! ;-)