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Entries from January 2010

neige

 Snow in Provence (c) Kristin Espinasse
Saperlipopette! We're snowed in today...
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neige (nehzh) noun, feminine

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

I woke up to the sound of exclamation.

"Putain!" my husband declared.  A newbie French learner might have been confounded by the word choice, putain. But, this far into French life, and the word no longer startles or offends me. (Though I would prefer "saperlipopette!")  

I looked over to the window, to where the exclamatory remark was born—to where he was standing, my husband with the moonbeams shining on his face—twilight tracing the curves of contention. Cheri, I had the mind to tell him, ce n'est pas la peine d'argumenter avec Dame Nature. Elle gagne toujours!

Darkness beyond the icy window pane made me question the hour and, as soon as Jean-Marc returned to bed, I asked for the time.

Il est sept heures, he murmured, adding, "we are snowed in and sans wi-fi."

"Ouaiiii!" This time the exclamation was all mine:
"We can play all day and on waffles we shall dine!"

***

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P.S.: this is the waffle iron that I bought when I got back to France (my sister spoiled us with homemade waffles during our visit). If you don't have a waffle maker -- buy this one! It triples as a panini (sandwich maker) and grill (great for Provençal aubergines)! We are making croque monsieurs à gogo and waffles in the snow! This model, by Tefal, sells out fast, so don't delay!

Comments are the best part of French Word-A-Day: don't miss them, here. If you enjoy these photos, then you will love Cinéma Vérite--where I post 12 favorite photos each and every Saturday. Tomorrow, see photos of Max, Jackie, and more pictures of our vineyard!

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Braise in the lead, Smokey gaining speed...

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Smokey pretends to be a jackrabbit (un lièvre or "hare")...

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Mince. I forgot to take the laundry in....

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Tant pis. Laundry can wait. Time to follow our dogs' example... Time to get a little snow on our noses, instead of getting persnickety about chores, including laundry.

French Vocabulary & Sound File: listen to my son, Max, pronounce the following French words Download Neige or Download MP3

la neige (f) = snow

putain (Max would like to warn readers that, though the word, which originally meant "hooker" is heard often, it is un gros mot or cuss word. The French say it often enough. I wonder, does this diminish the harshness of the word? Does it sound, to French ears, more like "damn"--instead of the F-word? Share your thoughts, here).

saperlipopette = gadzooks!

Cheri, ce n'est pas la peine d'argumenter avec Dame Nature. Elle gagne toujours! = Dear, it's no use arguing with Mother Nature. She always wins!

Il est sept heures = it is seven o'clock

ouai! = yah!

mince!= darn!

tant pis = oh well

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Pre de Provence Lavender Soap. Imported from France: Pré de Provence, literally translated, means "Meadow of Provence." Transport yourself there with this triple milled savon.

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes:
...a collection of 25 traditional nursery rhymes for children

French Country Diary

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bobo

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avoir bobo = to be hurt. Although Smokey is 99 percent bobo free, I cannot say the same about my latest book. Read on and see whether you can help! (photo taken this morning.)

bobo* (boh boh) noun, masculine

    : owie, a sore, a hurt

*French baby talk
**Update: this just in, via email from Mac: "Also often used today for BOurgeois BOhemian. Un bobo."


A Day in a SELF-PUBLISHER'S Life...

Sorry for this intrusion, for sneaking in here between the MWF posts, but I need a big favor from those of you who have bought my latest livre...

I am about to order a large quantity of "French Word-A-Day" books but, before doing so, I will need to update the current edition with any changes. This will bring us to an exciting 2nd edition!

Corrections / Changes / Suggestions?

French Word-A-Day book Have you noticed any typos or mistakes in the French Word-A-Day (Summer Stories) book? Format problems? (How about the 9-point type—too small?) Please point out to me any soucis by leaving an edit/a note/a suggestion in the comments box or via email (in the subject line, please write "corrections"). Do you have any additional thoughts for this or future French Word-A-Day books?

Mille mercis for your help! And thank you for continuing to buy my book for friends and family. Your orders, each and every one, are allowing me to make contacts in the book industry and to explore further publishing opportunities.

Amicalement,
Kristin

French Vocabulary
un livre
(m) = book
un souci
(m) = worry

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Smokey's best impression of un phoque = a seal. He enjoyed skimming the icy surface of the vineyard this morning, out gallivanting with his mom, but regretted there weren't enough icy flakes to fall into, so as to make angels in the newly coated ground.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution makes a difference. A donation by check or via PayPal is vivement appréciéeMerci infiniment! Kristi

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dejeuner

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At the historic Mère Germaine restaurant/hotel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

le déjeuner (day-zhun-ay) noun, masculine

    : lunch

Déjeuner is also a verb: to lunch

A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Smokey and Braise

This column is dedicated to my nephew and his sister, 8 and 6 years old, respectively. If you know of a child who might enjoy these stories (while falling a little bit in love with the French language, as if by accident...) then please forward this post!

Smokey says: Hey, Ma, wake up! Where has everybody gone?

Braise (BREZ): To Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Ils sont partis déjeuner. Go back to sleep now, mon chou.

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Smokey: You mean to tell me they're off, wining and dining while we're left here sekestrated?

Braise: "That'd be 'sequestered,' Son." Better watch your tongue. This is a WORD journal après tout!

Smokey: Sowkwester'd? Like 'pestered'? Do they see us pooches as pests? Is that what you're implying, Ma?

Braise: No, Son. Je te corrige, tout simplement--and you said 'SKWEStered'.

Smokey: Did not!

Braise: Did too! Er... look, Boy. Just say "stuck".

Smokey: Stuck, like out of "luck"! We are stuck here again! I'll bet I'm missing les jolies filles, just like the last time.

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(Les jolies filles of Mère Germaine

Braise: Son, indeed. You are! Now go back to sleep and dream about them.

Smokey: D'accord.

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Smokey: Ma.

Braise: What's that, Son?

Smokey: Skwistered isn't such a bad thing after all! Zzzzz....

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Smokey: Ma.

Braise: Quoi encore? What is it this time, Fiston?

Smokey: I'm having a cauchemar!

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Smokey: They've eaten all the food and forgotten to ask for doggy bags!

Braise: Oh, dear. That is a nightmare!

***

Thanks for leaving Braise and Smokey a comment, here!

Photo, left to right: Kristin, Jean-Marc, Tim & Phyllis (French Country Wines) and Uncle Jean-Claude (Domaine du Banneret).

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Listen to the day's word and this vocabulary list: Download Wav or Download MP3

ils sont partis déjeuner = they have gone to lunch

mon chou = my darling

après tout = after all

je te corrige tout simplement = I am simply correcting you

les jolies filles = the pretty girls

d'accord = okay

quoi encore = what's it this time?

le fiston = my son

le cauchemar (m) = nightmare

Note: a few words were left out of this vocabulary section. I'll update it, along with the sound file, later today!

 
***

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution makes a difference. A donation by check or via PayPal is vivement appréciéeMerci infiniment! Kristi

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nous

Nous Minus You = Blue (c) Kristin Espinasse
Because French Life is what we do best... photo taken in nearby Beaumes de Venises.

Difficulty reading the newsletter version of French Word-A-Day? Try reading it at the website: click here. (Tip, you can always access the web version by clicking on the word of the day, just above the photo.)

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

Nous? The word of the day is "nous"? I can just see the emails come roaring in:

"Nous?! Nous! Why do you choose such simple words? They are trop facile for me! I'm signing off! À Dieu!"

Whoa! Calmos!* Hold your horses already. If you don't care for today's word choice, "nous", then pick any one of the half-dozen others that appear in this edition. How about calmos? Now wasn't that a fun word? (One we hear often in my household: CALMOS!!!! Just goes to show you how passionate things are 'round here, what with grapes, dogs, and us four "frogs".)

Speaking of passion... I mean—patience—holding my horses is a personal new years resolution: it means that we will not jump to conclusions or act over-spuriously* (is "over-spurious" a word? How about "spurious"? Hmmm. maybe "hasty" is what I meant...).

And speaking of what I meant : may we all give each other the conversational benefit of the doubt in this new year. May we each and every one of us have the right to rephrase ourselves until we can get our precious primal point across. And, au sujet de primal... may we all walk in love and not lust (that is: ever lusting for what we do not have).  Instead, may we relish in reconnaissance.*

Whoa. Where did all that come from? I had simply set out to write an essay on nous, You and me: us, that is. I think I'll leave this epistle as is, simple--for that is another new year's goal:  Holding horses in simplicity! What could be grander? (Au fait—is "grander" a word? Well, if you want to get fancy, then how about grandeur?!)

