Quelle langue est ma langue maternelle   Leave a comment

An interesting question since I have spoken English, German, and French pretty much all my life and am functional in all three. On the other hand, there is the question of certification. For example, someone can be a native French speaker, yet not considered such for immigration purposes. The case in point is Emile DuBois, a French woman who was somehow deemed to not speak French according to Canadian Immigration authorities. The Quebec authorities decided she wasn’t a Francophone since part of her doctoral thesis was written in English! Eventually the Quebec authorities saw reason. On the other hand, I have a cousin who emigrated to Canada from the US and only had to converse with the immigration authority to be deemed proficient in French in Montreal.

Go figure!

Canada isn’t on my list of places I want to move to though: even the Francophone parts. I may like Quebec and the Gaspé, but I prefer France or Belgium.

Anyway, I had to say what was my “mother tongue” as part of my application for the DELF. I said “Anglais”. I don’t think it mattered much if it wasn’t French. Even then the purpose of the DELF is to show proficiency, even if one is a native French speaker. There are a lot of reasons for taking the DELF, business or personal. In my case, it is one of the requirements for French citizenship.

Jean-Paul Belmondo est mort!   Leave a comment

I’ve known about it for a couple of days since I was greeted by a banner announcing that when I went to the FNAC site to research Apple Macs. Another thing I would have posted about if I were still on Fesses de Bouc. Although, Belmondo is one of the famous French Film stars, he’s more associated with the Nouvelle-Vague. Or “New Wave” in English, but the “vague” seems to carry over since those films tend to be something a certain sort of viewer likes.

He did do some things that were more mass market, but Bout de Souffle tends to be his most famous work. Borsalino is another one he did, but I think of Alan Delon more than Belmondo. In fact, I need to go and watch some of Belmondo’s classics to remember him. I have seen his films, but he’s one of those actors who is an actor and becomes the role so much that you forget about who is playing and pay more attention to the character.

Belmondo will be a definite part of French Culture even if he may never reach the controversiality of a Serge Gainsbourg or bring out the divided feelings Gainsbourg or Johnny Hallyday will raise if you mention them to a French person.

Le DELF B2 viendra!   Leave a comment

I just registered to take the DELF B2 and will do so in December.

I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you weren’t paying attention:

The Diplôme d’études en langue française or DELF for short, is a certification of French-language abilities for non-native speakers of French administered by the International Centre for French Studies for France’s Ministry of Education. I am considered an Anglophone since I am not from France. There are a few reasons for wanting to take this test. One would be as a career step to prove your proficiency in French. Another reason is if one wants to become a French citizenship. There is a requirement of passing the B2 level to become a French citizen.

That means there are a few reasons I would pick the B2 level. One being it is less expensive than the C1 or C2 levels, which is where some non-official tests place me. The C levels would be something that would be attractive if I were still in the workplace. But I am not sure if they would have helped me much, short of moving to France back then. And the US Government would have picked the Hispanic Woman anyway for the international law jobs.

My career path ended up being completely unsatisfactory and feeling like that joke about the World Famous French lover who was on a game show as a lifeline. The punch line is that he wouldn’t have done anything the contestant suggested. Brexit happened and Britain will regret it happening sooner or later. I’m staying in Europe.

Je suis désolé d’avoir désactivé mon compte de fesses de bouc   Leave a comment

Or I would be posting about a Senegalese TV show called “Wara”. It looks really promising.

Africa is one of the reasons French is gaining position in World Languages since there are more French Speakers there than in France! Another nice thing: Africans speaking French are way easier to understand than Parisians (think Cockneys).


Je l’aimerais!   Leave a comment

This is a tangent from my post on data protection, but the Mormons have a couple of goofs in their Family Search database (https://wwwp.familysearch.org/). One was that my aunt was dead because of her age.

She isn’t.

The other is that my mother immigrated to the US from France in 1953 on the Queen Mary.

I wish! Since that would make things a lot easier for me post-Brexit. While my dad was the recent immigrant from Europe, any of his continental connections are tenuous. Short of being a Biden, I don’t stand a chance of getting Ukrainian citizenship. And there is no way in Hell I would want Ukrainian citizenship. First off, Ukraine isn’t a part of the EU. It probably won’t be too.

