reconnaître (ruh-ko-nehtr) verb
to recognize, acknowledge; to admit (debt)
C'est dans le malheur qu'on reconnaît les vrais amis. It's during adversity that we find out who our true friends are.
(Or, as we say back home: A friend in need is a friend indeed.)
A Day in a French Life...
For part one of this story, go here:
* * *
I snapped three photos of my mom "sweeping" before joining her on the steps leading to the church, or churches to be exact, for there were two at the top of the village of Figanières. Ambling down the other side of the hill, we paused beside a stone murette,* our eyes now admiring the paysage* across the field. "Tuscany!" my mom declared, at the cypress trees and red rooftops beyond, reminding me just how similar the French hinterland is to that of northern Italy.
Just around the bend, well past le Jardin des Senteurs,* I finished photographing the potted lauriers-roses* when I realized my mom had disappeared. I found her standing beneath a puzzle-skinned platane* in the center of a shady placette.* On closer look, she was talking to the man we'd seen outside the supérette.* She had my book in her left hand and she was shaking it wildly. The man stood there, hands akimbo, listening intently. Next to him, was a young woman with a cleaning cart.
"Bonjour, Messieurs-dames,"* I interrupted.
"Kristi!" my mom said, giddily, "This is... What's you're name, honey?"
"Pamela," the woman said, abandoning the cart.
"..and this is..."
"Jean-Yves," the man offered.
Pamela began translating my mom's English to Jean-Yves. "You are in this woman's book,"* she said, eyeing me. With an elbow jab to her colleague's ribs, Pamela hinted to Jean-Yves that he ought to ask for his share of the pognon!*
Pognon? I gasped!
"You're a star!" my mom announced, adding fuel to Pamela's suggestion.
I clutched my purse and noticed my teeth were grinding and my eye twitch was back. Tic, tic, tic, went my upper left lid.
My mom was about to give the book to the wrong person! I turned to the impostor.
"Do you remember me?" I said, interrupting. When he didn't, my mom frowned and Pamela bit her plum-lined lips.
As I went about clearing up the misunderstanding, that Mom had mistaken him for THE street sweeper, I paused to push my sunglasses up from my face. That's when I noticed his eyes, which reminded me of the green sea...
The turquoise green sea! The sun, which now filtered through the branches of the shady plane tree, lit the green diamonds in Jean-Yves' eyes.
"Vous êtes lui! You're him!" I said handing him his book, convinced.
Next, my mom, Pamela and I rode the invisible pogo sticks beneath our feet, circling the plane tree and the placette before throwing our arms around one another to temper our excitement.
Pam looked over to Jean-Yves, who quietly perused his chapter beneath the plane tree. "Vous pleurez,"* she said.
"No. It's something in my eyes."
All three of us peered into those eyes, which glistened, just like my mom's, just like Pamela's, and just like mine. You know, just something in our eyes.
References: la murette (f) = low "mur" or wall; le paysage (m) = landscape; le Jardin des Senteurs (m) = aromatic garden; les lauriers-roses (mpl) = oleander; le platane (m) = plane tree; la placette (f) = small "place" or square; la supérette (f) = small grocer; this woman's book; Bonjour, Messieurs-dames = Hello (all); le pognon (m) = dough, money; Vous pleurez = You're crying
Listen: hear my son, Max, pronounce the French verb "reconnaître": Download reconnaitre.wav
Listen to Max's sentence: Download reconnaitre3.wav
Verb conjugation: je reconnais, tu reconnais, il/elle reconnaît, nous reconnaissons, vous reconnaissez, ils/elles reconnaissent => past participle reconnu
For us Grammarphobes who sometimes wonder:
What is meant by gender?
What is verb conjugation?
What are objects?
What is a preposition?
"English Grammar for Students of French" answers these and many more.
"Down and Out in Paris and London," by George Orwell...
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety