Previous month:
June 2006
Next month:
August 2006

Entries from July 2006

juillettiste

Moncabanon
A cottage in Marseilles. All photos taken with this digital camera, but newer models exist.

Geo is a French-language magazine reporting on ecological issues around the world and featuring photographs of natural wonders and exotic places. Subscribe to Geo here.

French Word-A-Day will not be delivered from July 28th through August 11th -- more about that in today's edition.

juillettiste (jwee-ay-teest) noun, masculine/feminine
   July vacationer

French definition:
  Personne qui prend ses vacances au mois de juillet.
  A Person who takes his/her vacation in the month of July.

--from "Le Petit Larousse illustre" ("le must" of French dictionaries. Check it out, here.)

A Day in a French Life...
Remember the scene where the tortured writer is pounding away at the keyboard, stopping only to yank the cursed paper from the machine, crumple it up and toss it into the poubelle?*

Like the tortured writer's, my (virtual) wastebasket it full and little crumpled balls now litter the floor beneath a messy desk. What's more, I'm plum* out of words.

It's time to push this keyboard aside and leave the little lettered clés* to collect some French dust; with any luck it'll be fairy dust by the time I return (and just enough to make these fingers fly across the clavier.)*

But I've one last trick, or word up my sleeve, and I'd best use it now so here goes...

         juillettiste = one who takes her vacation in July

"See you" in a few weeks, same place, same time, sans plums.
Kristin

--
kristin.espinasse@gmail.com
 
...........................................................................................................
References: la poubelle (f) = garbage can; plum (just in case, and for the French readers on this list, "plum" is English and the informal of "plumb" -- nothing to do with the juicy fruit) = completely; la clé (f) = key; le clavier (m) = keyboard

French Pronunciation:
Hear Max's sentence: Ce sont les juillettistes qui partent en juillet. It's the "juillettistes" that leave (for vacation) in July.: Download juillettiste3.wav

................
Correction:
Monday's "farcir" edition (under French Pronunciation) included the sentence "Ceci est une tomate farcie." It should have read "Ceci est une tomate farcie à la provençale." (This is a stuffed tomato, Provence style.)

                         *     *     *
If you enjoy French Word-A-Day, and would like to help support it, find out three ways in which you can help. Merci!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


farcir

ArmenianrestaurantIn the Middle Ages the trade guilds of France--labor unions of that day--presented the first crude one-act plays. By the time of Joan of Arc these interludes, or farces, were "stuffed" or crammed in between the acts of the main performance. The French word farce is derived from farcir, going back to the Latin farcire which meant "to stuff."

--from "Word Origins: An Exploration and History of Words and Language" by Wilfred Funk

farcir (far-seer) verb
  to stuff

(photo: outside the Armenian table d'hôte)

On le sait que c'est l'intention qui compte, mais ça aide de la farcir d'un brin de discernement, de temps en temps.

We know that it is intention that counts, but it helps to stuff it with a bit of discernment, from time to time.
--Antonine Maillet

A Day in a French Life...
The hostess wore a floor-length gown, black as the hair pinned up above the nape of her neck. Her bangs fell over the curve of her brow, stopping short of the glittering earrings which dangled from her earlobes. Above the plunging neckline of her dress, her lips were unglossed and naturally red and they curled up at the sides as she told us about the Armenian delicacies that she had prepared for us.

"How did you hear about me?" our hostess asked, standing at the head of the unique table in her reservations-only établissement.* As she poured the Lebanese wine, first in rosé, later in red, all eyes settled on the English woman in the blue dress seated across from me.

"So it took a tourist to find me!" the hostess teased, chiding the group of locals at our table; "local" despite the countries we represented: Algeria, Russia, Norway, Morroco and Italy. Only one Frenchman was present, and he sat next to the American who sat across from her English friend (who isn't really a tourist I might add, of my pal Alicia, but owns a pied-à-terre* nearby) who had
made dinner reservations after spotting a sign next to the three recycle bins below our medieval village. An Armenian table* only six kilometers from here? Alicia was intrigued... and so were we.

Our Armenian hostess with the fiery eyes told us that she had always lived in the ancient hamlet of Les Nouradons, which her ancestors named when they settled there as refugees having fled Armenia in 1915. "Les Nouradons" is an Armenian term for "Bienvenue," or "Welcome," we learned, as we raised our glasses for the toast.

