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Entries from October 2008

joyeux

Joyeux
My daughter, Jackie, just turned 5 when this word journal began. Here she is at eleven... helping Braise (brez) get dressed for the party!

Today marks the 6th anniversary of this French word journal. Party time!

*Note: the next word goes out on November 5th. (...not because we will need time to recover from the fête... but because we will be spending time with the kids, who are on school break again...).

joyeux, joyeuse (zhwa-yuh, zhwa-yuhz) adjective
    : cheerful, merry, joyful

Listen to my daughter's message, and to the French word "joyeux": Download joyeux.wav.Download joyeux.mp3


A_day_in_a_french_life
I have another confession: I have never been good at événementiel (or "event organization"). Jean-Marc planned our wedding, each and every detail (contacted the French priest, ordered the flowers, selected the menu, had the rings engraved, and all but tried on the long white gown & satin-trimmed veil for me).

The "big day" found his blushing bride-to-be tripping over a street grate, late for a very important date! I have been trying to make up for that unforgettable entrance ever since: by continuing to "réviser" a simple lesson from my husband: relax and enjoy life and, especially, celebrate the milestones!

Today marks the 6th anniversary of this French word journal and I am ready to celebrate this joyful event. I've ordered the flowers (okay, I swiped several from "Mama Jules"), and selected the menu: a sweet and savory buffet of words.

Now listen up: this is where you come in--and not as a clumsy bride!:

Joyeuse I would like to ask you to share a word or two... about yourself. Are you an 85-year-old collector of Southwestern art? Or a new mother, up to her ears in dirty diapers? Are you in a marching band? Do you read this word journal in school? Are you famous? ...or infamous? (or related to someone that is?). Do you speak more than two languages? Can you make your ears move?

Do you suspect you are the youngest on this list--or the oldest? Are you a tattoo artist or do you dabble in watercolor? Have you invented something? Do you like frogs legs or are you carrément contre la cuisine des cuisses de grenouilles? Do you have an unusual skill? Are you involved in a charity? Have you written a book and do you want to "buzz it" here? Are you shy? Ever won a prize? Do you have a blog or site and would you like to tell us where to find you on the web?

All in all, just a line or two about you... s'il vous plaît! Meantime, thank you for reading this word journal, and for helping to create a community as we move into our seventh year: one sweet and savoury word at a time.

Thank you very much for sharing your story in the comments box.

Note: having trouble posting? Please send your message to me (kristin.espinasse AT gmail.com ) with a "request to post" in the subject line. Include how you would like your name to appear. I will try to post your message in the next week.

PS: to share your photo: check out the French Word-A-Day group at Facebook.

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


yalla

sunflowers (c) Kristin Espinasse

Sunflowers for Soeur Emmanuelle

Please excuse today's non-conformist (... that is: not conforming to the usual blog) format but this is a special edition, devoted to a special, non-conformist French nun. To hear today's word, check out the first and last video (a music video with Calogero Maurici) at the end of this post.


::::::::::::::::::::::::: Y A L L A ! :::::::::::::::::::::::::

True, today's word is Arabic. I hope you'll allow that, just this once. After all, it was her favorite word. She who loved all people, especially the poor, to whom she devoted her life.

"Soeur Emmanuelle" was a French nun, well known as one of France's favorite personnages.* Born "Madeleine Cinquin" in Belgium, at the age of 22 she left her dancing shoes behind--along with that devilish grin (ah, men!)--took her vows, changed her name and became a professeur.*

Diplômée* in Philosophy at the Sorbonne, she went on to teach in Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia. Though she taught Literature and Philosophy, such intellectual heights never interfered with her street smarts which kept her--and her giant heart--close to the pavement: the pavement that is pauvreté:* cold, walked upon, fragile and cracked... and littered with trash. Trodden and overlooked, this "pavement" was something she would never let herself forget.

Poverty... ignited a revolt within her, leading to her outspokenness, to her famous "franc-parler,"* which often ruffled the feathers of her frères* and led to her being labelled an "enquiquineuse": a veritable pain in the neck, a pro-action pest!
 
Her appearance did not betray her values. From those two large bobby pins haphazardly stuck to each side of her veiled head... to the track shoes on her feet (over the thick socks and nylons), one could surmise that she was in a hurry to catch up with one ever-menacing foe: Destitution.

Which brings us smack back to the pavement and to those poubelles.* You might say (in a chuckling way) that trash defined her. She might have been "Soeur Chiffonnière,"* for she "housed" herself next door to the trash gatherers, or "zabbaleen" (many of whom are children), in one of Cairo's worst slums, where she settled after her "retirement". Troisieme âge,* for her, would be spent in combat, always a "combat du coeur": from the heart, for the helpless.

There in a lice- and rat-ridden bidonville,* home for her was a 4-meter square room--without water, without electricity. According to* Dr. Mounir Neamatalla, a leading Egyptian expert in environmental science and poverty reduction:

"She was living right among them, the garbage collectors, the pigs, the whole mess. I had never seen anything like this in my life... You could see one of the worst qualities of life on the planet, but in this inferno was an enterprising population that worked like ants."

Working side-by-side with "les misérables"* Sister Emmanuelle advanced toward her goal, raising money to build schools and hospitals. She also created vegetable gardens for the poor to nourish themselves. Her roommate, Sister Sara (see second video, below), spoke of her character, saying that when a problem arose, Soeur Emmanuelle exclaimed: "On va foncer!"* to which Sara softly suggested that they might first pray for guidance and direction. For Sister Emmanuelle, "direction" seemed to be something you sought after first jumping to your feet!

So is it any wonder that, asked about her favorite word, Sister Emmanuelle shouted with glee: "Yalla!" Asked to translate the word, she responded, "En avant!"

Amen, Sister! "Forward march" all the way. Your lumière* may have gone out on Sunday, just three weeks shy of your centième* birthday, but your legacy lights our consciences today...and tomorrow--and for as far into the future as the pest that is poverty stretches its condemning claws. Thank you for showing us that a selfless heart, coupled with awareness, is just not enough. It also takes yalla (yalla-yalla-yalla!) to relieve misery. First we must jump to our feet... then inquire about those directions.
 
***
PS: Soeur Emmanuelle, I have a confession. As a child, I looked up to movie stars (Shirley Temple, The Bionic Woman), as a teen, I admired glamorous runway models (Paulina Porizkova, Estelle Lefébure) as a young woman I pined over literary figures (it didn't really matter who they were, if they were writers I pined). I just want you to know, Chère Soeur, that while you didn't have the strength of Lindsay Wagner or Paulina's perfect posture -- I'm finally beginning to realize that, more than celebrity or vanity fair, it's really all about what's "in there"... and it is going to take a lot of big hearts to fill those little track shoes of yours, and to keep moving "en avant!" 

For more information on Soeur Emmanuelle's charity: visit www.asmae.fr

Comments, corrections, conseils... welcome here.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le personnage (m) = character, individual; le professeur (m) = teacher; diplômé(e) (from "diplômer" = to award a diploma); la pauvreté (f) = poverty; le franc-parler (m) = outspokenness; le frère (m) = brother (religious); la poubelle (f) = trash or garbage can; chiffonnier (chiffonnière) = rag picker; le troisième âge (m) = retirement; le bidonville (m) = shanty town; according to = excerpt from a report by Perrine Latrasse, Associated Press; les misérables (mf) = the destitute; on va foncer! = Charge! (Let's get to it!); la lumière (f) = light; centième = one hundredth
Soeur Emmanuelle: "Il ne faut jamais s'arrêter dans la vie, il faut toujours courir, s'acharner."

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


veinard

Veinard
A cautionary word to our dog, Braise (right): That's no way to treat a (potential) lover. Learn the whole story in the column, below.

*     *     *

My sister, Heidi, will be participating in a march for breast cancer. She is walking on behalf of our mother, Jules, our Aunt Charmly, and Tante Marie-Françoise who are breast cancer survivors. Please check out Heidi's progress (at http://no-cancer.notlong.com ) in raising funds for breast cancer research... and maybe pitch in a few dollars, whatever you can, while you're there? Mille mercis.

veinard,e (veh-narh, veh-narhd) noun, masculine, feminine

    : lucky dog, lucky devil

[from the French "veine" (vein), from the Latin "vena"]

adjective: lucky

Audio File: listen to the French word veinard and veinarde: Download veinard.wav. Download veinard.mp3


A_day_in_a_french_life
by Kristin Espinasse

When our golden retriever went into heat last month, I learned a thing or two about her romantic heart. En bref,* Braise is no uptown girl.

This all became clear the day a toothless bâtard* came calling. The scruffy, unemployed chien* might have been missing an eye, for all I know (barroom brawl?)... that untamed black mop on his head made it hard to tell.

"Mr. Black Dog," as my mom affectionately called him, was hardly taller than Braise's ankles. But that didn't disqualify him... from putting a bun in the oven.

"Mais, chéri," Jean-Marc chuckled, trying to reason with me, "nothing will happen. It's impossible!"

Locking the front door and latching the shutters, I was, once again, struck by my husband's naiveté.
"Oh, you'd be surprised!" I snapped back, eyeing our tattered trespasser, whose wet nose was pressed up against the porte-fenêtre.*

"Va-t-en!"* I shouted, from behind the window. "Allez! Oust!"*

I tried to see the positive side of an eventual "accident": Labradoodles!* Tried, that is, until Jean-Marc confirmed that the small black dog with the curly black mop on its head was NOT a caniche.*"

For two weeks straight, bright and early each morning -- a flurry of chicken feathers in his wake (and complaints from the hens who had begun their day-long "puttering and pecking" through the grapevines) -- Mr Black Dog left the neighboring farm, took a shortcut across the bright yellow mustard field, past Monsieur Delhomme's potager (now teeming with pumpkins), and arrived at our kitchen door... the happy-go-lucky "bachelor" limping like a poivrot* all the way.

His legs were so short he barely needed to lift one to leave his mark, and leave his mark he did (sprinkling little "forget-me-nots" all over the front yard). Braise was lovesick and all but fluffed her hair and powdered her own wet nose at the first glimpse of that unemployed underdog.

We did our best to keep the dogs separated; after all, we had plans of our own...

Samuel de Vichyssoise, a.k.a. "Sam", (a "blue-blooded" golden retriever and our "arranged suitor") eventually arrived, having traveled all the way from his aristocratic flat on the Rue de Paradis in Marseilles.

But things didn't go at all as planned... and we were dumbstruck by our golden girl's ghastly welcome: Braise sneered. Braise jeered. The golden boy, to our "girl," was no more than a stuffy "Earl". It seemed Braise's heart was agog for none other than the toothless, limping underdog.

Veinarde And now, as all soap operas must end with a cliffhanger... I'll let you in on a secret. Just when we thought our dog had done away with the "Earl of Marseilles" (for the purposes of this story, we'll allow a British earl into this French fable)... it seemed the two had disappeared... into a stack of hay. Oh, dear!

The only question now is "a-t-elle une brioche au four?"* and, if so, WHO is the virile veinard?*

***
PS: My apologies for not having a photo of Mr. Black Dog. For now, enjoy "Braise's Sneer" (photo number one) and "Braise's Happy (at last) Cavalier" (photo number two). Click to enlarge photo.

Comments, corrections,* conseils... welcome in the comments box.

*Thank you, Judith Urbanek, for the grammar help (re: my "vas-t-en"). See Judith's message at the end of this post.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
en bref
= briefly; bâtard(e) = mutt; le chien (la chienne) = dog; la porte-fenêtre (f) = French window; allez! oust! = go on! get out of here!; poivrot(e) = drunk, wino; labradoodle = a labrador-poodle mix update: make that a "goldendoodle"; un caniche (m) = poodle; avoir une brioche au four = to have a bun in the oven; veinard(e) (mf) = lucky dog
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Other ways to say "bun in the oven" (être enceinte) in French

"avoir un p'tit pain dans le four"
"être en cloque"
"avoir le ballon"
"avoir le gros ventre"
"avoir un polichinelle dans le tiroir"
 
