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Entries from April 2011

sommeiller

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Mama's Bidou: or "the paunch pillow". "Bidou" is baby talk for "tummy". Don't miss this list of French kiddy terms--including hop-là! ("upsy daisy") here.

sommeiller (so may yay)

    : to snooze, to doze

...not to be confused with un sommelier (a wine steward)

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in the example sentence, just below:
Download MP3 or Wav file

Le matin j'aime bien sommeiller un peu après que l'alarme ait sonnée.
In the morning I like to snooze a little after the alarm has rung.

*please see the comments section (beginning at Hannah's comment) about a grammar rule that has been trespassed in the above sentence... Current French allows one to get away with it... but proper French is rolling over in its grave (where it was momentarily buried) at the sight of the above phrase. 

 

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

"The Snooze Alarm" 

I am tiptoeing through the dark with a steaming hot café au lait. I think I've stepped into a blanket... no, it is un peignoir that's been tossed onto the floor. I kick it aside, relieved not to have stumbled.

I reach across what I know is my husband's côté du lit. I feel the coffee cup being pulled away, thirstily....

I hear slurping. C'est six heures dix! I reply, announcing the hour.

As I head out to my next appointment (just a few sleepy rooms away), I hear, "Could you wake me again at 6:45?"

I make my way down the dark hall, minding the obstacles en chemin. I open my son's door. Same greeting, sans cafe au lait. After a live demonstration of the French verb rouspéter, Max grumbles: "Reviens dans 20 minutes." I consider the request, just as I have the previous one. And then... Attendez un moment! Wait just a minute here!

My pointer finger flies up to my forehead to begin wildly tapping on the thickening skin there. My lips flap furiously:

"Hey-oh! Est-ce que là (tap tap tap on the forehead) c'est marqué 'Snooze Button'?"

And, harrumph... triumph! I continue on down the hall, collecting my coffee en route


Le Coin Commentaires
Help water our growing community with a refreshing comment! Ask a question about France or the French language or answer one! Talk about today's word or story or raconter une histoire of your very own here in the comments box

 

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 Smokey and Mama Braise say, "Qu'est-ce que c'est un 'snooze button'?" Picture taken one year ago. How he's grown!

 Corrections in French and English are welcome and appreciated. Please hit the refresh button (F5 key) first--in case the corrections have already been incorporated)--then add your suggestion here, in the comments box.

French Vocabulary

le bidou = tummy 
*thanks to those who wrote in re "bidou" (suggesting "bidon" to be the correct term). Hmmm. Not sure what to do--as Jean-Marc insists that "bidou" is right. Perhaps it is a southernism? 

le café au lait = coffee with milk

un peignoir = bathrobe

le côté du lit = side of the bed

C'est six heures dix = It's 6:10
*thanks, Newforest, for giving the above term a "go ahead". And thanks, Jacqueline for the proper French version "il est... il est six heures dix" 

en chemin = along the way

rouspéter = to grumble

Hey-oh! Est-ce que là (tap tap tap on the forehead) c'est marqué 'Snooze Button'? = Hey! (tap tap tap...) Does it read "Snooze Button" here? (Or, "Hey! Do I look like a snooze button?")

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Near Tulette. A cabanon ultra chouette. Let's play dress up! What would you add to the lonely front porch, to the façade, to the windows and the doors? Would you put anything in the tree? Tell us in the comments box.
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semer

"Leaves of Grass" (c) Kristin Espinasse
A veritable "Lawn Chair". You know you have work to do in the garden... when the grass grows high enough to tickle your lazy butt into gear! Read on.

semer (seuh may) verb

    1. to sow

Audio File: hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French word "semer", along with its conjugation and the example sentence, just below. Download MP3 or Wav file

Verb conjugation: je sème, tu sèmes, il/elle sème, nous semons, vous semez, ils/elles sèment (pp = semé)

L'amour est comme une plante: il faut le semer et il poussera.
Love is like a plant: you need to sow it and it will grow. Chow Ching Lie

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

"Altruism in the garden"


The Dirt Divas came over on Friday and I am sad to say that this is the last we will hear of them... for dorénavant they will be known as Garden Divas!

After receiving a few letters from the UK—in reference to "dirt"—it began to dawn on me that dirt is something you wash off and not, as we hicks know, an affectionate term for soil. (Truth-be-told "soil" kind of creeps me out, ever since the movie "Soilent Soylent Green"—soil/soilent soylent...) Thank you, English (as distinguished from North American) readers, for the suggestion to use "earth" in the place of "dirt" when talking about soil. I will try to remember that. And, hereafter, we'll call the earth angels in question "Garden Divas".    

But back to our story. The Garden Divas showed up, opened the car's trunk and bada bing bada boom! what did they produce? Another carload of future blooms!

