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ENGLISH FOR FRENCH MATHEMATICIANS MATTIAS JONSSON 1. Introduction I have had the good fortune of spending a lot of time in France. Several of my collaborators and good friends are French. Over the years, I have noticed that there are some common mistakes that native French speakers often make when writing in English. This note is basically a list of some of things I have observed. It might also be of use for some non-French speaking mathematicians. If so, all the better! Now a disclaimer: I’m not a native English (nor French!) speaker, but hopefully I don’t give too much bad advice. Writing about Swedish for French mathematicians does anyway not seem terribly meaningful. The English I refer to here is American English, but I don’t think this makes a big difference for the purposes of this note. 2. False friends Many French words used in mathematics have direct analogues in English, but that does not mean that a literal translation is always correct. Here are some pièges in alphabetical order. Ameliorate. The verb ameliorate does exist in English but most of the time améliorer would translate as improve . Compacity. This is a beautiful word that unfortunately does not really exist in English. The translation of compacité is compactness . Derive. The word derive does exist in English (it derives from the Latin word derivare ) but you differentiate a function f ( x ) when computing f 0 ( x ) . Estimation. The French noun estimation usually translates as estimate in Eng- lish. There is also a word estimation in English, but it refers to the process of finding an estimate. Eventually. The translation of éventuellement is possibly and not eventually , which corresponds to finalement . Explicit. In French, you can say expliciter , but in English there is no verb explicit . Use make explicit instead. Identify. In English, you can identify A with B , not to B . In detail. In English, one can explain something in detail but not in details . In the form. What is écrit sous la forme in French becomes written in the form in English. Date : October 10, 2018.
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