un arc

Jackie's column "Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France" (Thoughts of a Little Girl from France) is back. My seven-year-old talks about rainbows, or "les arcs-en-ciel." The English translation follows.

un arc (ark) noun, masculine
1. bow, arc, curve, arch

Also:
le tir à l'arc = archery
un arc-en-ciel = a rainbow
une scie à l'arc = a bow saw
l'arc des sourcils = the arch of the eyebrows
un arc roman/brisé, aigu = a semicircular/gothic arc
l'Arc de Triomphe = The Arch of Triumph

........................
Expressions:
avoir plus d'une corde à son arc = to have more than one solution; to have many resources to succeed

.........................
French Proverb:

Il faut avoir plusieurs cordes à son arc.
One must have more than one string to one's bow.

.......................................................
Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France

As-tu jamais vu un arc-en-ciel? Il y a presque toutes les couleurs dans l'arc-en-ciel.

As-tu vu les couleurs dans un arc-en-ciel? Il y a le bleu, le jaune, le rose, le rouge, le vert et le violet....

Les arcs-en-ciel viennent après la pluie, je pense.

Des fois je m'amuse à dessiner les arcs-en-ciel. Ce n'est pas difficile de les dessiner. On fait un pont et c'est tout!

* * In English * *

Have you ever seen a rainbow? There are almost all the colors in the rainbow.

Have you seen the colors in a rainbow? There is blue, yellow, pink, red, green and purple...

Rainbows come after the rain, I think.

Sometimes I like to draw rainbows. It isn't hard to draw them. You make a bridge and that's all!

.................
Post Note: More pronunciation soucis* for Jackie's mom. Here's what happened this week when I reread Jackie's story aloud, for her to edit:

Moi: un 'ark en syel'
Jackie: Non! It's 'ar KON syel'
Moi: (reading last paragraph) "difficile de dessiner...."
Jackie: "Not 'DE dessiner'! Ça ne veut rien dire! (That doesn't mean anything!) C'est: 'A dessiner'!"

*References: un soucis (m) = a worry

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 
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--Lisa


un écart

My daughter Jackie turned seven ("l'âge de raison") on Saturday. She is back today with her column "Thoughts of a Little Girl from France" (in French and English).

un écart (ay-kar) noun, masculine
1. distance apart, gap

Expressions:
faire le grand écart = to do the splits
faire un écart = to step aside
un écart de conduite = a lapse of conduct, misdemeanor
écarts de jeunesse = youthful indiscretions
un écart de l'imagination = a flight of the imagination
se tenir à l'écart = to keep oneself apart, aloof
habiter à l'écart = to live in a remote, lonely area
un écart d'âge = an age gap
un grand écart = (fig) a balancing act
un écart de langage = a rude or offensive word or phrase = a "gap" in language

.........................
French Proverb:

Ecarte-toi des lieux où l'on parle ou trop fort ou trop bas.
Distance yourself from places where people talk too loud or too low.

.......................................................
Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France

"Le Grand Ecart"

L'autre jour dans la salle de gym on a fait la danse et on a fait le grand écart.

Pour faire le grand écart il faut toucher par terre tout la longueur des jambes. Ce n'est pas du tout facile car ça tire dans les jambes.

Dans mon cours de danse, il y a Juliette qui le fait bien le grand écart mais aussi Bérénice. Pour certains, ce n'est pas évident de faire le grand écart. (Par exemple, pour moi et pour Cassandra, ce n'est pas encore ça.)

* * * In English * * *

The other day in the gym we danced and did the splits.

To do the splits, the length of one's legs must touch the ground. It isn't easy at all because it really pulls (with)in the legs.

In my dance class, there's Juliette who does the splits well, but so does Bérénice. For certain people, it isn't easy to do the splits. (For example, for me and for Cassandra. We're not there yet.)

...............
Post note: Jackie became flustered while dictating today's story to me. Apparently my French pronunciation, for even the simplest of phrases, is ultra null. The following scene took place:

Me: (reading back story, and the phrase 'un grand écart') "Ewn grahnd ay kart"
Jackie: "Ça veut rien dire!" (that doesn't mean anything!) "It's 'uhn grah taykar'!"
Me (re-reading story) "Ewn grahnd ay kart"
Jackie: "Oh la la!!!! C'est "uhn grah TAYKAR!"

Read more about my daughter, Jackie, in the book Words in a French Life

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 
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"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


une mèche

Meches or locks (c) Kristin Espinasse
Introducing our new correspondent, Jackie Espinasse. She has named her column "Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France" (Thoughts of a Little Girl from France). I told her that "Thoughts from a little French Girl" might be better, but she prefers it her way. She will be 7-years-old in just over a week. Today's story is in French and English and is a mix of fiction/non fiction.


mèche (mesh) noun, feminine

1. lock, streak (of hair)
2. wick (candle); fuse (firecracker)
3. a drill bit (tool)

Also:
une mèche folle = a stray lock/wisp of hair
une mèche rebelle = a wayward lock of hair
une mèche lente = a safety fuse
une mèche postiche = a hairpiece, toupee

Expressions:
se faire faire des mèches = to have highlights put in one's hair.
Y a pas mèche (slang) = there's no way (it's impossible)
être de mèche avec quelqu'un = to be in cahoots with someone
vendre la mèche = to spill the beans, to let the cat out of the bag
découvrir la mèche = to uncover the plot


Citation du Jour

Même si votre mère vous trouve parfaite, elle aura toujours besoin de replacer l'une de vos mèches de cheveux.

Even if your mother thinks you are perfect, she will always need to smooth back a lock of your hair.—Suzanne Beilenson



Pensées d'une Petite Fille de France... by Jackie Espinasse

L'autre jour, je suis allée chez le coiffeur pour me faire colorer les cheveux. Je voulais des cheveux roses parce que c'est ma couleur préférée.

Je me suis assise sur la chaise pour qu'on puisse peindre mes cheveux. J'ai dit à la coiffeuse: "Je n'ai pas envie que tout soit peint. Je veux juste quelques petites mèches roses." Et comme ça, elle a commencé à peindre mes cheveux roses!

Et après, quand on a fini de me colorer les cheveux, j'ai pris un bonbon rose (parce que c'est ma couleur préférée)!

* * * *

The other day I went to the hairdressers to get my hair colored. I wanted pink hair because (pink) is my favorite color.

I sat down on the chair so that they could paint my hair. I told the hairdresser: "I don't want all of my hair painted. I would just like a few pink streaks. And just like that, she began to paint my hair pink!

And after, when she finished coloring my hair, I took a pink bonbon (because it is my favorite color)!

*   *   *
A note from Jackie's mom: Rest assured, Jackie's hair is not pink (not yet, anyway). It is still vert after a summer of mixing white blond hair with eau de piscine.*

French Vocabulary

vert (adj.) = green

l'eau de piscine (f) = pool water

arbre or tree (c) Kristin Espinasse
Wonderful tree branches (kind of like unruly mèches?) in the village of Tarradeau, next to Les Arcs-sur-Argens.

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    
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"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


une roue

Cartable or French schoolbag (c) Kristin Espinasse
Back to School or la rentrée. Max and Jackie in 2004, at our old home in Les Arcs-sur-Argens

une roue
(roo) noun, feminine
1. a wheel

la grande roue = the Ferris wheel
une roue dentée = a cogwheel
un bateau à roues = a paddle boat
véhicule à deux/quatre roues = two-/four-wheeled vehicles
une roue de secours = a spare wheel or tire
une roue de transmission = a driving wheel
la roue de la Fortune = the wheel of Fortune
la cinquième roue du carosse = an entirely useless person, thing

Expressions:
être en roue libre = to freewheel, to coast
pousser à la roue = to lend a helping hand
se mettre en roue libre = (fig.) to take it easy, to do as one likes
faire la roue = to do a cartwheel, (also) to strut about, to swagger; to spread its tail (peacock)

Le succès est comme une grande roue; on ne peut vraiment apprécier la vue que l'on a d'en haut que si l'on redescend quelques fois. Success is like a Ferris wheel; we can only really appreciate the view that we have from up high if we come down a few times. --Yvon Deveault


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


Six-year-old Jackie is already asking for wheels! Put-putting along the autoroute in our micro car, Jackie shrieks when a cherry red sports car whizzes by:

"Ooh là là! Une FAY-RAR-EE!"

"No, Jackie, that isn't a Ferrari. That is a Toyota!" her brother insists.

My daughter has been hounding me for wheels for some time now. To be clear, she is only asking for two wheels (and not the kind you see spinning under French teens as they speed through the village, zig-zagging through traffic). The wheels Jackie longs for are attached to a hefty, multi-pocketed cartable.

I don't blame my daughter for wanting wheels on her schoolbag—you should see the amount of books she has to carry home each day! After one year of yearning for such a schoolbag-sur-roulettes, her wish was granted. Thursday morning she gingerly wheeled her new bag into the schoolyard....

Soon enough she discovered that the cartable à roulettes wasn't so easy to navigate through the hordes of bag-encumbered élèves. So she pushed in the collapsible handlebar, hoisted the bag onto her back, and threaded her way through traffic to class.

This morning at breakfast she inquired about graduating to four wheels. "Maman," she began, "quand je serai grande, tu m'achèteras une voiture?"  I'd better start stashing euros aside now. The good news is I'll have an extra year to save as French teens don't start driving solo until they are dix-sept years old.  

French Vocabulary

une autoroute
(f) = a motorway

fay-rar-ee = pronunciation for Ferrari

un cartable (m) = schoolbag

une roulette = a small wheel

une élève (f) = a student

maman (f) = a mother

dix-sept ans = seventeen

Wheels
Update: Jackie, 5 years after this story was written... The wheels get bigger every year. Soon she'll be driving.

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