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February 2008

Entries from January 2008


The picturesque The town of Mirabel-aux-Baronnies Villedieu (Drôme) Sure, you know the French word "le vinaigre" (vin + aigre = wine + sour--or "sour wine"), an ingredient we usually include in salad dressing, but do you know this delightful expression: "faire vinaigre"? I'm adding it now to my other favorites: "dar-dar!" (double-quick) "illico!" (right away) and "chop... Read more →


Are you living in or near Seattle? Then I hope to see you at one of two places on Feb 12th!: fuguer (feuh-gay) verb to run away, to run off Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce and conjugate the French verb fuguer: je fugue, tu fugues, il/elle fugue, nous fuguons, vous fuguez, ils/elles fuguent Download fuguer.mp3 Download fuguer.wav *... Read more →

The French verb cravacher (kra-vah-shay) means "to use the crop on". Spend time at "une écurie," or "horse stable," and you'll come across the term "cravache" ("whip"). From it, we get the verb/idiom "cravacher" which means: "to work like mad" (imagine a horse being "whipped into high speed"...). While the French word for "kick" (coup de pied)... Read more →


Yves and the dashing hounds or "teckels"... more about this survivor in today story! chute (shoot) noun, feminine : a fall ; drop (in tension) Trébucher peut prévenir une chute. A stumble may prevent a fall. --Thomas Fuller In books: "Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream" by James Morgan: "A lovely memoir, travelogue and... Read more →


Abbé Pierre's "holy anger" drove him to fight for the rights of those sans-toit, without a roof over their head. Take a moment to read about this great Frenchman, and thank you for sharing this post with a friend. TODAY'S WORD le (la) sans-abri (sahns-ahbree) noun, masculine & feminine : homeless person "Sans-abri" means, literally, "without shelter";... Read more →

à fond

When the last time you were "cat" off guard? What did you discover about yourself: pridefulness? greed? Read on in today's story.... à fond (ah fohn) prepositional phrase : deeply, thoroughly Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following quote: Download MP3 or Wav file A mon avis, vous ne pouvez pas dire que vous avez vu... Read more →


The walls may need paint but the grapes are now pressed... and in bottles! échantillon (ay-shahn-tee-yon) noun, masculine : sample, tester (product) In French reference books: the French/French dictionary on my desk. I'm just itching for an updated version like this one. . On our kitchen table I see échantillons,* shiny and black! Row after row of... Read more →

US Tour: February 2008

Coming up: New York City in April 2008 If you happen to be in the Big Apple next month, then let's meet at Crawford Doyle Booksellers, a small store located around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum between 81st and 82nd Streets on Madison Ave. I'll be there, perusing the stacks, on April 15th, from 4:00 to... Read more →


The best anti-odor remedy yet! Read on, in today's story. Well, here's one for you: "puer"! In English it means "the dung of dogs". Is it me, or is there a whisper of poetry in that last entry? We can forget about the stinky English definition for the moment (aren't you glad this is a French word... Read more →


Photo Vernissage! If you happen to be in Jacksonville, FL between now and February 15th, please stop in to the JU CAMERA CLICK GALLERY (221 Phillips, Jacksonville University; open from 5-7pm) to see select "slices" of my French life -- framed and on display! Mille mercis to Ginger Sheridan for inviting me to participate (and to her... Read more →


The halls are still decked in many French towns... including Orange. cachette (kah-shet) noun, feminine : hiding-place, hideout La poésie est à la fois une cachette et un haut-parleur. Poetry is at once a hiding-place and a loudspeaker. --Nadine Gordimer In books: The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication . When my... Read more →


Can't you just smell the clay? You've heard the expression "to smell a rat" but did you know the French equivalent: "subodorer quelque chose"? With that in mind, today's word, "subodorer" makes perfect scents, or rather, "sense"! Imagine that "rat" below you (sub) and stinking (odor) of just stolen cheese: subodorer. Another way to remember today's word... Read more →


But puéril(e) is an English word! I hear you say, as you discover today's "mot". Well, good for you (!) for me, I didn't know the word. Does that mean I have a "childish" vocabulary? To be fair, I know an even more difficult word: la puériculture (infant care; nursing)! Having spent time in two French... Read more →


My goal or but in the new year is to photograph more lavender fields! but (bewht) noun, masculine : aim, goal, objective; end Être ce que nous sommes et devenir ce que nous sommes capables de devenir, tel est le seul but de la vie. To be what we are, and to become what we are capable... Read more →