On the other hand, I would have no problem getting French citizenship if my mother was the one “fresh off the boat”. But my French ancestors came over in the early to mid 19th Century Think the time of Les Mis and you have the idea. Germany also doesn’t do citizenship through the maternal line, unless you’re Jewish and your family emigrated during the Third Reich. There’s another interesting story there. German citizenship isn’t high on my list, but I have seriously considered Polish and Portuguese. So….

My response to the “love it or leave it” crowd is that’s easier said than done. The States is a lot more lenient on people who are “lawfully present” than most countries. Most countries would fine the “unlawfully present” and stamp their travel documents to make life tough on them. The US welcomes them with open arms while making it hard for people who are trying to do things legally.

On the other hand, France makes it tough on both groups. Yes, French bureaucracy is as bad as they say it is.

Je suis vraiment tenté de commencer à poster en français.

Although, my guilty pleasure is to speak English. It always has despite my confusion as to what exactly is “mon langue maternelle”. German, English, and French are all in the running for that title, which is obvious if you either speak to me or read my writing with a knowledge of those three languages.

At least I don’t use German syntax, but I do capitalise like one. Especially when typing. Although, my choice of computer keyboards is UK English and I have used other languages. French keyboards drive me nuts. US English, not so much, but they still can get annoying.

Oh, and French is actually a difficult language, which even the French will admit once you get to know them. One literally will spend all one’s life learning the language. There’s a nice big book called “Grand dictionnaire des difficultés et pièges de la langue française” (ISBN: ‎ 978-2035898227) which translates as “large dictionary of the difficulties and traps of the French language“. A search of ‎”pièges langue française” results in quite a few books.

I can get into why French isn’t totally my language of choice (and neither is German), which most of the arguments will be shot down by some French speakers. Others will agree with me.

Actually, French isn’t that hard, but I think French teachers have an agreement to make it hard. There are something like 17 French verb cases, of which not all of them are used. I have had a few French teachers tell me not to bother with passé simple since it isn’t used that much in real life. On the other hand, teachers of French love it. That and Tout/Toute/Tous/Toutes.

Karen O’Toole wrote a pretty accurate book on French verbs called “How To Cheat at French Verbs” (ISBN: 978-0982901946). Futur passé anyone? I agree with her in that one doesn’t need to study lots of verb cases for conversational French. Written French is another thing.

Posted 04/09/2021 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

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Le monde francophone

Did you know that spreading the French language is a priority of French National foreign policy? Part of this strategy is to subsidise lessons through the Alliance Française and other cultural events. Another good point is that wanting to improve your French language skills is an aid to getting residency. Although, one has to prove proficiency by passing the DELF(Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) level B2 examination as a requirement for French citizenship, unless you can pull off citizenship through a parent.

Another nice thing is that there are loads of resources for learning French online. While you can teach yourself French, I would strongly suggest having the help of someone who is proficient in the language help you. Especially since the DELF exams test not only your reading comprehension, but your ability to write and converse. That is your ability to use the language. It’s easy to read and listen, but a different thing altogether to speak and write.

Toss in that it is true that learning French is pretty much a lifelong process.

Technically, I am at an advanced level with my French skills, which makes sense since I have been pretty much speaking it since I was a child (same for German). My conversational skills suffer without using these languages on a regular basis. Things like Duolinguo, Kwiziq, and Frantastique are nice refreshers, but they don’t seem that practical on a long term basis. Frantastique is probably the best of the lot. It’s relatively painless to get started as they put you through a 14 “lesson” test period to find your level of skill. The lessons are cute, which probably makes them effective.

Kwiziq is a runner up. I started using it because it was good for grammar, but the problem with Kwiziq is that it is like a school that wants to push you to the next grade whether you are ready for the lessons or not. By that I mean there are a few questions on a subject. It never seems to me that you do enough of a drill to see if you truly understand the material. Of course, there are chatrooms and discussions for all three of these, which the developers say are what you should be using to get the result I hope to see.

Duolinguo determined that I was fluent after I passed its level 6 without even an understanding of the Passé antérieur. It has since added on quite a few more levels, but I’m not very impressed. Especially since it translated “Alle menschen Brueders sein” as “all people will be brothers”. They should have gone on to say “all people will be siblings” if they are going to trod that path (yes, I was marked wrong for my translation of the convention “all men will be brothers”). meanwhile the Gymglish German language program, Wunderbla said I was at the advanced intermediate level.

Anyway, there are more than enough French sites which teach French as well. I have a thing for Le Nouvel Observateur’s site: https://la-conjugaison.nouvelobs.com/.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of really great sites for learning French out there. Even better, you can improve your French in France.

Why bother

I seem to be doing things quite remotely these days. Nothing like having conversations with people who are “at your door” via the internet.

I had to decide whether I would become inactive or retired on my law licenses. I’m going with active still since I make legal opinions.

The upside: I can do my CLE remotely!

Posted 28/04/2021 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

How exactly do I feel about “assault rifles”?

I ask this because there is a Pew Charitable Trust poll “Amid a Series of Mass Shootings in the U.S., Gun Policy Remains Deeply Divisive” that asks this and other questions.

In theory, they should be banned or heavily regulated.

The reality, they are something people will have to get used to living with. “Black Lives matter”, The “peaceful protests”, and the defund the police movement have pretty much killed any chance of regulating firearms. That’s ironic since the “Black Lives Matter” movement and defunding the police require having a strong system of firearms regulation to have even a shred of being successful.

That’s because people need to feel safe and secure, which is something I think most gun regulators miss. The belief that “no one needs a firearm like that” rings hollow when the police start disappearing from the streets. My “I Almost bought an AR” post was about this since the reportage if one was fortunate enough to be away from the action could cause some people to want to head to the nearest gun store and buy one.

I think some people are unaware of the situation in this country and how difficult it will be to persuade people they don’t need an assault rifle. Not to mention that I am beginning to believe most of the people on the regulation side are not really good at listening to the other side.

OK, despite what many people may think: I HAVE listened to the arguments. And examined them carefully. That goes for both sides.

Right now, the “gun grabbers” are losing the propaganda battle…badly. The result of which is that they are beginning to lose the battle.

They are also alienating people who should be on their side by living in a highly idealistic world, I still stick by my belief that:

While I support keeping guns out of the hands of people like criminals and the looters, it is thoroughly insane to prevent the law abiding to their safety. And for the most part I am sceptical of firearms for home defence, I can get why some people would want them.

The problem is that one can’t tolerate the “peaceful protests” and defunding the police, yet expect people to be willing to give up on what they see as their best defence.

They say that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged: we may see a lot of people become “conservative” in the coming days.

At this point in time, firearms regulation is going to be one of the last things that will happen.

“Ruby Sparks Speaks Fluent French” partie trois

OK, a much more appropriate first line would have been something like: “Mes gars, le dîner est servi. J’espère que vous avez un bon appétit.” Just “bon appétit” makes absolutely no sense.

And upset French woman would probably said “putain” and some variation of “connard”.

“Ruby Sparks Speaks Fluent French” partie deux

I was surfing the web when I came up with a French Actress named Delphine Théodore who looks a bit like Zoe Kazan. Here is the link to her demo reel https://vimeo.com/5769438. Check her out and you’ll see why Zoe’s performance isn’t very accurate in my opinion. The fun thing would be to edit Delphine into the French scenes. Better yet, reshoot them with Delphine.

En surfant sur le web, je suis tombé sur une actrice française nommée Delphine Théodore qui ressemble un peu à Zoe Kazan. Voici le lien vers sa bande démo https://vimeo.com/5769438. Regardez-la et vous verrez pourquoi la performance de Zoe n’est pas très fidèle à mon avis. Ce qui serait amusant, c’est de monter Delphine dans les scènes françaises. Mieux encore, les re-filmer avec Delphine.

Social media casse mon cul!

I was trying to make a post, but couldn’t do it the way I want. Screw this.