Over the course of three hours, we sampled a dozen or so recettes* passed down from our hostess's foremothers. The meza, or appetizers buffet, included Armenian pizza, okra stew, légumes farcis* and other savories, some rolled in home-grown vine leaves (carefully hand-picked and blanched by our hostess), others stuffed into baby eggplants or spread over lavash,* and still others dipped into garlic cucumber yogurt or dripping from our fingers, like the gooey Baklava that brought a sweet close to our meal.

At the end of the feast, we downed Armenian coffee and copied our friend Misha, who studied the "marc" or thick deposit left at the bottom of the cup. Apparently, a future could be read in the swirl of those grains. Inspired by the avenirs* we'd invented, we wobbled, stuffed as those baby eggplants, out the door and into the black but hopeful night.

.......................................................................................................................................
References: établissement (m) = establishment; le pied-à-terre (m) = a secondary home; table (from "la table d'hôte") = a communal table for all the guests of a hotel or restaurant. To reserve this Armenian table, near Draguignan (dinner = 30 euros per person), call Mme Ohannessian at (33) (0)4 94 73 38 04; la recette (f) = recipe; légume farci (m) = stuffed vegetable; lavash = kind of flat bread, similar to pita bread; l'avenir (m) = future

French Pronunciation:

Listen to Max pronounce the word "farcir": Download farcir2.wav

Hear Max's sentence: "Ceci est une tomate farcie à la provençale." (This is a stuffed tomato, provence style.): Download farcir4.wav

Related Terms & Expressions:
la farce = stuffing
une farce = a prank, practical joke
un farceur, une farceuse = a practical joker
farceur, farceuse (adjective) = mischievous
tomates farcies = stuffed tomatoes
farci de fautes = littered with mistakes
se farcir quelqu'un = to put up with someone
avoir la tête farcie = to have had enough (of another's shenanigans, of one's own problems) Ex.: J'ai la tête farcie! = I've had about as much as I can take!

Verb Conjugation:
je farcis, tu farcis, il/elle farcit, nous farcissons, vous farcissez, ils/elles farcissent (past participle: farci)

Further insight into the term "farcir" in "The Hors D'Oeuvre Bible," by David Larousse. Discover David's book, here.

More references to the French word "farcir" in these books:

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute
The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute by Michael Ruhlman

The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection
The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection by Michael Ruhlman

Word Origins: An Exploration and History of Words and Language
Word Origins: An Exploration and History of Words and Language by Wilfred Funk

The Sauce Bible: Guide to the Saucier's Craft
The Sauce Bible: Guide to the Saucier's Craft by David Paul Larousse

The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond
The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond by Jacques Derrida and Alan Bass

World Food France (Lonely Planet World Food Guides)
World Food France (Lonely Planet World Food Guides) by Steve Fallon and Michael Rothschild

Cool Restaurants Chicago (Cool Restaurants)
Cool Restaurants Chicago (Cool Restaurants) by Michelle Galindo, Rose Lizarraga, and Desiree Von La Valette

Doughs, Batters, and Meringues (French Professional Pastry Series)
Doughs, Batters, and Meringues (French Professional Pastry Series) by Roland Bilheux and Alain Escoffier

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


embêter

Nice_1
A café in Nice, where bronzing is in, boredom is out.

Chatelaine magazine (printed in French!) features articles on health, beauty, family, and fashion issues, practical home advice, and a wide variety of recipes. Subscribe here.

embêter (om-behtay) verb
  1. to bother, to worry; to pester; to annoy; to bore

Also: s'embêter = to be bored

S'embêter, c'est s'insulter soi-même.
To be bored is to insult oneself.
--Jules Renard

A Day in a French Life...
On my way to tuck in the kids the other night I discovered their lits* were empty. Pushing open the door to my room, I found Max and Jackie in my bed, backs to the wall, pillows propped behind le dos* for comfort. The two were dressed in their pajamas, Max in a green and blue plaid ensemble and Jackie in pink from head to toe. A faint scent of bubblegum-flavored toothpaste pervaded the air.

The bedtime bandits had turned on the reading lamps above the mismatched tables de nuit* and settled in with a book and a magazine which hid their faces from the nose down. When the bookworms did not crumble into a fit of giggles (as they usually do when I have caught them ditching dodo*) my brain tangled in confusion.

I pounced onto the bed, sure that they'd respond to a few side-splitting guili-guilis.* Preparing for the attack, my fingers curled mid-air and ear level, I approached the lifeless readers who remained as nonchalant as when I'd appeared two minutes earlier. When the kids didn't react, my arms froze before dropping to my sides in defeat. Silence.

When I barked like a dog the literati briefly looked up, only to raise their books eye-level, the slightest hint of irritation on their faces. I saw that Jackie was reading a paperback entitled "Max embête les filles" ("Max pesters the girls"). Her brother read the June issue of his favorite soccer review, "Super Foot Mag".

It occurred to me that I might be the dupe of Camera Caché*--that, at any moment, a sparkling-toothed director would spring into the room (via the open window) and reveal the farce.*

When the camera crew failed to leap over the window frame, I sat in silent awe thinking about the power of words and the joy of reading, witnessing the spell that so many French words, strung together in a line, had cast over my children.

Next, I selected a book from the leaning tower beside my bed, remembering the old adage: Si tu ne peux les battre, rejoins-les. If you can't beat them, join them. And so I did.

................................................................................................................
*References: le lit (m) = bed; le dos (m) = back; le dodo (from "dormir" "to sleep") (m) = (childspeak for bedtime); le guili-guili (m) = tickle tickle; Camera Caché = Candid Camera; une farce (f) = prank

French Pronunciation:
Listen to my 8-year-old, Jackie, pronounce the word embeter: Download embeter.wav

Hear Jackie's sentence: "Arrête de m'embeter, Max!" Stop bugging me, Max!: Download embeter3.wav

Expressions:
ne pas s'embêter = to have fun
ne vous embêtez pas avec ça = don't worry about it
s'embêter comme un rat mort = to bored as a dead rat

Verb conjugation:
j'embête, tu embêtes, il/elle embête, nous embêtons, vous embêtez, ils/elles embêtent (past participle = embêté)

More references to the French word "embêter" in these books:

French in Action: A Beginning Course in language and Culture, Second Edition: Workbook, Part 1 (Yale Language Series)
French in Action: A Beginning Course in language and Culture, Second Edition: Workbook, Part 1 (Yale Language Series) by Pierre Capretz, Beatrice Abetti, Thomas Abbate, and Frank Abetti

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France by Kristin Espinasse

How to Prepare for the AP French with Audio CDs (Barron's How to Prepare for Ap French Advanced Placement Examination)
How to Prepare for the AP French with Audio CDs (Barron's How to Prepare for Ap French Advanced Placement Examination) by Laila Amiry

French Grammar: A Complete Reference Guide
French Grammar: A Complete Reference Guide by Daniel Calvez

French Verb Workbook
French Verb Workbook by Jeffrey T. Chamberlain Ph.D. and Lara Finklea

French Fun: The Real Spoken Language of Québec
French Fun: The Real Spoken Language of Québec by Steve Timmins

The Cajuns: Americanization of a People
The Cajuns: Americanization of a People by Shane K. Bernard

Ouvertures: Cours Intermediaire de Francais
Ouvertures: Cours Intermediaire de Francais by H. Jay Siskin, Thomas T. Field, and Julie A. Storme

French Short Stories 2: Parallel Text (Parallel Text, Penguin)
French Short Stories 2: Parallel Text (Parallel Text, Penguin) by Various and Simon Lee

The French Language Today: A Linguistic Introduction, Second Edition
The French Language Today: A Linguistic Introduction, Second Edition by Adrian Battye and Rowlett

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


aisselle

Aisselle
A quiet corner in Marseilles.


aisselle
 (ay-sel)
noun, feminine
armpit, underarm


Jean-Marc's dear friend, Laurence, sits on the edge of Jackie's bed. Her long, wavy hair is pulled back into a clip, revealing her luminescent complexion, which is set off by dark Corsican eyes.

"Coucou, ma puce," she says to my daughter, who was up heaving part of the night.

"Ça ne va pas trop, n'est-ce pas?" our guest coos. Jackie lights up from the extra mothering, while a light goes off in my own head: I should be cooing like Laurence! And it is about time I added "My Little Flea" to my own list of endearments for my daughter! Forget "sweetie pie"; ma petite puce is so much more... French!

"You might want to take her temperature," Laurence suggests, and I make for the medicine cabinet, as if I were already on my way to do just that.

Le thermomètre! Why hadn't I automatically thought of it? Instead, I had pressed my cheek to my daughter's forehead, as my grandmother used to do, to judge whether Jackie had a temperature. Suddenly the old-fashioned gesture seems so unofficial, so... négligent!

I return from the bathroom with a skinny glass thermometer sans mercure, one I picked up a few years ago after struggling to get the digital ear thermometer to work. Only one problem: where to insert it while under the watchful eye of a seasoned French mother-nurse?! Do I do as the French—and aim for les fesses—or do I tuck it under the tongue as Mom used to do?

My daughter and her doting Corsican nurse are waiting. The room feels warm now and I wonder whether I, too, am coming down with something? A long hot moment passes before Laurence offers a suggestion:

"Tu peux le mettre sous l'aisselle..." she hints. I swiftly move the thermometer toward my daughter's armpit, as if I were on my way there anyway. Laurence nods graciously, as if she's certain I had been on my way there, too!

I am grateful for our friend's discretion and for all the nursing tips I've just learned (including "add half a degree Celsius to an underarm reading"). But perhaps no one is as grateful as our little patient, who seems relieved that we aimed that thermometer at the armpit and not les fesses!
***

Your edits here please. Have you enjoyed this story and is it clear enough? Are there any grammar or punctuation problems? Thanks for your thoughts here, in the comments box.

French Vocabulary

coucou ma puce = hello my flea (my little darling)
ça ne va pas trop, n'est-ce pas? = you're not doing so well, are you?
 sans mercure = without mercury
les fesses (fpl) = buttocks
tu peux le mettre sous l'aisselle = you can put it under the arm

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


pente

Pente_3
Apartment airing in a little French town.

Around the picnic table on Sunday, my French guests talked up the following book and raved about its author. Check out "Stupeur Et Tremblements" in French or order it in English.

une pente (pahnt) noun, feminine
  1. slope (of a roof), incline
  2. tendency

La vie offre toujours deux pentes. On grimpe ou on se laisse glisser.
Life always offers two slopes. We climb or we let ourselves slide
.--Pierre Hebey

A Day in a French Life...
Did I mention my children are on vacation? Things are a little "en pente," or sloping, around here and I feel I am sliding, trying to keep up with word weaving and kid wrestling. The two pint-sized giggle machines stop by my keyboard every five minutes with: "Can you fix Elodie's hair?" (that would be Jackie, handing me a doll with knotted locks) or "My soccer ball is stuck on the roof. Tu peux me le chercher?--Can you get it for me?" (that would be Max, aiming high).

Yesterday I took a break from the giglet and the ball-toting Gaul to snap a few more photos of our village. I hope you like today's shot, with its mingle-mangle of old stones and inconsistent patterns.

By the way, Max and Jackie--who are leaning in so close to this keyboard that the keys are now coated with a humid layer of kid breath--would like to add "Salut!"

...............................................................................................................
References: Salut! = Hi!

................................
French Pronunciation
Hear my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the French word "pente": Download pente.wav
Listen to my daughter's sentence: "Cette pente est très raide." (This slope is very steep.) Download pente4.wav

French synonyms for "pente":
la descente, une inclinaison, un escarpement, la montée, la côte

Expressions:
en pente = sloping, inclined
avoir la dalle en pente = to love to drink; to be a boozer
descendre la pente = to let oneself slide (morally)
être sur une mauvaise pente (also: filer un mauvais coton) = to be going downhill
remonter la pente = to get back on one's feet again
suivre sa pente = to follow one's (natural) bent or inclination
être sur la pente glissante (or) savonneuse = to be on the skids; to be on a slippery slope
avoir la gorge en pente (an expression used in Haiti) = to have a great capacity for drink (also used to describe someone who is really thirsty)

..................................................................................................
Language learning books and CDs:
Mastering French Vocabulary : A Thematic Approach
Rosetta Stone French (CD-ROM) With this award-winning method used by NASA and the Peace Corps, you'll learn the way children do -- by associating words and phrases with the world around you.

Also in books: How To Pronounce French, German, and Italian Wine Names

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


pétillant

Pétillant

(pay-tee-yahn)

sparkling, bubbly, fizzy 


When I finished mopping the apricot tiles of our home, I considered my next mission: to prevent so many little feet from pottering across the clean carrelage. The messy four o'clock goûter would just have to take place outside today! I would not risk cake crumbs or spilled drinks on this clean floor!

I gathered Max, his two neighborhood friends, and Jackie into a football huddle out on the patio.

"Listen closely. I don't want any of you coming in the house, d'accord? I've just cleaned the floor, and I have GUESTS coming soon."

The French boys turned to Max and Jackie for a translation:

"Elle ne veut pas qu'on aille dans la maison car elle vient de nettoyer par terre et elle a des INVITÉS demain."

The kids gave serious nods of comprehension.

"Understand?" I checked.

"Oui," they confirmed.

Satisfied, I brought out individually wrapped chocolate sponge cakes, fruit and water, and placed a stack of plastic gobelets next to the snacks.

"Do you need anything else?" I inquired.

"Non."

"Sure?"

"C'est bon, merci," they replied, politely.

"Okay, now remember, don't go into the house. Keep it clean for my guests!"

I left the kids and the cakes and went inside to tidy up another room. Ten minutes later I noticed a suspicious calm.... Running for the kitchen, I stumbled onto a trail of sucre!

I followed the crunchy path to its source, at which point my eyes shot out of their sockets on witnessing the sticky scene.

"What ARE you doing?" I questioned my children.

Jackie was holding a plastic cup filled to the brim with just-picked mint leaves. Max was standing beside her, pouring sugar from box to cup; some of the sweet crystals landed inside, but the rest of the sugar hit the rim of the cup and shot out across the floor!

"L'eau à la menthe," Max explained, concentrating on his aim.

Astonished, I followed my son and my daughter outside to where the neighbor boys waited patiently, bottles of sparkling water in hand, ready to pour the eau pétillante into the cups of sugar and mint. Another trail, this time of mint leaves, began at the flower bed and ended beneath the boys' feet.

I observed the kids with the virgin mint juleps in their hands. I noticed how careful they were with their gestures as they raised their full glasses to their mouths for refreshment. They looked my way with smiles of gratitude.

And then it hit me. What I had failed to realize, back inside my spotless house, was that my guests had already arrived! My all-important invités had been here all along! Others twice their size might be on their way over; meantime, here were some visitors with a thirst for life! How much more could a hostess ask for?

I quickly made my way back into the house—across the sticky floor… and over to the sticky freezer door—to get my important guests some more ice for their fancy drinks. It is never too late to be a caring and considerate maîtresse de maison.


French Vocabulary
 
le carrelage = tiled floor
le goûter = afterschool snack
d'accord = okay
Elle ne veut pas qu'on aille dans la maison car elle vient de nettoyer par terre et elle a des INVITÉS demain = She doesn't want us to go in the house because she's washed the floor and has GUESTS tomorrow
le gobelet = cup
c'est bon, merci = it's good, thanks
le sucre = sugar
l'eau (f) à la menthe = water with mint
l'eau (f) pétillante = sparkling water
l'invité(e) = guest
la maîtresse de maison = the "mistress of the house" (hostess)
pétillant(e) = sparkling, bubbly
Did you see any typos or formatting faux pas in this story. Thank you for pointing them out for me, here in the comments box!




French Pronunciation:


Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the word pétillant:
http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/files/petillant.wav
Hear my son Max's sentence: Je me suis servi un verre d'eau pétillante avec de la menthe. (I served myself a glass of sparkling water with mint.): Download petillant4.wav

Quel vin est aussi pétillant, savoureux, enivrant, que l'infini des possibles! What wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!
                                               --Sören Kierkegaard

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


fripouille

Gendarmerie
A police station in St. Tropez...

French Cats Don't Get Fat : The Secrets of La Cuisine Feline - the sensationnel French diet that will turn even the pudgiest patate de divan (couch potato) into a chic, café kitty.

une fripouille (hear audio file, below) noun, feminine
   rogue, scoundrel, crook*

une petite fripouille = little devil

A Day in a French Life...
At the supermarket, I compared check-out lines to finally settle on the queue next to the last conveyor belt which held only a six-pack of beer and a box of vinasse.* I turned to the senior citoyens* standing next to their caddie,* a scruffy French mutt in the cart's child seat. "I'll be right back!" I said, setting down my basket and darting off to the dairy aisle.

Returning with some milk, I took my place in line and said "Merci!" to the couple who had guarded my place. The woman smiled back, inching forth as her companion with the salt-and-pepper hair pulled the cart forward to load the beer and wine. The tattoos began at his knuckles and ran up one arm and down the next; a few drops of encre* marked his face (just next to the deep creases
beside his twinkling eyes) as if the indelible ink from the tatouage* had spilled en route. He wore a rolled-brim cowboy hat, the sides pushed up to hold a pack of smokes or two, if indeed there were cigarettes snug behind the brim.

His chérie* wore a long wrinkly skirt and sandals, her thick unmanicured toenails hanging out the end. On her head she wore a crocheted green cap, its small bill set to the side, her curly gray tresses tumbling out: a thick bunch here, a scraggly bit there. Her thread-bare tailored shirt, with the little puffed shoulders, spoke of her bourgeois past, told the story of a predictable life interrupted when this twinkling-eyed bad boy motorcycled into town.

The dog barked and I snapped out of my rêverie to find the woman in the green cap pointing to the conveyor belt. There was room now, she indicated, for me to unload my groceries.

"What is your dog's name?" I asked, of the gray mutt in the child seat.
"Fripouille,"* the woman answered.

Automatically, I looked up at the man in the bent-brimmed hat, who winked, and the little tattoos around his eyes disappeared into the folds of his wrinkly skin.

................................................................................................................
References: la vinasse (f) = cheap wine; le citoyen (la citoyenne) = citizen; le caddie (or caddy) (m) = cart, trolley; l'encre (f) = ink; le tatouage (m) = tattoo; la chérie (le chéri) = darling; la fripouille (f) = little devil

French Pronunciation:

Listen hear, my son, Max pronounce the French word "fripouille": Download fripouille2.wav

Hear the following sentence:
  Joachim Dioudonna était une sympathique fripouille.
  Joachim Dioudonna was a pleasant enough rogue.
             --from "Short Stories in French" (parallel text edition)

More literary references to the word "fripouille" :

"... nouns with a pejorative connotation: une gouape, une crapule, une canaille, une fripouille." (thug, crook, shyster, rogue)

--from French Today : Language in its Social Context

More fripouilles in these books:

Short Stories in French: New Penguin Parallel Text (New Penguin Parallel Texts)
Short Stories in French: New Penguin Parallel Text (New Penguin Parallel Texts) by Various and Richard Coward

Them: A Memoir of Parents
Them: A Memoir of Parents by Francine du Plessix Gray

Webster's New World Concise French Dictionary (Webster's New World)
Webster's New World Concise French Dictionary (Webster's New World) by Chambers Harrap Ltd.

Poemes, Pieces, Prose: Introduction a l'analyse de textes litteraires francais
Poemes, Pieces, Prose: Introduction a l'analyse de textes litteraires francais by Peter Schofer, Donald Rice, and William Berg

Bel-Ami (Oxford World's Classics)
Bel-Ami (Oxford World's Classics) by Guy de Maupassant, Robert Lethbridge, and Margaret Mauldon

A Compass Error: A Novel
A Compass Error: A Novel by Sybille Bedford

French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference
French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference by Phil Powrie

Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys: A Novel
Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys: A Novel by Eric Garcia

The Anti-Semitic Moment: A Tour of France in 1898
The Anti-Semitic Moment: A Tour of France in 1898 by Pierre Birnbaum and Jane Marie Todd

A Thousand Screenplays: The French Imagination in a Time of Crisis
A Thousand Screenplays: The French Imagination in a Time of Crisis by Sabine Chalvon-Demersay and Teresa Lavender Fagan

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


bave

Panorama_eglise_vallon_2
A quiet scene after last night's defeat. See today's story.

The French Review is the official journal of the American Association of Teachers of French and has the largest circulation of any scholarly journal of French studies in the world. The Review publishes articles and reviews on French and francophone literature, cinema, society and culture, linguistics, technology, and pedagogy. More info here.

la bave (bav) noun, feminine
  dribble, slobber, slime ; foam, froth

La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe.
The toad's spittle doesn't reach the white dove.
--Proverb

(Or, as we say in English, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.")

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Jackie and her friend Manuela, with faces painted red, white and blue, stood in front of our driveway holding their homemade flags. "Allez Les Bleus!" Go Blues! the eight-year-olds shouted (with a shake of their striped drapeaux*) each time a car drove past. When the girls weren't cheerleading, they were responding to the cries reverberating throughout our neighborhood. "On va les écraser!" the neighbors shouted from across the field of grapevines. "On va les écraser!" We're going to squash them! our girls replied. The passing cars honked in agreement.

Not two hours later, my son sat out on the front patio, his head hanging low. "I would have done the same!" Max muttered. "I'd go to pree-zohn* for you!" he swore, defending his hero, France's hero, to the bitter end.

The "end" wasn't supposed to turn out this way, not in France's wildest dreams. Zinedine Zidane, the player with the exotic name and exotic looks ("He's beautiful!" my mom gasped--and she wouldn't be the first), this 34-year-old captain of Les Bleus,* was set to go out in style, in this, the last match of his glowing career--The World Cup soccer final, no less!--until an incident led to his fall from grace.

In the second half of the game, Zidane injured his shoulder, badly enough that it looked as if he might go out in a sling, never mind going out in style. Such an exit, which would have been his saving grace, was not to be.

When "Zizou," as he is affectionately called, returned to the field, his arm cradled into his side, the French audience at the Olympic stadium in Berlin roared. ALLEZ ZIDANE! GO ZIDANE!