Would anyone like to help translate those idioms? Thanks for using the comments box.

~~~~~~~~~~Gifts and shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Complete Pepin: Techniques and Recipes (DVD)
In music: Paris' Most Beautiful Songs
Made in Provence: Savon et Cie Bath Salts: in calm/soothing lavender
French Alphabet Blocks -- complete with letters, numbers and animal pictures
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love & Language


A Little Grammar Lesson in French and English:

(Sharing with you a letter that I received from Judie)

Dans l'impératif, pour le singulier (juste pour les verbes en -ER) on omet le S.  Par exemple: Va-t'en! (comme dans ton histoire ci-dessous) ou Regarde l'oiseau là-bas!  
Pour d'autres verbes le S reste.  Par exemple--Finis tes devoirs!  Descends lentement ce vieil escalier!

Bonne chance avec ta chienne!

Amitiés du Wisconsin,
Judie

In the imperative, for the singular (and only for verbs in -ER), we omit the S. For example: Va-t-en! (as in your story, above) or Regarde l'oiseau là-bas! For other verbs, the S stays. For example: Finis tes devoirs! Descends lentement ce vieil escalier!

Good luck with your dog!

Warm regards from Wisconsin,
Judie


Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


pot

DSC_0039
Thank you! (A jug of thanks, and more, in today's story column.)

Note: the book section (in the left and right columns) changes "thrice-weekly" along with each new post. Look for French-themed novels, short stories, grammar books and more!

pot (poh) noun, masculine
    : pot, jug, can, tin, jar

[from low Latin "potus" (a pot), from the classical Latin "potus" (drink)]

"Un pot" can refer to a farewell party and "avoir du pot" means "to be lucky". There are over a dozen more terms and expressions at the end of this letter. Would you like to help to translate one or two? Thank you for sharing your answers in the comments box.

(Mini dialogue):
Me: Jean-Marc, do you have a minute to record tomorrow's word?
JM: I do... but I think people would appreciate hearing your voice from time to time.
Me: (gulps) Thanks for the encouragement.... (secretly relieved there are no French "r's" in today's word or expression):

Audio File: Listen to today's word and to this expression "pot à lait"
Download pot.mp3
. Download pot.wav


A_day_in_a_french_life
On Friday I asked readers to send my mom a virtual flower... and to share the French word for the flower-in-question. If the French equivalent was not known (for it isn't necessary to speak French -- or even to have a dictionary handy to participate), readers were encouraged to just go ahead and send in
their favorite fleur* for Jules. Meantime, as promised, I began to translate those first few terms that arrived via the comments box, where a lovely bouquet began to take shape....

Then a "black-eyed Susan" arrived... and just as I was considering "Les Yeux Noirs de Suzanne" (giddy to learn the name of a favorite flower... never mind that I had the French all wrong...), Jules fired up her computer, clicked over to her daughter's blog, and discovered her floral surprise! Mom quickly responded (via the petal-packed comments box) with a simple, tearful, ALL-CAPS remerciement.*  From that point on, my worries turned from flower translations... to how I, too, might thank you for all of the exotic and lovely flower combinations. From a poetic "Sahuaro blossoms floating in a clay bowl full of desert rain-water"... to those quirky "Kangaroo paws" (and, just this morning, a "une primevère de Mumbai"*), Jules's virtual bouquet grew and, as Mom would add, via all-caps, GREW!

In view of the unexpected response, I spent the weekend obsessing about how to express a heartfelt thanks for making my mom's wish come true.... until Aunt-Marie Françoise arrived on Sunday afternoon with a "pot à lait"* and, in-so-doing, unwittingly put a stop to my flower frenzy. The old-fashioned milk pail (a gift from her), with its muted aluminum body and unadorned handle, helped me to remember that a "thank you" needn't be polished like gold. The humble "pot à lait" hinted that a simple "merci beaucoup" is sometimes all it takes... to say thanks.

To Marie-Françoise's pot, I've added few branches of wild rosemary (collected from our afternoon walk through the garrigue*) and string of non-edible red berries for a Thank You composition (see today's photo) prepared just for you! And because Jules would love the chance to "vous re-remercier"*,
I've added a quince from her "collection"... I'll tell you THAT story another time.
 
***
PS: Did you miss the "baba cool" edition and want to send Mom a flower? Don't forget to mention the city from which you are sending your virtual fleur:
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
une fleur
(f) = flower; un remerciement (m) = thanks, thanking; une primevère (f) de Mumbai = a primrose from Mumbai; un pot (m) à lait = milk jug; la garrigue (f) = Mediterranean scrubland; vous re-remercier = to thank you again

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Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
A French salon favorite: Kerastase Volumactive Shampoo
Le Creuset Round French Oven


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...Here's where you pitch in... and help to build our French Word Community

Terms to translate & to discuss via the comments box:

un petit pot (for baby...)
un pot de chambre
un plant en pot
un pot de colle
un pot à eau
un pot d'adieu
un pot de départ
un pot de terre
un coup de pot
plein pot (rouler plein pot)
un pot à bière
le pot d'échappement
le pot-au-feu
le pot-de-vin
le pot-de-vinier
poule au pot
le pot aux roses
le pot de yaourt
le pot au noir
la pot-bouille
(may be an old term...)
le pot à feu

un pot d'accueil
...and what about le pot-pourri?

Expressions:
  avoir du pot
  manquer de pot
  tourner autour du pot
  payer plein pot
  payer les pots cassés
  tourner autour du pot
  "C'est le pot de terre contre le pot de fer"
  découvrir le pot aux roses
  mettre la poule au pot
  sourd comme un pot

Proverbs :
  On fait de bonne soupe dans un vieux pot.
  Un pot fêlé dure longtemps.


... don't forget to check back to the comments box for insights into these expressions. Many thanks for your translations and comments regarding these idioms and terms related to the French word "pot".

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


baba cool

Mom's cosmos
My mom, Jules (her hands pictured here) was busy harvesting cosmos seeds up until her departure. She's gone home now, but the seeds are drying on my kitchen table--and they make me smile each time I walk past them.

baba cool (baba-kool) noun, masculine/feminine

    : hippy, flower child


The plural of baba cool is "babas cool".

    Il est baba- cool, respecte son gourou, et rejette la violence.
    He's a flower child, respects his guru, and rejects violence.


--from "Dictionary of French Slang and Colloquial Expressions"


Audio file: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word baba cool and read the example sentence (above):  Download baba_cool.wav


A_day_in_a_french_life
My mom will be waking up any time now, having traveled 24 hours en voiture,* en avion* and à pied* to arrive home in Mexico.

Having kissed her goodbye at 3:30 a.m., Thursday morning (Jean-Marc took her to the airport in Marseilles for her 6 a.m. flight), I spent the twilight hours moping around the kitchen... until I received a surprise several hours later! In Amsterdam, during her first flight connection, Mom had sweet-talked a "darling" traveler with a laptop into letting her leave a message* for me on my blog.

Thankful for the unexpected sign that she sent me, I thought about the surprise that mom was hoping for. Mom had one wish (on arriving home): that the one she loves would be waiting for her, flowers in hand. I listened to Jules's wish, which she repeated over and over on the days leading up to her departure, and hoped that she might be happily surprised.

So as to get her husband off the hook (just in case he forgot to show up at the arrival gate, fleurs en main*), and, as a way to welcome Jules home--and to put a great smile on her face--I thought we might all take off our reader hats today... and put on our baba cool* headbands.

That's right: let's be flower children just for a day, and just for Jules.... I'd love for Mom to wake up this morning with a beautiful bouquet on her desk... when she logs on to her computer... and visits her daughter's webpage. 

Here's how I thought we might compose that flower arrangement--and it won't even cost us a penny!:

 1. Choose one French* flower to put into the virtual basket (we'll use the comments box for our fancy flower "vase").

2. Include the city that you are "sending" it from.

If you do not know the French name for your flower, no problem, just write the flower name in the comments box, along with the city you are "sending" it from, and allow me or another reader to translate it for you.

*by "French"... I mean the French equivalent of the flower. For example: un coquelicot (or poppy) for Jules from Maine... or "un oeillet jaune (a yellow carnation) from Beijing"....

Note: the flower does not have to be native to the area that you live in: you can send an entire Hawaiian orchid leis (virtual, bien sûr!) from Tempe, Arizona, if you like!

Have fun and be creative (invent your own flower, if you so fancy), and thank you for your help (or should I simply say "Peace and Love" to you?!).

Signed,
Ze Flower Chick en France.

~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
en voiture
= by car; en avion = by airplane; à pied = on foot; message (see Mom's message): http://coucou.notlong.com ; fleurs en main = flowers in hand; baba cool = hippy, flower child


When you order through Amazon, via the following links, you help to support this French word journal -- soon in it's 7th year of publication!... and always free. Please note that the book lists (see left and right columns) are renewed "thrice-weekly", along with the posts.

Country French Florals & Interiors

St.Brigid Anemone Windflowers 15 Bulbs - Double Flowers (because Jules tells me "plant bulbs, plant bulbs!" and enjoy them this Spring!)

Stone (Granite) Mortar and Pestle -- a must for French pistou!

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. 
 
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language



Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


mouchoir-pouchoir

Asterisque (c) Kristin Espinasse

A shop dog in Grignan -- a town in the Drôme made famous by Madame de Sévigné. (Re today's photo: You can just see my mom's reflection in the shop window. She's wearing a bright-colored poncho. See her? And see another picture of our tech savvy chien at the end of this post).

Thank you for all the French words and expressions! Please keep sending them in, via the comments box, where we continue to play our "Point & Discover" French word game*... speaking of which... here is a fun term that reader Dorothy Dufour just sent in:

mouchoir-pouchoir (moosh-wahr-poosh-wahr) noun, masculine
    : hanky-panky

[from "mouchoir" ("handkerchief" or "hanky") & "pouchoir" (a made-up French word that rhymes with "mouchoir")]

See this word... and many more endearing terms and expressions, here.

To comment on today's term, "mouchoir-pouchoir" please use this box:

*To play the word game along with us:

1. Cover your eyes
2. Open a French dictionary to a random page. Let your finger drop to the page.
3. Discover the word beneath your fingertip.

Asterisk If you do not have a dictionary handy, you might share the first word that comes
to mind. Don't forget to add the definition and any related expressions to the
comments box.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Learn French in a Hurry: Grasp the Basics of Français Tout De Suite

French "vine therapy" for the hands: Caudalie Hand And Nail Cream

SmartFrench: CD-rom for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced French learning

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


fendre

Fire hydrant
Today's unrelated Photo du Jour: a fire hydrant in the hilltop town of Seguret.


A fun (and easy!) word game for you today & an invitation for UK readers, here.


fendre (fon-dr) verb
    : to split; to slit, to slash
    : to cleave

[from the Latin, "findere"]

fendre la foule = to push one's way through the crowd
se fendre = to crack
fendre l'air = "to cut through the air" (to quickly advance)
se fendre la pêche / se fendre la gueule = to laugh openly, noisily

The word of the day ("fendre") was selected at random -- after playing today's word game... read on, in the following column...).


A_day_in_a_french_life
My mom leaves in just a few days and I'd like to spend as much time with "Jules" as possible. Therefore, I'm leaving all the work to you today, via a fun (and improvised...) word game:

Here are the instructions (dictionary* not required... but helpful):

1. Randomly open a French-English dictionary.
2. Cover your eyes.
3. Let your finger drop to the page.
4. Uncover your eyes, discover the French word beneath your very fingertip...
5. Type the word into the comments box.
6. Don't forget to add a definition and any related terms, idioms, or expressions!

*Psst: Don't have a dictionary handy? Pas de problème! Answer this question: Tell us the first French word that comes to mind. List it, along with a definition, in the comments box. If you don't know the definition, just make one up!

Note: Please *do not* send words via email, but use the comments box.


~~~~New, in Books~~~~~~~~~~
Champlain's Dream: In this sweeping, enthralling biography, acclaimed historian David Hackett Fischer brings to life the remarkable Samuel de Champlain -- soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France.

... (Not So New): in Books
Bel Ria: the spellbinding tale of a small dog caught up in the Second World War, and of the extraordinary life-transforming attachments he forms with the people he encounters in the course of a perilous passage from occupied France to besieged England.

Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

igourmet's Favorites - 8 Cheese Sampler

Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


plouc

DSC_0081
Meet "Dotty" (here, with painted "nails" -- desperate not to look like a plouc). Wouldn't you just love to paint her? Find out how to add your watercolor, oil, pencil, pastel (or other) portait of Dotty to our online gallery. Read the story column here. You can use either photo for inspiration.

Message to UK readers: find out how to get free tickets to our next wine-tasting event

plouc (plook) noun, masculine
    : country bumpkin, hick, yokel

adjective: dowdy

Know any other definitions for "plouc"? Do you have something to say about today's word? Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

Audio File: listen to the word plouc. Can you hear what Jean-Marc is saying? Post the expression and the translation in the comments box. Download plouc.wav . Download plouc.mp3

In French language learning: Michel Thomas Speak French Advanced: 5-CD Advanced Program


A_day_in_a_french_life
I waved goodbye to the journalist, who was especially beautiful and poised -- graceful in a lovely scarf and gold earrings... just enough, not too much.

I looked down, at my own outfit, shook my head. What was I thinking? Menswear? Next time, I would wear heels... and remember to quit wearing Jean-Marc's socks.

"How did the interview go?" my husband asked, as we stood in the driveway, saluting the journalist as she drove away.

"I talk too much. Blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah." Jean-Marc smiled, knowingly.

"Worse, I sound like a country bumpkin when I speak."
"What is a "country bumpkin"?*" Jean-Marc wanted to know.
"It's the opposite of bourgeoisie."

"Oh," Jean-Marc sympathized. His eyes searched the grape fields for an answer, which he soon found, his focus now on the tractor... just beyond the tumble-down mailboxes. There was a peacefulness and playfulness to what he said next, and it somehow set the record straight.

"Mais, Chérie. Tu es un country bumpkin!"*


                                *     *     *
Interview Tips... or "Plooky"* Behavior to Avoid during a Professional Entretien*

 => Don't use toilet paper to dry your nose. (...no matter how much you sweat).

=> Don't serve journalist tap water. (Stock the fridge with soda, once & for all!)

=> Don't mention former fiancé... (find another way, besides name-dropping, to spice up your story)

=> Do not accept journalist's offer to help with laundry. (Next time, get the pajamas off the clothesline before the media arrive.)

=> Don't mention Jesus. Especially mention Jesus! (...and don't forget to throw your arms up into the air -- and wave your whole body in conviction!)


P.S.: I will let you know when the interview is published...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
country bumpkin = un plouc (m); un entretien (m) = interview; plooky = (Franglais for "hicklike", based on today's word); Mais, Chérie-- tu es un country bumpkin!" = But, Dear -- you are a country bumpkin!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~In The News~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"French Writer Wins Nobel Prize: The Swedish Academy on Thursday awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for literature to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a cosmopolitan and prolific French novelist, children's author and essayist regarded by many French readers and critics as one of the country's greatest living writers." (NY Times)

Read one of Le Clézio's stories, "David", in Short Stories in French: New  Penguin Parallel Text

In French salons: Kerastase haircare
Get organized: Map of Paris 12 File Folders
Eiffel Tower Confetti

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


chenille


Chenille
Meet "Dot" the exotic caterpillar we met last Saturday morning while picking grapes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. S(he) has lovely painted "fingernails". Maybe I'll show you those another time?

Today: Your French Vernissage. Read today's story column and find out how you, or a friend, might participate in our second vernissage, or "art showing", here at French Word-A-Day.


Message to UK readers: find out how to get free tickets to our next wine-tasting event


chenille
(shuh-nee) noun, feminine
    : caterpillar

Le plus beau papillon n'est qu'une chenille habillée. (French proverb)

A "véhicule à chenilles "is a "tracked vehicle" and a "chenille du mûrier" is a silkworm. Do you know any other terms or expressions associated with today's word? Would you like to translate today's proverb? Please share your "chenille" savoir faire here, in the comments box.

Audio File: hear today's French word, "chenille" and the proverb (above): Download chenille.wav . Download chenille.mp3

Check out the Complete Guide to Conjugating 12000 French Verbs


A_day_in_a_french_life
There is a real whirlwind of creative activity going on around our household, ever since Diane and Ralph sent in the winning bid for "Pear". (Congratulations and remerciements* to Monsieur et Madame Scott!)

I am working on a personalized gift for these two, one I hope to share with you a little bit later on (just as soon as I've crossed those T's and put "les points sur les I"...*).

Meantime, regarding this all-consuming creative "twirl" sweeping through our home... why dance alone? Here's a project to stir you, too!: See that photo,* above? You have until October 18th to send in your own creative interpretation of "Dot" (the caterpillar), using watercolor, oil, pastel, pencil, collage... anything!) at which point we'll pop open several virtual corks and, champagne in hand, view our second virtual vernissage!* Don't forget to tell your favorite artist (friend, neighbor, colleague, grandchild...) to join in!

Merci beaucoup for following these guidelines:

1. Email photos / images, as jpg attachments, at 500 pixels minimum, to kristin.espinasse(AT)gmail.com
2. Put the word "Dot" in the email subject line, mention medium (watercolor, oil, Crayola...)
3. Please direct any questions to the comments box.

Now... à vos pinceaux!


In children's books "La Chenille Qui Fait Des Trous"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
un remerciement (m) = thanks; les points sur les I = dots on those Is; vernissage = art showing, viewing; à vos pinceaux! = (off) to your paintbrushes (or pastels, or pencils...)
 
                           
~~~~~~~~~~In Store~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Learn French in a Hurry: Grasp the Basics of Français Tout De Suite
In Film: Paris Je T'aime: Stories of Love. From the City of Love.
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love & Language from the South of France

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


dimanche

Dog-affiche
Some people like to head to the flea market on Sundays, whilst others are just itching to pick grapes! More in today's story column. (Photo: antique metal sign at a brocante in Piolenc. The owner says this one is not for sale.)


Sure, you know the French word "dimanche", but do you know some of the interesting expressions that go with it? Hint: there's one in today's story... and a few others that you yourself might know... and share via the comments box! Here, I'll start the ball rolling with this one: "du dimanche" refers to
someone who practices an activity as an amateur (ex: le jardinier du dimanche = amateur gardener). Let's see your "dimanche" expressions, here.

dimanche (dee-monsh) noun, masculine
    : Sunday

Audio File: listen to today's word: Download dimanche.wav. Download dimanche.mp3

Get organized with the French Country Diary 2009 and a Moleskin Paris notebook!



A_day_in_a_french_life
When you marry into a French wine-making family, the harvest never ends. Though we finished picking our grapes here in Sainte Cécile almost two weeks ago, Uncle Jean-Claude's grapes, over in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, are still hanging around.

Saturday morning, 7:30 am: fueled with peanut butter and confiture* sandwiches, Max, Jackie, Jean-Marc, Jacques, and I each take our own vine row before advancing slowly down the narrow slope. The chilly autumn air has some of us cursing under our breaths, while others of us are marveling at how breath can be an objet d'art.*

I study the great puffs of artful breath and think about how crisp autumn air is not such a bad thing: it's fun to watch, like clouds, and it puts that bit of spring into our steps. That said, I am still lagging behind the other pickers, including my son and my daughter... until I have a stroke of good luck--and hit pay dirt! "Pay dirt" in the form of a long stretch of grape-bare vines! This might not be pay dirt for a winemaker (no grapes = no wine), but for a lagging picker it is just the boost she needs to catch up with the others.

I skip past the old, empty vines, bucket swinging from my arm. "C'est dimanche! La-la-la!..C'est dimanche! Each time I pass an empty grapevine I declaire it "Sunday!"

I pass by three more empty grapevines: "Dimanche!...Dimanche!... Dimanche! La-la-la! C'est dimanche!" Soon, I've caught up, level with the others pickers in their rows.

My brother-in-law, Jacques, looks up from behind a tangle of vine branches and the expression on his face says, "Qu'est-ce qu'elle a, celle-là?!*"

"Don't you know?" I say, pointing out my vine row with a sweep of the arm, "Over here (in my row) it's Sunday; a week of Sundays!" Jacques looks confused; after all, it is Saturday morning and not dimanche.

"Uncle Jean-Claude tells me that, in the old days, when harvesters arrived at an empty vine (no grapes = no work to do) they declared that one 'Dimanche,' a day off!"

Like that, I traipse past my brother-in-law, who is tangled in the vine before him. Noticing all those hard-to-reach grapes, I add. "Looks like you're at Monday: a long way away from "the weekend"!"

And--la-la-la!--I'm off, bucket swinging from my arm, artful breath making patterns in the sky beside me.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
la confiture
(f) = jam; un objet (m) d'art = work of art; qu'est-ce qu'elle a, celle-là? = what's gotten in to her?
 

Shopping:
Quiet Corners of Paris: More than eighty of the loveliest, most tranquil, and sometimes hidden places in Paris are celebrated in this charming guidebook

In World music: Dimanche à Bamako
In film: Inch'Allah Dimanche
Caudalie Beauty Elixir : vine therapy

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount