Grimaud. Did you know the Gulf of St. Tropez was once called the Gulf of Grimaud? Gives you an idea of its importance. The Grimaldi family once had ties here, which may account for its rank as one of the wealthiest villages is the region (surpassing even "St. Trop"). For no particular reason (except that my computer is full of photo archives that I haven't always had the chance to show you) I'm pairing today's post with Grimaud photos. Enjoy!
: to jump
je saute, tu sautes, il/elle saute, nous sautons, vous sautez, ils sautent...
I chose today's word after hearing our 18-year-old, Max, teasing his sister in the kitchen:
Cherche moi à boire... et que ça saute!
Get me something to drink... and hop to it!
Audio File: hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's word, the conjugated verb, and example sentence above. Download MP3 or Wave file
Note: today's example sentence--the cherche moi à boire part--is Neanderthal French. You won't want to use caveman French in a Parisian café--or at my mother-in-law's (though she has an excellent sense of humor and would probably just tease you right back). As for the phrase "et que ça saute" this one is current--so go ahead and try it out on your friends or significant other! Et que ça saut (and hurry up!).
Bescherelle conjugation guide. "This is without a doubt the definitive guide to conjugation of French verbs... an indispensible reference and not overwhelming for beginning students." Order it here.--M. Savoir (Amazon reviewer)
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
The other day, while chatting with Mom on the telephone, I shared with her some of the things I had been writing about on my blog. Mom's computer is broken so she's missing French Word-A-Day. She loves to read the online journal, as it keeps her updated on my life--a life we might have shared had each of us not left the Arizona desert two decades ago (Mom moved to Mexico, with the love of her life, and I came to France, for a second chance with my own amour de ma vie.)
As I recounted to Mom some of the stories I'd posted on this language blog, I remembered the pictures, too:
"I showed a photo of a saint's foot...." I told Mom, "And there was a French livre d'or, or guest book, at the church we visited in Port Cros. I photographed it, too, along with the prayer request I scribbled inside--only I think I misspelled one of the words--that is, I think it needed conjugating...."
Knowing Mom would appreciate the photo's caption, I read it to her: "Good thing we don't have to conjugate to get our point across to God."
Mom listened intently before responding.
"Conjugate? What the hell does that mean?"
After chuckling at my mom's feisty response, there followed an uncomfortable pause--the realization that I had, in one way, received more instruction than she--having had the privilege of "higher" education. (Mom had been kicked out of high school as she awaited the birth of her first child.)
But any embarrassing advantages were quickly erased as I struggled to answer Mom's no-nonsense question. How to explain conjugation? My university degree couldn't even save me.
"Uh... well... it's like... You know--"to be"! Bumbling my way forth, more like a pre-school candidate than a language honors graduate, I managed this:
(Was that snickering on the other end of the telephone line? I cleared my throat, trying to offer a verbal illustration of the scholarly concept that my leather-bound degree assured me I'd mastered):
"...I be, you be, he be..." I croaked, finishing my example. "See... you don't say it like that. The verb "to be" has to be conjugated. It's just something we seem to do automatically: I am, you are, he is..."
"Oh, I see!" Mom's cheery response was forgiving--and wonderfully refreshing, and her childlike enthusiasm for any and all knowledge was contagious!
What a relief it was to share a rare appreciation for grammar, and to know that I had not unintentionally snubbed my dear mom, my Brilliant Teacher of All Things. As I relaxed back into our usual bantersome conversation, I shared another tidbit.
"You know," I mused, "I sometimes forget that I didn't know much about English grammar... until I got to college and began studying French!"
"That's a good one!" Mom laughed. "You ought to write that on your blog!"
Post note: though Mom is a regular commenter on this blog (apart from these past weeks, owing to a broken computer), she often frets about her spelling and punctuation--not that that slows her ALL CAPS messages). Write on! I tell her. Never hold back! This is a truth I have learned while teaching myself to write stories: Never let grammar get in the way of sharing yourself with others.
A quiet and restful square, "La Placette", in the middle of Grimaud.
Number 17. Nothing to be superstitious about there...
At the intersection of Rue des Meuniers (Miller Street) and Place Vieille (Old Square). Still, not a lot of traffic in Grimaud.
Close up pottery shop. See anything in the window that catches your fancy? To comment on these photos, click here.
Hydrangeas and a place to sit and watch the world go by. (What kind of seat would you match to this lovely historic home? A rocking chair, an wooden bench, a lovely iron seat...? Or do you like the contrast of old and new? To comment, click here.
A sleepy balcony over the restaurant Le Bou-Bou, toujours en Grimaud....
All photos in this post were taken in 2006, while enjoying a stroll with my Aunt Charmly and Uncle Tucker, visiting from San Francisco. I hope you enjoyed this photo journey through a favorite French village.
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