Next, the Dirt, or Garden, Divas quickly went into action lugging a motley crew of plants to the nearest shady spot. Any and all sorts of containers were used: there were buckets, cardboard boxes, wooden crates, and pots in tin and terra-cotta! The divas' no-fuss flower-farming was a lesson in itself (I'll never forget a previous "delivery" in which the baby plants arrived... in plastic yogurt cups! I guessed at the Divas' no-fuss philosophy: "If it's sturdy and you can poke holes in it, then you're good to go!")

After several aller-retours to the car and back to the shady spot, the Garden Divas went to work using their own tools to "crack" the cement-like earth that is our flower bed... and by the end of the afternoon bada bing bada boom!, the beds were looking very nearly groomed!

I noticed the Divas' discretion in overlooking those plants that had withered and died since their previous visit.... The frost accounted for one or two of the potted plants (it had been suggested to me that they come inside for winter)... the remaining losses were the result of precarious planting (on my part).  

Watching the Garden Divas toil, I had that humbling feeling, the kind you get when witnessing others give "without strings": they help, asking nothing in return, they reach out... and we mortals eventually learn.  

After the Garden Divas left, I remained outside until sundown, tossing California poppy seeds and wondering about that altruistic "do unto others" mystery: doing, giving, helping, smiling, encouraging, nourishing... flourishing!

I told the Garden Divas that I did not know how to thank them. Mais, il n'y a pas de quoi! Their reward, they said, will be in watching my garden grow.

The next day, while out planting more of the seedlings, I caught myself daydreaming. In my mind's eye, I was taking a motley crew of potted plants that I'd grown from seed... to a friend in need. That is when the full meaning of the Garden Divas "reward" revealed itself to me.
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Le Coin Commentaires
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French Vocabulary

dorénavant = from now on
aller-retour = round trip
Mais, il n'y a pas de quoi! = why, it's nothing! 

 

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Merci encore to Malou and Doreen, the Garden Divas. Read another garden story, click here.

Kissing Bench In garden seating: The French Kissing bench! Click here for more info.

Bestselling books on the French language:
 1. The Ultimate French Verb Review and Practice  
 2. Exercises in French Phonics

Not so best-selling... but a fun book on the French language!
Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France 

 

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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♥ Give the amount of your choice


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Poisson d'Avril

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It's April Fish Day in France and Smokey's hunting for a live one... Smokey Dear, you still don't get it, do you? But then, I don't understand how the French got "fish" from "fool" either ("fool ish"?).

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Poisson d'Avril! (pwah soh(n) dah vreel)

    : April Fool!

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the words in the following sentence: Download MP3 or Wav

Attention à votre dos... aujourd'hui, c'est "Poisson D'Avril"!
Watch your back... today's is "April 'Fish' Day"!

 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Today is April Fool's Day and all across France people are minding their backs... lest a sneaky jester attempt The Paper Fish Attack!

In addition to inventing histoires (and oh, by the way, this is the very last "word-a-day"!), the French will be fashioning paper cutouts (shaped like un poisson) in time to tape them on some aloof one's back. (So soyez prudents and be on your guard!) 

At the venerable age of thirteen, Jackie tells me she is too old for the traditional fish cutout, that she and her friends will be honoring the tradition by taping embarrassing notes to each others dos:"Tapez-moi" and "Je suis nul(le)" rate among the most popular signs.

I think the blagueurs would do well to expand their repertoire: in place of "Hit Me!" and "I'm a Dork!", they might embarrass their targets by tacking on one of these messages:

"J'ai besoin de tendresse!"
I need love!

"J'adore les guili-guili!"
I love tickles!

"Chantez-moi une chanson d'amour"
Sing me a love song!

Chuchotez dans mes oreilles, SVP!
Whisper in my ears, please!

Voilà. Up to you to procure a roll of tape and a pair of ciseaux in time to design your own Fish crimes! Colleagues, teachers, bus drivers, babies, grandparents... all are fair game today! 


Le Coin Commentaires
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French Vocabulary... followed by Related "April Fool" Terms

une histoire = a "story" (as in "tall story")
un poisson = fish
le dos = back
Tapez-moi! = Hit me!
Je suis nul(le)! = I'm a zero!
blagueur/blagueuse
m/f = jokers, jokesters

Related Terms on April Fools'
se gausser = to mock
un canular = a hoax
faire un canular à quelqu'un = to play a hoax on someone
une plaisanterie = a joke
accrocher un poisson = to stick a fish (on another's back)
la victime du canular = the victim of the prank

 

April Fools and paper fish for Poisson d'Avril in France tradition (c) Kristin Espinasse
Back in the day... Jackie made these when she was 8-years-old. Read about them, click here - you'll also read about the roof tile thief!

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


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