Month: September 2010

Posted in Commentaires Inter-culturelles Les Newsletters

Newsletter du 27 septembre 2010

When I first began teaching English in France, I heard an expression I had never encounterd before: False Friends. What in the world could that mean? Only a Frenchman studying English would know … that he meant word look-alikes or even worse, imposters or traitors!

There are quite a few words which, in French and in English, have the same or similar spellings, maybe the same roots, maybe even similar pronunciations but which are not used in the same ways in the two languages.  As with wild mushrooms … some look-alikes … are dangerous.

If you hear a Frenchman say “actually” in English … you can be suspicious. The word slips into a sentence easily and isn’t illogical in most cases. If the Frenchman knows that the word means “in fact” and he uses it that way … that’s fine. BUT if he thinks that “actually” is the faithful translation of the French word “actuellement” … we’re mistaken and into … look-alikes: A fair translation of the idea of “actuellement” would be “now, at the present time.”

Not just two words but two different concepts.

The French word, actuel, expresses a concept in TIME; the English word actual expresses the concept of fact, of ACCURACY.

The same is true of the look-alike “eventuel” and the English “eventual.” The French word means … perhaps, maybe, possibly, could be, might be … The concept behind the word: what about … non-committment ?

And the English word “eventual” ? Sooner or later we’ll get to that one … when we’re into the concept of time … we’ll get there …. gradually.

Misunderstandings are born of … assumptions. Beware of look-alikes!

Tip of the day: In order to avoid misunderstandings, ask questions!  Just to confirm what you think you understood. It’s very … economical.

Fortunately … “false” friends aren’t the only kind … There are real and sincere friendships too, with long and deep roots, including one that is called Franco-American.

Posted in Uncategorized

des chiffres ronds et des généralités!

What do round numbers and generalties have in common?

They’re always false!

And while I’m tempted to say that ‘down’ here in  Savannah everyone’s so nice … it’s probably because we just haven’t encountered the other kind! But kind they are.  And while that may be just the generality we want to avoid … the folk I’ve been meeting are hard-working, upstanding friendly souls … the kind Woody Guthrie could have sung about.

Yesterday, I met Lem for the first time. He comes from Darlington, South Carolina. A fine man, finer you’d probably not find: Stephanie said she didn’t take the first one that came along, and not the second or third either…. She waited for the best.  And they make a mighty fine couple.

Lem says there are about 6500 people in Darlington and that they’re good folk.

France, too, has lots and lots of real good folk.  Just got to get to know ’em.

Sit down to table. Share a few dozen oysters with a Muscadet or a “pot au feu” and a simple red wine and you’ll … start to get to know each other. Not just the appearances but what you’ve got in common … rather than what separates you.

And that involves one of the best qualites we can have:  knowin’ how to listen … and knowin’ when to talk.

And that ain’t no generality.  Just the plain simple truth.

Posted in Commentaires Inter-culturelles

Wait a second!

une seconde n’en est qu’une parmi 60 …

[audio:http://www.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/ex18110c1.mp3|titles=Wait a second!]
Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments

Newsletter: 27 September 2010

When I first began teaching English in France, I heard an expression I had never encounterd before: False Friends. What in the world could that mean? Only a Frenchman studying English would know … that he meant word look-alikes or even worse, imposters or traitors!

There are quite a few words which, in French and in English, have the same or similar spellings, maybe the same roots, maybe even similar pronunciations but which are not used in the same ways in the two languages.  As with wild mushrooms … some look-alikes … are dangerous.

If you hear a Frenchman say “actually” in English … you can be suspicious. The word slips into a sentence easily and isn’t illogical in most cases. If the Frenchman knows that the word means “in fact” and he uses it that way … that’s fine. BUT if he thinks that “actually” is the faithful translation of the French word “actuellement” … we’re mistaken and into … look-alikes: A fair translation of the idea of “actuellement” would be “now, at the present time.”

Not just two words but two different concepts.

The French word, actuel, expresses a concept in TIME; the English word actual expresses the concept of fact, of ACCURACY.

The same is true of the look-alike “eventuel” and the English “eventual.” The French word means … perhaps, maybe, possibly, could be, might be … The concept behind the word: what about … non-committment ?

And the English word “eventual” ? Sooner or later we’ll get to that one … when we’re into the concept of time … we’ll get there …. gradually.

Misunderstandings are born of … assumptions. Beware of look-alikes!

Tip of the day: In order to avoid misunderstandings, ask questions!  Just to confirm what you think you understood. It’s very … economical.

Fortunately … “false” friends aren’t the only kind … There are real and sincere friendships too, with long and deep roots, including one that is called Franco-American.

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Audio Online Language Resources for English

NPR Podcasts

From NPR:

Podcasts you may enjoy!

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Fluency French/English Translation

Traitors: Les Faux Amis (in French, False Friends :)

When I first began teaching English in France, I heard an expression I had never encounterd before: False Friends. What in the world could that mean? Only a Frenchman would know … that he meant look-alikes or even worse, imposters or traitors!

There are quite a few words which, in French and in English, have the same or similar spellings, maybe the same roots but which are not used in the same ways in the two languages.  As with wild mushrooms … some look-alikes … are dangerous.

If you hear a Frenchman say “actually” in English … you can be suspicious. The word slips into a sentence easily and isn’t illogical in most cases. If the Frenchman knows that the word means “in fact” and he uses it that way … that’s fine. BUT if he thinks that “actually” is the faithful translation of the French word “actuellement” … we’re mistaken and into … look-alikes: A fair translation of the idea of “actuellement” would be “now, at the present time.”

We are thus facing not just two words but two different concepts.

The French word, actuel, expresses a concept in TIME; the English word actual expresses the concept of fact, of ACCURACY.

 

Misunderstandings are born of … assumptions. Beware of look-alikes!

Fortunately … “false” friends aren’t the only kind … There are thousands of real ones, those you can count on, including the TV series …

Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments France

Newsletter: 21 September 2010

By now you probably know that I, like you and most other domesticated animals, am sensitive to the weather: clear, sunny days are the ones I like best but the cloudier and cooler, I’d say brisky, ones give us the opportunity to put on our warmer jackets and scarves and hats and crunch leaves under our shoes as we walk down the streets, too.

Springtime is bye-bye to the winter everywhere; in France, summer is … oh! just take it all off! … and winter, well, according to where you are … in the winter, we appreciate being warm and dry at home and there are very nice winter days … if you’ve got warm socks and shoes and gloves and all that … but we’re not there yet. Today is September 21st.

Today is the first day of autumn. Fall.  We must all have memories attached to a season. It’s the air, the colors, the sounds, the light of day, of dawn, of dusk. It’s the moderate speed of the season. And among my fondest autumn memories is going mushroom hunting in the Limousin. The Massif Central. Les Monts d’Ambazac. For my American readers, this is the countryside around Limoges. A landscape of briar-covered hills and old stones; stone-lined Roman paths coming from who knows where crossing forests, deep dark green-forests where the ferns grow tall and the oak trees grow high. These are hills and woods you wouldn’t want to explore without a guide.

I had the best guides anyone could ever have: Maurice, my father-in-law, knew where the cèpes would be … if there were any to be found… and IF we could spot them just beneath the golden, brown leaves where they blended with the terrain just OUT of the ground  … he knew when the girolles might break through the moist earth … he knew that after the rain a day or two earlier IF the sun were to warm the earth just as the moon was in phase, well, maybe we’d come back with a few … maybe with a basketful. I remember so well wearing high boots so as to be protected against snakes, stepping hard so they’d slither away with the vibrations – and I remember so well, joyously bringing our treasure back to the little stone house, that thick stone house, cool inside no matter what the weather was like outdoors, with a big oak table, a fireplace and a wood-burning stove … where, after we’d meticulously scraped the earth off the stems and cleaned off the caps of OUR mushrooms… with a moistened cloth or tissue,  my mother-in-law would then cook up those only-in-the-autumn cèpes with garlic and parsley … and, because it was Sunday, an autumn Sunday, a special autumn Sunday because we were all together … serve them with a leg of lamb …

Lucky Days in France.

They sure made me feel welcome. More than welcome. Loved.

There’s nothing like a little emotion to help you remember an autumn day.

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Fluency

Public Speaking

Speaking to a group of people – often an audience, participants attending a seminar, a conference, a meeting;

What is the most common thing that you need to overcome?

Fear …

Gaining the essential self confidence and mastering your time in front of … one very important person or several hundred people is our objective.  If some of our politicians can do it,  you can, too.

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments USA Online Language Resources for English Video

Dressing casually in America: The Cardigan

Fashion … Trends … How we dress … What we wear … and when!

Here is one of Bill Cunningham’s fashion documentaries: a video about the cardigan: America’s casual way of dressing!

Enjoy it here.

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments France Online Language Resources for English Reading

Cheese – by ANDROUET

Here is a link to one of the best and most famous cheese sellers in France. Savour.

In English … and other languages!

androuet.com