Author Topic: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II  (Read 98894 times)

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Offline Превед

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2014, 08:41:25 PM »
Besides their tragic deaths, the issues of isolation and frustration combined with the language issue really form an interesting parallell between Princess Grace, Alexandra Fyodorovna and also Maud of Britain / Denmark / Norway. Three very different women who all seem to have clung to their native English language in a foreign land, preferring to speak it with their children.

Personally I find it odd that a successful actress like Grace Kelly could have problems with French, juste un dialect de l'anglais en certains aspects, when a shy person like Alexandra Fyodorovna managed to become fluent in Russian.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 08:50:41 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2014, 10:31:22 PM »
Besides their tragic deaths, the issues of isolation and frustration combined with the language issue really form an interesting parallell between Princess Grace, Alexandra Fyodorovna and also Maud of Britain / Denmark / Norway. Three very different women who all seem to have clung to their native English language in a foreign land, preferring to speak it with their children.

Personally I find it odd that a successful actress like Grace Kelly could have problems with French, juste un dialect de l'anglais en certains aspects, when a shy person like Alexandra Fyodorovna managed to become fluent in Russian.

I wouldn't call Alexandra's Russian fluent. She is said to have struggled a great deal learning the language and, as we know, was happy to avoid having to speak it in intimate circles. English was generally spoken when she was around her husband and children. That said I would have to imagine it a harder transition going from English & German to Russian, as Alexandra did, than English to French as Princess Grace struggled to do.

There are some very intelligent people who simply don't have a knack for languages.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Превед

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2014, 07:51:30 AM »
I wouldn't call Alexandra's Russian fluent. She is said to have struggled a great deal learning the language and, as we know, was happy to avoid having to speak it in intimate circles. English was generally spoken when she was around her husband and children.

If we don't call her Russian fluent, based on the eyewitness accounts and memoirs, I think we are too critical. Yes, she had a Germanic (German-English) accent, sometimes had to search for words, probably made grammatical mistakes and was so shy she tried to avoid situations where she was forced to speak it, but it appears to me she was fairly fluent. As Inok Nikolai noted in the thread about her Russian competence, she easily dashed off long letters in Russian, indicating it was shyness rather than inability that hindered her oral fluency.

It seems that no-one who met her had problems understanding her Russian, even if they thought it a little curieux.

Like many foreign language learners, she was probably too hard on herself.
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2014, 08:47:32 AM »
I wouldn't call Alexandra's Russian fluent. She is said to have struggled a great deal learning the language and, as we know, was happy to avoid having to speak it in intimate circles. English was generally spoken when she was around her husband and children.

If we don't call her Russian fluent, based on the eyewitness accounts and memoirs, I think we are too critical. Yes, she had a Germanic (German-English) accent, sometimes had to search for words, probably made grammatical mistakes and was so shy she tried to avoid situations where she was forced to speak it, but it appears to me she was fairly fluent. As Inok Nikolai noted in the thread about her Russian competence, she easily dashed off long letters in Russian, indicating it was shyness rather than inability that hindered her oral fluency.

It seems that no-one who met her had problems understanding her Russian, even if they thought it a little curieux.

Like many foreign language learners, she was probably too hard on herself.

Fair points. Another thing to consider - although I have to admit not being certain on this one - is that Alix had also learned French and German, in addition to English, prior to taking on Russian. Grace Kelly I don't believe spoke anything but English before moving to Monaco. When one has already had to go through the process of learning multiple languages, and at a younger age to boot, does it not make it easier to learn more?

How much did Princess Grace struggle with French? Was she simply a slow learner in this particular area or was her French poor for the rest of her life?

As you pointed out there are also some interesting parallels between Alix and Grace...Naturally both were from notable families. Alix of course a European royal and the granddaughter of the great Queen Victoria. Grace, on a smaller scale, being from one on of the more renowned aristocratic families in America. Both had a quickly arranged marriage and sudden move from one culture to a completely different one. A fair amount of loneliness experienced by both women. Difficulty with their new subjects and the pressures of being a highly visible monarch (although for different reasons - Grace wanted to return to acting in a limited capacity whereas Alexandra didn't give a hoot about being Russian court life and being seen). Both considered great beauties of their day, and both dying relatively young from tragic circumstances. One difference that stands out is Grace having trouble with her "ill behaved" daughters whereas Alexandra had no such difficulty with OTMA. That said both of their sets of children did present them with difficulties. Grace keeping her daughters out of the tabloids and Alexandra consumed by Alexei's hemophilia.

