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Entries from September 2006

museau

Patio (c) Kristin Espinasse
Today's word was inpired by a lesson learned in Châteauneuf-du-Pape...

Learn_any_language_1How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own


le museau
(mew zo) noun, masculine (plural = museaux)
  1. muzzle; snout  2. (informal) face, mouth

A Day in a French Life...
For once it wasn't the wind knocking us down in the old town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape but a four-legged whisper of a being... our four-month-old puppy, Braise. On the fourth day of autumn, the howling Mistral which characterizes this wine-making town was replaced by the sound of tractors as harvesters scattered to bring in the grapes before the black sky let go its celestial vessie*.

Our puppy, who had emptied her own vessie back at aunt Marie Françoise's, was a bit scattered herself at present, finding it hard to walk a straight line as my aunt, my daughter and I descended Rue du Sommelier on our way to the baker's. A neighbor lady stood on her doorstep watching our swerving quartet advance, swaying as if we'd just stepped out of the Bar des Amis.* Perhaps a furry quarter of us had; as for the rest of us, we were sobered by our reflexes, which had us weaving in and out of Braise's way careful not to get tripped up again.

"She must stay on your right, or left if you prefer, but always to one side," Jean-Marc's aunt offered. "A shorter leash could be helpful..." Aunt Marie-Françoise was hesitant about doling out advice. Back at her apartment, she had already given me a useful tip on cleaning up the dog mess, even demonstrating by stepping across the line of paper towels that Jean-Marc had arranged over the throw rug. "First, all the liquid needs to be absorbed." She illustrated this point by stepping to and fro over the perforated sopalins* which covered the wet rug. "Only then do you wash the surface." We'd gotten that part all wrong, or "tout faux," when I panicked, throwing two sponges full of soapy water at Jean-Marc who went to work scrubbing the rug after our puppy had soaked it.

"I know a truc* that works well..." Aunt Marie-Françoise continued as we wove our way toward the boulangerie.* "Take a branch in your left hand and, when Braise crosses in front of you, tickle her museau* with the branch and say "Au pied!" Heel!

This, I decided, was sound advice and, in my mind, I could just imagine tickling Braise's wet nose with a pretty, soft branch from our olive tree. With my mind's eye, I could picture her obeying. Yes, one day our dog would be propre* and éduqué,* if only I would not throw in the towel, or fling any more soapy sponges at her master.

...............................................................................................................
References: la vessie (f) = bladder; le Bar des Amis (f) = Friends Bar; le Sopalin (from "Société du Papier-Linge") = paper towel; le truc (m) = trick; la boulangerie (f) = bakery; le museau (m) = face (of animal); propre = potty- or toilet-trained, housebroken; éduqué (éduquer) = trained

French Pronunciation:
Listen to my son Max's phrase
Mon chien a le museau pointu. My dog's face is pointed. Download museau.wav

Related Terms & Expressions:
  museler (verb) = to muzzle, to gag
  musellement (m) = muzzling, gagging
  une muselière (f) = a muzzle
  mettre une muselière = to muzzle
  le museau de porc/boeuf = pork/beef muzzle
  faire museau = keep one's mouth shut

In books: Postcards & Paris

Postcard_collages Lenore Tawney: Signs on the Wind: Postcard Collages


Paris_out_of_hand Paris Out of Hand: A Wayward Guide

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


accroupir

Squatter
These old French buildings don't discriminate and the so-called chic share ancient walls with the struggling (or slack) squatters.

accroupir (a kroo peer) verb
  to squat, to crouch (down)

s'accroupir = to sit on one's heels, to squat or crouch down

Proverb:
Un chien qui se remue vaut mieux qu'un lion accroupi.
A dog which stirs is better than a crouched lion.


A Day in a French Life...
When I asked Jean-Marc to walk the dog early Sunday morning I was betting on his getting the job done, not so much the walking, but le pipi.* Looking out my Aunt's guestroom window, I watched dark cordes* of rain soak the town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Away from home, and a grassy yard, Braise would have to "faire ses besoins" or "do her thing" down the street, preferably at the empty
lot where our car was parked. Getting our puppy to that terrain* was the challenge as we had never before factored pluie* into the dog walking equation.

Jean-Marc's swift return from the dog walk was met with folded arms and thinly veiled disappointment.
"Did she do it?"
"I think so," my husband replied, taking off his soaked raincoat.
"You think so?" I studied Braise who did seem less bloated, but this was probably due to her own soggy coat which shrunk her body mass to wet rat proportions.
"Well, did you SEE her do it?"
"It was hard to tell," Jean-Marc explained, evasively. "She seemed to."
"But did she squat?"

Not two minutes into the interrogation, with Jean-Marc still hemming and hawing, and I but-butting, Braise brought our wagging tongues to a standstill. Two sets of eyes now traveled across the room to our dog which stood accroupi* over Aunt Marie-Françoise's throw rug. I looked over to my husband whose tongue, like mine, now hung from his mouth. Like Braise, out there in the pouring rain, I held it, my fiery response, that is. After all, it wasn't fair to criticize when I myself knew diddly about how to get a dog to squat sous la pluie.*

........................................................................................................................
References: le pipi (m) = wee-wee; la corde (f) (from the French expression "tomber des cordes" to rain cats and dogs) = rope; le terrain (m) = (piece of) land; la pluie (f) = rain, rainfall; accroupir = to squat; sous la pluie = under the rain

In magazines: The Bark
The_barkThe Bark is the award-winning magazine of modern dog culture - offering an entertaining mix of articles and stories that explore the special bonds between dogs and humans. Features cover health, behavior, travel and recreation, as well as, art and literature - all with a unique, canine perspective.                                 

...................................
French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's French proverb:
  Un chien qui se remue vaut mieux qu'un lion accroupi.
  A dog which stirs is better than a crouched lion. Download accroupi.wav

French verb conjugation:
j'accroupis, tu accroupis, il/elle accroupit, nous accroupissons, vous accroupissez, ils/elles accroupissent  => past participle = accroupi

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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--Candy T., California


pourriture

Vendange braise
Braise (Brez) at her first harvest.

Cuisine Printed in French, Cuisine Et Vins De France features dozens of recipes in each issue along with articles on wine, cheese, appetizers, table decorations, and more. Subscribe to C&V here.

la pourriture
(poo ree tewr) noun, feminine
  1. rotting, rot, decay
  2. rottenness
  3. stinker, louse (person)

Proverb:
Ce que tu manges devient pourriture, ce que tu donnes devient une rose.
What you eat becomes rot, what you give becomes a rose.


A Day in a French Life...

Of fourteen autumns shared with Jean-Marc, I have missed only a few of his uncle's grape harvests. Pregnancy and childbirth were two sneaky ways to escape the backbreaking vendange. But by the fourth family harvest laboring over vines won out over the other kind of laboring. 

Harvesting grapes, like raising kids, gets easier from one year to the next. Perhaps it is due to age: old vines give less grapes; fewer grapes equal less work. As for kids: the older they get, the less lifting they require. On a purely physical level this all equates to less energy loss.

Harvesting might seem easier these days because of the language: with a growing French vocabulary I can now understand the vendangeurs, who are full of information--both serious and silly. All the trivia and teasing makes the time pass and before long the buckets are being stacked, the sécateurs stored away, and we're headed for Aunt Marie-Françoise's kitchen for a homemade harvest dinner. Time to celebrate! (Well, not quite yet. I'm not done telling you my story....)

Saturday afternoon I stood beneath a steel blue sky, my feet parked before yet another pied de vigne. Two rows over, my eleven-year-old was filling his bucket with clairette grapes while his nine-year-old sister collected the grenache further back. As for me, I held in my hand a bunch of rotten grapes.

"That's Noble rot!" another harvester, Eric, said, with a faux aristocratic accent.

I handed the bunch over to Uncle Jean-Claude who stuck his nose right into the rotten mass.... 

"C'est de la pourriture noble. We can use these grapes. But when the rotten grapes smell like vinegar, throw them out!"

I filed the information away before putting the nobly rotted grapes into my bucket and moving on to the next vine. When Eric's gray curls reappeared from the vines engulfing him, I noticed his grin was a little wider than before.

"Have you ever seen les Baux de Provence?" he inquired. I smiled, realizing I had indeed seen the charming southern town in question. But before I could answer Eric pointed to his innocent sidekick, Alain. "C'est nous deux!" It's us two! he giggled.

It took a minute before the play on words (baux/beaux) hit me and a new translation of Eric's sentence registered: "Have you ever seen the "good-looking ones" of Provence." Laughing at his joke, I forgot about my tired arms, which were bitten and scratched, and my reins which were aching. When next I looked over to see how the kids were getting along I found them studying the grapes, trying to decide which were pourri and which were not.

I marvel at the seriousness with with our kids undertake the task they've been assigned--and I feel a little guilty about my own sneaky behavior of yesteryear.... when I'd do anything to get out of harvesting. But I don't regret missing the 95' and 97'  harvests, which brought me two grubby-faced vintages--sweeter than all the grapes in Châteauneuf.

More stories from this French life in the book "Words in a French Life".

..................................................................................................................
French Vocabulary

la vendange
grape harvest
vendangeur, vendangeuse
grape-picker
le sécateur
clippers, shears
le pied de vigne (m) = vine-plant
la pourriture noble
noble rot, botrytis
les reins (mpl) = back
pourri
rotten

French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc's recite today's proverb:
Ce que tu manges devient pourriture, ce que tu donnes devient une rose.
What you eat becomes rot, what you give becomes a rose.

Download pourriture.wav

Related Terms & Expressions:
pourri(e) = rotten, bad; corrupt
pourrir = to go rotten or bad, to spoil
le pourrissement = deterioration
l'odeur de pourriture = putrid smell
la pourriture sèche = dry rot

In books:

Noble_rot Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution.
"A truly fascinating book." --Peter Mayle

Gites_de_france Gîtes de France:
AA Bed and Breakfast in France 2006 . Check it out here:


.............................................
In Francophile gifts
: Limoges boxes

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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    
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


paresse

Paresse
Lazy days at a beach in Cavalière, along the Blue Coast.


Paresse

(par-ess)

noun, feminine

laziness, idleness ; sloth

 

By the time my aunt and uncle from San Francisco arrived for a three-day visit, my home, my yard, my kids, my spouse, my dog and I, all in our Sunday best, were as put together as a family of paper dolls. All I needed to do for the next 72 hours was keep our cut-out cover-ups from blowing off: keep the kids from wiping their mouths with the backs of their hands, keep my husband from leaving the bathroom door open (while he occupied it!), keep the puppy from having indigestion and keep myself from feeling the need to explain the greasy fingerprints on the wall and the still-needs-fixin' front gate. It isn't often that I see my American family, so when they come to France I can't help but want them to believe that I've finally "arrived"... when the truth is I'm still zigzagging along Le Grand Chemin de la Vie.

Not 24 hours into last week's masquerade, my paper-thin façade was literally falling off. It began with that monster spot in the back of my car....

A little while back, one of our kids knocked over a bottle of water, soaking the back seat of our Citroën. When a large water stain appeared, I saturated the tache with spot cleaner, only, when I went to remove the powder, the vacuum cleaner's motor went kaput. The spot, now larger and darker than before, remained. A few more weeks passed... and the tea-colored powder hardened!

