Monthly Archives: January 2008

Pavé brioché at your local Starbucks

Stephanie writes about Starbucks in Paris “I just can’t imagine folks in the States munching duck liver along with their grande skim lattes!!”

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Hand-drawn phonetic chart

Whiteboard as photographed by a student in my actual classroom. (I redraw the picture as needed for the benefit of each student). A more prosaic guide to French pronunciation (with fewer colors) can be found HERE. Click on whatever sound … Continue reading

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Check out “Lingo Babe” for French pronunciation

Want to hear how various French words are pronounced? Choose either “Lingo Babe” or “Lingo Dude” to pronounce whatever word you want to hear. A riot! The site is an ad but, if you send it to someone (yourself?), you … Continue reading

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Learning a second language will protect your brain!

Stave off mental decline by learning a second language! A recent study echoes Dr. Andrew Weil’s observation shows that “the best mental workouts I can think of are learning a new computer operating system and learning a new language.” (Dr. … Continue reading

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A common mistake (in no book)

Students often use the expression “ça va” as an adjective. I’ve heard, for example, “Le film était ça va,” to mean the film was “OK.” A French person would have no clue what that sentence meant. “Ça va” means “it’s … Continue reading

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Pipole ?

A brand-new French adjective, stolen from the English noun, “people,” splashes across the cover of L’Express. Its other form, “pipole,” makes it look more French. They both refer to celebrities of all kinds – movies, sports, politics, etc. (See my … Continue reading

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Watch out for potentially hazardous anglicisms!

Watch out for unsuspected French nuances of some of the new anglicisms! We could get in trouble if we don’t realize them. A friend of mine there, for example, warned me not to confuse the new verb “tchatcher” with its … Continue reading

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More on surprising French tastes

Stephanie writes: For New Years we had a big party with friends where I witnessed small French children (ages 4,5,6 etc) begging their parents at the table for more raw oysters (???) as if they were chocolate bonbons. That surprised … Continue reading

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caloric holiday dangers

Stephanie writes: My mother in law has to have a “quatre-heure” every day – this means a flan, or an éclair au chocolat, or a millefeuille for everyone– which compounded with a buche de noel, etc, meaning it’ s time … Continue reading

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We can finally breathe in French restaurants!

Great News For American Tourists: There is no more smoking in bars, restaurants and nightclubs (“lieux de convivialité”) in France! As of January 1, 2008 “la loi sur le tabac” was put into effect. Smokers seemed to respect the law, … Continue reading

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