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Превед

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2014, 12:04:57 PM »
Another thing to consider - although I have to admit not being certain on this one - is that Alix had also learned French and German, in addition to English, prior to taking on Russian. Grace Kelly I don't believe spoke anything but English before moving to Monaco. When one has already had to go through the process of learning multiple languages, and at a younger age to boot, does it not make it easier to learn more?

Firstly, I read somewhere that Grace's mother, the daughter of German immigrants from the upper class of Württemberg, tried to make her daughters learn German, but they protested, saying that after WWI German was an unpatriotic language for Americans. Any Grace Kelly fans out there who know or can check biographies?

Anyway the German element must have been substantial in her childhood, with her German maternal grandmother (who actually was Hessian by birth) living untill 1949 and dying in Philadelphia.

To actually grow up as bilingual, like Alexandra did, greatly facilitates language acquisition later in life. Just learning or being taught another language does not necessarily do so, it might just as well put the child or adolescent off all language learning in the future. (Especially if it's connected to a conflict with the parents, like it appears to have been in Grace's case and / or done with tedious methods of cramming without focus on actual communication.)

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How much did Princess Grace struggle with French? Was she simply a slow learner in this particular area or was her French poor for the rest of her life?

Considering that one documentary said she worked on her Philly accent during her acting training, recorded it and listened to it and succeeded in transforming it into the legendary mid-Atlantic accent of old movies I don't think it was lack of ability or drive. Rather, there were probably psychological reasons in addition to lack of immersion into a Francophone environment.

Here is a clip from a documentary narrated by the wonderfully snooty, pedophile snob and former French minister of culture Frédéric Mitterand in which she speaks French: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmPgF1NXN5E Starting at 1:00, it sounds like she is searching for the words and not quite at ease, but it's fully comprehensible French. (You hear a lot of strange accents on French TV, from bilingual countries like Switzerland and Belgium, Quebéc and former colonies) just as much as on American TV, I presume.)

I read somewhere her French improved over the years and she practised by reading (and acting out?) French plays.

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Grace, on a smaller scale, being from one on of the more renowned aristocratic families in America.

Are we being a bit too patriotic on behalf of a fellow Philadelphian? :-)
They were not an old family like the Bouviers and were not accepted by Philpadelphia Main Line society, I've read.

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There are some very intelligent people who simply don't have a knack for languages.

There is the famous left and right brain divide, some being more into the communicative aspect, others more into the systematic aspect, but I think all intelligent people easily can learn a language if they have to and set their mind to it. But not all intelligent people see the need for it, some are so driven by a thirst for new knowledge that they find it unnecessary to learn new ways to say and hear the same things.

But from the top of my head I can't think of any very intelligent person who struggled to learn languages.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 12:12:30 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2014, 03:27:10 PM »
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Are we being a bit too patriotic on behalf of a fellow Philadelphian? :-)

Well I was the same person who mocked Philadelphia culture as being adverse to French. Franklin (born in Boston I might add) is revered of course, but the post-colonial identity of Philadelphia is not exactly worldly, and it sure as hell ain't sympathetic to the French. It's largely a blue-collared town with a "Freedom Fries" anti-aristocratic mentality. I'm not saying this is a good thing, but the Philadelphia of the 20th century and beyond is not really a place where new & enlightened ideas spring forth.

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They were not an old family like the Bouviers and were not accepted by Philpadelphia Main Line society, I've read.

Funny you mention this. I should actually retract my previous statement about them being a prominent "aristocratic" family, but not for the reasons you are suggesting. Grace's father Jack was a working man. Son of Irish and German immigrants he laid brick and even built the family state in East Falls the same year, 1929, that Grace was born. Before that he became a world-class athlete. He married a Temple gal (my Alma mater) who later became head of the Phys-ed department at the University of Penn, back at a time when Penn was an elite school for athletics (side note - the Palestra is still the best arena in the country to watch a college basketball game!). He then owned the largest construction company on the East Coast of the US that made him a millionaire.