The growing and darkening spot represented one great weakness: la paresse. That's right, SLOTH, or "the disinclination to work or exert oneself", a label I've been trying to tear off my person since whiling away many a childhood day in front of I Love Lucy or The Bionic Woman or Pippi Longstocking (while my funny, strong, and adventurous sister, Heidi, did the dishes).

But back to that monstrous tache. On the very first day of my family's visit, the spot was spotted! It happened when my uncle volunteered to take the back seat after I proposed a scenic drive. Noticing the blanket that covered the siège arrière, my curious uncle instinctively tugged at it, instantly revealing The Mutant Monster Tacheand all of my flaws along with it!

"You weren't supposed to see that!" I cried, blowing my own cover. "Everything was supposed to be perfect!"

My uncle was taken aback, either by the spot... or by my confession. After a moment, and in his best French and softest voice, he offered, "Personne n'est parfaite."

After our excursion, by the time I had returned the car keys to the armoire à clés, my uncle had unbolted the back seat, pulled the entire siège unit out of the car, and hosed down its surface. After ten minutes and a little liquid laundry detergent and a scrub brush, the spot was completely gone! "Ce n'était rien." It was nothing, my uncle said.

Two days later I said goodbye to my aunt and uncle. It was while polishing the bathroom mirror that I noticed the apple spice lipstick stain on my cheek. "Stay the way you are," my aunt had said, planting the kiss. "Don't ever change."

True to character, I was a bit slack about removing that lipstick stain, and my aunt's apple spice kiss stayed on my cheek until it eventually wore itself off.


French Vocabulary

Le Grand Chemin de la Vie = Life's Great Path

la tache = stain, spot

Personne n'est parfaite = Nobody's perfect

une armoire à clés = key box

le siège = seat

Your edits here, please.
Did you spot any errors in text or in formatting?  Any words missing from the vocab list? Thank you for submitting any edits here, in the comments box

 

Related Stories

The Sugar Snatchers: my law-abiding aunt and I become partners in crime. Read the story.

 

Apparently a lot of artists and writers shun la paresse:

  Le travail pense, la paresse songe.
  
Work thinks, sloth dreams. --Jules Renard

  La bêtise, c'est de la paresse.
  
Stupidity is laziness. --Jacques Brel

  Pas de chef-d'oeuvre dans la paresse!
  
No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist! --Salvador Dali



French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce this French quote:
  Seule la paresse fatigue le cerveau.
  Only laziness tires the brain. --Louis Pauwels Download paresse.wav

Related Terms & Expressions:
  paresser (verb) = to laze about
  par pur paresse = out of sheer laziness
  paresse d'esprit = sluggishness of mind

In books:
Matisse Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream

Crossword Webster's English to French Crossword Puzzles: Level 2

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


essuyer

St tropez
Today's story takes place near St. Tropez...

essuyer (es-wee-yay) verb
   1. to wipe, to dry
   2. to mop
   3. to clean; to dust
   4. to wipe up; to mop up

Le rire, comme les essuie-glaces, permet d'avancer même s'il n'arrête pas la pluie. Laughter, like windshield wipers, permits us to advance even if it doesn't stop the rain. --Gérard Jugnot

A Day in a French Life...
At a busy intersection near St. Tropez, a woman dashes up to the convertible Peugeot two cars behind us and squirts sudsy water from a plastic bottle onto its windshield before lunging forward to wipe the glass clean with one of those squeegees. When the driver fails to reach out his arm and offer a coin or two, the woman gives an exasperated shrug before trying her luck on the quatre-quatre* just behind us. This time the driver's arms do stretch out, but only far enough to reach the lever that activates the truck's windshield wipers.

"Now that's a clever way to put a stop to the window washers!" I say.
Jean-Marc laughs, not at my comment, but at the radio from which a comic sketch is playing on the Rire et Chanson* station. Unfazed, I look past my husband to his driver's side mirror to spy on the washerwoman's progress, now reflecting in the glass.

