Friday, December 15, 2006

See and Say

Un mot. Je le vois. Je le lis dans ma tête. Je le dis. A haute voix.

Trouble is, it's still not sounding très français. Soupir...

Say what you see. It's not easy unless you've already broken all the codes of pronunciation.

Normally the ultimate suggestion for learning vocabulary in languages that have gendered nouns is to learn the gender of the nouns with the nouns. A rose is not just a rose but LA rose.

Oui, but if I cannot say it correctly what use is knowing the gender?

rosé adj rose
la rosée dewdrop

roser to make pink

la roseraie rose garden

la rosace rose-window

Figuring out the pronunciation when you've never heard the word can be quite a thorny issue. At least I'd rather attempt breaking the French pronunciation code than the dictionary's official pronunciation key. These three are the pronunciation for the above five words. Can you guess which?

ro'ze roz'rɛ ro'zas

For me, French isn't "say what you see" so flash cards or lists aren't going
to help me unless they can speak. Which, on your computer- they can:

Before You Know It Flash Card Software Program (free version available)

French.About.Com Audio Dictionary

Phonétique Learning your ABCs to pronunciation (in depth!)

Ma France - BBC French Video Course Truly "see and say"

Un mot. Je le vois. Je le lis dans ma tête. Je le dis. A haute voix.

A word. I see it. I read it in my head. I say it. Aloud.

très français very french

soupir sigh

Sébastien says what we see:

La photo: Hartleys Creek Crocodile Farm, à Cairns.
Novembre 2004 En Australie.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'm lovin' it

In Canada it's c'est ça que j'm while in France it's c'est tout ce que j'aime. But actually I'm not professing love for McDonalds or its hamburgers. The "Big Mac" that has my heart is a Macintosh Powerbook G4.

For a few hours a week my Mac turns into French Learning Central. And what makes learning on a Mac even more fun? Applications! Or rather what Philippe Galmel programs and calls utilitaires.

Je vous presenté le Minuteur. I use it to time myself when studying French. It's amazing to see how much homework I can accomplish in just 15 minutes- especially when I stop, take a break and do something else and then go back for another 15-minute session. When I'm really enjoying my French diversions (balados, jeux, chansons) I'll actually time and therefore limit a nagging distraction otherwise called work.

Un minuteur is also helpful when your motivation and energy level has you dreading devoirs- you can accomplish a lot in 5 minutes, too. Just don't forget to take that break when the timer stops so you can enjoy what you've just finished. Put your feet up or set le minuteur and explore the other offerings of Monsieur Galmel: utilitaires et jeux pour mac, pc et palm; une belle collection de chansons françaises en mp3 et divers!

Tic-tac... goes the French clock!

le minuteur timer, egg timer
balados podcasts

baladodiffusion podcasting

jeux games

chansons songs

devoirs homework

belle nice (fem.)

divers miscellaneous

tic-tac tick-tock

La photo: Le coucher du soleil à la Costa del Sol en Espagne. Janvier 2006.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I find mastering the conjugation of verbs one of the most daunting tasks... ever.
In the past I learned the conjugated verb forms by rote or my version of "muscle memory": writing out the forms over and over and over...

Tactics relying on mindless repetition led to boredom but earnestly trying to understand and apply the principles of conjugation just left me with a mal de tête and anxiety: so many irregular verbs and which tense to use? Trying to make sense of it all only hampered my progress so I usually shut off my brain and memorized enough to pass my tests.

This time around I don't want to shut my mind off, strain my hand or get a headache! I'd been basically avoiding
the verb task- conjugating only when necessary.

So when I heard about the podcast Verbcast - French verbs by relaxation (merci Jim!) I knew I needed to
check it out. Who could resist: "sitting back, closing their eyes, and suddenly knowing their French verbs!" Pas moi! I want to "suddenly know" my French verbs in the four main tenses in just four weeks (5 podcasts a week). "Ooh-ooh-ooh, Mr. Kotter!"

But after listening to the first Verbcast it's more like "om, Mark Pentleton" -
and with a Scottish accent.
Relaxation and visual techniques as well as Mr. Pentleton's hypnotic voice helps you to project the verb conjugations on your "cerebral screen".

I've listened to four Verbcasts and it is truly a relaxing way to learn the verbs- so much so that I would recommend it to others who also have trouble with meditating or relaxing. You'll come away conjugating French verbs correctly and you will have learned how to focus on your breath as well as how to get away from it all.

The first podcast explains the Verbcast concept and if you aren't familiar with relaxation and visual techniques or have
never tried meditating it may be a jolt to enter the world of your cerebral screen. Hang in there, though- I think you will find the IMAX of your mind an enjoyable place to learn. I do.

un mal de tête a headache
pas moi not me

La photo: Les fleurs (inversed) dans le jardin du musée Marc Chagall, à Nice.
Juin 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Combien Tu M'aimes?

Well, to me it's not even "How Much Do You Love Me?" but "Wie Sehr Liebst Du Mich?" as I saw this French film in Germany.

I had never heard of this movie and had no expectations other than being entertained by a film à la Française. At the Cineplex, I briefly saw a poster with Monica Bellucci in profile looking pensive and alluring: she's turned her gaze to something outside of the poster, her hand to her slightly open mouth. The other French film that was playing was La Terre vue du ciel, it had an equally romantic poster showing a landscape from above in the shape of a heart.

I read a quick German synopsis of director Bertrand Blier's movie. Monica Bellucci stars as Daniela, a "Nutte", German for a prostitute. On the French movie website she's described as a Beauté professionelle. In the States- while the word "professional beauty" certainly would conjure up ladies with the voluptuous looks of Monica Belluci - wouldn't we be thinking more of beauty pageants and Miss America instead of nightclubs offering prostitutes in the window?

Bernard Campan stars as François, a Parisian office worker with a weak heart, an eye for a particular professional beauty and an offer she can't refuse: his lotto winnings until it runs out if she moves in with him. How can she say no, it's her J. O. B. ! Gérard Depardieu stars as Charly, her gangster-husband. I decided to see what Monica Bellucci, Bernard Campan and Gérard Depardieu were getting up to.

Coming out of the German-dubbed movie (sans sous-titres), my first word to describe the movie was German: "skurril". This word can be translated in English to mean comical, droll, odd, whimsical or bizarre. Yes- this movie is all that. That and all of Monica Bellucci. Many are probably familiar with Gérard Depardieu but it will be Monica Bellucci that many (certainly the men!) won't forget.

But for a climactic lesson that men shouldn't forget- it's Farida Rahouadj as François' next-door-neighbor that provides a riveting scene about "romantic arias" ending it with a simple question: "Does she roll her eyes?"

La Terre vue du ciel Earth from Above (movie title translation)

sans sous-titres without subtitles

La photo: Watching "Maya in Plane Movement" (video installation). New York City, mars 2001.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Lately, I have been struggling with trying to correctly decipher what I hear.

Les Français sur mon CD disent The French on my CD are saying :

Il a des sous. He has some coins / money.

Il l'a vue. He has seen her / He saw her.

Il s'est tu. He shut up (past tense).

Et j'entends And I hear :

Il a déçu... He disappointed....

Il avoue. He is confessing / confesses.

Il sait tout. He knows everything.

Test your hearing:

Not only do I have trouble figuring out when not to pronounce which
letters- but my tongue insists on stubbornly sounding out everything anyway!

I know that when conjugating verbs that I should not pronounce "ent": I know
"ils parlent" is pronounced "il parl" but I still end up saying "il parlehhnt" if I don't concentrate and literally bite my tongue. Heureusement, there is a proper time to pronounce the "ent" and sound super French - adverbs!

Not that I have been losing sleep over French pronunciation- but an article I stumbled on suggested all students of French may be losing weight. The headline screamed:


And Elizabeth Morgan reports:

"The answer is swallowed consonants," said Dr. Eric Gross, professor of biology at Lester College in Flint. "We're finding that the pronunciation of these sounds can induce a feeling of satiety in French speakers, and can lead, over the long-term, to lower body weight."

"Obviously, the degree of weight-loss increases in language-immersion programs, like the Lester College Junior Year Abroad in Aix-en-Provence,"
Dr. Gross said.

