Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pour les intellectuels

In the late 1980's there was an anti-drug television and poster campaign that was all over America: This is Your Brain on Drugs.

Vous rappelez-vous? It involves an egg and a frying pan. A man shows us an egg and says "This is your brain". He shows us the frying pan and says "This is drugs". He cracks open the egg and drops it into the very hot frying pan and says "This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?"

Well you might be questioning what is today's picture all about. C'est mon cerveau pendant l'immersion française.

In June I was in the French Alps again for another French immersion. It's the second day of my weeklong program. We are dealing with pronouns. Grammar! I need something to fortify and soothe my nerves while dealing with pronouns.

I go into the kitchen and put the théière on the stove to heat the water. I go back into the "grammer room" to review and learn more about pronouns: subject, direct and indirect, reflexive, imperitive and disjunctive. Disjunctive? They are also aptly called stressed pronouns!

Soudainement, je me rappelle... oui, la théière! I run to the kitchen and there I see: my brain on French pronouns! My French teacher's wife is more positive- she sees the tea kettle, smiles and exclaims "les intellectuels"!

C'est mon cerveau pendant l'immersion française It's my brain on (literally "during the") French immersion

Vous rappelez-vous? Do you remember? (formal form)

Soudainement, je me rappelle... Suddenly, I remember...

la théière tea kettle

All about This is Your Brain on Drugs

at drugfree.org

Les Pronoms (in English)

On About.com - French section

On Geocities.com

More on stressed pronouns

On About.com

Free action sets for making the tea kettle "lovely & ethereal"

à la Pioneer Woman

La Photo: Saint-Pierre-en-Faucigny, Juin 2009.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Rie Rasmussen stars in French director Luc Besson's film Angel-A. You might look at her and be impressed by her beauty (yes, she's modelled) or her height- especially in this film since it seems to be in a starring role itself. You might be impressed by her acting.

The movie is shot in black and white in Paris. It's very poetic and funny. It's also shot in French.

Rie Rasmussen was sent an English script and offered the part. She said yes instead of "oui" because she couldn't speak French then.

Rembobiner. Oui! So I go look take a look at that film again. Not only does she speak French in the film but in the features on the DVD, she's speaking partly in French, too. She looks relaxed. She definitely doesn't come off as someone who's struggling with the language.

Googler. 1 month to 3 and 1/2 months. Depending on which interview you read- that's how fast she learned French for her role. She did admit in an interview that learning French was the hardest part of the film project for her. How did she do it? She immersed herself: went to Paris, had a coach, made French friends. Not to mention that she had as motivation the paid opportunity to work with a famous director.

Not all of us are going to be as lucky as that- to find heavenly circumstances in which to learn French. Still we can watch the results of one woman's success and perhaps find inspiration in that.

rembobiner to rewind (tape, film)

googler found this on the online dictionary as the equivalent of the accepted American verb to google® but there is still debate as to how commonly it is used in France.

chercher sur google search on google

View the trailer to Angel A in French with English subtitles

More on Rie Rasmussen and a little about her learning French on:

More on "google" being declared a verb


La photo: Un macaque de Barbarie à Rocamadour dans la forêt des singes. Mai 2009; merci Mr_FF