Archive for the ‘French’ Category

Actualités de Brexit   Leave a comment

Now, I know where my news about Brexit will come from in the most part: Le Figaro.

Now I’m really surprised that I never made anything of my degree in European Legal Studies. Toss in my thesis for my JD dealt with fisheries. Maybe I should have asked the Greenpeace chief in Brussels for a job instead of hoping for big bucks in the world of business when I found out he was a neighbour (and all round nice guy).

Exam anxiety   Leave a comment

OK, I test in at either advanced intermediate (B2) or advanced (C1) CEFRA (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level depending on the site doing the testing. I’ve been told the grammar on the French B2 is stuff that is pretty easy. Still, I am back at Kwiziq taking their tests, but I think they are like a US public school which passes you to the next level whether or not you are ready for it. Also, Kwiziq is really more about test taking than actual knowledge.

I have been reading the following French newspapers for the last year or so: Le Monde, Liberation, and L’Obs. They are all considered advanced by this website. I decided to take a peek at L’Express which they say is intermediate in skill level.

Compared to this Dickensian sentence from Le Monde

Il aura fallu près de dix années de mobilisation, scandées d’annonces aussitôt suivies de piteux démentis, mais le résultat est là : à Venise, depuis le 1er août, les bateaux de croisière de plus de 25 000 tonnesn’ont plus le droit d’emprunter au ralenti le canal de la Giudecca pour passer devant la place Saint-Marc, offrant aux croisiéristes un point de vue unique au monde – et aux habitants de la ville l’impression désolante d’être frôlés par des monstres à l’effrayante démesure. Jusque-là, ce parcours pouvait être emprunté par des navires allant jusqu’à 110 000 tonnes.

The amusing thing is that the three I read are considered Lefty. Liberation was “founded in Paris by Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July in 1973 in the wake of the protest movements of May 1968. Initially positioned on the extreme-left of France’s political spectrum, the editorial line evolved towards a more centre-left stance at the end of the 1970s.” L’Express is conservative.

Go figure.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_in_France

Translation of above:

It took almost ten years of mobilisation, scandalised by announcements immediately followed by pitiful denials, but the result is there: in Venice, since 1 August, cruise ships of more than 25,000 tonnes have no longer been allowed to use the Giudecca Canal to pass in front of Saint Mark’s Square, offering cruise passengers a unique viewpoint in the world – and the inhabitants of the city the distressing impression of being brushed by monsters of frightening excess. Until now, this route could be used by ships of up to 110,000 tonnes.

Love-Hate about the US-Europe

I have a long post simmering where I get into some of the things I don’t like about the US. Some apply to Europe as well, but that’s easy since Europe is basically a bunch of countries which have banded together because they finally figured out trying to kill each other made no sense. Although, there are a few people who still think it does. Part of this is due to watching (wasting a couple of hours) the first two episodes of something called “Tribes of Europe”. Europe has survived serious destruction without ending up like that series.

Portrait de la contesse Fouler de Relingue

Anyway, it sort of comes down to four things: food, culture, distance, caring for cities and countryside, and transport. We could get into the Oxford comma as well, but that is francophony-anglophony. The French will eat Grandma, but prefer their lovers….

I’m not sure I should make “head” jokes, but I am very certain some of my ancestors made it through the Terror. They were able to enjoy the bals des victimes, but they exited stage right when it came to Les Mis. I’m posting the cleaned up version of coiffure à la Titus which was popular post-terror. My race memory clicked on the painting by Guérin in the Louvre.

I don’t relate to US history and always thought that the Civil War monuments commemorated the Franco-Prussian War, which was the Civil War for me. My relations fought on both sides. A direct result was that my great-great-grandfather shipped his son off to the States to avoid Bismarck’s Army. It also set off a chain reaction of events which would lead to my being born in the US. The Second World War led to my father coming to the States.

The thing is that I can get the things I like in Europe in the States/North America, and some of the things I hate about the States exist in Europe. Although, it’s hard to get something vaguely like Europe’s history in North America. People in the US prefer the myth and have done a great job of wrecking the real history, but that is changing. Just not fast enough for my taste.

Still, I would prefer Europe to the States even if there were TGVs, the cities ended at defined boundaries, and there were really cool small towns out there that had restaurants that served exciting local food. As opposed to restaurants that are exciting because everyone is carrying guns–that’s not they type of excitement I mean. I left out more obvous old settlements. Places like Cahokia and Cahawba don’t do it for me since they were ethnically cleansed from history.