Posted 19/02/2021 by lacithedog in Uncategorized

Upset French Women and the magic word

Link to one of the Ruby Sparks “French” scenes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PNuTmTZiZg

OK, I have one criticism of the film Ruby Sparks and that is that she sounds like someone who may have had a few years of French when she is supposed to speak fluent French. She ain’t nowhere near fluent. The Ruby Sparks character is about a DELF A1 level. If that. I know what a pissed off French woman that age talks like.

I know what an upset French woman sounds like and that’s not it. For one thing, what this person calls the “magic word” is conspicuously absent, as are a few other choice words I would expect to hear.

I would have hired someone like Lizzie Brocheré, or some other bilingual French actress, to write the dialogue for those scenes. Maybe even dub the scenes as well for good measure.

The Euro

The two best things about the European Union are the right of free movement and the Euro. Which is good since they sort of go together as it’s nice to not have to change currencies when you go from country to country. Imagine living in the US and having to change your money if you went from State to State: especially if there were drastic differences in value. Toss in the insult of having the coins thrown back at you even if they were significantly valuable (e.g, dollar, pound or Euro valued coins).

Despite this, only 19 of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) have adopted the Euro as their primary currency and sole legal tender. Denmark (and the United Kingdom) opted out of adopting the Euro. It is also currency in a few of the “postage stamp” non-EU member States. Also, it’s used in some of the French overseas territories and the British Bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The latter may be the only part of the United Kingdom to use the Euro, but it would make sense since they are on Cyprus, which is an EU member and part of the Eurozone. Montenegro and Kosovo also use the Euro, but they originally used the Yugoslav Dinar and then the German Mark as their currencies.

I’m not going to get into the mechanics of how countries become part of the Eurozone, but most of the non-Euro nations are part of the former eastern block with the exception of Denmark and Sweden. And I actually spend a lot of them, even if I joke about never seeing them. But I never carried around much cash anyway. More so since Brexit.


I had wanted to live where my ancestors came from 300-400 years ago, but I wasn’t expecting to be where I finally ended up. Britain seemed like home up until 2016 and the vote to leave the European Union. Now I feel like a lorry driver in a Kent lot when it comes to Britain and the European Union.

My first reaction to Brexit was to get European residency, which I have had since July 2018. European residency isn’t had to get: especially if one is retired and has a steady income. France also makes it easy to get residency if one wants to learn the language (that is a valid reason to be a resident). Most European countries require language proficiency for citizenship, which is good since I am proficient in the languages of the countries where I am resident.

Belgium and France feel comfortable to me. Germany, not so much, although it is getting more multicultural. The doner kebab is a national food, as opposed to the bland stuff I remember from when I was a kid.

I used to joke that I had never seen a Euro even though I had spent quite a few of them. Not so much of a joke since the Euro started its existence as a virtual currency and wasn’t really brought into actual circulation until 2002. The notes are pretty boring, but the coins actually have a national flavour. The coins have a standard side and a national side. And I’ve seen Euro coins from all the Eurozone countries.

The notes are different. The 11 digit serial number on every note begins with a prefix which identifies which country issued it. German notes begin with an X, Greek notes start with a Y, Spain’s have a V, France a U, Ireland T, Portugal M, Italy S, Belgium is Z, Cyprus G, Luxembourg 1, Malta F, Netherlands P, Austria N, Slovenia H, Slovakia E and Finland L. A more arcane test is that the serial number also contains a secret clue to the country which issued the note. The clue lies in what is known as the digital root of the serial number. This can be calculated by adding together the digits, then taking the result and adding its digits together again and so on until a single digit is left. For example. On a note where the code reads X50446027856. The X immediately indicates that the note is German, but a second test is to add the digits. So (5+0+4+4+6+0+2+7+8+5+6) gives 47. Add these digits (4+7) gives 11. Finally add these digits (1+1) gives 2, the code number for Germany. Some countries share a code number.

The nice thing is that one doesn’t have to change currencies at the border the way things were pre-European Monetary Union. On the other hand, the Euros in my wallet may not reflect where I happen to live. The money has free movement, as do the citizens of the European Union.

BTW, there are seven kingdoms in modern Europe: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Personally, I’ve always opted for the more inclusive nationality whether it is British or European.