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A collection of I don't know what.
Une collection de je ne sais pas quoi.

I don't know what
je ne sais pas quoi

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September, 26, 2008. [ Nice French Lesson by email to an American friend ]
Hi sweetie !

I know, my precedent email about Bankruptcy was not good.

Bankruptcy, or banqueroute in French, is a tender spot. But, you have to note that banque-route is like a banque-déroute.
I mean, we have this verb - dérouter - in French, and you - to reroute - in English, so, a banque-route is a bank-rout.

Espagñol : bancarrota
Deutsch : bankerott
from Italian : banqua rotare

Well, it's not my French lesson of the day, but I don't know why in English bank-rupt(cy) tend to the rupture.

So, my first lesson of this autumn concerns, AGAIN, this cute letter "s" in es or os syllables, with these beautiful French accents.

Do you remember ? : Hospital, hostel... or hostess, they become hôpital, hôtel... or hôtesse in French.
The circumflex accent is written, not spoken, not pronounced. (that is weird post-mediaeval syntax)

So, this good automne and its good fruits, can you imagine a nice brown châtaigne in your plate... a nice chast-aigne... a nice chest-nut !

Do you know the word écureuil in French ?

- écureuil -

What can you do with this word ? Can we put an "s" ? Yessss !

- écureuil -

- escureuil -

- escuriol -

- scuriol - (diminutive Latin)

- squirrel -

En automne, les écureuils mangent des châtaignes dans la forêt !

In autumn, squirrels eat chestnuts in the forest !

...eScureuil - chaStaigne - foreSt...

That's all !
Flo (merzhyn@hotmail.com)


October, 23, 2008. [ French Lesson ]


Have you ever seen this attractive word : " créée " in a French text ?


That sounds like an exotic Maori word, but it's really French, used everyday.


You know this verb : "chanter", that means "to sing".

to sing } infinitive form
chanter } infinitive form

Conjugation - present - verb without "er" + ending :

je chante
tu chantes
il chante
nous chantons
vous chantez
ils chantent
or, if you prefer : je
chant | e
chant | es
chant | e
chant | ons
chant | ez
chant | ent
chant | é

We can do the same thing with "créer", or "to create" :

cré | e
cré | es
cré | e
cré | ons
cré | ez
cré | ent
cré | é

Créé, a participle, you can study this sentence : a created man / un homme créé.
You can put an "e", this letter marks the feminine gender in French : a created girl / une fille créée.

Hercules, a man created by God / Hercule, un homme créé par Dieu.
Brigitte Bardot, a woman created by God / Brigitte Bardot, une femme créée par Dieu.

And God created Woman, 1956, directed by Roger Vadim.


October 9, 2008
" French Writer Wins Nobel Prize

By SARAH LYALL Published: October 9, 2008 www.nytimes.com

LONDON — The French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, whose work reflects a seemingly insatiable restlessness and sense of wonder about other places and other cultures, won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. In its citation, the Swedish Academy praised Mr. Le Clézio, 68, as the “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.”


Mr. Le Clézio is not well known in the United States, where few of his books are available in translation, but he is considered a major figure in European literature and has long been mentioned as a possible laureate. The awards ceremony is planned for Dec. 10 in Stockholm, and, as the winner, Mr. Le Clézio will receive 10 million Swedish kronor, or about $1.4 million.


“I am very happy, and I am also very moved because I wasn’t expecting this at all,” he said. “Many other names were mentioned, names of people for whom I have a lot of esteem. I was in good company. Luck or destiny, or maybe other reasons, other motives, had it so that I got it. But it could have been someone else.”

In a news conference in Stockholm after the announcement, Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize each year, described Mr. Le Clézio as a cosmopolitan author, “a traveler, a citizen of the world, a nomad.”

“He is not a particularly French writer if you look at him from a strictly cultural point of view,” Mr. Engdahl said. “He has gone through many different phases of his development as a writer and has come to include other civilizations, other modes of living than the Western, in his writing.”

Last month, Mr. Engdahl provoked a wave of indignation when he criticized American writers as “too isolated, too insular” and “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture.” Europe, he declared, is “the center of the literary world.” No American has won the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison did in 1993.

Mr. Le Clézio was born in 1940 in Nice and raised in a nearby village, speaking English and French. His father, a British doctor with strong family connections on the island of Mauritius, lived in Africa for many years while Jean-Marie was growing up. When he was 7, Jean-Marie traveled to Nigeria with his family and spent a year out of school, an experience he recalled later in his semiautobiographical novel “Onitsha” (1991).

He studied English at the University of Bristol, graduated from the Institut d’Études Littéraires in Nice, received a master’s degree at the University of Aix-en-Provence and wrote his doctoral thesis for the University of Perpignan on the early history of Mexico. He has taught at colleges in Mexico City, Bangkok, Albuquerque and Boston; has lived among the Embera Indians in Panama; and has published translations of Mayan sacred texts.


Mr. Le Clézio is not one to seek the limelight. He once described himself in an interview as “a poor Rousseauist who hasn’t really figured it out.”

[...] "

Reporting was contributed by Alan Cowell, Chine Labbé and Basil Katz from Paris, and Motoko Rich from New York.


July 23, 2007
" The French Connections

By PAUL KRUGMAN Published: July 23, 2007 www.nytimes.com

There was a time when everyone thought that the Europeans and the Japanese were better at business than we were. In the early 1990s airport bookstores were full of volumes with samurai warriors on their covers, promising to teach you the secrets of Japanese business success. Lester Thurow’s 1992 book, “Head to Head: The Coming Economic Battle Among Japan, Europe and America,” which spent more than six months on the Times best-seller list, predicted that Europe would win.

Then it all changed, and American despondency turned into triumphalism. Partly this was because the Clinton boom contrasted so sharply with Europe’s slow growth and Japan’s decade-long slump. Above all, however, our new confidence reflected the rise of the Internet. Jacques Chirac complained that the Internet was an “Anglo-Saxon network,” and he had a point — France, like most of Europe except Scandinavia, lagged far behind the U.S. when it came to getting online.

What most Americans probably don’t know is that over the last few years the situation has totally reversed. As the Internet has evolved — in particular, as dial-up has given way to broadband connections using DSL, cable and other high-speed links — it’s the United States that has fallen behind.

The numbers are startling. As recently as 2001, the percentage of the population with high-speed access in Japan and Germany was only half that in the United States. In France it was less than a quarter. By the end of 2006, however, all three countries had more broadband subscribers per 100 people than we did.

Even more striking is the fact that our “high speed” connections are painfully slow by other countries’ standards. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, French broadband connections are, on average, more than three times as fast as ours. Japanese connections are a dozen times faster. Oh, and access is much cheaper in both countries than it is here.

As a result, we’re lagging in new applications of the Internet that depend on high speed. France leads the world in the number of subscribers to Internet TV; the United States isn’t even in the top 10.

What happened to America’s Internet lead? Bad policy. Specifically, the United States made the same mistake in Internet policy that California made in energy policy: it forgot — or was persuaded by special interests to ignore — the reality that sometimes you can’t have effective market competition without effective regulation.


Meanwhile, as a recent article in Business Week explains, the real French bureaucrats used judicious regulation to promote competition. As a result, French consumers get to choose from a variety of service providers who offer reasonably priced Internet access that’s much faster than anything I can get, and comes with free voice calls, TV and Wi-Fi.

It’s too early to say how much harm the broadband lag will do to the U.S. economy as a whole. But it’s interesting to learn that health care isn’t the only area in which the French, who can take a pragmatic approach because they aren’t prisoners of free-market ideology, simply do things better.


October, 13, 2006.

© Sony Pictures Entertainment
" A Lonely Petit Four of a Queen

Published: October 13, 2006 www.nytimes.com

“The problem of leisure/What to do for pleasure.”

The opening lines of “Natural’s Not in It,” by the Gang of Four, are the first words in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” and they suggest one of that film’s paradoxical themes: The pursuit of sensual delight is trivial compared with other undertakings — just as “the problem of leisure” is surely more of a privilege than a burden — but pleasure is also serious, one of the things that gives life its shape and meaning.

It may be tempting to greet “Marie Antoinette” with a Jacobin snarl or a self-righteous sneer, since it is after all the story of the silly teenager who embodied a corrupt, absolutist state in its terminal decadence. But where’s the fun in such indignation? And, more seriously, where is the justice? To say that this movie is historically irresponsible or politically suspect is both to state the obvious and to miss the point.

“Marie Antoinette,” which will be shown tonight and tomorrow at the New York Film Festival and opens next Friday, is a thoroughly modern confection, blending insouciance and sophistication, heartfelt longing and self-conscious posing with the guileless self-assurance of a great pop song. What to do for pleasure? Go see this movie, for starters.

“Natural’s Not in It” (speaking of great pop songs) blasts over the electrifying pink-and-black opening titles, kicking us into 18th-century Versailles with a jolt of anachronism. (Later there is some period-appropriate Rameau to go with the 80’s post-punk Ms. Coppola favors, and a high-top sneaker tucked amid the fabulous ancien régime couture.) But despite all the bodices and breeches, the horse-drawn coaches and elaborate perukes, “Marie Antoinette” is only masquerading as a costume drama. It would be overstating the case to call it a work of social criticism, but beneath its highly decorated surface is an examination, touched with melancholy as well as delight, of what it means to live in a world governed by rituals of acquisition and display. It is a world that Ms. Coppola presents as exotic and unreal — a baroque counterpart to the Tokyo of “Lost in Translation” — but that is not as far away as it first seems.


She is profligate and self-indulgent, yes, impetuously ordering up shoes, parties and impromptu trips to Paris. She breaks with tradition by applauding at the opera, and then appears onstage herself. She takes a lover — a dashing Swedish nobleman — and turns Petit Trianon, a royal retreat that was a gift from her husband, into a kind of Versailles V.I.P. room, where she drinks, gardens, reads Rousseau and plays shepherdess. These activities have often been mocked — and were the source of scandal and outrage in the years before the revolution — but through Ms. Coppola’s eyes they are poignant as well as a bit silly.

[...] "

More on  www.nytimes.com

© Sony Pictures Entertainment


October, 10, 2006.
" La Crème de la Crème

Editor's name: CB www.chocolatezoom.com

Crème Brûlée, otherwise known as "burnt cream," "caramel cream," and "crema catalana" is widely regarded as one of France’s finest accomplishments (next to the Louvre, of course.)

The creamy wonder was first unveiled in Massialot’s cookbook at the end of the seventeen century. Decades later in the early eighteen century, Trinity College (Cambridge, UK) announced their "invention" of this revolutionary dessert.

Regardless of which European nation gave birth to crème brûlée, I’m mildly obsessed with the stuff. Literally. And as Amélie put it best, there’s something magical about cracking that hard caramelized top with the base of the spoon.

The traditional recipe is made with just three basic ingredients (which means that even I can make it!): eggs, sugar, and heavy cream, topped with a fine crust of caramelized sugar. If you combine all that with chocolate, you’ve got one of the most exquisite desserts of all times!

[...] "

More on  www.chocolatezoom.com



September, 21, 2006.
" "French Manicure"

Robin Heinz Bratslavsky  http://www.dermadoctor.com

Ah, the French. They seem to take anything and make it better... at least when it comes to food and fashion, that is. Imagine: A simple potato. Slice it up, dunk it in some artery-clogging grease and you have pomme frites or, as we in the States say, French fries.

In the fashion world, a French designer can slap a potato sack on a model, add some string and, voilå! You now have an haute couture gown fit for a supermodel.

When it comes to fashion, simply having the word “French” in the description of an idea can yield big bucks. In 1975, Los Angeles-based Orly International, a nail care company, introduced what has become known as the French manicure. Truth be told, the French manicure never had that much to do with the French (other than for the Parisian runway models who sported the look). The classic French manicure actually was created for myriad Hollywood starlets looking for a clean-yet-polished look for their nails.

So what exactly makes a manicure a French manicure? Two words: pink and white. Oh, and maybe about 10 bucks. Read on and I’ll explain.

Anatomy Of A French Manicure

A French manicure begins like any other manicure, but not all manicures are equal. To add some more variables to the mix, a manicure on natural nails is quite different than a manicure on acrylic nails. Let’s talk about the acrylic version first."

[...] "

More on  http://www.dermadoctor.com


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