Zidane the star. Zizou the soft-spoken, modest, graceful one. Zidane the god, and, as we were about to understand, Zidane the transgressing mortal...

Busy commenting on the match, and in between bites of my mother-in-law's clafoutis,* our household was suddenly stunned silent. Did we just see what we just saw? A few seconds before, and the players were walking back out to field. The incident that we had barely glimpsed was soon replayed on video. There, in slow motion, we would see the players walking back out to field, then a closeup of Zidane, walking just a few feet in front of Italy's Marco Materazzi. We saw Zidane stopping after every few steps to turn and respond to something Materazzi was saying to him. Step, step, step, turn, and Zidane's lips would rotate in reponse to Materazzi's. Step, step, step, another lips rotation. Until... Step, step, step, turn. BAM!

BAM went Zidane's shaved crown, butting into the chest of his Italian opponent, Materazzi, as if the Italian were a two-ton football--one Zidane intended to kick to Enfer.* Imagine the force it would take to boot such a "ball" that far, and you'd understand the impact. Or the intent. For the headbutt, a carton rouge* was swiftly issued and just like that France's modest king of soccer was dethroned.

After a moment of silence, the French sports commentators responded. "On est sans mots!" We are speechless! they exclaimed. At the same time, the silence in our living room was stirred by Jean-Marc, who spoke for us:

"Non! Pas ça. PAS ÇA ZIDANE!" Not that, Zidane!
My mother, belle-mère, brother-in-law, Max, Jackie and I stared at each other, jaws dropped. What had just happened? What had provoked Zidane to do something so outrageous? The scene was truly hallucinante.*

"They said they would go to any lengths to get Zidane thrown out of the game," my brother-in-law hinted, of the Italians, as we stood outside on the front porch, after the match.

"Materazzi must have insulted Zidane, said something to dishonor his family," we speculated. Think of the worst revilement imaginable, and that must have been what rotated on the opponent's lips in that slow motion scene (or so we supposed, in our post-match stupor).

"If someone said something like that about my parents," Max repeated, "I'd go to pree-zohn for what I'd say back to them."
"No, Max. That's not a solution," Jean-Marc replied.

As the crickets screamed out their own injustices, into the cool night, I stood watching my son mourn his hero, he who had stumbled over a string a words pulled taught. A proverb from my childhood came to mind:

La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe.*

................................................................................................................
References: le drapeau (m) = flag; pree-zohn (pronunciation for "la prison" = prison); Les Bleus = (The Blues) = France's team; clafoutis = creamy, egg-based desert with (often) unpitted cherries; l'enfer (m) = hell; le carton rouge (m) = red card (a card which expels the player, who will not be replaced); la belle-mère (f) = mother-in-law; hallucinant(e) = staggering, hallucinating; The toad's spittle does not reach the white dove = (English equivalent) Sticks and Stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

French Pronunciation:
Listen to my son, Max, pronounce the French word "la bave": Download bave2.wav

Hear Max recite today's French proverb (above): Download bave4.wav

..............................
Terms and Expressions:
baver (verb) = to slober, dribble
  en baver d'envie = to be green with envie
  en baver d'admiration = to drool in admiration

In books:
The Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary

French English Bilingual Visual Dictionary.

The Firefly Five Language Visual Dictionary: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


nid

Cannet
World Cup enthusiasts in Le Vieux Cannet des Maures -- an ancient village niché dans une colline/ nestled into a hill overlooking the valley of the Maures.


le nid
(nee)
noun, masculine
nest



It was the purple flowers that first caught my eye. Turning my back to the tournesols,* I set down the garden hose, tripping over it on my way to check out the fuzzy pointed tops jutting out of the stone flower-bed. Only two days before, I had envied the flowering mint in the neighbor's jardin,* and wondered why our own herbs never seemed to bud like that.

Moving in closer, I knelt down and examined the delicate lavender-colored flowers with the mint scent, just next to the bunch of three-leafed trèfles.* That's when I saw the nid*: a swirl of brown twigs no bigger than a child's knee. My hand drew close to the tumbledown nest as I searched for the small spotted eggs that I imagined belonged inside. Rien.*

I studied the fallen nest, amazed at one bird's creation, now cradled in my palm. Looking skyward to the towering oak above, I wondered which branch let drop this quiet-mannered tenant.

Perhaps the little nest followed in its gawky inhabitants' tracks, quitting the branch as the young birds quit the nest* (only to fall instead of fly). Who says le syndrome du nid vide* is for the birds? Might an inanimate bunch of sticks feel the loss as well?

