102 entries from srah blah blah tagged with 'french':


I think I am right in saying that there is only one here who will understand this stupid joke

Where does an Arab pirate live when he's not sailing the high seas? داررررررر! Where does a French pirate live when he's not sailing the high seas? Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrles! And for all of you English-speakers, who's a pirate's favorite elephant? Babarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!...

srah - Tuesday, 19 September 2006 - 6:39 AM
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Aux langues, les citoyens!

Je pense que je vous ai dit que je vais commencer à étudier l'arabe en automne. J'ai déjà rencontré le prof; il paraît très sympa et ça m'interesse beaucoup d'étudier le Moyen-Orient et le monde arabophone¹ et de mieux comprendre ces cultures-là. Mais c'est la langue qui me fait peur! Tout le monde m'a dit que l'arabe est très très très difficile et qu'il va me falloir dix ans pour le parler couramment. Ah bon? Il m'a fallu à peu près neuf ans pour parler couramment le français (une langue qui est beaucoup plus proche de l'anglais), alors je suppose...

srah - Tuesday, 25 July 2006 - 7:14 PM
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Adventures in francophonie

Montreal is awesome. I am doing better than expected with speaking French - instead of avoiding French altogether I string together these mangled franglais thoughts in my mind and occasionally spew them out to whoever my victim is. Example: Shuttle driver with French-Canadian accent: Which hotel are you going to? Me: Le Fairmont Reine Elizabeth¹. SDWFCA: Fairmont Reine Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth? Me: Oui. Yes. SDWFCA: Vous parlez français? You speak English? Me: (stammers) Oui. Yes. Les deux. Both. Je parle... I speak, yeah. So yeah, that was clear. And efficient. Let's speak both languages at once! And translate for ourselves!...

srah - Wednesday, 24 May 2006 - 6:31 PM
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Parlez-vous quebecois?

No, not so much. I am off to the Great White North on Tuesday for a conference followed by some Staying Around and Sightseeing. Youpi! So far I have made all of my Montreal hotel reservations in English. I am a-feared of the Quebecois French. I'm afraid of all their funny ways of saying things and their different accent and their reputation for looking down on French-from-France and for speaking perfect accentless English to people who try to speak French to them. I was telling someone at dinner that I might just chicken out and try to pass myself off...

srah - Saturday, 20 May 2006 - 12:24 PM
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Small Town America?

Once upon a time, several months ago, I heard two girls speaking French in Kroger and turned around and looked at them. Frenchies in the Town I Live In (TILI)! Only one of them really made an impression, and I think it's because she looks familiar but I can't put my finger on who she resembles. I saw the same girl walking down the street later that day. I've seen her maybe once or twice around town in the past couple of months, but things have picked up again. I noticed her Friday night when she walked past the coffee...

srah - Sunday, 8 January 2006 - 10:05 AM
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In which my neighbor makes an honest woman of me

Remember all that delicious Internet I was stealing? Well now, two and a half months later, it's all come to an end. It was working fine at the beginning of the week, but since about Wednesday, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I can't hear myself think because half of my brain is trying to eavesdrop on the two girls speaking French across the room! Anyway, since about Wednesday I haven't been able to connect. I think my Internetful neighbor has moved away. How I'll miss him! So this weekend I'm off to the Cable Modem Store to buy a cable modem (I tried eBay...

srah - Friday, 6 January 2006 - 8:32 PM
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Lost and found

I cleaned off my desk last night. To some of you, this may be a throwaway comment about the status of my moving efforts. Those of you who have seen my desk will realize what an undertaking this was. I haven't seen the surface of this desk in over three years. As I got to the bottom levels, I started discovering cards from my college graduation in 2002. This desk was piled in papers, to the point where I felt like it was impossible to tackle. But I have tackled it and wrestled it into some semblance of order, put...

srah - Tuesday, 11 October 2005 - 9:38 AM
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Vendredi

Vendredi, enfin! Cette Semaine de Langues a été très populaire et je vous remercie d'avoir participé: AnP, Armin, Christina, Elemmaciltur, In Actual Fact, J, Jamie, Jen, Katie, Marisa, Noor, Patricia, Renee, Scott et Stuart. (Écrivez-moi si j'ai oublié quelqu'un!) Et je voudrais remercier aussi quelqu'un qui m'a beaucoup aidé et m'a soutenu cette semaine: [Read the extended entry for English translation; click the Language Week icon for an explanation]...

srah - Friday, 8 July 2005 - 1:06 PM
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Jeudi

J'ai passé toute la journée à regarder les nouvelles de Londres à la télé (même s'il n'y avait pas vraiment de nouvelles, parce que rien n'a changé depuis le matin londonien!) et le résultat, c'est que j'ai oublié d'écrire l'article de jeudi. Alors le voilà, très tôt vendredi matin. Comme j'ai dit hier, je suis allée à la bibliothèque pour chercher un dictionnaire espagnol-anglais. Ce que je n'ai pas dit, c'est lorsque j'étais là, devant les livres et les cassettes de langues étrangères, j'ai pris le décision d'étudier une autre langue. J'ai tenté d'apprendre des langues plusieurs fois dans ma...

srah - Friday, 8 July 2005 - 12:11 AM
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Mardi

Punaise, que je suis nulle! Je viens de decouvrir que j'avais supprimé le fil RSS de Kim de mon agrégateur sans me rendre compte. Ça explique, un peu, pourquoi je n'ai pas eu de nouvelles de sa part depuis quelques semaines (je dépend des fils RSS!). Craints pas, cherie! Je t'ai rajouté et j'ai ajouté le fil de from rooster to donkey en plus. Alors, c'est assez difficile de bloguer tous les jours en anglais et c'est même plus difficile en langue étrangère. Mais aujourd'hui c'est Kim qui est mon sauveur (ma sauveuse?), parce qu'elle m'a transmis une mème en...

srah - Tuesday, 5 July 2005 - 5:00 PM
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Lundi