Amicalement,

Kristin

P.S.: Yeesh. I just looked up the word "spurious", which means "out of wedlock", so, in essence, what I have said is that we will hold our horses in the new year and not act out of wedlock! I think we can make that definition fit... somehow--perhaps with a bit of creative urging and splurging—which reminds to wish for one more thing: may we all have a creative urging and splurging new year!

Comments
Mom and I agree, the comments section is the best part of French Word-A-Day. If you haven't yet left a comment, then why not join in at this, the start of a new year--with new French and Francophile friends waiting to hear from you? Click here to leave a comment.

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And now for a recap: the word of the day is:

nous (new) pronoun

    : we, us, we ourselves, us ourselves

Audio File & Example Sentence : Download MP3 or Download Wave

Rejoignez nous! Come and join us here at French Word-A-Day. The more the merrier!

French Vocabulary in this edition:

nous = us

trop facile (or, if you want to get slangy, use "trop fastoche") = too easy

à dieu = goodbye forever (or "until God")

calmos = calm down!

au sujet de = speaking of

la reconnaissance (f) = gratitude, gratefulness

au fait = by the way

amicalement = warmly

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A Day in a Dog's Life

(dedicated to a new reader/child editor: my 8-year-old nephew Payne Stiteler. Bonjour Payne!)

Smokey (perusing the family photo album): You mean to tell me they went to their first professional American football game... and they didn't bring moi along? I'd have melted those cheerleaders' hearts faster than the Arizona sun!

Braise (Smokey's mom) says: Son, indeed: your good looks would have knocked them over faster than the Mediterranean Mistral!*

***

Note to my nephew: "Le mistral" is a strong wind here in Provence. Your Aunt Kristi lives near the windiest city in France: Avignon. This may be why she chose a cozy indoor career in writing (and not farming, like Uncle Jimmy—who has to brave the icy gusts while pruning his winter vines).

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Smokey (left) wearing a "sports" necklace my daughter made him. Braise (right) sporting a spiral of Christmas ribbon...

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In film: Julie & Julia. I loved this film! Saw it twice then my sister and I bought the cookbooks!

Vine therapy (for the face) by Caudalie
Refreshing moisterizing mist:

The Big Book of French Songs - Piano/Vocal/Guitar Songbook
A collection of 70 songs from and about France: April in Paris - Autumn Leaves - Beyond the Sea - Can Can - C'est Magnifique - Comme Ci, Comme Ça - I Dreamed a Dream - I Love Paris - Je Ne Sais Pas (To You, My Love) - La Marseillaise - Let It Be Me (Je T'appartiens) - A Man and a Woman (Un Homme et Une Femme) - My Man (Mon Homme) - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien - The Poor People of Paris (Jean's Song) - Sand and Sea - Un Grand Amour (More, More & More) - Where Is Your Heart - and more.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution makes a difference. A donation by check or via PayPal is vivement appréciéeMerci infiniment! Kristi

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Bonne Annee

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Photo of a tree in our front yard. I took the picture before we left on vacation. I imagine the leaves have fallen by now (it snowed here while we were away). I will have a look at things tomorrow morning, when the sun returns.


Bonne Année! Happy New year to all. We have just touched down in France after a 24-hour voyage east. Jean-Marc, the kids, and I were two hundred meters from our driveway when a flurry of butterflies arrived and the feeling in my stomach was like a burst of shimmering light!... that is, if one can feel shimmers and lumière.

J'ai des papillons dans le ventre! I cried to the kids.
Moi aussi, said Max.

We all realized that, unlike in the past, we now had two furry family members who would soon be greeting us returning vacationers. I wonder, do dogs get the butterflies too?

Amicalement,

Kristin

P.S.: the regular edition (sound file, example sentence, vocabulary section... will return on Monday!)

Comments welcome here.

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Language & Life in the blissful Luberon Valley. French immersion, lavender tours, the Avignon Festival & more visit Language in Provence


Pre de Provence Lavender Soap. Imported from France: Pré de Provence, literally translated, means "Meadow of Provence." Transport yourself there with this triple milled savon.

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes:
...a collection of 25 traditional nursery rhymes for children

French Country Diary

French Country Diary 2010:
A week-at-a-glance datebook celebrating the French countryside with dozens of full-color photographs

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution makes a difference. A donation by check or via PayPal is vivement appréciéeMerci infiniment! Kristi

♥ Give $10    
♥ Give $25    
♥ Give the amount of your choice


Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own FREE subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here