Somewhat heartened, I looked down to the patch of mint, to the flowering bed of herbs that caught the empty nid. I thought it a heaven-scented place to land, and softly so.


..................................................................................................................
References: le tournesol (m) = sunflower; le jardin (m) = garden; le trèfle (m) = clover, shamrock; le nid (m) = nest; rien = nothing; quit the nest ("quitter le nid" = to leave the nest); le syndrome du nid vide = empty-nest syndrome

                                    
French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word "nid": Download nid2.wav
Hear Jean-Marc's recite the French proverb: Petit à petit l'oiseau fait son nid / Little by little the bird makes its nest.: Download nid4.wav

Terms and Expressions:
nidifier = to build one's nest
la nidification = nesting
le nid d'amour = love nest
le nid d'oiseau = bird-nest
quitter le nid = to leave the nest
trouver le nid vide = to find the birds have flown
le syndrome du nid vide = empty-nest syndrome
un nid de guêpes = wasps' nest
un nid-de-poule = pothole

...and the English expression "nest egg" = le bas de laine (hoard of money) (also "le pécule" = store of money)

..............................................................................................
A few lines by Arthur Rimbaud, to illustrate today's word, "nid" :

Au bois il y a un oiseau, son chant vous arrête et vous fait rougir.
Il y a une horloge qui ne sonne pas.
Il y a une fondrière avec un nid de bêtes blanches...


In the woods there is a bird ; his song stops you and makes you blush.
There is a clock that does not strike.
There is a bog with a nest of white beasts...

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


belle-doche

Rue hopital (c) Kristin Espinasse
Flower boxing along Rue Hôpital Vieux in Brignoles...

Chatelaine magazine (printed in French!) features articles on health, beauty, family, and fashion issues, practical home advice, and a wide variety of recipes. More info here.

la belle-doche (bel dosh) (hear audio file, below) noun, feminine
mother-in-law (pejorative)

Toute femme contient une belle-mère.
All women have within them a mother-in-law.
--Jules Renard

A Day in a French Life...
I've noticed that some people find it amusing, often valorisant,* to sit down and note various roles acquired "à travers la vie," while traveling across life. One woman writes: "I am a sister, cousin, granddaughter, niece..." while another honors herself as a mother, daughter, wife, aunt and marraine.*

Men might value themselves as fathers (grand, step- and otherwise), beau-pères,* brothers, uncles, sons, nephews, and parrains*...

We tack on our hobbies, professions and strong-points to qualify ourselves in other ways, and our list grows: "knitter, golfer, gardener, collector, theater-buff, scrap booker, hostess, fly-fisher, animal-lover, bookworm, Francophile, teacher, student, realtor, lawyer, nurse, entrepreneur, best friend, care-taker, confidant, counsellor, volunteer, listener, âme soeur*...

I've also noticed that some acquired titles are less noteworthy, ink-shy if you like: amant,* belle-doche,* nag, worrywart, two-timer, gambler, gossip, rapporteuse,* slowpoke, fusspot, back-stabber, freeloader, rabat-joie,* pinch-penny...You get the gist.

If you live in certain parts of French-speaking Africa, you may be familiar with the title "belle-épouse." Imagine having to call your husband's other wife, the one you wish would just as soon slip on a banana peel near a displaced sewer grate, "beautiful sister"!

While I enjoy learning about others' roles, as for my own, I'll just say that I'm thankful not to have to send ill-wishes to some surely sultry sister-wife.*

....................................................................................................................
References: valorisant(e) = fulfilling, that which gives self-esteem; la marraine (f) = godmother; le beau-père (m) father-in-law (also can mean "step-father"); le parrain (m) = godfather; l'âme soeur (f) = soul mate; un amant (m) = lover; la belle-doche (f) (pejorative) = la belle-mère (mother-in-law); une rapporteuse (un rapporteur) = tattletale, tattler; un rabat-joie (m) (also: un(e) trouble-fête, mf) = party-pooper; sister-wife (or belle-épouse) = another wife of one's husband in a polygamous society

French Pronunciation:

Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word belle-doche: Download belle-doche2.wav
Hear Jean-Marc's sentence: Je n'appelle jamais my belle-mère "belle-doche." I don't ever call my mother-in-law "belle-doche.": Download belle-doche3.wav

Find belle-doche referenced in this book:
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French by Natalie Schorr


................................................................................................................
Learn in Your Car® (Audio CD) teaches listeners French pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar without the need of a textbook. Order it here.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa