Tag Archives: French language

Reading and Writing

This month’s topic:811583493_2871931482_0
What is your favorite time and place to read? How about writing time? Do you have to make time?

Do you have a ritual or is your plan helter-skelter? I had a quilting teacher who followed the swiss cheese method to completing tasks: Make a hole here, and sometime later a hole there; keep repeating this until the whole thing is complete. What’s your method?

I am tempted to read anytime and anyplace, but my favorite time to read is in bed before I turn out the light and go to sleep.  I am an avid reader, and reading before bed relaxes me and helps me let go of my problems and anxieties. I enjoy reading all kinds of books, especially science fiction, fantasy, and romance {blush} as well as popular novels. I don’t enjoy reading horror but do like reading the occasional mystery. I have read all of Sherlock Holmes, many more than once. I love Alice in Wonderland, and used to reread it every exam time when I was in college. I had a copy of  The Annotated Alice, and this was the one I read and reread. In the commentary, it had a copy of Jabberwocky in French. What a trip that was.

I studied French in both high school and college, and I was (and am) fairly fluent, but, let me tell you, reading made-up words in a foreign language is tough. One summer I spent in the Netherlands doing work-study — I was assistant to a professor at one of the universities. I signed up at the local library. This was one of the first things I did — I needed to have access to a decent supply of books. They had one shelf of books in English, but fortunately a whole bookcase of volumes in French.

I read Fahrenheit 451 in French (fortunately, I’d already read it in English), as well as several other sci fi novels. I read some non-fiction, including one by a cancer surgeon that haunts me to this day. I also discovered George Simenon,and read every copy they had of the Inspecteur Maigret novels. My father was an attorney, so I was familiar with the difference between the French and English/American legal systems.

In case you’re not, it’s like this: In English and American legal systems, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In the French system, you’re guilty until proven innocent. This makes the stakes for Maigret, charged with investigating a crime and discovering the guilty party, that much higher. If he gets it wrong, an innocent person might suffer.

After I finished the Maigret novels, I started on the rest of their Simenon collection.

I haunt my local library. I begin to suffer from anxiety if I don’t have a stack of books to read. I prefer paper to ebooks, but I do read ebooks sometimes. Having access to them eases my book anxiety — I can pretty much always go online and find something else to read.

Check out what my fellow bloggers have to say:
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Geeta Kakade http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rita Karnopp  http://www.mizging@blogspot.com
Rachael Kosnski http://the-doodling-booktease.tumblr.com/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Ginger Simpson http://www.cowboykisses.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Memories of Paris

A recent post by Sydney Bristol on Shelley Munro’s blog brought back memories of Paris.


I have visited Paris several times, but this particular trip I was with my then-boyfriend. Before we left, I collected a list of things NOT to say in French:

Un petit coin is a euphemism for bathroom

Sortir is another way to describe sleeping with someone (and not just spending the night). A friend made this mistake when telling her French grandparents she was about to go out to eat.

Je suis pleine is another way to say I’m knocked up. Oh, yes, and if you’re knocked up in British-speak, you’re tired.


Paris Sunset from the Louvre window

Paris Sunset from the Louvre window (Photo credit: Dimitry B)


We visited London, then went on to Paris, where a cousin was doing research for her PhD Thesis in History at the Sorbonne.  I was using a diaphram at the time. The blasted thing sprang a hole in London, so we trotted down to a pharmacy and bought a condom (protective).
Then we went on to Paris, where I developed a nasty cold and runny nose (J’ai le nez qui coule) (ou, j’avais, because right now I’m cold-free). The expression in French is almost the same as in English — in French one has the nose that runs (flows).


Then we ran out of condoms, so I asked my cousin what the word was in French:


Me: How do you say condom in French?
K: I don’t know. I’ve never had to buy one.
Me: But aren’t you and Jean-Paul (K’s French boyfriend) …
K: Yes, but Jean-Paul buys them.
Me: Aren’t we meeting him for lunch?
K: Yes.
Me: Well, I’m going to ask him what the word is. (un protectif).

Notice how close the word is to the  British equivalent. Aren’t languages fun?







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