(Voilà le début de la Semaine des Langues chez srah blah blah. Je vois qu'il y a, déjà, beaucoup plus de participants que la dernière fois et je vous remercie! Parmi ces participants: Anyhoo, Armin, christina, Elemmaciltur, in actual fact, J, Jamie, katie, Marisa, patricia, Renee et Stuart) Alors, aujourd'hui on est le 4 juillet, la fête nationale des États-Unis. Notre famille vient de visionner 1776, l'un de nos films préférés, et ce qui est devenu une activité traditionnelle pour fêter le 4 juillet chez nous. L'été dernière j'étais en France et j'ai passé la plupart de notre fête nationale...

srah - Monday, 4 July 2005 - 6:46 PM
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On thought and language... I guess

In French, herbal tea is a tisane, whereas real tea is thé. I like that they have two different words for it, because herbal tea is for suckahs and when you're really desperate. It seems like by having two words, there would be less confusion and you could more easily express the idea that you want REAL TEA as opposed to herbal. Unfortunately, in my experience it doesn't make things any easier because a tisane is usually still considered a kind of thé. I don't know what my point was... probably something about Sapir/Whorf and cultural understanding across languages. But...

srah - Monday, 14 March 2005 - 5:03 PM
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Go north, young woman

For some reason, channel 54 is coming in clearly today. Channel 54 is the French-language CBC station from Ontario that usually comes in as fuzzy French playing over a field of snow. Today, for some reason, the picture is visible and the sound is audible. Today, it's watchable. And watchèd, dear readers. And watchèd. Hooray! Television! In French! Sometimes we get Canadian public television in French, but the advantage of CBC is that there are commercials! In French! My dad and I have been sitting here, trying to decipher the news for about an hour. The only problem is... Canadian...

srah - Tuesday, 1 February 2005 - 11:08 PM
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Lost, in translation

I am an upstanding member of the community and would never do anything wrong. But if, theoretically, I had decided well into the season that I wanted to see the deserted-island drama Lost and had downloaded or was currently downloading the first eleven episodes, then what follows is what I would think of the episodes that I had seen (but of course, you understand, it's completely hypothetical because I would never ever download TV shows from the Internet): Alfie and I were watching episode 3 today and noticed that the supervising producer is Javier Grillo-Marxuach. I love it when his...

srah - Thursday, 23 December 2004 - 6:35 PM
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Language Week 2,2

Thanks to Jez, Stuart and pea for participating! If you're playing along in your blog, please let me know! Une experience intéressante... j'ai écrit l'article en anglais, et puis je l'ai traduit en français lors de son enregistrement. Vous pouvez écouter cet article (j'ai dit 'poste' dans l'enregistrement, parce que je n'avais pas encore cherché la traduction) en français, et puis le lire en anglais dans l'entrée étendue*. ––––– * Note to manager of the Multilingual Bloglossary: Why is it an "article" but an "entrée" étendue?...

srah - Tuesday, 31 August 2004 - 11:11 PM
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'Ici tout est... doux... et lisse...'

In case you were curious, Attaque des Clones is just as rotten as Attack of the Clones. Anakin Skywalker is just as awful and creepy (perhaps moreso, speaking French whilst leering), Jar Jar Binks was just as annoying, and I still hate hate hate George Lucas. On the other hand, I did learn how to say "bounty hunter" in French: un chasseur de prime. And seriously, when you are learning valuable vocabulary like that, who cares if the movie sucks? I do. That's who....

srah - Monday, 16 August 2004 - 7:34 PM
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Queue faites-vous?

Once my professor explained that he was going to be using the word "queue" in the British sense, it was all downhill from there. My friend-and-fellow-French-major and I had the same thought process, wherein we said to ourselves, The British sense? What other sense is there? ... Well... there's the French sense... (lock eyes, erupt in immature giggles). For you see, the French word "queue" can be a line that you stand in or it can be an animal's tail. Oh yeah, or slang for "penis." From then on, any mention of the penultimate entry in a list, slow or...

srah - Friday, 26 March 2004 - 4:18 PM
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Le chien chaud, as our amis quebecois would say

I bought a hot dog from a street vendor today. Yeah, I know, I'm not a big hot dog eater. It surprised me, too, but the onions smelled yummy and sometimes you have to try to act normal and not ask for just a bun full of grilled onions. "Do you want a @#xy&6$ or a iej30#72@?" he asked me. "Comment?" I asked, not hearing or understanding the choices he was giving me. "What?" "Uh... I mean... 'What?'" I clarified. Sometimes the French just pops out uncontrollably and I don't know what to do with myself. Turns out he was...

srah - Thursday, 16 October 2003 - 1:05 PM
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Remember, children: real culture before pop culture

I went with my parents to Amadeus, a lovely restaurant specializing in eastern and central European food. Like many restaurants in Europe, it is a small place and is served by only one waiter. The decor is somehow old-fashioned enough to seem authentic and they have cans and glasses instead of fountain drinks. It's a very nice, familiar atmosphere. My family quite enjoyed our potato schnitzel, pierogi and salads while listening to the live piano music. I recognized a few pieces and went on with my meal, then heard what I have now been able to identify as Chopin's Étude...

srah - Sunday, 14 September 2003 - 3:48 PM
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Trawling in Tree Town

On the way to the dentist's office this morning, I had a conversation in my head with fellow SI students about What To Do in Ann Arbor. Well, I explained to them, if you're looking for a really good cheese selection, I'd try Zingerman's or Big Ten. But I guess you're probably not. I'm better to ask about practical things like that than, say, which clubs to go to. I'm not really into going out and wiggling around in a little tiny top, trying to drag all the mecs. This seemed like a perfectly normal thing to say until I...

srah - Friday, 29 August 2003 - 2:10 PM
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Rhetorical Butler

Or question. But "rhetorical" makes me think of "Rhett", so I went with it. If something that's cheap is bon marché, can something that's a really good deal be described as super marché?...

srah - Wednesday, 20 August 2003 - 9:59 AM
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À la Jerry Bruckheimer

Everything sounds more romantic and lovely in French. I have downloaded a clip from Tout le monde en parle where Jean-Claude Van Damme is one of the guests. Mmmmm, Jean-Claude Van Damme in French. WHAT????...

srah - Thursday, 7 August 2003 - 10:19 PM
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Learning is fun!

To be added to srah's list of favorite French words: dédaigneusement....

srah - Monday, 28 July 2003 - 10:19 AM
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Votre dévouée élève, qui vous aime de tout son coeur

While reading The Professor (thanks for suggesting it, Katie), I was full of fantasies about updating it (à la Pride & Prejudice/Bridget Jones), writing a novel loosely based on it, or bringing it to the big screen. The book is about an Englishman who is unhappy in his work, so he goes off to Belgium and teaches English. I like it despite the protagonist's airs of grandeur, because there are parts that remind me of my experiences as a teaching assistant in France. No man likes to acknowledge that he has made a mistake in the choice of his profession,...

srah - Thursday, 24 July 2003 - 12:07 AM
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To speak, or not to speak?

When Robin and I bought crêpes at Art Fair, the fellow making the crêpes had a French accent. I wanted to speak French to him, but I couldn't think of anything to say. Afterwards, I told my mother how I was kicking myself for having said nothing and my mom was disappointed. She thinks that I should use my powers for good whenever I have the chance. I think she fears that if I don't get into the practice of using them for good, I'll turn to evil. No one wants to be Lex Luthor's mom. I myself was disappointed...

srah - Tuesday, 22 July 2003 - 5:54 PM
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Says the pro/am translator:

Another of my favorite French words: nombreux. I like it because it sounds nice and because it is one of the unusual adjectives that goes before the noun....

srah - Tuesday, 22 July 2003 - 11:02 AM
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Toutes les grandes personnes ont d'abord été des enfants

I am rediscovering my love for Le petit prince. Unlike a lot of people I know, I didn't read The Little Prince as a kid. I wasn't even aware of it until we read it in my tenth grade French class. I quite enjoyed it, but I hadn't given it much thought in a while. Est-ce que mon dessin vous a fait peur?/ Pourquoi un chapeau ferait-il peur? There's now a French spectacle musicale based on the musical. We bought my sister the soundtrack, only to discover that she had a negligent tenth grade French teacher (this is saying a...

srah - Friday, 11 July 2003 - 12:56 PM
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Language Week: Friday

(Except posted on Saturday, because we were having Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and a National Holiday on Friday.) Bon, ben, voilà, je suis trop paresseuse pour écrire en espagnol, même si j'ai inventé cette semaine pour pratiquer cette langue-là. C'est trop difficile sans dictionnaire, et je n'ai pas très envie de chercher chaque mot sur Babelfish. Je suis très heureuse d'avoir réçu un mél d'Agnès, qui m'a dit que les résultats des examens finaux au lycée ont été affichés et qu'elle me les a envoyés. En travaillant en France, ça m'a choqué que là-bas, les résultats des examens sont affichés, sont...

srah - Saturday, 5 July 2003 - 11:27 AM
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Language Week: Wednesday

No tengo muchas cosas que decir en español, y no tengo más vocabulario en chino, entonces hoy voy a escribir en el idioma francés, lo que conozco bien porque lo he estudiado desde la media de mi vida. J'aime bien la chanson Mon fils, ma bataille de Daniel Balavoine. C'est une chanson qui parle d'un père divorcé qui risque de perdre son fils, comme dans le film Kramer vs. Kramer. Mais ce qui me gène, c'est le refrain, qui raconte « Je vais tout casser/ si vous touchez/ aux fruits de mes entrailles/ fallait pas qu'elle s'en aille ». En...

srah - Wednesday, 2 July 2003 - 7:12 PM
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Drie scheuren in het fudament der Gereformeerde waarheid

I read a Dutch card-catalogue card out loud to my mother, who told me I sounded like I was speaking French. I realized my mistake and changed my Rs from the voiced uvular fricative to flapped ones (language nerd! language nerd!), and felt like I was speaking Spanish. I read Spanish with a French accent, Dutch with a Spanish one, and French with a strange one that no one can identify, but definitely sounds foreign. I strive to be a mutant in all languages....

srah - Tuesday, 1 July 2003 - 11:35 AM
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Je n'attends pas de toi que tu me comprennes

I think Nature needs more music. None of this birds chirping nonsense - when I am romping and frolicking on rolling green hills, I want Jacques Brel's Quand on n'a que l'amour playing on large invisible speakers and soundtracking my life. In other French music news, I bet ma place would be a good song for teaching the subjunctive....

srah - Monday, 16 June 2003 - 4:25 PM
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Hé mec, elle est où ma caisse?

As Katie shared hers, so shall I share my French clash exshperiences. I am trying to alliterate. First of all, I never wanted to take French in the first place. I wanted to take Latin, because Latin sounded like a smart-people language. Who wants to take a language you can actually use when you could, instead, learn obscure word origins and lord your vast knowledge of useless Latin phrases over people? Then only four people signed up for Latin, so they cancelled it and I had to pick another class. Fine, I thought to myself, I'll settle for stupid French......

srah - Monday, 16 June 2003 - 9:09 AM
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"Je ne sais pas pourquoi le monde est devenu un tel bordel"

We went to see L'Auberge Espagnole last night at the lovely mall theatre. I've been talking sans cesse about this film, so I suppose I owe it to you to tell you about it. Xavier is a young Frenchman who wants a job with the French Ministry of Something Or Other. He talks to a friend of son père at the Ministry, who would like to hire him but with the European Union and blah blah blah, in short it would be easier for him to get this job if he spoke fluent Spanish and understood the Spanish economic system....

srah - Thursday, 5 June 2003 - 9:28 AM
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Allez-les... whoever

It amuses me and confuses French students of English and anglophone students of French that the French verb supporter, rather than meaning "to support" means "to put up with". However, to talk about football fans, the French have borrowed the English word supporters and frangled it into the French term supporteurs. It makes me giggle to imagine French football "fans" in the stands, looking at their watches and loudly asking, "Is it over yet?"...

srah - Thursday, 29 May 2003 - 3:16 PM
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As if I haven't quoted enough songs lately

I hadn't missed speaking French as much as I thought I would. I hadn't had a nervous breakdown and taken to wearing a tinfoil hat and muttering to myself in the corner. Then I listened to La pêche à la ligne on my headphones. ... C'est à peine l'aurore/ Et je tombe du plume/ Mon amour dort encore/ Du sommeil de l'enclume/ Je la laisse à ses rêves/ Où je n' suis sûrement pas/ Marlon Brando l'enlève,/ Qu'est c' que je foutrais là ?/ Sur un cheval sauvage,/ Ils s'en vont ridicules/ Dehors y a un orage,/ Y sont mouillés...

srah - Wednesday, 21 May 2003 - 4:00 PM
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Re-band-meme

A year ago, I did the band meme. So I will do it again today, but in French. This year's victim is, of course, Renaud. 1. Are you male or female? "Femmes du monde ou bien putains/ qui, bien souvent, êtes les mêmes/ Femmes normales, stars ou boudins/ femelles en tout genre, je vous aime" (Miss Maggie) 2. Describe yourself: "Moi j'étais rien-du-toutiste." (Socialiste) 3. How do they feel about you? "Arrache toi d' là t'es pas d' ma bande/ Casse toi tu pues/ Et marche à l'ombre" (Marche à l'ombre) 4. How do you feel about yourself? "J' peux...

srah - Tuesday, 6 May 2003 - 8:55 AM
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No hablo inglés

I'm going to continue saying "pardon" when I bump into people. I'm just going to say it for the rest of my life and you can't stop me. We are somewhere over Iceland and I don't know what time to write for this post. Is it 1:12pm? Is it 7:12pm? Is it whatever it would be in Iceland time?...

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 1:12 PM
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Free German food is better than no free food at all...?

It suddenly occurs to me that while I took advanced math classes until 8th grade, repeated Algebra instead of taking Geometry at the high school, and began the slippery slope to math-hatred, I could have done the same with French. In 9th gradem I had the choice between French 2 and French 2AC (accelerated). Having no self-confidence, I signed up for French 2 and got bored and frustrated with the French level of my classmates. Thankfully I had friends in 2AC who persuaded me to move up. If I had stayed in French 2, I imagine I would have gotten...

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 9:20 AM
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The word is trouvé

Renata, a correspondance is called a connection or a connecting flight in English. Someday we will master English again....

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 7:05 AM
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If it pleases you

The French-speaking Belgians say s'il vous plaît for everything. I'm not sure if it means "please", "thank you", "you're welcome", "here you go", or all four. People keep saying it to me as they hand me my change....

srah - Tuesday, 29 April 2003 - 4:06 AM
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Four-twenties Walloons baked in a pie

Damn. According to the tourist guide Christianna lent me, Walloons have changed the numbers for 70 and 90, but not 80....

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 3:36 AM
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"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

Belgium is a fascinating place. I may have a skewed impression, considering my hosts are Flemish, but it seems that the French-speaking minority forces the Flemish-speaking majority to submit to their language when the conflict comes up, and the multilingual flamands give in. Now I get to represent two overbearing, aggressive languages here in the the Flemish town of Antwerp, when I try to me débrouiller alone in town....

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 7:11 PM
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Mad American

I made an ass of myself by asking the Information Man at the train station a completely ridiculous and random question that turned out to have a completely obvious and stupid answer. I was waiting for Christianna and Robbie, who were running late. I had already bothered the Information Man once to page them, then he saw that I was still there but I explained that I'd had her on the phone and that she was just running late. I had been trying to figure out the Belgian name for the number 80. Whereas the French call 70 soixante-dix, 80...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 6:38 PM
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"I can't believe I ate the whole gopher"

In Belgium, you can buy waffles from a vending machine. Is this a great country or what? I am also quite content to be in a country where I can say nonante for 90 instead of quatre-vingts-dix. I don't know where this desire to say nonante comes from, as I've never spent any significant time in Belgium or Switzerland, but it makes so much more sense than the ridiculous compound "four twenties and ten" numbers the French use....

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 3:04 PM
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I am the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

Just in case you, like me, have a mental block for a good half hour because you can only remember eight of the nine planets in our solar system, I present them to you (in Order As I Remember It): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune (the elusive ninth one), Uranus, Pluto. Or, if you prefer: Mercure, Vénus, Terre, Mars, Jupiter, Saturne, Neptune, Uranus, Pluton. Because here at srah blah blah, we are multi-lingual like that, even if we aren't terribly branchée on the scientific. Boo-yeah....

srah - Saturday, 26 April 2003 - 6:22 PM
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Thirsty?

Renaud was so adorable in Wanted that we squealed whenever he came onscreen. I was in a Renaud mood when I got home, so I put on the Best of '75-'85 CD I burned from Renata. In Dès que le vent soufflera, Renaud sings "La mer, c'est dégueulasse/ Les poissons baisent dedans." In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, after Indy bluffs to the Germans that Marcus Brody will blend in and disappear in Egypt, it flashes to Marcus in Cairo, looking for someone who speaks English or ancient Greek. When someone offers him some water, if you listen carefully,...

srah - Sunday, 20 April 2003 - 5:46 PM
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In case you were wondering...

