Tag: Fluency

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Online Language Resources for English Popular sayings, proverbs & quotes

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!

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 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 Photos Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Off the Beaten Track Online Language Resources for English Popular sayings, proverbs & quotes

On … the Isle of … Hope!





Coincidence that this sign, slightly hidden from view, should be posted … on an island called  “Hope.” Maybe instructions for … life?

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Keywords

Is “thank you!” enough?

No. Probably not. Not just by itself. So let me add the essentials:

For your hospitality in the myriad meanings of the word:

Thank you, Murem, Tom and Eric! Thank you Sandra! Thank you Ann & Enoch! Thank you Leonard & Suzanne. Thank you Ronnie and Ann. Thank you Sherry, Brian, Stephanie & Lem and Macayla. Thank you, Charlie Teeple! And Thank you Raymond! Thank you Catherine & your wonderful friends! Thank you Gordon. Thank you Denis! Thank you Eric!! Thank you Sheldon! Thank you Gayle, Martin, Armide, and Constance !!!  Thank you Chase. Thank you, Ted. Thank you Betsy. Thank you Lisa. Thank you Roger! Thank you J’maih!  Thank you Arlinda!  Thank you Howard!

Thank you Mom! Thank you Dad! Thank you Kay!

Thank you Tybee … Thank you Savannah.

“Thank you” … and “I’m sorry” : Putting it into words. So … please forgive me if I didn’t mention YOUR name … C’est un simple oubli! Just human forgetfulness. Forget and forgive.

By the way … if you just change the vowel “a” in thank to an “i,” … you come close to the origin of the word:  think.

The English word “thank” comes from “think” which, in turn comes from … thought.

If you think about it for a minute …  “Thank you”  is simply … thoughtful.

Posted in Notes on English Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Reading Writing spelling

Eats shoots and leaves



A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.’Why?’ asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

‘Well, I’m a panda,’ he says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the dictionary and, sure enough, finds an explanation. ‘Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots, and leaves.’

By Lynne Truss. Masterpiece. The best there is on punctuation.

This is the cover of the Illustrated Edition

Order your copy now right here! 

Amazon – Abe – Momox or buy one at your favorite bookseller’s!! 

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Keywords Online Language Resources for English

miles and kilometers

distances … measuring how far … or how close!

In our age of precision, we have learned that … we strive for precision but that … actually, statistically, nothing is perfectly exact.

We ordinarily say that 1 mile is equal to 1.6 kilometers and that 1 kilometer is .6 of a mile.

For most practical purposes, this is sufficient. This is, in Donald Winnicott’s terms, “good enough.” … Maybe even better, in the circumstances, than precision down the scale:



What’s the equivalence?

[audio:http://test.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/ex24352.mp3|titles=A mile equals one kilometer six hundred and 9 meters]


[audio:http://test.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/ex25604.mp3|titles=A mile equals one point six kilometers]



((A meter equals 39.37 inches. Their house has floor space of 200 square meters. A square meter is equal to 1.196 square yards.)) And then there are other meters, too … like parking meters … electricity and gas meters …

[audio:http://test.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/ex24353.mp3|titles=A meter equals 39.37 inches. Their house has floor space of 200 square meters. A square meter is equal to 1.196 square yards]



One hundred centimeters …

[audio:http://test.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/ex24347.mp3|titles=One hundred centimeters make a meter]

Posted in Cross Cultural Comments Fluency Keywords Popular sayings, proverbs & quotes


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

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.

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.

[audio:http://test.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/I-like-to-define.mp3|titles=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.]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.

and of course
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.

Why don’t you try recording this one?

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.

Posted in About Learning a Foreign Language Notes on English Fluency

Punctuation. Intonation. Meaning.

Take just about any word or group of words and test them: What does “you” mean? In fact, it all depends on the intonation, doesn’t it? Intonation is in the voice;  punctuation is in writing. We “hear” punctuation when we read…don’t we?

I do.

You do?


There are full stops. Also know in the USA as periods.

There are question marks, too, aren’t there?

Exclamation marks, too!

And of course, commas, so that we can breathe easier.

and “quotation marks,” traditonal and modern.

Until words are punctuated, they can’t really mean anything … For instance … what sense can you give these words in this order?

Woman without her man is nothing

?? !! “.” , : ;  (and there are more on your keyboard … I wonder where they came from!)

and as for intonation …

Enjoy! More to come …

Posted in About Learning a Foreign Language Notes on English Fluency Hear it, Say it, Write it ! Popular sayings, proverbs & quotes

sense – common sense – sensible … & sensitive

Sense and Sensible :  something dear to the Cartesian mind: reason.

Not to be confused with Sensitive: Feeling.

Use your sense : Use your brain. Use reason – not passion! In this … sense … (meaning) sense means taking the various factors of a situation into consideration … BEFORE acting … My grandmother’s expression for this was … Use your noggin (contrary = that’s meshuganah!)


“Common sense isn’t so common,” she used to say. Common sense. What we all (should) know by now!

What are the contraries to “sense” ? How about these two?


and doesn’t senseless lead us to the idea of something … crazy … mad … insane … > a real absence of reason?

and what about this one … which is a little more fun, isn’t it?


Now who hasn’t been guilty of these … at some point?

Be sensible! Do what reason tells you … you ought to do … (even if it is emotional intelligence …)

Not to be confused with sensitive


[audio:http://test.paris-savannah.com/wp-content/uploads/ex420411.mp3|titles=Actors are very sensitive to criticism … ]

as in “touchy” “high strung” or people very easily hurt or offended,

often unintentionally.

I say: If being “sensible” is reasonable, then being “sensitive” is feeling.

Be both! Sensitive and Sensible. Of course, it’s taken me quite a few years to come to that conclusion …

Next week, I promise you something on the plural of this: senses. As in 5 … or maybe , in fact, 6 or more …

PS/ (My thanks to François and Fred L.  for this subject … as well as dinner chez Matsuri and an artistic evening the other night!)