Monday, January 29, 2007

dans ma maison

When you walk into my house you'll have to look hard to figure out that I'm learning French at home. The French section in my library is très petite: one hand-me-down French/German dictionary, a few old magazines snagged from past Air France flights, three exercise books on grammar and four books (three of which are children's books- merci à Alexandra, Peter et monsieur_foufou!). Voilà tout.

On my office wall, a few inches away from my computer screen, I have a list with French greetings and a collection of phrases for use in eMail correspondence. I used to have a list of four French verbs which I wanted to change every two weeks but I never learned from it so I took it down. I didn't need that kind of discouraging decoration.

Tucked into my carnet de Moleskine of the moment is a list of French phrases that I'm always on the lookout to sneak into some correspondence, witty banter or a post:

esprit de l'escalier "spirit of the staircase"
, repartee thought of only too late
gardez la foi
keep the faith
homme moyen sensuel the average non-intellectual man

mauvais quart d'heuere "bad quarter of an hour"
, uncomfortable though brief experience
nostalgie de la boue "nostalgia for the mud"
, homesickness for the gutter
nuit blanche "white night", sleepless night

vogue la galère "let the gallery be kept rowing"
, keep on whatever may happen!
à bon chat, bon rat "to a good cat, a good rat"
, retaliation in kind
à bras ouverts "with open arms", cordially

de mal en pis from bad to worse

écrasez l'infâme crush the infamous thing

My computer is another story. I have a lot of podcasts, songs and bookmarked sites and never enough time.

Ou est le français dans votre maison?

très petite/petit very small
voilà tout that's all

carnet de Moleskine Moleskine notebook

Ou est le français dans votre maison
And where's the French in your house?

La photo: dans la pièce dorée de L'Alhambra de Grenade, en Espagne. Janvier 2006

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Là j'étais

Out with the old, in with the new. Optimism and good intentions equal new year's resolutions. Adieu to the speechless débutante of 2006 and bonjour to niveau intermédiaire and beyond in 2007.

Sometimes though, optimism and good intentions are nowhere to be found. Maybe regret instead is damning resolutions and screaming for a time machine to fix things in the past so today or tomorrow can be better.

The talk of time travel brings me to La Jetée, a science-fiction film by Chris Marker. The film is from 1962 and I saw it for the first time in 1989. Watching it now in 2006 it still impresses me and reminds me of the initial reason why I want to learn French: cinéma.

Chris Marker's film is actually a 28-minute "photo-roman": a series of black and white photos with a voice-over and haunting music. It's a story about a post-nuclear present, a painful past and a future of peace. And as with the French- it is also a story of amour. A man travels to the past and the future to "fix" the present. In the past he falls in love and meets the woman whose face has haunted him since childhood. As a child he had seen her witness a death. It is to this past that he is sent.

So there YOU are- if you really had a time machine, would you fix the problems of yesterday for a better today?

niveau intermédiaire

The French we know:
l'optimisme (mas) optimism
l'intention (fem) intention

la science-fiction science-fiction

le film film

initial initial

la photo photo

la jetée dock, jetty

là j'étais there I was

La Photo: Parc national du Grand Canyon, Nord-Ouest de l'Arizona. Juin 1991.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Best of 2006

Le Theme de cette semaine sur Photo Friday est "Best of 2006". The picture I've picked probably does not speak the same proverbial thousand words, especially French, to everyone so I'm going to just list some words (not a thousand and not all French!) that meant something to the Francophile in me in 2006.

Learn French at Home
Stéphanie et Céline
C'est intéressant That's interesting, It's interesting
Adieu farewell

Aimer to like, to love

Pourquoi pas? Why not?

essayer to try

c'est marrant it's fun

FrenchPodClass avec Sébastien

Mieux vaut tard que jamais (literally = Late is worth more than never)
Better late than never

voyager to travel
Nice, Cannes, L'Esterel, Theoule, Saint Raphael en France!
Merci por ton aide Thanks for your help

I would also love to add the names of the readers, commenters and those who've
written to me per eMail- you know who you are! Merci! You've helped make my French Learning fun!

La photo: à Bali, en Indonésie. Septembre 2006.