The woman navigates through traffic to another car, this time to the cherry-red Mini Cooper in the lane to our left and splashes water on it while its driver wags a manicured fingernail back and forth in vain. "Je vous ai demandé d'arrêter!"* the driver shouts.

Meanwhile, off to the side of the road where a majestic parasol pine throws shade over the parched grass below, two more gitans* lie sideways on a blanket, bottles of sudsy water between them. It is another sweltering day on the Côte d'Azur* and I sympathize with the gypsy washerwomen who are trying to make ends meet via this suds-slinging enterprise. But my compassion is short-lived when my eyes return to the rearview mirror to find the woman approaching our car.

Heureusement,* we didn't have to wag a glossy fingernail or activate the essuie-glaces* to escape the soapy deluge. It was the feu vert* that saved us.

....................................................................................................................
*References: un quatre-quatre (m) = a four-wheel drive vehicle; Rire et Chanson = Laugh and Song; Je vous ai demandé d'arrêter! = I told you to stop!; un(e) gitan(e) = a gypsy; la Côte d'Azur ("the Blue Coast") = the French Riviera; heureusement = fortunately, happily; un essuie-glace (m) = a windshield wiper; un feu vert = a green light

Money_street

In related books:

Little Money Street:

In Search of Gypsies and Their Music in the South of France

Django Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend

In Francophile Gifts:Provence_dinner_plates

Provence dinner plates : Set the table with the sun-drenched hues of the Provence region of France. This collection of 4 dinner plates features a collage of floral patterns in sunflower gold, olive green, spicy orange, lavender and sky blue.

.................................
French Pronunciation:
Hear my daughter, Jackie, say the following sentence: Download essuyer2.wav
Je dois essuyer la table. I've got to wipe off the table.

French Expressions:
s'essuyer ses pieds = to wipe one's feet (before entering)
essuyer la vaisselle = to dry the dishes
essuyer une perte = to suffer a loss
essuyer un refus = to meet with a refusal
essuyer les plâtres = (lit: to wipe the plasters) to be the guinea pig

Also:
un essuie-glace = a windshield wiper
un essuie-tout = a paper towel
un essuie-mains = a hand towel

In magazines: (Published in the French language)
Marie_claire_idees 
MARIE CLAIRE IDEES focuses on fashion and beauty issues, career success, and each issue includes easy-to-follow instructions for a wide range of crafts and projects.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


cadenas

CadenasAn old sign outside a locksmiths's shop in Draguignan

cadenas (kad na) n.m.

  1. padlock

L'un contre l'autre appuyés, les battants de la grille étaient libre de verrou, exempts de chaîne et de cadenas.

Leaning one against the other, the double gates were unbolted, free of chain or padlock.
--from French Short Stories 2



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

As I drive through the parking lot at Max's junior high, my eleven-year-old points to one of the girls.
"See her hair? All the girls have the same coupe de cheveux!"

I note how the choppy, layered cut resembles that of a shag from the 70s -- except the 21st Century version includes metallic highlights in gold and silver.

"Do you like it?" I ask my son.
"Oh, I don't know," Max mumbles, turning his face from me. Surely his grin of an answer is reflecting in the window, beyond which he studies the kids in the courtyard.

"Hey, Max," I say, sensing his fervor. "Who is the prettiest girl at school?"
"There's no prettiest girl," he replies, ever diplomatic. After a pause he quietly adds "...than you."

With those whispered words, a mother's heart swells. But it's no use kidding myself and I know my days as queen of his heart are numbered. Switching subjects, I put an end to the Freudian moment.

"We'd better buy you a cadenas so that you can lock up those extra books at school instead of lugging them home each day."
"Don't worry about it, Mom." Max informs me, "I'm sharing casiers with a new kid who has a lock. Il n'a pas l'air voleur, non plus. He doesn't seem like a thief, either."

I smile, amused at the seriousness behind my son's statement.

"But I would have preferred to share lockers with a girl," Max admits, "...because girls--elles ne piquent jamais!"

Did he say "girls don't steal"? Judging from their rumored innocence, I'd say they've already begun to pick at the lock on my boy's heart.


Le Coin Commentaires

To respond to this story--or to share one of your own, click here.


French Vocabulary

la coupe de cheveux = haircut
le cadenas = padlock
le casier = locker
elles ne piquent jamais! = they don't ever swipe things!


Chatelaine Chatelaine Magazine in English ... or in French!

Chatelaine features articles on practical home advice, health, beauty, family, and fashion issues, practical home advice, and a wide variety of recipes.
.................................
French pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the word cadenas: Download Cadenas.wav

Expression:
fermer au cadenas = to padlock
  ex: fermer la porte au cadenas = to padlock the door


Provence_az_1Provence A-Z by Peter Mayle : An indispensable, richly informative, and always entertaining sourcebook on Provence by the writer who has made the region his own. 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


phare

Phare_1
Les phares / lighthouses at the Island of Groix (Brittany).

le phare (far) noun, masculine

   1. lighthouse  2. headlight  3. beacon

Phare_2 "Unlike many other countries, France has resisted the trend toward total automation, and in many small ports and seaside towns, the lighthouse keeper is still a well-known and respected figure."

--from Lighthouses of France: The Monuments and their Keepers


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

I was on my way to Draguignan, en voiture, when I saw a wicker chair lying on its side in the opposite lane. It must have just fallen out of the back of that flatbed camion, I thought, at which point my fingers pulled repeatedly at the headlight lever as I gave what the French call an "appel de phare" or warning signal.

As the oncoming car drew close, I could just make out the expression of comprehension on the driver's face. Though he could not yet see the obstacle, he was now prepared to see (and react) to something. Assured, I let the worry go, and for the next two or three kilometers, found myself back, some fifteen years in time, in the Lubéron, on a winding country road leading to the villages of Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Cadenet and Pertuis.....

To my left and in the driver's seat, sat a young Frenchman with a bandana tied around his neck and a thick lock of chestnut-colored hair falling over his left eye. The glow on my face was hidden beneath a powdery mask, one fashioned by the Gaul whom I had just met. (In vain I had protested the orange, yellow and red dirt being pressed against my face. "It is a tradition," he had said, brushing with his hand another generous layer of the ochre and red earth across my cheek.)

It was when we had climbed out of the ochre canyon at Roussillon and were on our way back to Aix-en-Provence that I learned for the first time what was a headlight signal.
"It is called an 'appel de phare'," Jean-Marc had explained, signaling to the oncoming car via a series of bright flashes. We do this to warn other drivers that there is a flic nearby.

"But there are no cops around," I pointed out.
"No," Jean-Marc chuckled, "il n'y a pas." Nevertheless he gave a few more appels de phare, amused at foiling his countrymen (even going as far as to be disappointed when the motorists didn't have the courtesy to thank him for the warning via a wave of the hand!).

While Jean-Marc found the flash-n-foil funny, I didn't see the humor in it and was slightly déçue by his adolescent behavior. The headlight incident would be the first fault of character that I would mentally register (in what would become a lengthy "Gripes Log" of a new bride -- a record that would bind me with every loop of a neatly penned "l", and tie me with the crossing of a "t", for such is the recording of our miseries: we enprison ourselves, subconsciously!).

And like the appel de phare, it was a warning of more personality clashes to come. But, like the fallen wicker chair, it was just another something to be gotten around on the road to mutual acceptance.

I suspect that when I finally get them to add up -- all the ingredients for a happy life -- it will be that beam of light, flashed not upon the other but on my own faults, that will have led to enlightenment. It will be the realization that the obstacle to bonheur is, after all, not the other, but moi-même.

.