After that he decided to get into politics and he became the most respectable "loser" in Philadelphia political history. What do I mean by that? Well Kelly was a Democrat in a city dominated (at that point in time) by Republicans. In 1931 the Democratic mayoral candidate won just 10% of the vote...TEN PERCENT! Just four years later in 1935 Kelly lost by a margin of just 53-47%. This was a stunning accomplishment, not only for a Democrat but a Catholic in a city that was strongly anti-Catholicism. Philadelphia in fact was the last of the major northern American cities to elect a Catholic mayor. Had the race taken place a year later, during Franklin Roosevelt's historical landslide reelection, Kelly surely would have won. As it was there were many claiming corrupting and that at least 30,000 Democratic votes mysteriously found there way into the Schuylkill River...the same river that Jack did his rowing on! A few years later FDR made Jack Kelly the National Fitness Director. A post that became more important than ever given the US involvement in WW2 and the need for stronger, more athletic young men.

That he fathered an eventual Princess, who also happened to be a talented Oscar winning actress and, well, one of the most beautiful women in history is, hard as it might be to believe, almost trivial by comparison. Jack Kelly's life is not only a quintessential Rocky-esque Philadelphia story, but it is in many ways the perfect example of the 'American Dream'. That the Main Line society folks, mostly borish snobs, Republican (back then) and probably anti-Catholic as well, rejected the Kelly's is not a surprise, nor is it anything less than a compliment.

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Considering that one documentary said she worked on her Philly accent during her acting training, recorded it and listened to it and succeeded in transforming it into the legendary mid-Atlantic accent of old movies I don't think it was lack of ability or drive. Rather, there were probably psychological reasons in addition to lack of immersion into a Francophone environment.

Good points. A legendary speaking voice indeed.

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I read somewhere her French improved over the years and she practised by reading (and acting out?) French plays.

Well I hear she did do some occasional acting. Maybe Alexandra's daughter Anastasia could have her taught her the language if they had only lived in the same time :-)

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But from the top of my head I can't think of any very intelligent person who struggled to learn languages.

But at the same time I can think of a number of stupid people who are bi/multilingual.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Превед

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #36 on: May 13, 2014, 04:05:05 PM »
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Are we being a bit too patriotic on behalf of a fellow Philadelphian? :-)

Oh no, I didn't mean you haven't got all right to be proud of Grace Kelly! I meant that that she was hardly aristocratic. Meritocratic, yes, as you point out, but not aristocracy. (Except for her maternal great great grandfather who was Johann Christian von Majer, Ducal Württembergian Superior Tribunal Councillor and his landed gentry descendants of Helmsdorf Castle.

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I read somewhere her French improved over the years and she practised by reading (and acting out?) French plays.

Well I hear she did do some occasional acting. Maybe Alexandra's daughter Anastasia could have her taught her the language if they had only lived in the same time :-)

I'm not sure Anastasia Nikolayevna was such a diligent student of Mr. Gilliard that she could have taught anyone French, or even speak it herself.

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But from the top of my head I can't think of any very intelligent person who struggled to learn languages.

But at the same time I can think of a number of stupid people who are bi/multilingual.

Certainly true!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 04:11:31 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2014, 06:47:53 PM »
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Oh no, I didn't mean you haven't got all right to be proud of Grace Kelly! I meant that that she was hardly aristocratic. Meritocratic, yes, as you point out, but not aristocracy.

I'm still interested in learning more about this Main Line society you speak of. How much of their objection to the Kelly family had to do with religion (Catholic) and politics (Democrat)? Or maybe it was a business dispute with Jack Kelly's construction company. It's easy to hate someone when you are opposed to their religion, politics and business practices...that's a triple whammy there!

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I'm not sure Anastasia Nikolayevna was such a diligent student of Mr. Gilliard that she could have taught anyone French, or even speak it herself.