The English and French equivalents of to suave up/suaver were invented on the way home from Thiers. They are, respectively, to englarm/englarmer and to fratouille/fratouiller. Use them at your discretion....

srah - Thursday, 17 April 2003 - 9:49 AM
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Movie night

We saw the Club Cinéma movie Mies vailla menneisyyttä tonight. I am now fascinated by Finland and the language, and even more fascinated by the fact that French has two different words for the people (finlandais) and the language (finnois) of the country....

srah - Tuesday, 15 April 2003 - 5:46 PM
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Mon blason

Arlequin m'a fait un blason personnalisé. "Ben dis donc!" as we learned to say in the "euuuuuuuh" lesson of high school French. Yes, we had an "euuuuuuuuuuuh" lesson in high school French, and I found it very valuable. We actually watched a whole video of French people saying "euuuuuh" in order to learn that we should make that sound instead of the "uhhhh" sound when we were thinking about what to say next. It was very helpful with pronunciation and saying "euuuuh" keeps you in the French mindset while you're searching for the next word. Whatever. It works....

srah - Tuesday, 15 April 2003 - 9:22 AM
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Rico...

Thanks to Alex and the continued efforts of the assistantes amérivichyssoises to mangle and reinvent the English language, a new expression has been born: to suave someone up. Suaving someone up consists of speaking Spanish in an effort to seduce them. We have also invented the equivalent French verb suaver, which we repeat loudly and often in front of the other assistants, who never ask us what we're talking about because they have learned to ignore us. We are now in search of a word that would mean "speaking French in an effort to seduce someone". We decided that fuaver...

srah - Tuesday, 15 April 2003 - 5:23 AM
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Les fumistes fumeurs

It's amazing that one can study a language for twelve years, live immersed in it for two, and still discover words that one didn't know or had always misunderstood. When my colleagues at the lycée described students as fumistes, I always connected it with the verb fumer and between that and the context of the sentence, took it to mean "someone who does nothing but sit around all day and smoke". Possibly specifically smoke pot, but I wasn't sure. Now in my slang dictionary, I have discovered that I had the general idea right, but I was still off. The...

srah - Saturday, 12 April 2003 - 6:32 AM
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Note to students discovering my site for the first time

Si j'accomplis une chose cette année, je voudrais que vous reteniez ces deux mots et que vous cessiez de dire le mot français avec une prononciation anglaise: interessant interesting et soucis worries. Interessant and soucis do not exist in English, and it is my mission in life to prevent you from using them. Have a good vacation and go sign my guestbook....

srah - Thursday, 10 April 2003 - 10:32 AM
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The final Thursday

When I first arrived at the school, I said that one of my hobbies was making websites, and I wrote the address on the board. Now, at the last session of each class, I write my email address and website address on the board so that my students can keep in touch, and give them a little song and dance about how this is the last time I'm going to see them and if they'd like to keep in contact with me, they can find me there. "C'est quoi, ça?" they ask. "Ben... c'est mon adresse de courrier électronique et...

srah - Thursday, 10 April 2003 - 10:31 AM
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There is shampooing on my smoking! Send it to the pressing!

What is with the French language's tendency to turn English -ing verbs into nouns, then apply them to things that make no sense to English speakers? I can think of four examples off the top of my head: un pressing, un brushing, un smoking, and - to a lesser extent of miscomprehension - du shampooing. I don't mind borrowing per se, but my students recognize the English origins in the words and can't believe that we don't say it in the same way - or that it means absolutely nothing to an English speaker....

srah - Friday, 28 March 2003 - 5:07 AM
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'French is hard,' says Barbie

How do you say "Is there supposed to be...?" in French? As in "Are there supposed to be 20 unaccompanied students in this computer lab on a Wednesday afternoon?" I think it's "Est-ce qu'il est censé y avoir...?", but when I say it, it always comes out as something like "Est-ce qu'il y a censé y avoir...?" Perhaps I should just say "Est-ce qu'il est normal qu'il y ait...?" Or is it "qu'il y a"? I give up....

srah - Wednesday, 26 March 2003 - 11:11 AM
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Some words I like

I just like the sound of these words: mélanger, sosie, feutre, and fauteuil. What words do you like?...

srah - Monday, 24 March 2003 - 2:40 PM
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La semaine française

It's French Week at Idle Words. And Idle Words links to Textism, who blogs pretty one day. I was excited about finding these sites earlier, but now I don't feel like being excited about anything. I feel like nothing. Sorry....

srah - Thursday, 20 March 2003 - 5:27 AM
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Vichy soie

Did you know that vichy is the French name for the fabric we call gingham? That makes me wonder if we used to call it vichy ourselves, and the name got changed during WWII, like calling sauerkraut "victory cabbage" or German shepherds "Alsatians"....

srah - Monday, 10 March 2003 - 12:57 PM
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Dirty-minded American

I thought the little girl in the train from Grenoble to Paris said of her inflatable toy "Non, c'est un fourmis. L'extra-terrestre était violé." No, it was violet. Too many Raelians... I'm confused....

srah - Sunday, 23 February 2003 - 5:31 AM
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Thoughts from the bathroom

S'il y avait pas de PQ, Ça me ferait pas chier. I'm not even going to translate it into English, because it's not funny in English. It's hardly funny in French. In other linguistic news that is only humorous to myself, the word "transpire" means "happen" in English and "sweat" in French....

srah - Friday, 21 February 2003 - 10:05 AM
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Post in a southern accent

Je bosse demaing mating pour gagner mon paing quotidieng. And as long as we're at it, I'll have that bread with some ving from St-Pourçaing. It would have been amusing to have been placed somewhere where people talked like that. In the Bourbonnais, we just have odd expressions like ça neige....

srah - Tuesday, 18 February 2003 - 3:15 AM
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Please leave a message after the blah blah

Déjà, j'aime pas parler au téléphone et en plus, je deteste parler aux repondeurs parce que je raconte toujours un peu n'importe quoi. And for the Anglophones in the audience: I hate talking on the phone, but I hate talking to answering machines even more because I always say something stupid. Not a direct translation, but both express my attitude. I hate talking on the phone in English but it's even worse in French. In either language, it's much easier for me if I can see the person - if I can read their lips as they speak and use...

srah - Sunday, 9 February 2003 - 2:14 PM
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We (heart) murmurs