I didn’t get the Hudson Valley School of Painting and the concept behind it until I spent a lot of time on the ground (can’t make a good pun of “sur-le-champ”). But no matter what the appearance is, natural resources are limited. While the Americas have been populated for millenia, the cultures that populated them have been ethnically cleansed. Or are seen as a quaint. This quotation about the “First Thanksgiving” gets to the point:

One is that history doesn’t begin for Native people until Europeans arrive. People had been in the Americas for least 12,000 years and according to some Native traditions, since the beginning of time. And having history start with the English is a way of dismissing all that. The second is that the arrival of the Mayflower is some kind of first-contact episode. It’s not. Wampanoags had a century of contact with Europeans–it was bloody and it involved slave raiding by Europeans. At least two and maybe more Wampanoags, when the Pilgrims arrived, spoke English, had already been to Europe and back and knew the very organizers of the Pilgrims’ venture.

Most poignantly, using a shared dinner as a symbol for colonialism really has it backward. No question about it, Wampanoag leader Ousamequin reached out to the English at Plymouth and wanted an alliance with them. But it’s not because he was innately friendly. It’s because his people have been decimated by an epidemic disease, and Ousamequin sees the English as an opportunity to fend off his tribal rebels. That’s not the stuff of Thanksgiving pageants. The Thanksgiving myth doesn’t address the deterioration of this relationship culminating in one of the most horrific colonial Indian wars on record, King Philip’s War, and also doesn’t address Wampanoag survival and adaptation over the centuries, which is why they’re still here, despite the odds.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/thanksgiving-myth-and-what-we-should-be-teaching-kids-180973655/

I found that while looking for this clip. I saw it when I went to the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American the day my application for European residency came through. The speaker is Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche).

Unfortunately, the westward expansion of the English Colonies meant ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans.

Anyway, Paul, my family is supposed to have been there for that First Thanksgiving, but it’s a lot more difficult for a European to move back than most people realise. And changing North America for the better is tough with monied interests blocking the way.

Angèle – Bruxelles je t’aime

I learned about Angèle last summer. The person who told me about her said she was Dutch.

No, she’s Flemish.

I really understand this song: especially as I am now working on my being certified as a “Francophone”. This is despite having the French language foisted upon me.

I don’t have the same issue proving I am a German speaker.

Enjoy! Profitez! Geniet! Genießen!

Note that I posted that last bit in English!

BTW, the announcement in Flemish at the start of the clip relates to when the CD will be released. You can preorder it online. I did!

La peur de la langue française

OK, I know I should be writing this in french (the joke DELF essay WILL BE in French), but I am feeling lazy. And this deals with grammar. My two weak points are grammar and spelling: mostly sloppy errors done in haste. But I do that in English as well. While Dutch/Frisian may be closer to English and English is a Germanic language: French also has a lot of similarities to English.

Beware the faux amis (false friends), those are the words that look a lot alike, but aren’t. There are a lot of words in English which have French roots or equivalents, which helps, but the faux amis are a pitfall.

A bit of advice I picked up in my review, while it’s about gender, the 100$ foolproof bit is pretty much universal:

No rule is 100% foolproof in French. There are a number of exceptions in word genders too. Those are a bit like double bluffs: it’s unfair, I know, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart. You will need to learn by heart, I’m afraid.

Actually, “learning by heart” isn’t really that hard, but it means practise a lot. Hell, I’ve been speaking French for as long as I can remember and I have problems. Not to mention that French people will admit that you don’t need to know all the verb tenses since some of them are found mostly in literature (e.g. passé simple). I was told I could get away with the easiest tenses for the B2!

This gets into why I am taking the B2 as opposed to the advanced (“C” levels). You don’t need to know as much to pass the B levels. The essay only needs to be 250 words (get ready for the joke essay), whereas the C level examination requires a REAL essay. B2 is the basic level for French citizenship, C is required for studying in a French university. Also, I’m retired: I don’t need to prove nothing to nobody. On the other hand, having the B2 is good for life, and becoming a french citizen.

Anyway, back to gender. The quote above comes from this cheat sheet on gender in Fench language. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to guess gender. If not, avoid singular items which allows one to use “les”, “des”, etcetera which avoid having to figure out the gender of something you are uncertain about if you don’t have a dictionary or grammar checker handy. But French is so difficult that most grammar checkers are worthless.