Too good to be true?

Heuresement thankfully, happily

La photo: Daily offering to Hindu gods. À Ubud (Bali) en Indonésia.
Septembre 2006.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"extra e"

I've become used to tagging words feminine with that "extra e":

Il est américain. Elle est américaine. He/She is american.
Il est grand. Elle est grande. He/She is tall.
Il est brun.
Elle est brune. He/She is brown-haired.

L'exception: he and I are both jeune et mince (among other exceptional

qualities). No changes there - one "e", included for both.

So it "made sense" to me that in the passé composé I would have to add that "extra e":

Il est arrivé. Elle est arrivée. He/She arrived/has arrived/did arrive.

Il est parti. Elle est partie. He/She left/has left/did leave.

But it makes no sense to me that if the helping verb is "avoir" to have - that suddenly, the "extra e" is nowhere to be found:

Il/Elle a regardé. He/She looked/has looked/did look.
Il/Elle a mangé. He/She ate/has eaten/did eat.

I won't be surprised to find that "extra e" elsewhere ... hopefully, though in another language.
One I'm conveniently not studying now.

La photo (merci monsieur_foufou): Waiting somewhere in Misiones, Argentina. En Juin 2004.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Guess Again!

I confess! When it comes to French grammar, I'm basically guessing. It's my way of building up intuition. Thinking grammar through is just not my forte. I just want to "know" what to say, say it and have it be right. I'd rather not torture my brain through analysis until minutes or hours later I can reason my way into a sentence that should be perfect... only to stumble into the l'exception pitfall. I don't have the patience for this and certainly the French, in my limited experience, don't want to witness the torture of their language either.

My teacher is explaining a few grammar points and pausing frequently to ask me if I understand. My answers go from the "uh-huh" of hopeful but questionable comprehension quickly to that of unquestionable incomprehension: "I guess... mmm... I guess..." My voice trails off wanting to stop guessing and instead think about other things: un gâteau au chocolat, Paris, l'amour...

What to learn from all of this? Today's vocabulary word: "I guess". My teacher paused, "hmmm... I guess would translate to je pense". Well, I may just start guessing everything à la française because thinking is better than "just" guessing, isn't it? Hmm, je pense...

the French we already know:

le fort forte (specialty)

l'analyse (fem)
l'exception (fem)
la patience patience

l'expérience (fem) experience

la compréhension comprehension

l'incompréhension (fem) incomprehension

penser to think, to guess

un gâteau au chocolat chocolate cake
l'amour (mas) love

La photo: Guess what? It's supposed to be œufs brouillés!
(It could pass for my brain on grammar though...)
Au Scotch Tea House, à Nice. Juin 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006


After my short holiday from learning French mutated into an extended strike - how fitting is it that my first lesson upon return is about l'imparfait?

The imperfect is not only the lapsed débutante de français, moi - but the French past tense that wants you to know there's a another reason to learn the nous and vous verb forms in the present tense.

I hadn't been bothering to completely conjugate all the verbs that I've been learning. I can speak for myself: Je parle anglais. I can turn a simple sentence into a question for my teacher: Parles-tu anglais? (in the familiar because, oui, je tutoie!). I can also tell you about somebody, he or she as easily as "je": il parle/elle parle/on parle anglais! (tu also likes sharing verb forms with je on many occassions.)

I was basically content to stumble when conjugating the nous and vous forms because they rarely came up. That is, until I took a trip into the French imperfect past. Suddenly they are the foundation upon which habits and states of beings are built - just replace the endings in the nous or vous present form:

parler = nous parlons, vous parlez we speak, you (formal) speak

boire = nous buvons, vous buvez we drink, you (formal) drink
(je bois, tu bois, il/elle/on boit, ils/elles boivent)

with the proper imperfect endings:

je parlais I was speaking, I used to speak
tu parlais
il/elle/on parlait
nous parlions
vous parliez
ils/elles parlaient

je buvais I was drinking, I used to drink
tu buvais
il/elle/on buvait
nous buvions
vous buviez
ils/elles buvaient

Of course there are exceptions... but that's when memorizing and quizzing yourself can help. Like I now have to, too. Being imperfect isn't easy.

