Archive for the 'Online Language Resources for English' Category

Ben Franklin by Kalman

The first American ambassador to France …

Ben Franklin by Kalman.

What a treat!

The Minimalist: Spicy Shrimp Salad With Mint – by Mark Bittman

Smithsonian Folkways Magazine – Pete Seeger

Videocast: Pete Seeger talks about folk music.

The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Real voices of real people with real emotion. Much of the collection is freely available and downloadable on iTunesU. As Pete Seeger said … “If you’re ever feeling a little down … listen to what these people have to say!” Music from the heart and soul. And what music! Enjoy.

The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Newsletter – July 20, 2011

My mother has always had a good way of summing up situations. When something didn’t turn out as expected … and this was the case more often than not in our family, she’d come out with this one:

“It’s a blessing in disguise.”

I think she must have used it after we had a fire in our house in Gary, Indiana when I was a child. She probably didn’t telephone my father and announce the blessing as the firemen were putting out the blaze but after the disaster … there was no choice but to  have a brand new kitchen rebuilt and installed.  The fire? A blessing in disguise.

About a month ago, I looked out my window … and what did I see? Rather, what didn’t I see? It took me a minute to look twice, and then a third time. My bicycle had disappeared … Oh dear! I couldn’t believe it. Stolen. I loved my bicycle. It wasn’t a fancy one but it had taken me many a mile and I took good care of it, too. Catastrophic? No…but I have to say that I really love the new bike I’m riding.

Life’s like that. If you let it be. And that was the name of one of the Beatle’s greatest hits, wasn’t it?

A number of years ago, I was traveling with my two daughters from Savannah back to Paris and, due to stormy summer weather in Savannah, our plane was delayed. By the time we reached Atlanta, the connecting flight to Paris has already left the ground … and … as the luggage had flown without us … we were put up in a very nice hotel and provided with an indemnity for new bathing suits so that we could enjoy the pool …

I just heard on the radio that the annual summer strike planned at Air France is for July 31st and August 1st – among the busiest days of the year as people go on summer vacation.

Surely, for the other airlines … and some of us … in one way or another,
this, too, can only be seen as another …

“Blessing in d’skies.”

 



A Quirky Car Company, Serving Quirky Customers

A Quirky Car Company, Serving Quirky Customers

I have to admit that I had never heard of the Bristol until today.

The Bristol

and here’s a “bilingual” link to the word … quirky!

saying … telling … speaking … talking …

Four verbs we “do” every day. Probably because we do these things a lot !! Four verbs describing one of our favorite activities. I’ll just leave it to each reader’s imagination for the others.

You might expect me to immediately go into the differences … but I’d like to touch on some common uses of “say” first.

“What can I say?”

Que veux-tu que je te dise ?

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“Do you know what I’m saying?”

Tu me comprends?

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“What would you say if . . .?”

Que diriez-vous si…       Que dirais-tu si …

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“I can’t say for sure.”

Je ne peux rien affirmer. Je ne peux pas te le confirmer (avec certitude).

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“Say when.”

“Arretez-moi.”

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President’s Day

Ms. Kalman’s creation

And the Pursuit of Happiness … is of course, derived from the Constitution of the United States of America which guarantees citizens the rights to LIfe, Liberty … And the Pursuit of Happiness !

George … is of course, George Washington. Here’s his story as seen by Ms. Kalman!

Enjoy.

concluding a speech: at the end of the day …

During a recent conference,  more than one speaker used a very clear and easy to pronounce expression:

At the end of the day …” This expression,  which means … the end result …. is roughly synonomous with

When all is said and done” or “The bottom line

and in French … maybe something like … Tous comptes faits … En fin de compte … and I will say that today, at the end of the day, there was a lot of goodwill, lots of business cards were exchanged and promises made!

The bottom line,” said Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chief of pulmonology at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital, “is there’s no longterm health effect from volcanic ash.”

(see the article on the vocabulary of green, too)

When all is said and done

This means that when the discussion is over, when everything has been said … the conclusion is …

Try your own recording of these!

Keywords – “light”

How many concepts does “light” bring to mind? Light itself, weight, humor …

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Edith Wharton wrote :

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

When a word has more than one contrary, more than one antonym, this is proof that it’s a strong word. The pronunciation of the word is vital. The accent is important … and the context is the determining factor. Humor plays on words with more than one meaning.

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The word “light” is especially rich. It functions as a noun. A light, the light; it functions as an adjective: it is light, light blue; it also functions as a verb: to light … not to mention “to lighten” … and words with the root like “lightning” and just at the sound of it, you see the long yet short flash, that oh so powerful LIGHT against the (dark, darkened) sky.

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I like to define words by what they aren’t … first by their polar opposites  (black/white) and then in more nuanced ways (shades of grey) according to their uses, their contexts, their connotations.

What’s the opposite of “light” ? …. Well, it could be …. just a moment … what’s the context?… what time is it? Is is still (light) outside?

What is the opposite in this context? If white is light, black is …… dark.

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And of course the other very frequent context using “light” to describe the concept of weight would give us … heavy, of course.

As for the verb “to light,” .. why… if the linking concept is fire, it seems to me that “to put out” is probably the most frequent in everyday speech, though “extinguish” could be very popular among firemen … and officials.

By the way, Edith Wharton also said this:

If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.

If you’re interested in words and concepts … subscribe to the Paris Savannah Connection.