Well, perhaps. Although she was said to have an authentic sounding French accent. But I was mostly referring to Anastasia's fondness for acting out French plays. Your comment about Princess Grace possibly learning French in such a way reminded me of this, especially given the comparisons we were making between her and Alexandra.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Превед

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2014, 09:40:32 AM »
Quote
Oh no, I didn't mean you haven't got all right to be proud of Grace Kelly! I meant that that she was hardly aristocratic. Meritocratic, yes, as you point out, but not aristocracy.

I'm still interested in learning more about this Main Line society you speak of. How much of their objection to the Kelly family had to do with religion (Catholic) and politics (Democrat)? Or maybe it was a business dispute with Jack Kelly's construction company. It's easy to hate someone when you are opposed to their religion, politics and business practices...that's a triple whammy there!

Lol, well , I don't know much about Main Line high society, you are the Philly expert!
I'm sure Catholicism was seen as problematic (perhaps it was less of a problem for French-Americans like the Bouviers?, whereas Irish = Catholic = lower class), being Democrat perhaps less so (e.g. the Roosevelts). The main problem, I think, was that they were arrivistes, nouveaux-riches. Remember it takes three generations to breed a gentleman, to wash the dirt off his hands, invest the wealth earned from (gasp!) "trade" (you'd think honest work was no better than drug dealing!) in "respectable things" like stocks, land or real estate and either live as a rentier devoted to public service or pursue a liberal profession.

It must have been hard for Irish Catholics like the Kellys, when Dutch Protestants like the Vanderbilts had problems being accepted by their very own kin in Knickerbocker society.

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I'm not sure Anastasia Nikolayevna was such a diligent student of Mr. Gilliard that she could have taught anyone French, or even speak it herself.
Well, perhaps. Although she was said to have an authentic sounding French accent. But I was mostly referring to Anastasia's fondness for acting out French plays. Your comment about Princess Grace possibly learning French in such a way reminded me of this, especially given the comparisons we were making between her and Alexandra.

You are right, I also read about that. It seems it was a popular pastime for European royals to act out French plays like Molière's Le bourgeois gentilhomme (!). Typically they preferred the French classic comédies de mœurs , while Shakespeare, Goethe and Schiller were too "brainy" and appealed more to the cultured bourgeoisie.
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2014, 01:37:20 PM »
[quote author=Превед link=topic=17347.msg535336#msg535336 date=1399926851

On a forum about Russian royals of mainly German descent at a Francophone court, vacationing in Finland, Poland and Denmark, I see it as my duty to help others learn Russian, German, French, Danish, Finnish, Swedish etc. just like I expect them to help me learn Russian through content-based learning. No better way to learn than through a subject one is already passionate about.
[/quote]

I'm sure everyone appreciates that your are passionate about the subject of Russian history as well as the subject of language and etymology. However, I do feel I need to point out the FA's past reminders to posters over the years that English is the language of the Forum regardless of what the Forum is devoted to. It also states in the Rules one of the reasons why:

"With some many people posting now, in order for the search function to work at its best to find information, we will now ask you to use these standard ENGLISH spellings when posting in the forum UNLESS directly quoting a source.  We know that these words can be spelled differently in other languages, but we want the search to return as many results as possible. "

There are log-standing rules regarding language on the Forum that I would ask all participants to abide by. Thank you.
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Offline Carolath Habsburg

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2014, 12:13:25 PM »
Happy news for Albert and Charlene!!.They re expecting their first child !!

http://www.palais.mc/fr/actualites/s-a-s-le-prince-albert-ii/evenement/2014/mai/communique-de-presse-3236.html

Congratulations!!!!

Courtesy of Grand Duchess Ally

"...Пусть он землю бережет родную, А любовь Катюша сбережет....". Grand Duchess Ekaterina Fyodorovna to Grand Duke Georgiy Alexandrovich. 1914

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Offline Grace

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2014, 12:49:51 PM »
That is indeed good news for the couple!  I'm really pleased!

It will especially mean less pressure on Charlene.  Hopefully, all goes well and a healthy child will be born.

Offline Lindelle

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #42 on: June 27, 2014, 05:08:54 AM »
I agree Grace

Offline Kimberly

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Re: The Grimaldi's of Monaco Part II
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2014, 03:49:18 PM »
Sorry, cannot do a link at the moment but it is a twin pregnancy.
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