La photo: Street Art à San Antonio, Texas. Octobre 2004.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vacation strikes!

The French usually take their vacation in August.
My mind instinctively took a vacation, too - happily following my body to Glasgow, Chicago, Jakarta and Ubud - leaving behind French grammar and homework.

But while the French returned from their holidays in September my mind turned to another French pastime and decided to follow suit: it went on strike. It decided to continue to indulge in recreation. There would be no conjugating, no adding to the vocabulary, no reviewing. There wouldn't even be the pretense of good intentions: no taking the grammar workbook only to stuff it into the literature pocket of a Recaro airplane seat behind the safety-cards; no lugging the Apple laptop poolside only to ignore the Microsoft Word document containing pages of vocabulary; not even toting the beloved Moleskine around village, town, city, or the island to jot down musings à la c'est intéressant.

I went through my days barely noticing the increasing absence of French in
my daily life. I was content with slowly acclimatizing myself to the plateau that I didn't realize I had reached: I did only half of my overdue homework, I watched a French film with German subtitles while leafing through a magazine and managed to answer only one question du jour each week, if at all. Still, I felt confident about my French- thinking it would be the bicycle I would ride effortlessly once I chose to finally get back on.

I mean, I would at least be able call up the Paris Marriott Hotel and somehow come up with
a sentence that would have me speaking to my friend in room 132, right? Crashing realization as I began with "je" followed by silence and then finally "voudrais" as I soldiered on battling more awkward silence until I finally fell apart - "..uhm aaah diiiiiire" - stretching out my words hoping to stall for some time.

The receptionist had had enough and brusquely demanded,
in perfect English, that I stop butchering a language that sounded otherwise so lovely: "please! speak English". I acquiesced and mumbled my request.

Time to get back on le vélo...

La photo: à Ubud (Bali), en Indonésie. Septembre 2006.
Le photographe: monsieur_foufou

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


To English speakers it's known as the Hippocampus.
No, I'm not talking about seahorses or hippos.

Does it sound Greek to you? Guess what, it IS! The hippocampus does take its name from the Greek: hippo = horse, kampos = sea monster.

Okay- but what's so intéressant about this "monster"?
Well, this monster is in our brain. It's the part that's responsible for memory. It can be ton meilleur ami or ton ennemi juré in language learning.

Réviser, réviser, réviser! Words of wisdom gladly repeated by teachers
everywhere. In this case, French. But what if you've reached a plateau and reviewing isn't getting you anywhere anymore?

According to Berhard Hobelsberger's article in issue three of
Brigitte Balance (bonjour aux lecteurs allemands!) there's a better way to review. And it has to do with the Hippocampus.

The Hippocampus is basically not a friend of repetition. What does that mean for those of us who want to avoid being at odds with our français and our hippocampe? It means saying the same thing in different ways - instead of just repeating the same phrase over and over - is going to help you learn it faster and better because l'hippocampe likes to hear "new" things.

Hobelsberger's other tip to get your Hippocampus friendly and listening?
Change the tone of your voice!

mon exemple:

Je crie. I scream.

Tu cries. You scream.

Nous crions tous pour une crème glacée. We all scream for ice cream.

Tu as criè, "Je veux une crème glacée". "I want ice cream", you screamed.

Tu veux crier, "crème glacée!" You want to scream "ice cream!"

repeat after him:

ton meilleur ami your best friend

ton ennemi juré your worst enemy

réviser to review

La photo: Atherton Tablelands en Australie. Octobre 2004.
Posted from the air en route to Indonesia! Merci Boeing connexion!

Friday, August 25, 2006

du jour

What does it take to make your day... Français?

I'm not in France or a French-speaking country so I cannot easily absorb French through ma vie au quotidien. The French that's available to me is limited. There's one channel on la télé that leaves me saying "huh?" after the first five minutes. Weekly rentals at my local library of les disques vidéos has me currently at letter "F". That translates to 4 movies.

