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I have always wondered whether there is an English translation of Grothendieck's EGA (Elements de Geometrie Algebrique) available. Does anyone know whether there is and if so where I can find it? If not, are there English texts that cover similar material to the EGA that you would recommend? (My knowledge of French is very rudimentary, and while I can roughly make meaning out of some (non-mathematical) passages, it seems (from what I have heard) that some mastery of French is necessary to leisurely read the EGA.)

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Anyone who told you mastery of French is necessary doesn't know what they're talking about. I cannot read a French menu or anything "real", but mastered EGA and read lots of SGA. I skip words when context makes it clear what is going on. I pay no attention at all to endings, or really any point of French grammar whatsoever (since I don't know any). Just take English and French copies of a book of Serre and make index cards of the basic little words. It's really not that hard; just need practice. If you plan to use such math, you need to read papers in that kind of math French. – BCnrd Jul 13 '10 at 1:56
If you learned enough Latin in your English (as it were) then mathematical French is not that big a jump, especially if you have -- as Brian suggests -- a sample of mathematical French that you either know well or have an accurate translation of. Oh, and "soit" = "let (it be)". – Yemon Choi Jul 13 '10 at 2:11
By the way, just so I am not misunderstood, I am not suggesting that it is a bad idea to learn French. Au contraire, it is a beautiful-sounding language and I really wish I had learned it. But it's sort of "too late" for me. On the other hand, if you really are 15 as you indicate, then by all means go for it (and for goodness' sake, please learn more basic things in math like classical algebraic geometry before delving into this fancy stuff; otherwise you may discover one day that your head screwed on backwards; there is really no rush to be blasting so far ahead). – BCnrd Jul 13 '10 at 2:42
BCnrd, I did precisely what you suggest using Serre's "Linear representations of finite groups" and some analysis book (Dixmier's?) some 15 years ago in preparation to French competency exam at Yale, which usually consisted of translating a page of a math book for a professor who'd agree to "give" it. It worked beautifully! I didn't have the balls to ask Lang, and fortunately, the book I got wasn't EGA :) – Victor Protsak Jul 13 '10 at 4:07
These days I think you might be able to get away with switching back and forth between the English and French versions of the Wikipedia article on algebraic geometry. – Qiaochu Yuan Jul 13 '10 at 5:07

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