French Vocabulary

en voiture = by car; le camion (m) = truck; le flic (m) (informal) = cop; déçu = disappointed; le bonheur (m) = happiness; moi-même = myself

                                  *     *     *
FrenchRead all about my first meeting with Jean-Marc, and the ups and downs of our intercultural courtship, in my book "Words in a French Life : Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France. Order a copy here.



French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc say these French words:
Il a lancé un appel de phare. He sent a warning signal. Download phare.wav

Terms & Expressions:
le projet phare = the main/major project

France Today features different regions of France with practical travel tips & suggestions for where to eat & stay, where to shop & play, as well as features on food & wine, cinema, culture & French products available in the U.S.A. Subscribe to France Today.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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--Candy T., California


apporter

Sea_urchin_1 Jean-Marc and Fred preparing sea urchins "on the half shell".

In books:

French_womenFrench Women For All Seasons by Mireille Guiliano is a charming and practical guide to adding some joie to your vie and to your table...

apporter (a pohr tay) verb
  to bring; to supply or provide

Le soir de la vie apporte avec soi sa lampe.
The evening of life brings with it its lamp.
--Joseph Joubert

A Day in a French Life...
In the southern French town of La Ciotat the Mediterranean pines cling fearfully to the edge of a limestone cliff. With each shiver, the trees release another light shower of pine nuts which land at the feet of group of old high school chums who sit sipping chilled rosé wine and preparing sea urchin on the half shell. Occasionally the men pause, popping one of the nuts into their mouths, washing it down by another gulp of the peach-colored wine.


Meanwhile, just across the terracotta tiled patio and inside the bustling kitchen, the wives of the men stand teary-eyed (so many chopped onions later) and as thirsty as the burning and porous tiles that separate them from their bon vivant husbands.

When one of the men makes the mistake of wandering into the cuisine, hoping to find a few more ice cubes, one of the wives speaks up.

"What about OUR drinks? A little glass of rosé would add a bit more spice to what we are cooking in here. Apporte-nous du vin!" In just two sentences, the French woman had voiced a sentiment that wives across France were probably sharing at this, the hour of the déjeuner: what are you bringing to the table apart from your empty stomach?

To be fair, each person has brought something: Corine, a moister-than-most chocolate cake; her husband, Fred, the diving equipment which helped to catch so many savory sea urchins; Jean-Marc, a selection of his favorite summer wines; José, a fruit cake; his wife, Claire, a creamy Tropézien tart. Sophie brought the carpaccio and her husband, Nicolas, his crushed anchovy and lemon marinade in which to "cook" the thinly sliced beef. As for me, I made chocolate chip cookies with roasted pignons.

But if one had to argue who did or brought the most, then I would say it was the children, whose apport was their joyful laughter which echoed across the tiled patio, past the teary-eyed chefs, past the pinetrees and the old friends below them, and over the turquoise bay in the southern French town of La Ciotat.


French Vocabulary

un bon vivant = one who likes good food and drink
la cuisine (f) = kitchen
le déjeuner (m) = lunch
le pignon (de pin) = pine nut
Apporte-nous du vin! Bring us some wine! 
un apport = contribution



In Magazines:

Elle

As with its English counterpart, the French edition of Elle magazine focuses on the world of fashion, beauty, and style. Each glamorous, glossy issue highlights the latest trends around the world and offers self-help articles, celebrity profiles and interviews, and practical how-to information.

 

 

.................................
French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following phrase:
Apporte-moi un verre de rosé.
Bring me a glass of rosé. Download apporter.wav

Verb conjugation:
j'apporte, tu apportes, il/elle apporte, nous apportons, vous apportez, ils/elles apportent ; past participle = apporté

In books:
Becherelle_1 Complete Guide to Conjugating 12000 French Verbs by Bescherelle

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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    
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


sot

Sot
Ever been a bit sot at the zinc bar? I have. (photo: Bar de la Marine/Marseilles)

sot, sotte (so, sot) adjective
  foolish, silly, stupid

There is also the noun "sot" (and "sotte"), which means "fool" or "idiot," and the adverb "sottement" (foolishly, stupidly) -- and have you ever seen the French word "sot-l'y-laisse"? While you think about that one, I'll have typed the definition at the end of this post...

