anagramme

Sicily (c) Kristin Espinasse
These purple Sicilian cauliflowers were mentioned in the previous story, about a gluttonous gal...

anagramme (ana gram) noun, masculine

 : an anagram is "a reversing [a reordering, rearrangement, or transposition] of letters of a word or a group of words in order to extract a meaning or a new word." (French definition follows...) 

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Un anagramme c'est un "renversement de lettres" d'un mot ou d'un groupe de mots pour en extraire un sens ou un mot nouveau. -Wikipedia

Examples: 

 police - picole  (to "picoler" is to booze)

aube - beau

soigneur - guérison

imaginer - migraine

Did you notice how, for certain words, the new meaning is not so disconnected from the original? The aube, or "dawn" is indeed beau! To soigner, or treat, would indeed lead to la guérison, or "recovery". And to imaginer too much may lead to a migraine! Some wordsmiths swear by the wisdom in anagrams and did you know that writers and artists often use anagrams to come up with a nom de plume, or pseudo (thus Jim Morrison is "Mr Mojo Risin" in the song "L.A. Woman"....)

But the fun really kicks in when you put your own name on the line.... as I do in the following example (it'll be your turn next, so stop snickering!)

Using an internet anagram server created by wordsmith Anu Garg, I typed in the following 13 letters: "kristin ingham" (my maiden name)  

... next, I waited for the wisdom, or sagesse, that would certainly be inherent in the rearrangement of all 13 letters. Here's what I learned about myself:

Hang Miniskirt

Looking at the above words, I can hardly make out the letters of my name, but there, indeed, are all 13 of them! As for the "wise message".... well, let's just say that miniskirts no longer hang the same way these 43-year-old days--or that it's high time to "hang miniskirt".

A Sinking Mirth

(Do you see my name in the above letters? Oh well, "A Sinking Mirth" must equal "when 'happy laughter' drowns", which would explain why I still find it hard to tell a joke in French. 

Rash Timing Kin : this clearly refers to my tendency to precipitate toward the family buffet.   

Mash Irking Nit: this was, in fact, a childhood pastime while walking home from baseball practice: mashing all those irking nits. Yipes, I meant gnats!!! It was gnats--and not nits!--that I mashed!

Nevertheless, continuing on this theme, two other anagrams are proposed, incredible all the letters in my name are found here:

Harm Skiing Nit: whether they fly or ski... makes no difference! 

Ah Smirking Nit: (the one's that got away)

Moving on, the thirteen letters in "Kristin Ingham" also spell:

Gamin Hits Rink

This would refer to my 9th year, when I won a blue ribbon in ice skating! (Winning entailed the letting go of the guard rail... and knocking over my two pint-size competitors in the process.) 

Margins Hit Ink : Yes! (the writer in me likes it). 

And, conversely, all 13 letters, rearranged again, spell:

Harm Siting Ink : agreed: ink should move across the page... or else!

Ranting. Him Ski!

For how many years did I suck my thumb in self pity whilst my husband soared down the slopes in Serre Chevalier? Sucking one's thumb is still proving to be easier than learning to skier.

Iran Might Sink

Gosh! No wonder those cute Persian boyfriends fled from me! 

***

Well, you learned more about me than you may ever have wanted to know! And now it is your turn to feed the letters of your name into the Internet Anagram Server... and to let us know a few truths about your own nitpicky self.

Share your results, or your feedback, in the comments box!

 Wisdom from Smokey, photos, and French homonyms! at the end of this edition...

Continue reading "anagramme" »

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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"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


acrostiche

Poppies (c) Kristin Espinasse
A field of provençal poppies (near Bollène) for my mom, Jules.

acrostiche (akro-steesh) noun, masculine

  : acrostic


Here is a French definition, from Le Petit Larousse:

Acrostiche: pièce de vers composée de telle sorte qu'en lisant dans le sens vertical la première lettre de chaque vers on trouve le mot pris pour thème....

=> An acrostic is "a line of poetry composed in such a way that in reading, in the vertical direction, the first letter of each verse, we find the word used as a theme." (Also: a "telestich" spells out a term using the last letter in each word... and a "mesostich" does this using middle letters...)


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

...................................................................

Note: the following story was written two years ago. Mother's Day 2010 (in France) is this Sunday, May 30th

***

Yesterday, Mother's Day here in France, began with a conversation in front of the micro-onde, where my daughter was heating up a cup of water.

"Do you know what today is?" I quizzed my second-born as I stood positively beaming in a frumpy robe and puffy pantoufles.*
"On est quel jour?" my ten-year-old quizzed back.

"I don't know... May 24th or fifth..." I replied impatiently, not one to let details rain on my parental parade. "Just guess. Devine quel jour on est!"

When my daughter looked confused, I upped my antics: widening not only my eyes but also my smile... and pointing exaggeratedly at my motherly profile. If I could have added flashing lights and honking horns to this miming display of maternity—bells, whistles, and even a foghorn—I would have. As it was, my daughter quickly caught on:

"La Fête des Mères!" Jackie correctly guessed. With that, she opened the microwave door, collected the cup of hot water, and offered it to me... along with some tea and honey. Next, from the garde-manger, where she had hidden it, she produced this hand-written acrostiche:

                  * M A M A N *

M -ajestueuse comme une hirondelle
A -ccueillante comme une musique
M -erveilleuse comme une abeille
A -gréable comme du parfum
N -aturelle comme une coccinelle.*


Studying the unbelievable choice of words, I wondered. How children can see such potential in us is, if not sublime, mysterious. I straightened up my posture, smoothed down my raggedy robe, and ran my fingers through a mop of hair. Re-reading my daughter's poem, I was struck by her vision of me. No longer frumpy or honking or absurd, there I stood: in her eyes I was as lovely as a ladybird.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Comments, corrections, and/or stories of your own are welcome and enjoyed. Thank you for clicking here to leave a message.


~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~
la micro-onde
(f) = microwave; la pantoufle (f) = slipper; On est quel jour? = What's the date?; devine quel jour on est= guess what day it is!; la fête (f) des mères = Mother's Day; le garde-manger (m) = pantry

Jackie's acrostiche, translated: Maman (Mommy) : Magnificent like a swallow; Welcoming like music; Marvelous like a bee; Pleasant like perfume; Lovely as a ladybird."

AUDIO FILE: (listen to the word and poem in French)
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~~~~~~~~~~French music , film, food, and more...~~~~~~~~
  Matthieu Chedid

Matthieu Chedid (also known as -M-)  is a French rock singer-songwriter. His Addictive Light/Easy Pop Songs Are Heavily Played on French Radios.


Pickpocket : Robert Bresson's masterful investigation of crime and redemption tells the story of arrogant, young Michel, who spends his days learning the art of picking pockets in the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris.


In music: Le Phare by Yann Tiersen


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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"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


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.


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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    
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"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


jeu de mots

Michel_2
A pastiche of roof tiles & our pastis-loving roofer, Michel.

Rosetta Stone French - the award-winning method used by NASA and the Peace Corps. Learn more here.

jeu de mots (zhuh duh moh) noun, masculine
  a play on words, a pun

Meilleur que mille mots privés de sens est un seul mot raisonnable, qui peut amener le calme chez celui qui l'écoute. Better than a thousand words void of meaning, is one sensible word that can bring calm to the one listening. --Bouddha
.

Column
On the second night we ate out. Forget leftovers, oubliez* the piles of packing boxes, and never mind the fact that we could not properly lock up our new nest (what with half the farmhouse missing doors and windows). Braise, who recently turned seven (in dog years), would have to step up to the plate (or portail,* however cracked and in need of repair) to play the guetteuse.* And I do mean "play" as it is not in her golden retriever nature to stand guard over anything but a meaty os.*

Perfumed, neatly parted, and no longer sporting la poussière,* our entourage (including brother-in-law, Jacques, and Michel, our friend/builder from Les Arcs) piled into the Citroën before the latter snaked through a vine-flanked country road leading to town.

When we passed a baba cool* pedestrian (long scraggly hair, flip-flops, tie-dye trunks), Michel shouted, "Hé-oh!* You're a long way from the beach!" before dissolving into Gallic guffaws.

Jean-Marc found parking along Portalet Street just across from l'Angelus restaurant. Inside, tables were arranged around a stone fireplace. A pottery vase, just beside the entrance, doubled as a wishing well (providing precious entertainment for the kids who pitched solicited centimes* into its coppery
depths).

I read the menu to Michel, who is a bit dyslexic. Accustomed to reading French menus to Anglophone visitors, this is the first time I've read one to a Frenchman.
"Tiens, est-ce qu'ils ont un banana slip?"* Michel wondered.
Banana split? These were surely the first two English words that I had ever heard Michel speak.
"You mean they have banana splits in France?" I questioned, never having noticed before. I skipped past the pizza section to the list of desserts, looking for a childhood favorite. That's when visions of chocolate syrup and diced peanuts brought me back, back, back....

For a moment, I was no longer in a tiny French village, but a bustling desert metropolis, eyes wide open before a gigantic "boat" of ice cream. The year was 1976; the place, Phoenix, Arizona where Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor at Metrocenter mall offered an all-you-can-eat sundae decorated with red, white and blue paper flags and whipped cream à gogo.* After an afternoon spent skating in the ice rink below the ice cream parlor, I would head upstairs to test the capacity of my 9-year-old stomach.

The French waitress arrived and, poof, I was back in France, back to the present moment.
"Vous avez un banana slip?" Michel was inquiring.
"Split," the young woman corrected, confirming that they did.
"Alors, un banana slip, s'il vous plaît," Michel ordered, politely.
"SPLEET," my brother-in-law pointed out, to the best of his limited English knowledge.

When Michel kept repeating what in French amounted to "banana pants" (slip, a masculine noun, means "underwear") I got the clue that he was only pulling the waitress's leg. It looked, too, as if someone had been pulling on her cheeks which by now were the color of the cherries that would eventually top our
Frenchified spleet.

.........................................................................................................
References: oubliez (oublier) = to forget; le portail (m) = gate; la guetteuse (le guetteur) = watchman; l'os (m) = bone; la poussière (f) = dust; le (la) baba cool (mf) = hippy; hé-oh! = hey there!; le centime (m) = cent; Tiens, est-ce qu'ils ont un banana slip? = Hey, do they have a banana [split]?; à gogo = galore

:: Audio File ::
French pronunciation: Listen to my son, Max, recite today's French quote: Download mots.wav
Meilleur que mille mots privés de sens est un seul mot raisonnable, qui peut amener le calme chez celui qui l'écoute.

Shopping:
Improve your French comprehension the fun way: listen to French music!
Michelin France Map includes driving times & distances and road safety information.
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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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.