lunette & pourboire


Poppies (c) Kristin Espinasse
Some lawns are better left unmown. (Poppies in the town of La Ciotat, a hop, skip and saut up the coast from Marseilles.)

Read "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier" for a "witty and fascinating account of finding a piano to purchase and relearning how to play." --Library Journal

tondre (tohn-dr) verb
   to mow; to shear (wool); to clip; to crop (hair)

Mieux vaut tondre l'agneau Que le pourceau.
'Tis better to shear the lamb than the pig.
--French Proverb

A Day in a French Life...
It is while speaking aloud in English to my Francophone children that I am made aware of the slack pronunciation of my own language. From here on out, worrying about French pronunciation will not be enough, I must now take care to tame my own truant tongue. In the spirit of today's word, my crime could be called "le tondage du langage," or "the shearing of language," in which words get cut (down) in a most unflattering way.

Just yesterday it happened again. While driving through our voisinage,* at an hour when most of the French are retreating indoors to escape the high temperatures, I noticed our neighbor out in his yard.

"What's that guy doing mowin' the lawn?" I said, thinking of the heat.
"Marineland?"* Jackie said, from the back of the car, echoing my phrase as she had heard it.
"No. MowinG the lawn," I repeated, minding my words.
"Is that a park?"
"Non! C'est faire la tondeuse, Jackie!"* her brother, seated next to her, replied, setting the matter straight once more.

FRENCH VOCABULARY: le voisinage (m) = neighborhood; Marineland = Marineland (a "sea and adventure park" (Le parc de la mer et de l'aventure) near Antibes); Non! C'est faire la tondeuse, Jackie! = No! It (means to) mow the lawn, Jackie!

Listen: hear my son, Max, pronounce the word "tondre": Download tondre2.wav
Listen to Max's sentence: Non. C'est faire la tondeuse, Jackie!: Download faire_la_tondeuse2.wav
tondu (adj) = cropped, closely-cropped, mown
le tondage = shearing
le tondeur = shearer
la tondeuse = lawn-mover, clippers, shears
la tondaison = sheep-shearing, shearing-time

Verb conjugation: je tonds, tu tonds, il/elle tond, nous tondons, vous tondez, ils/elles tondent => past participle: tondu
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