I’ve already given a plug for Karen Remy O’Tooles “How to Cheat at French Verbs” (ISBN ‎ 978-0982901946), but I can’t say enough about it. I know I will pass the oral section of the B2 exam with her help. Verbs are only intimidating if you are writing in French.

Reading is easy since it is recognition memory, but the DELF does ask some weird questions in the reading comprehension section. but my scores are passing in that area. Not that they don’t need work.

Anyway, french can be intimidating as heck, which I think is intention on the part of L’Académie Françiase, the keepers of the French language. Or the jerks who don’t want you saying things like septante, huitante, or nonante, as opposed to soixante-dix, quatre-vingts, or quatre-vingt dix. IMO, nonante-neuf is less of a mouthful than quatre-vingt-dix-neuf. But L’Académie is dedicated to the purity of la langue française against foreign invaders, such as English.

Blame them if you’re having problems with French.

La Marseillaise: ‘The Greatest National Anthem in the World, Ever’ – BBC News

I was looking up versions of La Marseillaise to post when I pass the DELF B2. And in the spirit of BREXIT, I post this clip that came up.

I’m liking this guy more and more…

Between his thing with an older woman and this headline.

I said Molly Shattuck should have gone to France back in the day. And Emmanuel Macron proves me right. Molly had no relationship with her alleged victim. On the other hand, Brigitte Macron was Emmanuel’s teacher!

Molly gets convicted and has to register as a sex offender.

Brigitte ends up married to the President of France!

Vive La France!

And moving on…

Better yet, the word “gerbe” can mean a couple of things.

The first is a garland of flowers, which this article in Le Monde is referring to with the phrase “deposer une gerbe”.

The second meaning is to puke, which I learned by missing this question: L’enfant gerbe, present tense of “gerber”, c’est-à-dire, en langage populaire, l’enfant vomit. Exemple : J’ai gerbé toute la nuit à cause de ce kebab. (I forgot this was in French when I posted it: The child pukes, present tense of “Gerber”, that’s to say in popular language (or slang), the child puked all night long because of the kebab.)

OK, maybe Macron DID puke on Napoleon’s tomb, which some people would find appropriate since Napoléon has a checkered career. Puking on Nappy’s tomb really makes me like the guy.

Maybe Molly can petition Emmanuel for French citizenship and a pardon (Venez en France, Molly, nous traitons les femmes comme il se doit.).

Cœur de Pirate–Oublie Moi

J’aime bien cette chanson mais je préfère la felix cartal remix version. J’aime pas seulement car cette chanson est Quebecoise. Tu surprendrais si tu penses que je étais un anglophile.

Encore mes devoirs: Un peu de polémique.

J’ai regardé Le Journal télevisé de France 24 et j’ai lu le reportage à Le Monde:

Le gouverneur du Texas, Greg Abbott, déclare qu’il croit que tout le monde a le droit à la vie. C’est fascinant puisque le Texas a à la fois la peine de mort et la loi du « stand your ground ». Les lois sur la légitime défense modifient le concept de légitime défense pour le faire dépendre de la peur subjective de la personne qui invoque cette défense légale. En revanche, Emmanuel Macron veut « relancer le combat pour l’abolition universelle » de la peine de mort dans un discours prononcé au Panthéon pour marquer le 40e anniversaire de l’abolition de la peine de mort en France. Il y a une différence manifeste entre l’attitude envers le droit à la vie au Texas et en France.

Le Texas semble croire que la peine de mort soit efficace pour prévenir le crime : même les exécutions extrajudiciaires. Mais la peine de mort est-elle efficace pour prévenir le crime ? L’un des anciens bourreaux de la Grande-Bretagne, Albert Pierrepoint, n’est pas d’accord. Il a dit : “Cela ne les a pas dissuadés à l’époque et cela ne les a pas dissuadés lorsqu’ils ont commis ce pour quoi ils ont été condamnés. Tous les hommes et les femmes que j’ai affrontés à ce moment final me convainquent que, dans ce que j’ai fait, je n’ai pas empêché un seul meurtre…”. Robert Badinter, l’ancien garde des sceaux qui avait fait voter l’abolition en 1981, agrée « conviction absolue : la peine de mort est vouée à disparaître dans le monde car elle est une honte pour l’humanité. Elle ne défend pas la société, elle la déshonore (…). Vive l’abolition universelle ! »

On passe des questions de justice pénale à celles de la santé lorsqu’on relie le droit à la vie aux choix de planning familial. Au lieu de cela, le Texas a choisi de faire un remake d’Une affaire de femmes de Claude Chabrol. C’est une histoire qui se déroule pendant l’occupation allemande de la France. Il s’inspire de l’histoire vraie de Marie-Louise Giraud, une des dernières femmes guillotinées en France. Le crime de Mme Giraud était de fournir des avortements aux femmes pauvres de France. La loi du Texas n’est peut-être pas si extrême, mais l’effet est le même : ce sont les pauvres qui seront touchés par cette loi. Les femmes aisées pourront se rendre là où l’avortement est légal, ce qui n’est pas une option pour les pauvres. Les fournisseurs d’avortement pour les pauvres seraient des femmes comme Mme Giraud, pas des professionnels de la santé, mais des femmes qui voudraient aider d’autres femmes.

Je dois me demander si le Texas comprend vraiment ce qu’un système de justice pénale devrait faire ? Est-ce qu’il cherche la justice ou la vengeance ?

On écrit un article au DELF B2

D’ac, ça semble facile. On a besoin d’un longueur de 250 mots. Il y a aussi quelques phrases pourraient faire “filler” : Par exemple, d’abord, ensuite, en revanche, pour conclure, et cetera (on ne met pas un virgule en français avant “et”, car c’est un parti de la liste). Puis on mettrait ses pensées d’augmenter le nombre de mots à 250 (c’est le minimum des mots requis pour l’essai écrit). Ils ne vous demanderont pas d’écrire un article comme un pro, bien sûr.

L’avis est: “Mais la mise en page compte toujours à l’examen du DELF B2, alors mieux vaut respecter certaines règles. Pour plus de clarté, voyons la présentation générale d’un article sur un schéma. ” Les schémas sont trouvés partout l’internet. À ce moment, je suis presque au minimum des mots requis! Et je n’essaie pas donc ça sera facile.

Trucs et astuces pour apprendre le français

It’s great to live in the world of the internet and computers since it makes it a whole lot easier to study languages on your own if you have to. There are lots of great websites out there for learning languages. I’ve tried most of the Gymglish sites and like Frantastique. I was going to say I like it a lot, but not really. It can be disheartening if you are not committed to learning a language, but the tricks and tips are where this post is heading.

Online translation software (e.g., Google and DeepL) also gives pronunciation, which is helpful for learning. My weaknesses are grammar and spelling in written French, spoken French isn’t that hard. At least at the everyday level–it gets harder if you move into academic French (intermediate and beyond, or B2 and the Cs). The first trick is spoken French is actually pretty simple most of the texts out there are great if you are taking academic French.

Verb tenses, to get a major headache out of the way, but the book How to Cheat at French Verbs (ISBN: 978-0982901946). You really only have to worry about verb tenses in written French, things get really simple in spoken. My French teacher is an invigilator for the DELF B2 in another city, but she told me that only three cases are truly needed for the spoken: passé compose, futur proche, and “present progressif” (“être en train de…”). Anything else is icing on the cake (e.g., subjunctive, conditional, and definitely passé simple).

And the internet is filled with native French speakers ready to teach you how to listen. Getting a native to have conversations with is harder.

Things get more interesting when you move to written French. Apple OS is the best for that since it makes it easy to type the accented characters. As someone who used actual French language keyboards, that is a total blessing. Hold down whatever character you want; For example “e” and a window will open showing the following: è é ê ë ē ė e. Then pick the character you want. That works on iphones, ipads, and Macs. The Mac gives you options of Hachette’s French Dictionary and English French dictionary. IPad and iPhone only have the Linguee dictionary, but it is truly multilingual!

Bon Patron is a good grammar check, but it’s not great. It beats trying to guess if you are missing something, but it also misses things! Avoid using the machine translators (e.g., Google, DeepL, et al) since they are OK for simple text and might offer useful suggestions, but that isn’t always the case.

The best thing would be to find a helpful native, but that is still diffilcult!

Pensées sur Bernard Tapie

J’ai porté une casquette de l’OM (l’Olympique de Marseille) aujourd’hui. Plus par hasard que par intention, c’était la casquette idéale pour aujourd’hui. J’ai ignoré son mort jusqu’a j’ai entendu qu’il est mort à la radio en ce moment. Oui, j’avais lu en gros titre qu’il était mort, mais je n’avais pas fait le lien jusqu’à maintenant. Je suis plus français que j’ai pensé et plus par hasard que par intention!

Oui, j’ai porté une casquette de L’OM à hommage de Bernard Tapie malgré sa réputation. Est-il juste de comparer Bernard Tapie à Donald Trump ? Qu’ont-ils en commun ? Selon l’avis de l’ancien footballeur Basile Boli : « Chez Tapie, le mensonge est un art de vivre. » Trump et Tapie ont tous deux des débuts douteux et des affaires louches. Contrairement à Trump, Tapie a été condamné pour des activités criminelles. Contrairement à Trump, Tapie se présente comme un gauchiste de type socialiste. Le socialisme de Tapie allait à l’encontre de son capitalisme prédateur. Barnard Tapie a dit que « Pendant les quinze ans de construction de mon itinéraire, j’ai mis 200 fois le pied sur la ligne jaune. Vu d’où je viens, j’ai des circonstances atténuantes. »

En revanche, Trump n’a pas admis a ses transgressions. Trump comme Tapie sont des bêtes de spectacle en sport et en affaires. Trump est un membre de la World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) et Tapie a été le président de l’Olympique de Marseille de 1986 à 1994 ainsi que le promoteur d’autres sports (par exemple, le cyclisme). Peut-être que si Trump était resté dans le monde du spectacle et n’était pas entré en politique, les choses auraient été différentes. Pourtant, Tapie a également eu une carrière politique, mais pas à l’échelle de Trump.

La comparaison intéressante est la façon dont la mort de Tapie est perçue par les médias. Les scandales de Tapie sont mentionnés, mais il est honoré pour ses exploits. Même si ces accomplissements étaient louches.

Ouiap, j’ai fait des corrections après avoir discuté ça dans mon cours de français.

En hommage à Bernard Tapie…

J’ai porté une casquette de l’OM (l’Olympique de Marseille) aujourd’hui. Plus par hasard que par intention, c’était la casquette idéale pour aujourd’hui. J’ai ignoré son mort jusqu’a j’ai entendu qu’il est mort à la radio en ce moment. Oui, j’avais lu en gros titre qu’il était mort, mais je n’avais pas fait le lien jusqu’à maintenant. Je suis plus français que j’ai pensé et plus par hasard que par intention!

Sinatra did it “his way”.

There are a few standards which started out as French songs, such as “These Foolish Things” was “Ces petits choses”, “The Falling Leaves” was “Les feuilles mortes”, and so on. But I bet you didn’t know that “my way” started out as this song.

French pop/rock artist (also known as “yé-yé or “yeah-yeah”), Claude François, released this emotional song about a couple growing apart in November 1967 not suspecting that Comme d’habitude would become an international hit thanks largely to its English cover, “My Way,” written by Paul Anka and popularised by Frank Sinatra. To date, Comme d’habitude has been covered 1327 times by more than 570 artists and remains the most exported French song of all time.

I wasn’t going to post the original lyrics, but they are so different from the Sinatra/”My way” ones.

Je me lève
Et je te bouscule
Tu ne te réveilles pas
Comme d’habitude
Sur toi je remonte le drap
J’ai peur que tu aies froid
Comme d’habitude
Ma main caresse tes cheveux
Presque malgré moi
Comme d’habitude
Mais toi tu me tournes le dos
Comme d’habitude

Et puis je m’habille très vite
Je sors de la chambre
Comme d’habitude
Tout seul je bois mon café
Je suis en retard
Comme d’habitude
Sans bruit je quitte la maison
Tout est gris dehors
Comme d’habitude
J’ai froid je relève mon col
Comme d’habitude

Comme d’habitude
Toute la journée
Je vais jouer à faire semblant
Comme d’habitude
Je vais sourire
Oui comme d’habitude
Je vais même rire
Comme d’habitude
Enfin je vais vivre
Comme d’habitude
Et puis le jour s’en ira
Moi je reviendrai
Comme d’habitude
Et toi tu seras sortie
Et pas encore rentrée
Comme d’habitude
Tout seul j’irai me coucher
Dans ce grand lit froid
Comme d’habitude
Mes larmes je les cacherai
Comme d’habitude

Comme d’habitude
Meme la nuit
Je vais jouer à faire semblant
Comme d’habitude
Tu rentreras
Comme d’habitude
Je t’attendrai
Comme d’habitude
Tu me souriras
Comme d’habitude

Comme d’habitude
Tu te déshabillera
Comme d’habitude
Tu te coucheras
Comme d’habitude
On s’embrassera
Comme d’habitude

“My Way”

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows
I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, it was my way

Quelle langue est ma langue maternelle

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.