And les livres? Well
I'm on page three of understanding Coke en Stock. I actually don't know what the title means. Looking it up online at WordRef and piecing it together gets me "cocaine in stock". I am definitely misunderstanding this aventure de Tintin.

Clearly, I have to make a quotidian if not herculean effort in addition to my homework to make the quantum leap in French.
The following sites help - of course the trick is to visit them tous les jours!

Mot du jour Word of the Day

or if you prefer: un mot par jour A Word per Day

La Leçon du jour Today's Lesson

La Citation du jour Daily Quote

Une lettre d'information journalière française Daily French Newsletter

Un blog par jour A Blog per Day

Photographies quotidiennes Daily photos of places in France for la inspiration
Arradon, Bastia, Cherbourg-Octeville, Paris, Rouen

du jour (actuel) current; aliment (fresh)
ma vie au quotidien my daily life

la télé television

le disque vidéo digital video disk (dvd)

le livre book

aventure de Tintin adventure of Tintin (comics)

tous les jours every day, daily; everyday, each day

La photo: Warehouse à Chicago en 1990

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Le theme de cette semaine le site d'IllustrationFriday est "play". Of course the interpretation of the word "play" is left open to the imagination. Je choisis de jouer!

Prêt à jouer? Ready to play?

les jeux informatiques français French computer games

jeu de société board games

jeu de mots word games
mots-croisés, bourreau et les mots cachés
crossword puzzles, hangman and word search

écoutez et jouez listen and play the Frenchpodclass Game 55

Le theme de cette semaine le site d'IllustrationFriday est
The theme of this week on the website IllustrationFriday is

Je choisis de jouer I choose to play!

Le dessin: made with the help of one of Jean Tinguely's drawing machines, Tinguely Museum
à Basel, en Suisse. Août 2005.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What it takes to be a man

Quelle est la différence?

He's kind and so is she. To the French: il est gentil et elle est gentille.
They are both beautiful and happy. In France: Il est beau et heureux et elle est belle et heureuse.
She's quite patient - but he?

elle, americaine: tu es impatiente!

il, française: impatient (masc.), impatiente (fem.), l'impatience

elle: you have the impatience of a woman then!
il - he smiles and chuckles. Apparently he also has a bon sens de l'humour.

It's not only the "le" that "makes a man". As with nouns, so with
adjectives: the ending separates the femmes from the hommes.

Vive la différence?

Quelle est la différence? What's the difference?

bon sens de l'humour a good sense of humor
Vive la différence! Long live the difference

La photo: on the grounds of Real Alcázar (Plaza del Triunfo) à Seville en Espagne. Janvier 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

perdre la tête

Losing your Head

It was yesterday in 1793 that Maximilien de Robespierre, became the head of the Committee of Public Safety, which led to the Reign of Terror in France. Robespierre headed the committee that was to behead more than 2000 people by guillotine. One year later- he would lose his own head as well.

It was on this day, a month ago in Nice that I saw the exhibition Perdre la tête currently at the Théâtre de la Photograhie et de l'Image (til 27 août). Get to know the streets and people of Paris: large format black and white prints of lost heads (or rather obscured - much better than being guillotined) contrasted by a series of revealing portraits (many are headshots) from Parisian photographer François-Marie Banier.

As there is no more losing heads by guillotine today- it won't be rolling heads but craziness or absentmindedness to deal with when a Frenchman declares "je perds la tête". But if the Frenchman says "tu me fais perdre la tête" with a look of mischevious madness in his eyes... well maybe you'd better head for the hills unless of course you are also éperdument amoureuse!

perdre la tête lose your head, to be forgetful
je perds la tête literally "I am losing the head" - I am going crazy; forgetting things
tu me fais perdre la tête "you make me lose the head" - meaning he has a crush on you
éperdument amoureuse a girl head over heels in love
éperdument amoureux a boy head over heels in love

La photo - Catherine Deneuve à Cannes, en Juin 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006



If you can say that three times fast with your best Frech accent and you understand what you are saying then you may be ready for writer Raymond Queneau. Doukipudonktan is the first word of Queneau's 1959 book Zazie dans le métro.