I always seem to find myself, when people learn that I've studied French and lived in France, discussing whether the French accent is as sexy as it is reputed to be. The assistants have had the same discussion, and can't really come to a clear conclusion. It is certainly true that there is nothing remotely sexy or attractive about being the English assistant and hearing a bored 15-year-old French accent say "At the Christmas, I go to buy the jeu vidéo for my bruzzère." On the other hand, it is always amusing to hear a well-formed sentence, especially from someone...

srah - Monday, 27 January 2003 - 11:15 AM
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Klaxonner is a good word

Les assistants linguistiques de Vichy-Cusset have been invited to a Scrabble tournament. It is for a Scrabble club made up of young (not sure how young - but no older than middle school, I think) people, and apparently they were looking for competitors who don't have adult vocabularies. We are going to whup some nine-year-old heinie....

srah - Thursday, 23 January 2003 - 2:42 PM
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It is hard to describe what I was like in high school

Sometimes I wish the French had a word that meant dork. In the subtitles for Ghost World, they translated it as naze, which is more like loser. The French have grosse tête, which is something sort of like egghead, but they don't have anything like nerd or dork, to say that someone is socially inferior due to their intelligence or interest in intellectual pursuits. I miss the word, but I kind of like that they don't have one. It makes me feel like being a dork isn't a bad thing here....

srah - Sunday, 19 January 2003 - 6:09 AM
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Open letter to my native tongue

Dear English, Please get a word that translates ranger more effectively than to clean up by putting things in their place rather than by dusting and scrubbing. I think you are in desperate need of one and if you don't come up with one soon, I'm going to create one. I'm thinking "flooble", as in "I'm going to flooble the chairs in here." Whaddya think?...

srah - Thursday, 16 January 2003 - 10:45 AM
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SNORT!

One of the things I love about Alex is that he's foreign, so he hasn't grown up hearing the same jokes we've heard over and over again. You can toss out the oldest pun in the world in the middle of a conversation and he will laugh for about five hours. It amuses me greatly because I like puns but it's hard to find people who will laugh at them. I will also laugh at French puns for five hours - for your information - just in case anyone reading this is interested in having a conversation in French with...

srah - Saturday, 11 January 2003 - 7:55 AM
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Papillotes are so clever

Another quote from a candy wrapper: "Le touriste est un voyageur qui fait des centaines de kilomètres pour se faire photographier devant un car." - Jean Delacour...

srah - Saturday, 11 January 2003 - 4:27 AM
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Pourquoi ça, guv'nor?

Sometimes I wonder where the French get things from. I have a feeling that England shipped over a boatload of Cockneys to teach English to the French at some point in their history, and that it's stuck. I understand that French Hs are silent, but I can't explain why so many French people have a tendency to pronounce Hs at the beginning of words that start with vowels, in the manner of "In 'Artford, 'Ereford and 'Ampshire, 'urricanes 'ardly Hever 'appen."...

srah - Thursday, 12 December 2002 - 6:54 AM
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Srahs are punny

My favorite thing is when someone makes a play on words in French and I get it. I love songs with plays on words because I am happy to understand them. Sometimes I am entertained even when it wasn't done on purpose. For example, the French use the same word, avocat for lawyer and avocado. So when the lawyers went on strike two years ago, I was quite amused to imagine little green fruit in the street with signs and banners. At dinner tonight, they were talking about a friend who had been in the hospital. Mme Astagneau asked if...

srah - Saturday, 16 November 2002 - 3:08 PM
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It's not my party but I'll spell like I want to

In France, if you're talking about a family it's not The Duponts, but Les Dupont. The plurality shows in the article, rather than in the name itself. I still have a great desire to call Antoine's family Les Astagneaux because I like things with Xs and Zs in them. So there....

srah - Saturday, 16 November 2002 - 3:06 PM
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One of the guys

I went out tonight to dinner and a bar with Antoine and his copains. It's funny to be the only American and the only girl in a group of French men. I spent a lot of time watching and listening and only spoke when I was spoken to. It's hard to participate in a really animated conversation between friends because by the time I've formulated my thought it's moved on to something else....

srah - Thursday, 14 November 2002 - 7:05 PM
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A voice crying out in confusion

I've decided to change the French language. I'll start, and the rest of you follow, okay? All together now, allez hop! ... oh. No one? Fine, I'll have to do it all by myself. Whereas we have only one, the French have two words for "scarf". A foulard is a gauzy, drapey thing, often made of silk. An echarpe is a warm winter scarf. My problem is that no matter how many times I tell it, my brain refuses to absorb these words because it feels wrong. To me, the word echarpe sounds elegant. It sounds like "sharp", which is...

srah - Thursday, 7 November 2002 - 12:17 PM
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"I promise not to kill you"

I was sitting at a computer in the CDI today when I looked down and saw a small eight-legged creature climb onto my bookbag, which was sitting on the floor. I had a moment of shock and alarm and felt I should react accordingly, but I couldn't find the word. Spinach!, I cried in my head, Clothespin! Peanut! The spider, who was eensy weensy anyway and really nothing to be frightened of, got away before I could remember how to identify him....

srah - Wednesday, 6 November 2002 - 12:11 PM
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Spice girl

As I try out new things in an attempt to learn how to cook, I am amassing a collection of spices. As if you cared, I will tell you that I am the proud owner of ail, cumin, curry, origan, paprika doux, poivre noir (which comes in a container with a grinder attached to it - so it's nice and freshly milled), and sel. More shall be amassed, I am sure, when there is a need for them, and once I figure out what things like cerfeuil are in English. I feel so grown-up, owning spices. How sad....

srah - Saturday, 2 November 2002 - 2:17 PM
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Pidgin English

This morning, I caught myself telling my class that my sister has 18 years old. Their literally-translated-from-French English is affecting me too. I'm pretty sure there's no hope for me and I will come back in April unable to communicate in my native language. Or French, for that matter....

srah - Thursday, 17 October 2002 - 2:41 PM
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Do you speak français?

I can tell already that I'm going to miss speaking French when I go back home in April. It will be frustrating and painful. I know this because it happened when I left Grenoble, too. What I get used to here is that when I speak to Americans (or other English-speakers), they all speak French too. I get comfortable speaking to people who speak my language but don't mind if I start babbling at them in French. It's that easy, comfortable bilangualism that I miss, falling in and out of the two languages with people who speak both....

srah - Thursday, 17 October 2002 - 2:37 PM
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That's Doctor Schtupid Thing to you, schmarty (12.10.02)

There is a French word, connerie, which doesn't have an exact translation in English. My slang dictionary suggests "foolishness" or "dirty trick" but I think of it as something more like "stupid thing that someone does for attention". I just wonder if Sean knows about this....

srah - Monday, 14 October 2002 - 10:18 AM
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Hot potato 1-2-3 (30.9.02)

At our soirée raclette this weekend, I learned that the French are taught that to speak English, you have to pretend you have a great big potato in your mouth. I can sort of see how this would work, but I don't find it particularly flattering or effective. The nice thing about this revelation, however, is that it creates a nice code word for anglophones. When we were walking around the grounds of La Grande Chartreuse yesterday, Françoise turned and whispered to me "Attention, il y a de grosses patates qui arrivent" when the people behind us passed us, speaking...

srah - Saturday, 5 October 2002 - 11:59 AM
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Presque pas (28.9.02)

Yesterday I went to a meeting of the Club Cinéma with Agnès. At one point, when they were talking about recruiting young people from the Pôle Lardy and the CAVILAM, Agnès pointed out that une assistante américaine had come to the meeting of her own free will, and there must be other young people who would be interested. So after the meeting, hordes of people came up to talk to me and find out where I was from and what I was doing in Vichy. Americans are much rarer here than in Grenoble. The Vice-President of the club, who is...

srah - Sunday, 29 September 2002 - 6:41 AM
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Je ne sais pas que idioma wo am speaking de temps en temps

With 22 years of English, 10 years of French, 1 year of Spanish, and 1 semester of Mandarin Chinese, my mind is a big linguistic muddle sometimes. I was showing my Chile pictures to Françoise last night and would switch to Spanish whenever I said a Spanish place-name, although I pronounced the Spanish place-name à la française. When I was talking to the other Srah and other Morins would enter the room, I would try to speak to them in English. When I took Chinese and didn't know the Chinese word, it would come out in English. When I'm on...

srah - Sunday, 22 September 2002 - 1:15 PM
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Après moi, la deluge of posts in franglais

A plus, tout le monde! The WeatherPixie is now set for Vichy. Be sure to update your browsers so that you can see title tags like this (mouseover "this" to see if you can), because I'm sure I'll be blogging away in French/Franglais once I get there and you'll want to read the translations....

srah - Wednesday, 18 September 2002 - 8:40 AM
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I'm cleaning out my clawzit under my bed

I found my papers from Grenoble while digging around under my bed. I looked at one of my assignments, which was to write an imaginary break-up letter, using various subjunctive-triggering phrases. This was the result: Salut: Comme dit Serge Gainsbourg : je suis venue te dire que je m'en vais. Tout sympa que tu as été, j'ai trouvé un nouveau petit ami. J'ai voulu t'écrire une lettre pour te dire tout ce que j'ai dû supporter pendant les quatre jours que nous avons passés ensemble, pour que tu puisses corriger les défauts de ton caractère afin de trouve une nouvelle...

srah - Tuesday, 10 September 2002 - 12:49 AM
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Por ejemplo, Citrón

One of the things I miss when I'm away from the United States is driving. Not the driving itself, mind you, because I hate that. But the being locked up in an enclosed space all alone. The freedom to talk or sing to yourself without inflicting it on others or being judged by them. I love to turn a song waaaaaaay up and sing along in the car. You're enclosed with the music, you don't have to worry about bothering family members or neighbors, and you can really get into it... unless you're stopped at a light and people are...

srah - Tuesday, 3 September 2002 - 1:21 PM
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I've always wondered

What is a fille de joie exactly? Is it a prostitute, or is it something more subtle than that? It's these subtleties that I don't understand in the language. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?...

srah - Monday, 19 August 2002 - 4:47 PM
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srah and her words, part deux

In French (feuilles) and Spanish (hojas), a piece of paper is a "leaf". In English (in the U.S. at least), we have loose-leaf paper, but for the most part, we call individual pieces of paper "sheets". Which is the same word we use for bed-coverings. We're funny like that. I wonder why we don't call them leaves....

srah - Wednesday, 7 August 2002 - 2:08 PM
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Je table, tu tables, il table, nous tablons...

For all of you Francophones out there, Sophie and I just wanted to let you know that we have created a new French verb. It will spread like wildfire, so don't be left out. Adopt it into your vocabulary today! Sophie: Ce sont des lentilles jetables? (Those are disposible contacts?) Me: Ouaaaaais... (Uh, yeah...) (pause) Me: Oh, oui. (Oh, yeah.) I had heard "Ce sont des lentilles, je table?" ("Those are contacts, I table?"). I didn't recognize the verb tabler, but I figured it meant "to suppose". Yes, they very obviously were contacts, no supposing about it. Why else would...

srah - Monday, 29 July 2002 - 10:34 AM
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Thank you, Babelfish

Here's a Babelfish translation of a story originally from Yahoo! Rhne-Alpes: Six months of prison with deferment to have raped a bitch LYON (AP) - an inhabitant of Claveisolles (the Rhone) was condemned Tuesday by the Court of Bankruptcy of the Villefranche-on-Saone (the Rhone), in six months of prison with deferment to have raped a bitch, one learned Wednesday from legal source. The man, 53 years old, explained to the bar that, for 30 years, it has preferred the bitches with the women because the first are, according to him, more accommodating. Already condemned in the past to four months...

srah - Wednesday, 5 June 2002 - 11:37 AM
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Punaise, je parle pas français

Why am I so shy about speaking French to Francophones in the U.S.? I barely ever talked to Antoine in French, unless it was French Table and I was forced to. Argh, I always feel like they're judging me, even though I know that French-speaking foreigners are often more judgmental about people's French skills than the French are. I don’t feel like that with Hispanophones, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm a French major and I'm afraid people will tell me I've been wasting my time because I suck. With Spanish I know I’m...

srah - Wednesday, 8 May 2002 - 8:44 AM
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Free French music!