Un sot savant est sot plus qu'un sot ignorant.
A wise fool is more foolish than an ignorant fool.
--Molière

PostcardA wonderful gift for a Francophile: carte postale / postcard organizer: version 1 (image on the left) and version 2

..........................................
A (so-so*) Day in a French Life...

It is so sew sow soh seau seaux sot saut sceau
sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
difficult to know what to write about sometimes.

...................................................................................................................
References: so-so in French is "comme si, comme ça"; the first line in the text includes English and French homophones, or words that sound pretty much alike. [The French translations are: le seau (m) = bucket; les seaux (plural of seau); sot = silly; le saut (m) = jump, leap; le sceau (m) = seal or hallmark (stamp).]

French Pronunciation:
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's quote by Molière:
"Un sot savant est sot plus qu'un sot ignorant." Download sot.wav

In Magazines:

TravelerTraveler features articles on worldwide travel destinations, savvy strategies, shopping, hotels, transportation, legislation, news and tips for vacation and business travelers. Subscribe to Traveler.

Travelgirl Travelgirl offers the sophisticated female traveler everything she needs to make lifestyle & travel decisions for her family and herself. She'll find tips to make each escape perfect, whether she's taking off on an exotic overseas adventure or packing up the family for a cross-country road trip.

Related Terms and Expressions:
la sottise (f) = foolishness, stupidness; a foolish act or remark
le sot-l'y-laisse (m) = oyster (in chicken). "A French term for the piece of meat above the parson's nose in chicken and other birds. Literally meaning "a fool leaves it"." (definition from GourmetBritain.com)

For an entire discussion on the term sot-l'y-laisse visit this Wordreference link.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


façon

     Shutters
     Une façon de décorer sa fenêtre /one way to decorate one's window.

la façon (fa-sahn) noun, feminine
  1. way, manner

La façon la plus rapide de mettre fin à une guerre est de la perdre.
The quickest way to end a war is to lose it.
--George Orwell

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Marie_claire French Magazines: MARIE CLAIRE (printed in French) has articles covering fashion, beauty, celebrity gossip, fitness, and relationships. Subscribe here:


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Because sometimes it is hard to say no... Here are 10 alternative ways, or façons, (some rigolo,* others not so apropos) to say "Non!"* in French:

Façon polie (Polite way):
  Je regrette mais... I'm sorry but...

Façon rapide (Rapid way):
  Rêve! / Dream on!
  Négative. / Negative.

Façon évasive (Evasive way):
  Je ne pense pas... / I don't think so...
  Ce n'est pas possible. / It's not possible.

Façon directe (Direct way):
  Absolument pas! / Absolutely not!
  Hors de question! / (It's) out of the question!

Façon honnête (Honest way):
  Je n'ai pas trop envie. / I don't really feel like it.
  Cela ne me dit rien. / That doesn't sing to me.

Façon familière (Informal way):
  Jamais de la vie! / Not in (this) life!
  Mais, vous êtes dingue? / Are you crazy?
  Tu fumes ou quoi? / Are you smoking something?
  Quand les poules auront des dents! / When chicken have teeth. (Or, as the English expression goes: When pigs fly!)

Façon marseillaise (The Marseilles way):
  C'est la fête! It's party time! (In other words, "Not!")

...................................................................................
References: rigolo = funny; non! = no

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French Pronunciation:
Listen to eight-year-old Jackie's sentence:
J'aime ta façon de parler. I like the way you talk.
 

Expressions:

de toute(s) façon(s) = at any rate, anyway
sans façon = unpretentiously
faire des façons = to make a fuss

Learn_any_languageIn books: How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own. Check it out, here.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California