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Entries from May 2010

jardin

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Si vous possédez une bibliothèque et un jardin, vous avez tout ce qu'il vous faut. If you possess a library and a garden, you have all that you need. --Cicero.  (Two garden sheds (cabanons) in Soave, Italy)
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le jardin (zhar-dehn) noun, masculin

    : garden

Do you know any "jardin" terms and expressions? Please share them here or click to see what others have offered.

Audio File & Example sentence (see quote above): 

Download Wav or Download MP3

 

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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
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We've been planting seeds lately, the muse and me, scattering grains hither and thither, helter-skelter, high and low, hoe hoe.

Hands in the earth for a flirt with dirt is enough to heighten the heart, setting free one's creativity.

Move over pen and encre. Out in le jardin, fingers forking fumier, grains gliding down a garden knife
we birth more than an inky ideas: we are seed sage-femmes, delivering lovely, leafy life.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Your words and stories are the best part of French Word-A-Day. I have learned more in this comments box than in any classroom: our home and environment reflect your tips, my words reflect your vocabulary (both French and English)... Your shared thoughts are a rich reference book for more than just the French language. Merci beaucoup.

Do you have something to add to the word of the day? Would you like to comment on the story? Thank you for clicking here to comment.

 


French Vocabulary

l'encre (f) = ink
le jardin = garden
le fumier = manure
la sage-femme = midwife

 

KINDLE: carry thousands of  educational books with you to France & beyond.

SmartFrench Audio CDs Intermediate/Advanced

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.


 

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My son and I don't always see eye-to-eye, it's adolescence (sometimes his, sometimes mine). Photo taken in Soave, Italy.

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Max with his 12-year-old soeurette, Jackie

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
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apocope

Creche
A child care center in Flayosc. Seems like yesterday that my son went to the crèche... read on in today's column (a re-blog from 2 years ago...).

une apocope (ah-poh-cowp)

    : the dropping of one or more syllables (or letters) at the end of a word

Ado, MacDo, frigo, véto, resto... the French seem to love abbreviation. This is not to say that others of us are not guilty of truncating terms: in English, for example, we say fridge... Can you help list more wee words or apocopic terms in French or in English? Click here to begin truncating...


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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
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                 :: Does "ado" mean adieu to childhood? ::

(Sometime in 2008...) There is something in the air around here and it smells like Adieu, like goodbye to a time and a place; fleeting and fading... like freckles on a child's face.

It has me dragging my legs to bed while the sun is still shining, or putting too much symbolism into the shape of the odd cloud that floats by my bedroom window. The angst, though passagère,* is palpable, present as a foreign fragrance in the air.

"Do you smell something rotting here?" I ask the boys while rooting around for the culprit, who I suspect is hiding in these kitchen drawers. I wonder about the strange scent: is it a rat's adieu that I am sensing? And yet...the mouse traps are empty....

Max and his friend, Jack, shake their heads, a bit disappointed to have missed a rotting-rodent sighting.

"No, there's nothing there, Mom." Max confirms. "No mice," Jack seconds.
"Are you sure?" I question, giving the kitchen drawers a good tug while searching for the source of the odor.

The boys insist that they can't smell a thing, and I notice how they slip out of the kitchen lest they catch the foul fever that has seized me.

Surely the smell of something "turning" pervades the air? Oh well. I shut the drawers with a heavy sigh and return to the heap of children's clothing that needs sorting. As the giveaway pile grows, that palpable, perfumed something returns....

I pull one of the little t-shirts close and breathe in the scent of Nine-Years-Old. How long has he had this t-shirt? Four years? It was oversized to begin with and now it is easily too small for my son. Why haven't I given it away yet?

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I set the shirt aside and curl up into a chair. Staring out the window, I notice the clouds pass even faster than the years have. I get up, turn my back on the clouds, and search the drawers again; this time for sweets. I am going to make a cake and quit staring at Time.

Later that night, my ears perk up when my son calls for me. "Give me a kiss goodnight, Mom?"
"You bet!" I say, wondering whether this might be the next-to-last time he asks.

"You know," I remind my son, pushing a lock of hair out of his face. "You are still a kid."
"Yes, mom... I am still twelve."

Suddenly, the air seems a little lighter, sweeter....
"And you will still be a kid when you turn thirteen...." I remind him.
Max offers a doubtful look.
"No, Mom," Max argues. "I'll be a teenager."

That sweetness lingers for a moment before the scent molecules rearrange themselves once again, putting a bit of spice into their chemical makeup. I now understand what I have been sensing all along, and while I may have mixed feelings about it, one thing's sure: It smells like teen spirit.*

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:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
Whether you join the discussion on apocopes--or comment on today's story--your words are enjoyed and appreciated. Merci beaucoup for leaving a comment. Let us know your age (optional!) and/or what city you are writing in from.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

passagère = brief, passing; Smells Like Teen Spirit = song by the former rock group Nirvana


Book Feature:  Postcards From France

As a junior in high school, Megan McNeill Libby left behind the familiar comforts of suburban New England to live abroad as an exchange student. Now, in this charming collection of thoughts and vignettes, she takes readers of every age on a delightful, memorable tour through her year in France. A few used copies remain, here.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~
In French music: Cuisine Non-Stop: Introduction to the French Nouvelle Generation

"Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love & Language from the South of France

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Smokey says: it's hard to pose when looking sunward.

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By the way, the shutters need painting... or is that a lizard that you are noticing, dear Smokey?

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice


beurre

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Jackie. This is my daughter and she tells the best stories, just like her grand-mère, Jules. (photo taken in 2010)

"It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horse, the leaves, the wind, the words that my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes."

-Gustave Flaubert (thanks to Jim Fergus for sending me this favorite quote!)


le beurre (bur) noun, masculine

    : butter

Please jump right in and share your butter/"beurre" terms and expressions here. I'll begin...

beurré(e) = plastered
avoir un oeil au beurre noir = to have a black eye
le beurre de cacahouètes = peanut butter
(your turn. Get out your dictionary then click here and share beurre terms and idioms)

Audio File : Listen to the following sentence: Download MP3 or Download Wav

Il était une fois un philosophe qui aimait les jeux de mots. Il appelait, par exemple, le butterfly: le beurre qui vole. (translation below)

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


(On the Origins of Flying Butter)
 
This morning my daughter scrubbed down, head to toes, with Betadine. Next, she said she was hungry but did not eat, nor did she drink so much as a drop of water.

We were running late to the Clinic de Provence after Jackie took extra care with her hair, blow drying it, straightening it, exercising all her control over it. Finally she shut off the sèche-cheveux, and voiced her little heart out: "J'ai peur, Maman."

"Did you take off all of your nail polish and jewelry?" the nurse quizzed.

"Oui," Jackie replied. Next, my 12-year-old was given a pill that made her eyes droop until she turned over in the hospital bed, from her back onto her side.

I wanted to brush my hands across her face, but wondered about the iodine/detergent surgical scrub that she had showered with earlier. Would I just be putting germs back on her face? My hand reached for her hair, instead.

"Can you remind me of the story you told me last night?" I asked my girl. "About the butterfly...."

My daughter nodded her sleepy head and said...

Il était une fois un philosophe qui aimait les jeux de mots.... Il adorait aussi les butterflies dont il renommé "Le Beurre Qui Vole"...

Once upon a time there was a philosopher who loved to play with words. He also loved butterflies which he renamed "flying butters"...


As Jackie told me her story my mind wandered back to the simple surgery: only two teeth to remove. But why the need for an anesthesiologist? Why put her completely to sleep—was it necessary? Couldn't we have waited for the teeth to grow and push past the gums before having them extracted?

The door to room 103 burst open and two infirmières collected my daughter, as one collects an umbrella while rushing out the door, late for work. I wanted to shout "be careful!" Instead, I stepped out of the nurses' way.

As the gurney careened down the hallway on the way to the bloc opératoire, I overheard one of the nurses assure my daughter, "Ce n'est rien". Just a little operation. With that the trio disappeared into a sterile chamber.

As I stood there staring at the empty hall, a little old man in a bathrobe hobbled by, slowly, softly, like a butterfly.


Butterfly in france

 

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.


I Know How To Cook The bible of French home cooking, Je Sais Cuisiner, has sold over 6 million copies since it was first published in 1932. It is a household must-have, and a well-thumbed copy can be found in kitchens throughout France. Its author, Ginette Mathiot, published more than 30 recipe books in her lifetime, and this is her magnum opus. It's now available for the first time in English as I Know How to Cook. With more than 1,400 easy-to-follow recipes for every occasion, it is an authoritative compendium of every classic French dish, from croque monsieur to cassoulet.

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Still itching for stories from France? You will ADORE Lynn McBride's blog It’s called Southern Fried French (www.southernfriedfrench.com) and it’s about living the good life at the 14th century Château de Balleure, with her friends  and chatelains Nicole and Pierre.

 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice


pele-mele

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Chez David and Tessa's this weekend some of us spoke with exaggerated English accents while others of us spoke with authentic ones. (Still others of us simply clucked.)

pêle-mêle (pel-mel) adverb

    : pell-mell, higgledy-piggledy, any old way, at random, chaotically

noun: multiple photo frame

A fun synonym or two to pêle-mêle is en vrac or tohu-bohu



Audio File and Example Sentence Download WAV or Download MP3

Dans son potager elle a planté un pêle-mêle de choses qui vont bientôt pousser.
In her kitchen garden she planted a jumble of things that will soon grow.

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

I've never met anyone like her before except, perhaps, in fiction. Such a pearl of personality is penned, such a whirl of whimsicality can only be the work of a writer's imagination.

Few dare to share an eccentric interior, where art lives and gives and grows until it shows. Never mind how much we pay to stand out (cars, clothes, homes) we still take pains to restrain an eclectic inner terrain, lest we be taken as utterly-butterly insane.

Because there is a time and place for everything, there is, thank God, a time and a place for libertine: where morals remain intact, yet the restraints of society cease to rule or impact—and we are free to simply be, our tongues untamed before a pêle-mêle of melody.

Words are no longer strict
   there is rhyme sans reason
          and no verbal verdict

We then speak, some of us, in old English accents
or American ones if that is not our experience
and experience language live, anew

Words that giggle and jiggle
adverbs sweet or sour as pickles
no more subjunctive!
only perfunctive

Which brings us to make-believe terms
(those that linguists take to be germs)
they are my favorite words bar none!
in hymn, in prose, in poetry, or pun.

So special thanks to Tessa (my real, non-fictional friend!) for reminding me over the whimsical weekend that words are wonderful friends, whether real, make-believe, or jazzed-up-with-hyphens.

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One of Tessa's hens (either "Ginger" or "Ruby"...)

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
To comment on this post, click here. Can't think of anything to say? Simply say "bonjour" and tell us where you are writing in from. Merci!

More stories about Tess here:
"Oeuvre"
"Allegre"
"Mener à la Baguette"
"Aubade"


 

 

 

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Best-selling books on the French Language:

 

Help A Dog Find a Home


(Just got this latest update from Rowan at the animal shelter in Carcassone)

Morning Kristin

Thought I would drop you a quick line to let you know what is going on with our dogs!

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We are having an open day next weekend,(8 and 9th May from 1400-1800) when we are hoping to find homes for some of our residents. The refuge is over full, and if we are unable to rehome some dogs, we will have to lose some of them by other means, which is totally heartbreaking. Once a dog has been there for a certain length of time without having been adopted, the view seems to be that he is a hopeless case and that he should make room for dogs who have a greater chance of finding a new family. That is hard to accept, as on many occasions it is merely bad luck. Some dogs are just not as forthcoming as others and do not get noticed, others get ignored because people assume that they are un-homeable. However the other volunteers and I make great efforts to keep the animals socialised, and even after several years at the SPA, our experience is that the dogs adapt quickly to family life. You have to remember that by far the majority of them were family pets to begin with, who were abandoned to due changes in circumstances. They quickly get back into a routine with their new owners and reward the love they are given a thousand-fold. It is heartbreaking to see them being put down.

We have one little chap, Snoop, who was taken away from his owner, a young girl, who was mistreating him. He has been with us ever since, and no one has chosen him. He will not be allowed to stay much  longer and I am really sad for him, as he has so much love to give. He is now 3 years old, and is in the prime of life, yet he spends all his days in a small kennel, dreaming of the walks he could go on and of a family who will love him.

Here he is...Isn't he wonderful? He gets on with other dogs of both sexes and is fine with children. Can anyone offer him or one of his doggy friends a home? Not all of them are on the website, but it will give you an idea of who is there.....http://spacarcassonne.e-monsite.com

Best regards

Rowan

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice