Nov. 16th, 2015 09:57 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
 So Friday. Along with the rest of the world I was obviously horrified and sickened and saddened by the news I started picking up online around five o'clock.  I went over to the woman for whom I work on Fridays and said "have you seen the news? Do you know what's going on in Paris?" We both started monitoring news web sites. I remember when just 66 dead (CNN) seemed like a ridiculous exaggeration. Absolutely horrifying. My brother's in-laws (he is married to a Parisienne) are all safe, thank God. 

Friday was a little crazy for me. I was struggling with my reaction to this horrific news situation but I also had a soccer game with my corporate team. I was actually really immersed into that and was grateful for the escape from the sadness. After the game I remembered again what had happened in Paris and immediately grabbed my phone to see what (new) news there was. Then I was asked to join another game which went really well (in both games I was the lead scorer). Again, I was very grateful for the escape.  I'll talk more about that later but it was a strange juxtaposition of feeling like a citizen of the world, compelled to partake of the world's tragedies, and feeling like a very privileged American, who can forget about stuff like this with frivolous activities.
The next day I had classes in the morning and then I had to hop on the bus to get home for a very brief trip so I could partake of my high school reunion. (Again, more about that later but it was a lot of fun.) But on the bus ride home I noticed two things--first, a lot of people were changing their profile picture on Facebook to add the tricouleur overlay. (Which I also wanted to do but was unable to manage via cell phone.) The other thing was that a lot of posts coming out about additional attacks that had happened in other locations by ISIS (i.e., Daesh), in Kenya and in Beirut. And it is obviously very important to point out this as well--for whatever reason the media didn't seem to push these stories as hard so I was unaware of them. That is absolutely worth discussing.

But there was also a lot of finger-pointing and a lot of pretty harsh statements (I saw one really offputting article on HuffPo today) about how racist people must be if they cared more about Paris than about these other attacks. I don't really take it personally because I know that these things are meant as a response to a trend and not to me personally but for the record I will say--I speak French. I have extended French family. I have a lot of French ancestry on my mother's side, and I was raised to be proud of that. And perhaps most importantly and most obviously: I have been to Paris. I daresay a decent number of Americans have. I have never been to Beirut, nor to Kenya. If I had visited those place, the attacks would've been much more on my radar and I would've had a response to them. If somebody had attacked Tangiers or Casablanca, two cities where I visited--in Tangiers's case I've been there many, many times –– I would've been just as horrified. I think it's a little ridiculous to beancount and micromanage people's heartfelt reactions to tragedy. Yes, if this were a perfect world we would always respond the same way to tragedies near and tragedies far, but right now that's not the way the human heart works. We tend to respond to those tragedies which are closest to us or to which we have some kind of personal connection. Again, along with everything else, I have visited Paris. It's a beautiful city--lots of history, gorgeous architecture, the world's most popular musical takes place there. *Shrug* I feel that that accounts for the reaction on Saturday and I'm not sure there's anything to be gained by trying to shame people into reacting to something else. It honestly strikes me as a weird version of the Oppression Olympics. Just let people react honestly and stop trying to police their grief unless it's overtly problematic.
I was also disappointed to read an article today that included a long series of comments about how stupid and silly people were to, say, add the tricouleur overlay to their FB profile pics. The way I saw it was--after 9-11, I was devastated, like everyone else in NYC, DC and the rest of the country. Shortly thereafter, people started forwarding the emails (remember our lives before social media?) showing how the rest of the world responded. I saw pictures of candlelight vigils from people all over Europe. And the Middle East--including Palestinians (that did quite a lot to me, after seeing that horrible video of Palestinians dancing around and handing out candy after hearing about 9-11). Country after country, culture after culture were standing up, saying we stand with you. We reject this. Nous sommes tous Americains. That mattered to me. That made me feel better. It comforted me, standing in my apartment, wailing to the ceiling, asking God how could you do this? What is the point of all that death? I wanted to send the same message back to our French friends. This is wrong. We stand with you. We are your friends. What is the harm? If someone wants to post a picture of themselves in front of the Tour Eiffel, why is that a problem? If someone mis-translates a statement of solidarity, who cares? You know what they meant. I just don't get the need to sneer at any effort that isn't perfect.

Aujour'dhui, nous sommes tous francais. Nous sommes avec vous. Nous vous aimons. Nous sommes vos amis. Nous marchons avec vous. Nous surmonterons.
ceebeegee: (Default)
Had kind of an awesome experience last night. I ran into one of my neighbors in the lobby—we’d chatted before at a building Halloween get-together. She and her husband are from Ukraine (I think, based on how they were talking, they are Russian-Ukrainian) and they were intrigued by my interest in and knowledge of Russian history. She invited me up and I met her son with whom she wants me to work on basic speech patterns (inflecting his voice, speaking more forcefully, etc.). In return he can teach me Russian (I can read a bit, but my conversational skills, other than basic phrases, are nil). The kid was amazingly well-read for his age and very intelligent. Anyway so she set out a whole Russian spread of food—toast, tea, honey, dates, nuts, caviar spread, the whole shebang. It was really pretty cool. I drank the tea through the honey, Russian-style—i.e., I put a dollop of honey on the spoon, ate it, and then drank the tea.

When I got home I added the Russian keyboard to my phone and texted her по-русски saying what a great time I’d had. Now all I want to do is add a Russian channel to my cable setup! It’s amazing how inspired I always am when I force myself out of my comfort level—I get nervous but then I’m like “hey, I can DO this. I can learn Russian, I can become fluent in French.”
ceebeegee: (Rome)
I saw Les Miz over Christmas with my Mom. I am not a huge fan of the musical, for a variety of reasons, but I'd seen the trailers and it looked very impressive. I came away thinking--the performances, for the most part, were terrific. The direction was decent (I do wish there'd been some more wide shots--the one of the rectory on the mount was pretty amazing, and those establishing shots in La place de la Bastille were incredible!). Anne Hathaway was astounding--ditto Eddie Redmayne. Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were HILARIOUS as the Thenardiers--every moment they were on the screen together was comedy gold. The young Cosette was absolutely precious. Really the only weak link was Russell Crowe--I don't even mind his voice, but he could've ACTED through the music! Lots of well-known singers are not perfect technically but they are *musical*--they act through the music. Russell, we KNOW you can act--let's see it!

I have a couple of difficulties with the show--for one, it's huge and not very well explicated. Now admittedly I was first introduced to it through the "Selections From..." album which cuts quite a bit but still, I've seen the show twice (I think--maybe just once?) and could not really follow what was going on without resorting to the program. Things I still don't get--the Dickensian concidences. Do the Thenardiers stalk/follow Valjean and Cosette to Paris? Or do they just *happen* to end up in the same neighborhood? Does M. Thenardier specifically target Valjean in the robbery or do he and his cronies just *happen* to end up in front of his house? It makes sense that Javert keeps running into Valjean because he's specifically looking for him--but are the Thenardiers? This isn't made clear. Another question--where does Valjean keep coming up with so much money? I get that the silver the Bishop gives him sets him up for his first fresh start, when he's the mayor. But when he escapes the hospital after the Confrontation, he can't have *that* much cash on him, and presumably Javert would've frozen his accounts. What does Valjean *do* in Paris (i.e., how does he make money)? And why does Fantine choose the Thenardiers, who are three whole days away, to house her kid? (I'll let slide the impression that all the major shit with Fantine--getting fired, selling your teeth and hair, and finally having to resort to prostitution--all seems to happen on one day! The reason I don't mind this so much is because plotwise Fantine is a one-off character--she exists for one purpose, to get Cosette into Valjean's hands so he can love her, grow as a character, and eventually learn mercy. Her big moment I Dreamed a Dream is basically a consolation prize :) Thematically, of course, Fantine is also a manifestation of the immense class inequities that persisted even after the Revolution.)

Another problem with the plotting again relates back to the size of the story--I'm not sure Les Miz earns the big emotional moments it keeps wanting us to experience. For example, On My Own--that is not just a song of unrequited love, it's a goddamn anthem. It starts off softly, builds, builds, there's this swelling musical high point ("I love him but every day I'm learning/All my life, I've only been pretending..."), a sort-of epiphany, a get the idea. This is an anthem--but at this point we hardly know Eponine! (I'm going by the movie's plotting, since I saw the show so long ago.) We've seen her as a grownup in only 2-3 scenes, hardly enough time for us to really feel her pain and cheer on her growth in that song. It just doesn't feel earned--it feels like it should come later on, after some growth and change.

But my main problem with Les Miz has always been the lyrics--some of them just make me cringe. To me it is painfully obvious that the lyrics are translated from another language, and whoever translated them is either a poor lyricist or doesn't speak English like a native. Example: Javert's Suicide. Oh my God, this is awkward. "There is nothing on earth that we share"--okay, I'll sort of let this slide, even though it's unclear. What he means is there are no qualities that they share (generosity, diligence, whatever), no commonality of spirit. But then the very next line--the line that has the same melodic phrase and rhymes with it, so it's clearly meant to expand on the first line, anticipates a fight-to-the-finish thing: "It is either Valjean or Javert." What does that have to do with your reflexive refusal to acknowledge that you and he might be alike--that he is in fact human and showed that when he spared you, and recognized that in you when you let him go? It just feels awkward, and not specific enough. The worst is the line: "It was his was my right to die as well." UGH. It wasn't your *right* to die! A right is an entitlement, it's implicitly a good thing. What he's trying to say is more along the lines of: "By the rules of engagement, he had a right to kill me--similarly, by those same rules, I had a duty to die." That isn't exactly euphonious, I realize, but at least it's specific. Start with that meaning and polish it, instead of an imprecise line that just happens to rhyme.

And don't get me started on On My Own--I know it's sacrilege to say, but those lyrics make me shudder. The phrase "on my own" just doesn't work for me--it implies an understanding that you used to be with someone else, or you will be with someone else. It implies a comparison. Eponine isn't talking about how she used to live with her family, but now she's on her own--she isn't saying I used to be with Marius, but now I'm on my own. Instead she starts off the song by essentially saying "I'm alone...but I'm imagining I'm with him." So say that--instead of the phrase "on my own," say "all alone" (which is used in the second line) or "by myself." I sound like a nitpicker, I know, but I just do not like that phrasing. (It's even weirder at the end with her "I love him...but only on my own." As it's used here she means her love is unrequited--but that's really not at ALL what "on my own" means!) And why does 'Ponine sing "still I say there's a way for us"--and then let that drop? Really, girl? From what we've seen so far, he is just not that into you! If you think "there's a way for us"--ELABORATE. Has he given you mixed signals? Did he ever get drunk and fool around with you? Did he confess that you would be his perfect female except that you're like a sister to him? ELABORATE. Or at least say "still I HOPE [or dream] there's a way for us..." In general I feel that a good chunk of the Les Miz lyrics feel like dummy lyrics, shoved in there to make a rhyme or to scan--not because the lyricist sweated and agonized over choosing just the right word to convey the exact meaning.

I must sound like a maniac. This is not to say I hate Lez Miz--I don't at all. (I just don't have that immense love for it that so many others do, but that's fine, it takes all kinds.) I LOVE some of the songs--Stars is probably my favorite, God I'd love to play Javert!!! I'd rather play him than Valjean!

And so it has been and so it is written
On the doorway to paradise
That those who falter
And THOSE who fall
Must paaaaay
The priiiiiiice!

I also love the first Do You Hear the People Sing--it's just an awesomely catchy little marching song and it SOUNDS SO FRENCH. Oh my God, when I first heard it I was like SOMEONE knows their Marseillaise!

Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons, marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

This is pretty much the antecedent of that great, so-French line "The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of Fraaaaaance!" I've actually become quite interested in the history of France because of this--I've read a couple of novels that take place then and the general idea I got was that a lot of crazy shit was happening in the streets of Paris in the 19th century. I gotta learn more about this--I am very French (on my Mom's side) after all! Although I believe our family is Breton, which is really Celtic.


Sep. 17th, 2012 04:32 pm
ceebeegee: (soccer)
Sports!  I had a softball tournament plus two soccer games.  The tournament was the annual one for the alumni league--I played in it last year for the Duke team.  It was way the hell out in Red Hook again which I frankly find infuriating--Red Hook is a huge pain in the ass to get to (no direct subway line--you either take the bus or walk to get to the neighborhood) and it just takes forever, especially when you're lugging equipment as I was.  The last thing I want to do on a Saturday morning after a week of 13-hours days (work + rehearsal) is get up at 7 am to ensure I get to a damn softball game on time.  I get there late of course and find out we have four females (we have to have at least two on the field for the tournament).  One of them was at my position, 2nd base--I will be the first to admit she was quite good, better than I.  The other two were not as strong as I--one of them was  on the bench and the other was at right field.  As the innings went on it got a little embarrassing--I think that our obnoxious shortstop, who fancies himself as captain even though Ken does all the actual work, had actually forgotten there were two people who hadn't yet played--and one of them was a team regular.  Eventually I went in at right field--you don't see much action out there but it was fun anyway.  I did have a pretty good catch

We won the first game and it was all very exciting.  So we went on to the next round where the same thing happened, and then shortstop said something that really stuck with me--he said "oh yeah, we're definitely putting the subs in."

I have been playing with this team regularly--almost every Saturday--for three years now.  And Steve (shortstop) has been pestering me to play in the tournament for that long.  I deserve a hell of a lot better than to be called a "sub."

So, I don't think I'll be playing with the Chicago team next summer.  I may change my mind because I love the rest of them, especially Ken, and I am sad, but I just cannot stand Steve.  I cannot stand his condescension, his sexism, his hypocrisy at critizing everyone for their errors and never even acknowledging when he messes up (and he makes tons of errors in the field), the way he hits on waitresses when we're out, the way he thinks it's a huge deal when he gives me a compliment and his complete utter fucking cluelessness and lack of tact and social skills.  Oh yeah, and the 'roid rages but the whole team hates that.

Moving on--I played a soccer game that evening, full-field, and didn't do too well.  I napped for a bit between the tournament and the soccer game and sometimes that does a number on me--I'm slower, less energized.  But yesterday went better--my Dolphman team had the opening game of our fall season.  The team is getting smaller and smaller--we had only 1 extra player yesterday, and overall only 4.  (Three weren't there yesterday--2 because of Rosh Hashanah, and we're not sure about the other one.)  I mentioned this to Alyssa and she said yeah, we didn't take any free agents.  Oooh, we are an exclusive club!  Last season we lost Pete, our Totally Hot British Dude, because he was going to be out of the country--we wanted him back for this season and he wanted to play but it conflicted with his other team ARGH HULKSMASH.  Because in addition to being Totally Hot he is also (and frankly more importantly) an amazing player!  We hope to get him for the winter.

Anyway our first game was last night and we won, 3-2.  We were up 3-0 at the first half and I said grimly "great job--I want at least 4 more in the 2nd half."  Alyssa laughed and said "FOUR more?"  I said yep--when you relax you start making mistakes and that's when the window opens.  What happened?  THEY SCORED TWICE.  I'm just sayin'.  However I had a pretty good game--I was able to get around several players and even did a pretty cool trick.  Someone passed me the ball, kind of a bouncy pass, and I chipped it up and over the defender who was coming up behind me and then I picked it up behind her back.   Basically I passed it to myself.  Very pleased!

We all went to the bar afterwards--this is the same field where we played in the spring, so it's the same bar as then, and the barback recognized me and even remembered my name!  I had a really, really good time with the team last night.  Hard to say why--maybe we've just been together long enough.  Also the other teams who were there seemed really cool.  That's one of the better things about this league, that most of the the people involved (players and staff) are very friendly.  The captain of the team we defeated was telling me how the previous week they'd had to forfeit--not enough team members showed up.  I said if I paid $125 to be in a league and had to forfeit one game out of a 7-game season, I would be PISSED.  I told him if he ever needed subs and it didn't conflict with my game, I'd be happy to.

One the way home a couple sat next to me on the A, speaking French.  I was dying to say something but I am often paralyzed in these situations--I can be extremely shy around strangers plus I didn't want to bother them, plus the French have a rep for being very judgmental about their language.  In my head I was going back and forth over whether or not to say anything--finally I decided it's always nice to hear your language when you're in a foreign country.  I turned to them and said "Pardonnez-moi, est-ce que vous êtes français?"  Their faces lit up!  The man said "Oui, oui!"  I said "Parisien?"  "Oui, nous sommes parisiens."  "Je parle en peu--je suis conversationelle mais je dois parler avec facilité pour mes études à l'université." "Que-est ce que vous étudiez?"  "L'histoire médiéval." They nodded.  "Et je dois parler une langue médiévale--pas anglais, bien sûr!"  They laughed.  I was able to keep it up for awhile but I had to switch to English once or twice.  It absolutely made my night.  I have to get out of my head sometimes and not worry so much about striking up a conversation with perfectly decent strangers!
ceebeegee: (Beauty)
I'm getting an iPad!  My stepmother bought a new one so she's giving me her old one--it's first generation but I WILL TAKE IT.  So, so excited!  Now I can read LOTS of books on the train and they won't be heavy, and I can read the newspaper and it won't get ink all over my fingers and I can play games and create lovely pictures--YAAAAAAAY.

Also, I got an interim phone Wednesday night, a crappy little Rumor.  This is just until the iPhone 5 comes out next month.  Right now I am laboriously adding contacts, just the ones I figure I'll need for the next few weeks.

I woke up this morning with a terrible stomachache--I actually thought I might have to call in sick, but it went away after about 15 minutes.  Which is good--I don't want to miss too much work since I have some medical stuff coming up.  I went to the podiatrist a few weeks ago after one especially bad session of foot pain.  I have terrible feet--they're practically flat and they have bunions, both of which conditions sometimes cause me agony.  Last month I came home from Pirates rehearsal, having worn new Keds flats which had elastic around the top, in agony.   My feet only started feeling better after a couple of hours in three layers of socks and the thickets slippers I have.  So anyway, went to the doctor and he and I discussed bunion surgery.  Obviously you have to do both feet, but you can't do them at the same time, but you also have to try to get it into one calendar year (so you don't have to start over with a new deductible).  So it looks like I'll be doing it right after Thanksgiving and then again right after Xmas.

I've been polishing up my French with Susan (she majored in French).  She's given me a couple of her workbooks, and my homework is usually to conjugate a few verbs, look up a few phrases, and then write a couple of paragraphs on something.  Then when we get together we have long conversations complètement en français.  C'est fantastique!  Ju suis assez fière de moi--c'est difficile pour discuter de l'histoire en français, especialement quand on parle des vicissitudes religieuse du Roi Henri VIII.  Mes études français sont pour mon application a venir pour l'université supérieure--on doit être conversationnelle ou meillure en un langue médiévale parce que lire les textes anciens.  Quelle surprise, le monde entier médiévale ne parlaient pas anglais!  C'est dommage :)

Also, I want to have another Drunken Knitting session soon.  I'm thinking of either next Saturday (9/2) or the following satirday (9/9).  It'll be at my place.  Hit me up if you're interested.
ceebeegee: (St. Patrick's Day)
So my soccer team won our quarterfinal on Sunday--and I actually played! This was moderately thrilling because although my leg seemed to be getting better last week, I twisted it AGAIN on Saturday and thought for sure I would be unfit to play. But one of the girls came out and Alyssa (teammate) urged me "just go in" and I did and I played GREAT. Not for that long, but nothing seemed to be hurting. And we won! So we'll play the semis and hopefully the finals next week.

I went to the orthopedist last week--he said it didn't seem to be an ACL tear but we would get an MRI anyway. STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE APPROVAL FROM MY HEALTHCARE PROVIDER YET. It's been nine days now. I called the doctor's office twice last week, but they have to hear from Cigna. YOU SUCK.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up! YAAAAAAAAYYY! My team is planning some kind of get-together but I will have to tell them hey guys--I *got* a party to go to, it's 19 floors up at the Peninsula, bishes. Sign of spring, yo. I'm trying to learn "Song for Ireland," a *gorgeous* nouveau-folk song:

Talking all the day
With true friends who try to make you stay
Telling jokes and news
And singing songs to pass the time away...

Living on your western shore
Saw summer sunsets, asked for more
I stood by your Atlantic sea
And sang a song for Ireland

My Mom is coming to visit next week and she'll be at the party too. I'm also hosting the No-Name Open Mike next Thursday (3/15) at Indian Road Cafe--come one, come all! You can hang out with my Mom and me.

Aussi, la semaine dernière j'ai visiter avec mon professeur d'histoire, M. Kosto, et il m'ai dit que je suis une candidate très sérieuse pour le programme de master's en les étudies du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance. Nous avons discuter de le proces d'application. Un exigence--une langue médiéval, comme le Latin ou....Francais! Mais je voudrais devenir plus facile, alors aujourd'hui je visite Yahoo! France et je lis les articles de celebrites, et je les traduis. Ces sont plus faciles car le sujet c'est familier.
ceebeegee: (French Quarter in New Orleans)
Alors, hier soir Elizabeth et Andy ont venir a ma maison (actuellement, mon appartement) et nous avons parler en français autant que possible. C'était tres interessant--je comprends plus français que je crois. J'étais pouvoir sequitur la pluspart de la conversation d'Andy, meme pendant l'histoire de les tres petits cochons. (Par example: "Le Grand Loup a dit: Petit cochon, permettez-moi d'entrer!...ou je hufferai et je pufferai et je vais faire tomber sa maison!") Je ne comprends pas l'histoire immediatement, mais apres quelques mots.

Maintenant, je lis des autres sites en français, comme Yahoo!France, etc. Je crois que l'idée est de me plonger en français autant que possible.
ceebeegee: (Family)
Anya avait un ami qui habite en France--it vient de Paris et il s'appelle Arno.  Il visite les Etats-Unis ce semaine et hier, il arrivé a notre apartment et j'ai lui rencontrer.  C'était une chance idéale pour moi de practicer my français conversationale, et j'ai faire mieux que j'ai anticipate.  Et maintenant je voudrais étudier ma français plus beaucoup, alors je puis devenir fluent.  Eh--plus facile, je ne suis pas assez bien être fluent.  Pas maintenant, quand même.  Je suis desolée profondément pour les erreurs!

-Er verbs

Jul. 27th, 2009 07:59 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
Je parle
Tu parles
Il/elle parle

Nous parlons
Vous parlez
Ils/Elles parlent

Je parle francais avec mes amis, qui parlent francais aussi. Quelquesfois, nous mangons des oranges. A la prochaine, mon frere chante des chansons. Ah, vous aimez des chansons? Oh, je m'excuse, tu detestes des chansons. Et les oranges.

Just a quick little exercise I cooked up trying to use a bunch of -er verbs--I just finished conjugating something like of them. Did you know that -er verbs are by far the largest group of French verbs? Now you do!
ceebeegee: (Moody Scotland)
Since returning from Italy (full pictures and rundown later), I've been inspired to pick up my French studies again. I took French for 8 years--7th grade through sophomore year in college, and although I was pretty bored by it by then, I'd achieved a certain level of competence. I tried to learn what Italian I could before I went over there, and found it easier than expected, no doubt because they're both Romance languages (I had the same ease of access with Spanish). I think a working fluency in French would be very useful.

So I've been attacking this from several angles--downloading exercises and transcripts from, refreshing myself on basic grammar from a workbook I bought at Barnes & Noble, and rereading Le Petit Prince. The stuff is interesting, although all over the map. I've been getting random exercises (i.e., the lessons appear to be in no particular order) from their "Intermediate/Advanced" section--the first one was a two-part article on Tourism in Paris. The first half was a standard paragraph on the subject; the second half was an interview with some guy who's a Parisian official. The idea is to listen to the sound clip to improve listening comprehension, download the transcript to read and translate, then do the quiz to see what you retained and understood. The first part was easy enough, but the interview KICKED MY ASS. Very idiommatic French, not intermediate at all. But it's great to listen to this, it's helping my pronunciation. I have a decent Parisian accent but I have trouble with some Rs. I do the Rs in words like trop and prince (i.e., the fricative R) well, but I have more trouble with the Rs in words like Americaine or Parisienne (i.e., the liquid R).

The workbook is VERY basic so far and not challenging but it's useful to remind myself of the rules of definite articles and things like that. (I'm hoping it'll get to regular and irregular verbs soon--I need a refresher on conjugations.) But what I'm enjoying the most is rereading Le Petit Prince, which I LOVED as a child. I read it as a teenager in my French classes, so I know the English translation better. The language is simple enough and knowing roughly where the story is going is helping the comprehension. In reading it aloud (as well as with the articles), I'm trying not just to pronounce the words correctly, but to grasp the arc of the sentence, and make my voice rise and fill where it should. So far I sound like I'm reading to a bunch of 6 year olds ("S'il vous PLAIT, DESSINE moi un MOUTON!") but at least my real-time comprehension is improving, as long as I don't read too quickly!

I had a rather sweet moment on the train the other day. I was riding to rehearsal and a kid, about 9 years old, and his mother came on. She stayed standing, and he sat next to me and was just openly reading over my shoulder. I was reading one of the articles and since he seemed interested, I explained to him that it was in French. He jumped at the conversational gambit and was all "yes, I know!" and trying to read it. I said "this is pretty difficult--you might like this better" and pulled out Le Petit Prince. I showed him the cover with "Avec les dessins par l'auteur" and pointed to the last word. I said "what English word does this look like? Author, right? So l'auteur means the author." I translated the whole phrase for him, and then started flipping through the book, showing him the illustrations. He was so cute, commenting on the Prince's planet ("it's like the size of a HOUSE!") and the other tiny planets in the Prince's neck of the galaxy. I pointed out cognates where I spotted them (planete, rose, etc.) and showed him the numbers (in the scene where the businessman is counting). His mother apologized for him but I said he wasn't a bother at all.

Another thing I'd like to do, is find some kind of social gathering where they speak in French. I did a couple of searches and found a weekly hangout in Union Square at a bar--they go there every Sunday and practice all kinds of languages, similar to the "language tables" in college. Lori speaks French fairly fluently (she minored in French) and she and I are going to go there togather. Right now I can understand conversations (until a certain level--in the elevator the other day I was riding down with a family who'd just come from the Rainbow Room. They were speaking in French and I understood a decent amount) but I'm a little shy about just jumping in myself.


ceebeegee: (Default)

February 2017



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