I really like learning French through comparisons, translations, and idioms. I also want to understand the idiosyncrasies of the language. What resources can I find for this?
I feel like I have a tin ear for the nuances of French. For example, when I read English, I can usually notice and appreciate when the author has picked an unusual word for effect, constructed a sentence in a way that echoes a famous English sentence, or dropped a few lines in a dialect or accent. In French, I usually understand the meaning and nothing more. This is analogous to the way I understand the connotations of “80 degrees Fahrenheit in San Francisco” (beach weather, very unusual for the area, and so on), but can’t directly understand “27 degrees Celsius in Bordeaux.”
This New Yorker article
expresses what I’m looking for: an unpacking of the connotations of words and constructions of sentences. I especially like the process of comparing a lot of possible translations. The Coffee Break French
podcast is also good for this, since they analyze specific French expressions.
Does a book exist that takes a novel (or song, or TV show, or art in some other medium) written in French and walks us through the possible translations of each sentence to English? English to French also works. Analyses of very idiomatic language and puns are even better. By “very idiomatic,” consider a line from “Adventure Time”: “We’re gonna lay down a chill jam.” How do you translate that?