Still struggling to pronounce D'où qu'ils puent donc tant? - then perhaps you'd rather hear it than attempt to read it aloud. A year after the book's publication Philippe Noiret, as tonton Gabriel, wonders "Why do they stink so much?" in Louis Malle's film adaptation.

Zazie is essentially about a little girl who simply wants to ride the métro. That's where the simplicity stops though. The bobbed-haired heroine with a toothy grin holds her own with the grown-ups at repartee and gets herself ingeniously in and out of trouble.

For those seeking a playful introduction to nouvelle vague or looking for an amusing jaunt through Paris– follow Malle into Zazie's absurd world. In his film version Zazie outruns the adults and shows off Paris: her grand boulevards, Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, Place de la Concord, la Tour Eiffel and much more. She dodges tonton Gabriel, villians, cars, plates of sauerkraut and even pulls cartoon-style slapstick gags with the finesse of Tom and Jerry. Does she get to ride in the métro?
Watch the movie and find out the meaning of grève.

As for me, reading and pronouncing Doukipudonktan is still much easier than D'où qu'ils puent donc tant. C'est la vie d'une débutante en français– moi!

Il parle, je parle - nous parlons:

D'où qu'ils puent donc tant? (trés familier! not polite)

Pourquoi est ce qu'ils sentent aussi mauvais ? (the polite, correct form )

both mean: Why do they stink so much?

tonton (familier), oncle uncle

tante aunt

nouvelle vague French new wave (cinema)

C'est la vie d'une débutante en français– moi!

That's life for a beginner of French– me!

La photo: Sniffing mule en Australie. Octobre 2004

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'm ok, you're ok, it's ok

In French, being ok is when "it goes": ça va.

Not only can you say ça va to indicate your well-being but you can also say the movie was ok, the food was ok, the plane trip was ok... basically everything has the potential to be ok, if not "interesting".

In the present you can answer ça va to both questions :

Comment allez vous?
How are you?

Comment est le livre?
How is the book?

In the past you you have to differentiate between yourself and a thing or situation:
j'étais ok
I was ok

c'étais ok it was ok

In the future, to assure people that you will be okay or maybe assure
them that their situation or experience of something like reading that book will be ok you can say ça ira.

It's easy to be or find something ok in the present and the future: everything,
including you "is or will be going". In the past, distinctions must be made between you and it and it is a matter of "being" rather than "going". But in the end, tout est ok or even better, tout va bien!

say it loud- say it proud:

ça ira I will / it will be ok (literally "I or it will be going")
tout est ok everything is ok

tout va bien everything is good (literally "everything goes good")

La photo: Street Art à Nice, en France. Juin 2006.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A few Nice Words

Please, pretty please ... with sugar on top?

For my trip to Ville de Nice I was briefed that s'il vous plaît or je voudrais
wasn't going to cut it. It wasn't, literally, "nice" - or rather niçois, enough.

In order to get my salade niçoise with a smile, I'd have to go beyond demanding: Je voudrais une salade niçoise.

to politely asking for:
Puis-je avoir une salade niçoise?
Est-ce que je peux avoir une salade niçoise?

And if I wanted some some tap water I'd have to be extra polite and
ask with sugar on top: Est-ce que je pourrais avoir une carafe d'eau, s'il vous plaît.

If you want bottled water- just ask politely specifiying the brand: Est-ce que je peux avoir une Pellegrino?

s'il vous plaît please (formal)
s'il te plaît please (familiar)

je voudrais... I would like...

Puis-je avoir une salade niçoise?
Est-ce que je peux avoir une salade niçoise?

both mean: Can I have a salad niçoise?

Est-ce que je pourrais avoir une carafe d'eau, s'il vous plaît.

Could I have a carafe of water, please?

La photo: salade niçoise (11,60 €) et fleuers de courgettes (14,50 €) at L'Authentic: 18 bis, rue Biscarra à Nice. The most I paid for a salade niçoise but it was also the best I tasted out of four! Juin 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

La frénésie

La frénésie de la coupe du monde de football

Here is my very own World Cup Soccer Frenzy, "en français" via les liens:

A partir d'aujourd'hui jusqu'àu samedi 22 juin
Today until Saturday, June 22

You can bid on France's golden football on auction at

and since the first of this month you can support Reporters without Borders
by also buying the book "100 photos de foot pour la liberté de la presse"
“Football : 100 photos for press freedom”

Tout sur la coupe du monde 2006 All about World Cup 2006
en français:

in English

Le vocabulaire en français et en anglais Vocabulary in French and English

Le football en France Soccer in France
Literally all "about" soccer in France and two reviews of the book Football in France,,1060292,00.html

Les performances de la France jusqu'à present...
France's performance so far...

Tout sur le football bresilien en francais, anglais et portuguais
All about Brazilian soccer in French, Portuguese and English
Well, the Brazilians are the defending champions so...

drive your friends nuts- listen, memorize and repeat, repeat, repeat!!!

La photo: la couverture de l’album "100 photos de foot pour la liberté de la presse"

Friday, June 09, 2006

Reine des limonades

When I think of having a French drink- it's usually champagne that comes to mind. But when my thirst hits me in Manufactum, a store that's still in love with the quality goods of the good old days, I'm not picky. Luckily, I don't have to settle for less than the queen of lemonades.

My first glance at the bottles had me erroneously reading rien instead of reine mistaking the
queen for the "Nothing of Lemonades". Ouais- my thirst was definitely getting the better of me. I obey my thirst and grab two bottles: original lemon flavor and mandarine.

La Mortuacienne was created by Marcel Alcide Rième in 1921 in the French Jura where it's still being produced today. I'm curious to have a sip of something that's lasted this long. Both drinks are made of carbonated mineral water, sugar and citric acid. The mandarin flavor has color additives.

My first sip is "pur sucre" and reminds me of lollipops- especially the mandarin. There's no sugary aftertaste though. My thirst is quenched but I'm thinking la mortuacienne could use a little cîroc. But that's another taste test.

Ouais (marque l'accord) uh-huh (when you agree)

la mandarine mandarin

pur sucre pure sugar

La photo: Les boissons de Morteau, trouvé en Allemagne. En Juin, 2006.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Je comprends!!

Listen, learn, laugh (and read)

Ouh là! The vocabulary I've been learning lately IS coming in handy.

Not exactly talking about working the words in a French conversation but understanding them and the words that surround them. I'm grasping sentences! I know Eddie isn't talking about a "smile" under the table. I can laugh when the French laugh. Bien sûr, it helps that half the stand-up is in English.

Je comprends I understand
Ouh là wow

la vidéo: Eddie Izzard, "Dressed to Kill"
Found on the internet (You tube) today

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cat got your tongue?

You'd think that if you've heard one cat "meow"- you've heard them all. But a French cat goes "miaou".

"Here kitty kitty" or even "ici minou minou" is not going to get a French cat near you. You have to say "bi biss".

But saying "viens ici, mon minou" might get your sweetheart near you. Or not.

un chat/une chatte = a cat (m/f)
le minou = the cat, kitty cat, pussycat (m+f); can be used as a term of endearment
viens ici, mon minou = come here, my cat

Cat got your tongue could be translated with:
tu as mangé ta langue = you ate your tongue
tu as avalé ta langue = you swallowed your tongue

Animal sounds and commands from around the world

la photo: a one-eyed cat (no photoshop retouching here!)
à Neuenbürg en Allemand, en août 2002

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Who's afraid of-- a smile?

La question du jour had me thinking about creepy, crawly, slimy snakes and insects. Berk!

I shuddered at the thought and looked over the answers that were already there.
The first answer perplexed me. Les souris? Huh? I read it out loud to myself. Hmmm... sounds familiar.

Oh yeah, smile. Wait. What?! Smile? She's afraid of a smile? I read the second answer.
Someone else is afraid of this animal?! Maybe it's slang?

I looked it up online and was greeted
by smiles. Below the bright smile I found something that may indeed cause fear (although not for elephants): a mouse.

berk = yuck
le sourire = smile, grin

je souris = I smile

tu souris = you smile

la souris = mouse, computer mouse

la photo: Mascot of the Dubai Summer Surprises

aux Émirates arabes unis, juin 2005