Month: March 2011

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

An apartment in Paris?

Typical? Maybe not quite … But here’s a link to an interesting and well written article in the New York Times.  Just in case you’re in the market for a pied-à-terre …

An apartment in Paris.

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Solidarity with the Japanese people

In the presence of The Honorable Yasuo Saito, Ambassador of Japan to France,

On behalf of the entire community of the American Hospital of Paris and in association with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in France and the American Chamber of Commerce in France,

We would like to invite you to attend an informative gathering which will take place at the American Hospital of Paris

In the wake of the recent tragic events in Japan, and in consideration of its own deep and historic ties with the Japanese community, AmCham France and the American Hospital of Paris wishes to offer a hand of friendship, sympathy, and solidarity to the Japanese people.

The earthquake, the tsunami, and the resulting situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant have all given rise to much discussion worldwide. How does one deal with the severe physical and psychological consequences on the survivors and their families? What are the relative risks of radiation? Two physicians will make brief presentations dealing clearly and concisely with these medical and scientific questions.

During the meeting, guests will have an opportunity to contribute to a special fund which will provide assistance directly to a hospital in the affected area of Japan. If you cannot attend but would still like to help, please contact the American Hospital of Paris so that they can provide you with details.

As a symbol of hope and confidence in the future of Japan, we will plant a Japanese cherry tree on the grounds of the American Hospital in honor of the Japanese people.

Please confirm your participation to:

American Hospital of Paris
C.V. Starr Center for International Medical Exchange
55, boulevard du Chateau
92200 Neuilly sur Seine
Tel: 01 46 41 25 49

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Savannah: Then and Now

Savannah: Then and Now

by Catherine Rendon

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Posted in About Learning a Foreign Language Cross Cultural Comments

And what about my accent?

In “My Fair Lady,” Higgins says: The French don’t care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly. ….


We are sensitive to accents … sensitive to voices …. sensitive to pronunciation … Does anyone speak accentless? I suppose robots do … and then what have you got? A ro–bo–toc–voi–c-e … thank you very much …. ! We’re so much better off with a Southern accent, a NY accent, a French accent, a Scottish accent … and all of these are generally not served alone: there is always a specific vocabulary, often a specific grammar that goes with them.

To Savannah folk: Be on your guard to keep and cultivate your beautiful accents. A lot of people around the world (even in towns beginning with the letter “A” are … so jealous of your voices!

My advice? Be yourself. Use your own voice. Speak clearly … not too fast, please … Express yourself with your personality!

This being said, your accent is secondary to your pronunciation.  The English and Americans tend to like the novelty and sonority of a French accent in English … and vice-versa: Most French like you to keep your charming American or British accent …. if you manage to pronounce fauteuil (armchair) or champignons (mushrooms)  or ratatouille or Limoges correctly … or at least make a sincere effort to do so!

But, mesdames, messieurs, mes amis français, mes amies françaises, j’ai ceci à vous dire: vos voix, vos accents,  sont tellement agréables à l’oreille anglophone, tellement séduisants … You must  be carefulSO, only if you prefer NOT to be SO charming, then work on a perfect Oxford or Cambridge or London accent or a perfect ‘New York’ voice … or a delicious, mint-julep, Vivian Leigh southern drawl … so … whether you are from Paris or Montpellier or Neuilly or Asnières or Vincennes or Chantilly … please don’t trade your own accent for another … just pronounce the “s” at the end of plurals and at the third person and we will love you for that … too.

[audio:|titles=Be careful.]

Be careful.

On the other hand … pronounce the “S” please !!!

[audio:|titles=Do you know what I’m saying??]

Do you know what I’m saying?If you’re interested in language learning … subscribe to the Paris Savannah Connection newsletter!

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Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments Les Newsletters Online Language Resources for English Reading

Newsletter: 28 March 2011

“Out of the blue” – “Out of a clear, blue, sky”

The unpredictable, unforeseen, sudden, unexpected.

Totally unsuspected. Not a cloud to be seen to warn of the thunderstorm to come or the manna to fall.

Just didn’t see it comin’ …

While wel know that it’s unwise to count on anything that doesn’t have a reasonable cause, we also relentlessly gamble in unlikely futures.

Whether sunny days or thunderstorms! Who can tell the future? Who can read the tea leaves? Who can consult a crystal ball?

And it’s understandable, “normal” as the French would say for the event is just that – an event, a happening,  a result of circumstance.

Humbly human. Even if we’re getting a little better at forecasting the weather, we’re ready for … surprises which have no discernable direct causes or are far beyond our understanding, far beyond the abilities of present-day science.

No matter what the circumstances are, we’re right to be optimistic.
Got that from my father. A man who preferred unrealistic optimism to realistic pessimism.

In fact, there is a pretty reliable way to predict the future. It’s in the history of our clear, blue sky.

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Time change

Clocks in Europe moved up overnight for Daylight Savings Time … which could be called Springtime.

Days will be getting longer until the equinox on June 21st. Our days get warmer, lighter, and longer …

like being on … Savannah time!

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Studs Terkel Interviews Aaron Copland

One of the finest interviews: Chicago’s Studs Terkel talks to American composer Aaron Copland.


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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

Russell Baker at home

One of the finest journalists ever to put pen to paper. His column “The Observer” brought creativity and humor to readers all over the world. Enjoy it.

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Posted in Cross Cultural Comments

The King’s Speech

One of the best films of our time.

After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle.

Based on the true story of King George VI, THE KING’S SPEECH follows the Royal Monarch’s quest to find his voice.

The King’s Speech.

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Posted in Newsletters Cross Cultural Comments Les Newsletters Online Language Resources for English Reading

Newsletter: 20 March 2011

Just a little while ago, I was talking to my cousin Sherry. It was just after lunch there. And warm! Already in the upper 80s. Getting towards dinner time here.  Still cool. Among other things,  she told me about the Girl Scouts being probhibted from selling their traditional Girl Scout cookies in front of the Juliette Low House in Savannah because they hadn’t obtained a permit to do so. Juliette Low was the founder of the Girl Scouts. We got to talking about zero tolerance and … common sense.

Can Common Sense and Zero Tolerance get along?

In the name of obedience! Oh we have so many rules! So many that unless you’re careful, you might get caught, arrested, stopped, or otherwise interfered with for doing what your common sense, (pardon the verb but here goes… ) dictates!

Zero tolerance: strict discipline, absolute observance. There may be some cases in which this is appropriate though, I can’t think of one offhand but that must be because I live in a world in which exceptions are the rule. Language is like that. And isn’t language the reflection, expression of life?

Common sense is human. It’s the result not of applied theory, but of applied experience.  Sense=reason. You have to think a little, to choose, to make some sort of decision. You take the situation into consideration. You put things in perspective. There’s a context. You do what’s right.

Zero tolerance? It’s so easy just to follow, just to obey. And we all know where absolute obedience leads … There’s no choice, no decision, no difference, no exception, no circumstance. No doubt.  But there is dissuasion. That must be the key!

Common sense, on the other hand, seems to be appreciated by the vast majority of us. Bob Dylan wrote these words:  “To live outside the law, you must be honest.” Common sense. But maybe common sense isn’t so common, either.

Sherry told me that, in the end, there was such a protest that the rule was rescinded and the young ladies were allowed to sell their cookies …  Common sense wins.

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