Rémi at Idiote.org is offering daily French mp3 songs for every letter of the alphabet. Unfortunately I caught on after "Melody Nelson", but I'll survive. Have a visit and have a listen!...

srah - Wednesday, 17 April 2002 - 12:57 AM
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Quel Idiot!

Or would that be "quelle idiotte"? I always want to feminize things that have no feminine form. I am going to write in French in this post. If you have IE, you can mouse-over for translations. If you have Netscape, I hope you speak French. Gist of it is, I went to read the poem for the poetry contest and said something dumb. Prof/Juge: Vous savez comment ça marche… Moi: En fait, non, je ne l’ai jamais fait. Lui: Ah bon? (après avoir lu le poème) Lui: Vous avez pas fait ça en première année? Moi: Non, je n’ai jamais...

srah - Thursday, 21 March 2002 - 2:53 PM
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C'est la fête!

Today is the Journée internationale de la Francophonie. It's a day set aside to celebrate the French-speaking world and the political and social bonds they have. French is a very useful language, and is an official language of many countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. So... celebrate that....

srah - Wednesday, 20 March 2002 - 1:38 PM
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What's up with these short posts?

I guess I'm in a short-post mood. At least I'm in a posting mood, which I wasn't at the beginning of the week. The weather report lied to me. It is sunny and nice again today. Mmmmmmmm. Not as warm as yesterday, but it's the sun that matters. I'm not an outdoors person, but after a long grey winter, I feel a bit like a sunflower, turning my face up and trying to absorb as much sun as possible. Maybe there's a bit of chlorophyll in my veins after all. The French word for sunflower is tournesol, meaning that it...

srah - Thursday, 14 March 2002 - 11:23 AM
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srah in haiku mode:/ There is no stopping her, so/ don't even try it

Boyfriend took quizzes and found that he was Belle and he loved Aragorn. Christianna left goat cheese in my fridge. I am scared to open it. Roommate said she put air in the fish tank. I thought she blew with a straw. Dively has a man? Must learn details of smooching with Jeopardy champ. Le frère et l'ami d'Antoine sont ici. Ils ne parlent que français. (Is "parlent" one or two syllables? It is hard to haiku in French.) There are some loose leaves in my tea. They are getting caught between my teeth. It is too late to write...

srah - Monday, 25 February 2002 - 2:22 AM
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The French and Spanish words for peanut

The French and Spanish words for peanut are both "cacahuete" but pronounced differently. In Cuba, they also say "mani", which comes from Arabic. Stephanie says that in Spanish, the sounds "al" (as in Alvarez) and "guad" (as in Guadalajara) originally come from Arabic, too. Historically, it makes sense that Arabic would have affected Spanish, but it never would have occurred to me. I love words....

srah - Friday, 21 December 2001 - 1:54 PM
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SEVEN researchers and an ever-ringing phone

SEVEN researchers and an ever-ringing phone! (La sonnerie du téléphone est sempiternel, to use my French word-of-the-day...) Why do they torment me so?...

srah - Thursday, 20 December 2001 - 11:40 AM
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Why did I study abroad?

French has long been my favorite subject at school. When I was 15, my French teacher took interested students on a trip to France and my parents thought that broadening my horizons was important enough that they helped me pay for it. We had a short family stay, then toured around the country in a bus for two weeks. When I was a senior in high school, I decided that I enjoyed French enough that would major in it in college. So I asked my French teacher how to look for a college with a good French program. The big...

srah - Thursday, 20 December 2001 - 10:26 AM
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I am a CSS style god!

I am a CSS style god! I can modify my BlogSnob ad without messing up everything on the page! In French Kiss, Charlie tells Kate that he's met a "godesse" - "It's French, Kate, for goddess." Which seems obvious. But the French word I know for goddess is "déesse". Unless there are two words (which I haven't gotten around to looking up), that's wrong and makes me sad because there's so much lovely accurate stuff in the movie. Kevin Kline should be worshipped as a god. But not a godesse. :)...

srah - Thursday, 20 December 2001 - 9:17 AM
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No tengo ganas

No tengo ganas de estudiar. Spanish (and French in some cases) words often tend to have es- where we only have s-, like in España (you know how long it took me to find the ñ on the Chilean-keyboard-setup? too long.) vs. Spain and estudiar vs. study. Alex overcompensates for this and comes up with words like skimo. Veddy cute. As I was saying, no tengo ganas de estudiar. Je n'ai pas envie d'étudier. I don't feel like studying....

srah - Sunday, 9 December 2001 - 3:57 PM
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I got an email

I got an email from a French John Hannah fan (yes, they exist!) today so I replied in French. She just wrote me back, saying that if I hadn't said I was American, she would have thought I was just a mis-typing French person. Things like that make me feel warm and sunny. Why is American both an adjective and a noun, but you can't say "a French" or "a Chinese" or "an English"? In French, the adjective and noun are always the same. It's easier. I don't like having to add "person". Weird - you can say "the French"...

srah - Saturday, 1 December 2001 - 5:24 PM
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I tried to say numbers

I tried to say numbers in French today but they tried to come out in Spanish. Things are all confused in my head. I think I'm aging backwards and my attention span is getting shorter as I get older. Maybe i's just early-onset senility. I don't think it's a good sign that the one class I'm taking in my major this semester is the one class where I watch the clock from beginning to end and whimper in my head about how painfully bored I am. I hate literature classes....

srah - Wednesday, 28 November 2001 - 4:19 PM
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The French word ignorer

The French word ignorer means "to be unaware of" something. This seems to be more closely related to the word "ignorant" than is the English verb "to ignore"....

srah - Monday, 26 November 2001 - 4:25 PM
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