Sunday, 20 April 2014

Heffalump Traps.....

When  the dog gets soaked, us kind dog owners dry them carefully ..... and to add to the excitement, I tell her what I'm doing rather childishly like this ...

"OK Lottie, first the backal regions .... and the leggal regions ...... now the headal regions .... time for the underneathal regions" ... and so it goes on. 

What I'm doing unconsciously here is applying a rule that works for some English words to words for which the rule doesn't work. 

 The suffix -al is fine for words such as occasional, local, regional. trivial. logical, frontal, financial  ..... although we understand what it means when we use it wrongly .... backal , truthal, foodal, roadal.

Whenever you hear people on the TV or radio talking in English and it's their 2nd or maybe 5th language, you get to hear errors like that ... and they're very interesting and informative. The truth is, they help us understand the errors we make when we speak French ..... and obviously we can learn from that, which is both interesting, good and useful. 

There are all sorts and categories of mistakes .... but interestingly, they rarely affect our understanding of what is being said. How reassuring !!

Here's just a tiny collection of examples ... they're all in English, though I might make a collection of French ones made by people for whom French is not their first language ... but I don't get to hear many of them !

Here's category 1 .... using a rule in the target language incorrectly ..

[a] One you hear all the time ........ incorrect plurals ! In English there is a more or less universal rule .. stick an s at the end to get the plural ... but it often comes unstuck !

There are too many childrens playing around the streets
Theys are all comings here and ruining the village green
The growns-up are always telling us to play quietly.
They are all lovelys.
The whole family is goings.
Go and buy milks.

[b]  Incorrect formation of the past tense .... often by applying the "wrong" rule ...

They putted the letters next door by mistake.
Higginson shat his brother-in-law, but luckily he survived.
You casn't go in next door's garden.
We flewed all the way to Australia in seven hours.
You casted your line right over to the other side of the river.

[c] Miscellaneous other rules applied indiscriminately ... 

I ran very well and came tworth.
I ran very badly and came four hundred and once.
He only turned up to lessons thrence.
He always wanted to be a writist.
She worked hard to qualify as a denter.
Henry tried to work gooder, but in fact things got badder.
Reginald was cleverer than Sid, but Alice was clevererer.
If she doesn't, you doesn't .
He couldn't do it, but then he canned how to do it.
Look at it fly ... but actually it could always flew.

Here's category 2 ... bringing a rule from your first language into the target language .. 

[a] Making adjectives agree when you don't need to ...

There are dogs bigs everywhere around here.
Yesterdays there were twentys cows in that field.
Huges lorries keep driving past.

[b] Missing out articles because your first language doesn't use them ... 

There is bad man next door.
They stabbed thief in neck.
If they are ones that did it, life sentence is what they deserve.

[c] Repeating a word to intensify ...... 

I hear hear this from my neighbours.
He ran away fast fast.
There were  women women women coming round to his house.

[d] Wrong prepositions ... usually the ones you would use in your 1st language .. 

Stop putting that stupid hat up my head !
We are going on the stairs to bed.
They putted the letters next door with mistake.
I'm just going to run this idea with you.
Why are you doing this at me ?

Category 3 .... word order ! In English , word order is very subtle !!

There are an awful lot of pupils this year.
There are a lot of awful pupils this year.

Don't try this at home.
Don't try at this home.

Light the match first.
Light the first match.

OK ... there's plenty more of those going on all the time ..... many of these i've heard on the radio ...especially the news and the World Service. 

Apart from being fascinating it itself, it is very nice to realise that in most cases you will still be understood !! 

But ... but .... you know, all of you, that you do this yourself in French..... you will make mistakes with tenses, with prepositions, you will structure sentences the way you do in your first language, you will forget to make your adjectives agree with the nouns, you will get your noun genders wrong.......... 

Also, there's a whole other universe of areas in which to get things wrong ... .in writing the language, and in speaking and pronunciation especially, there are many heffalump traps awaiting us all.  

So .. listen out for these understandable and interesting errors .... and when you hear one, try to work out what they've done and why, and maybe you can link this to some of your own mistakes. 

OK ..... now some music .... Vive la fête and  Nuit blanche ....

Hier soir c'etait une fête
C'etait tellement fantastique
Maintenant pour être honnête
C'est dur pour la physique
J'ai toujours le problème
Je ne veux jamais arrêter
C'est magnifique quand-même
Surtout pendant l'été

On a beaucoup des fêtes
Avec des invités
Ils ne pensent jamais'arrête'!
Ils veulent toujours continuer
Après c'est tellement grave
Les gens, le regretter
C'est comme les marécages
Lentement tu avances

Tous les jour des fêtes!
Oui, c'est excentrique
Je dis 'Vive La Fête'!
Pour être héroïque

Mais qu'est-ce que nous faisons?
Tout le monde est fatigué
C'etait très amusant
Et les gens, ils veulent rester
Ils n'aiment pas le potage
Ils n'aiment pas le café
Ils ne pensent jamais 'arrête'!
Ils veulent toujours continuer

Après c'est tellement grave
Les gens le regretter
C'est comme les marécages
Lentement t'vas avancer

Et moi j'ai pris ma tête
Dans mes mains, et j'ai pensé
Pourquoi j'ai fait cette fête?
Pour toutes des invitées

Tous les jour des fêtes!
Oui, c'est excentrique
Je dis 'Vive La Fête'!
Pour être héroïque

Tous les jour des fêtes!
Oui, c'est excentrique
Je dis 'Vive La Fête'!
Pour être héroïque

Tous les jour des fêtes!
Je dis 'Vive La Fête'!
Je dis 'Vive La Fête'!
Je dis 'Vive La Fête'!

And talking of mistakes, I've copied this Welsh video onto here by mistake and I can't get rid of it !! 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Dead Computer

Shortly after that last very helpful post, this computer dropped dead, collapsed, gave up the ghost... when I tried to switch it on .... nothing ... not even a faint whirring noise. Dead.

It's been dead for several days now.

So, just now I tried again, just on the off-chance ... and lo and behold, it had come back to life, so I'm grabbing the opportunity to apologise for any subsequent extended absence ... because, in my experience, these recoveries tend to be short-lived

Another computer might be in the pipeline but that will be a few weeks down the line ....

So ...while the computer is temporarily in remission I'm going to try to salvage a few things onto pen drives ... in the meantime, here's the lovely Vulgaires Machins  with  Puits sans fond 

J'veut rien savoir d'la qualitée, jèveut quiait beacoup de pages
J'collection les cahiers qui me parlent de ménage
J'me gave sans fin de faits divers jusqu'a l'indigestion
Je suis malinformé, les médias ont bien raison

Je suis comme un puit sans fond
Je suis comme un puit sans fond

C'est devenu dramatique, j'sais pu ce qu'il faut que j'fasse
Je sais tout sur Céline et sa vie a Végas
Pour combler le vide de ma vision globale
J'ai tous les arguments débile sur le système médicale

Je suis aboné au Journal de Montréal
Je suis aboné au Journal

20 chanteuses a 2 balles lancent 20 albums pareil
Un homme se coud le cul et chie par les oreilles
Une lesbienne se fais poser une bite en métal
Nous enregistront une baisse dans le Q.I. général

Je suis aboné au Journal de Montréal
Je suis aboné au Journal de Montréal
Je suis comme un puit sans fond
Je suis comme un puit sans fond
[ These are Puit Sans Fond Lyrics on ]

I hope to be back soon !

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Accents on the mac

I asked last time about how the hell I could quickly and easily type French accents on a mac ..... having had to use this one after my computer died...well, I've found out.... at last .... and with a bit of fiddling around and experimentation .... especially as the source I had kept talking about the options key....which I found out was the alt key on mine.... so I've called it Option/Alt in my instructions .....and here, free of charge, is what you do ...

Allons .... 

é   ........ hold down option/alt key,  press e ( ´ appears !) , release both, press e .... é  

è   ...... hold down Option/alt and ` keys, release ( `appears) then press e ..... è  

à ......... as above, but when  `appears , type an a instead ....... à

ù  ......  a above, but when `appears , type a u instead .......... ù

ô ..... option/alt + i , release..... ( ^appears !!)...... press o .. ô

ç  is simply option/alt + c ........ ç

ü  is option/alt then u (for umlaut)..... ü  or if you want   ä you do Opt/alt u + a = ä

If you want œ, press option/shift + q  .... here we go ...  œ ....I found that myself .

By the way, if you want a capital letter, at the last step just type a capital using the shift key as normal

so É  is Opt/Alt + e , release, type a capital (shift) e .... É

While doing this I found the same idea ( opt/alt) produced loads of symbols and the like by pressing different keys.....

Alt + 1 = ¡       Alt + 2 =     €      Alt + zero = º
Alt + p = π         alt + s = ß                    Alt + ' = æ

Alt + \ = «   well, you get the idea.....

I was dead pleased to find all this out, and it's really useful.

Now we have   Kervegan's  with Vous Avez L'Heure (Reprise de Louise Attaque) 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Deplimages .....

Here's a fine thing ..... a lovely little kid's book I found in a charity shop... but it's not just any old standard book, it's a most unusual one.. as you will see. I must apologise for the total lack of accents etc in the following ... I haven't worked out an easy way to do them quickly on this pathetic ancient mac which I'm using now the PC is dead .... the ALT codes don't work, I cant find a workable French keyboard ..... bah ! I will put them on the long way if I have to ... but not now ... I'm making the tea...

Here's the cover .... it's called Le Zoo .... but the clue to the special thing about it is the DEPLIMAGE thing at the top .... interesting word that ....

So, we start to unfold unfold the first bit like this .....

and we lay it flat to get ..... instructions !!

On the right side, which got missed off my photo, there is a quiz question ... Qui resemble a un cheval raye noir et blanc ?

Let's unfold the next bit and see what we get ... quelle surprise !! .....

 Ah oui !! We get Le Zebre ... and another question, which I have cunningly included this time ...

Qui est enorme, tout gris et a une longue trompe ? ......  let's unfold the next bit and see....

C'est ca .... L'elephant !!  + another question ... Qui fait des grmaces ... et montre parfois son derriere ?

Let's find out . unfold again ....

Le Singe .... and now ... Qui a un tres long cou at des taches noires ??? Deplie ...


Bosse is a good word .... linked to the English word boss you see in the middle of a shield, or the bosses on a church roof .... so, qui a deux bosses sur son dos, at ne boit pas beaucoup ?
Dos, by the way, is surely linked to dorsal ... (?) ..... let's take a look ....

Zut ! Le Chameau !! So, qui est vert et a beaucoup de dents ? ..... en avant .... 

C'est Le Crocodile !! Now then .... nearly there ...  qui a une criniere jaune et pousse un cri terrible ???

Le Lion !!!!!!!!!  ... now you can see the whole thing once it is completely unfolded. The Librarian asked me where all the questions had gone !! Think about it !!!

There's lots of others in the series ... Le Cochon, Le Cirque, Le Square, La Vache, Le Mouton, La Maternelle et La Sorciere !

The ISBN of this one is 2 226 10210 8

My copy has obviously been used a lot because the seams are all battered .... smashing!

â  ê Ê Î  î ô Ô û Û ŵ Ŵ Ŷ ŷ á Á à À  é É è È í Í ì Ì ó Ó ò Ò ú Ú ù Ù ç Ç  ñ ¡ ¿ ä Ä Ö ö ü Ü ë Ë                                                                                                                                                                  Right... here's Kyo  .... Sarah .... 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Paris ... a secret history

Being at heart a lazy, butterfly-minded sort of chump I do like to pretend that I am extremely busy and working hard on my various languages whilst in fact I am just reading stuff vaguely grazing on the outskirts. I like to call it "reading around the subject."

So ... this book by the highly entertaining Andrew Hussey is, indeed, highly entertaining. It has been criticised for containing billions of errors, and has been belittled as a mere              " Horrible History" of Paris.

SO WHAT !! is my response .... my educated, sophisticated response as a lazy, butterfly-minded chump ( see above).

Actually there are THOUSANDS of brilliant and clever and totally accurate books about Paris, but I like this one so there. Memorable beats accurate any day in my book.

I'm old and decrepit.* I need to be entertained. 

Right ... so .... music to sooth the savage heart of whatever it was .... here's Camille and

 L'étourderie ....

Si tu as oublié tes clés ce matin
C'est que l'amour t'a pris sur son dos
Si tu as manqué raté le train
C'est que l'amour s'est posé sur ton dos

L'étourderie des amoureux partis
Fait tourner la tête des tourtereaux
L'étourneau qui perdit l'amour heureux
L'a retrouvé au fond de mes yeux

Si j'ai laissé mes soucis en chemin
C'est que l'amour s'est posé sur mon dos
Si j'ai oublié le prix du pain
C'est que l'amour m'a prise sur son dos

L'étourderie des amoureux partis
Fait tourner la tête des tourtereaux
La perdrix qui perdit l'amour heureux
L'a retrouvé au fond de tes yeux

Si tu as oublié le lendemain
Si j'ai effacé l'air du refrain
Si tu as mélangé mai et juin
Si j'ai oublié de demander ta main

L'étourderie des amoureux partis
Fait tourner la tête des tourtereaux
Qui éperdus perdirent l'amour heureux
Pour le retrouver au fond de mes yeux
Pour le retrouver au fond de tes yeux
Pour le retrouver au fond de nos yeux

[ Ces sont 
L'étourderie Paroles sur ]
Plus paroles:
Tout sur Camille:

* There's a French word if ever I heard one .

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Le Tableau du Maitre Flamand ...

No, you're not seeing double ... these are the French and Spanish versions of The Flanders Panel ...

I've also got the English version but we don't want to overdo things.

If you are learning another language as well as French, it's a great advantage to read a book in both languages... that way you are developing both of your languages PLUS you can sometimes work out the meaning of a tricky section better in one language that the other... PLUS, in the case of related languages like Spanish and French, you can see the way many of the words resemble each other.

My only criticism of these two versions, by the way, is that, unlike my English copy, the actual painting that the book is about doesn't appear on the cover .. or anywhere else for that matter !

Of course, you can only do this double-language trick if the book is available in both .. and that limits your choice quite a bit. But in this case, you get a fascinating book, pretty cheap on Amazon ( used of course) and you get a lot of reading for your money.

There's loads and loads of books you can read in this way ... the other day I found the Russian version of Goldfinger for £1.49 in my local Oxfam shop !!

Right... having dispensed a useful tip, hint, whatever, here's Zaz with Les Passants ... amazing bass playing here ....

Les passants passant, j'passe mon temps a les r'garder penser, leurs pas pressés, dans leurs corps lésés, leurs passés se dévoilent dans les pas sans se soucier

Que, suspicieuse, à l'affût,
je perçois le jeu de pan, leurs visages comme des masques me fait l'effet repugnant, que faire semblant, c'est dans l'air du temps.

refrain :
Passe, passe, passera
la dernière restera

L'enfant n'est fait que de fêtes,
le fait est que l'effet se reflète à sa capacité de prendre le fait tel qu'il est
sans se référer à un système de pensée dans sa tête.

L'automne dèja, c'était l'été hier encore, le temps me surprend, semble s'accélérer, les chiffres de mon age, m'amènent vers ce moi rêver

refrain :
Passe, passe, passera
la dernière restera

Chaque mois se joue dans des cycles différents,
c'est marrant ces remous qui m'animent à travers l'temps d'un état à un autre,
j'oscille inexorablement

Par les temps je cours à l'équilibre
chaque jugement sur les gens me donne la direction à suivre
sur ces choses en moi à changer
qui m'empêche d'être libre

Les voix se libèrent et s'exposent dans les vitrines du monde en mouvement,
les corps qui dansent en osmose,
glissent, tremblent, se confondent et s'attirent irrésistiblement

Par les temps je cours à l'expression,
chaque émotion ressentie me donne envie d'exprimer les non-dits
et que justice soit faite dans nos pauvres vies endormies

refrain :
Passe, passe, passera
la dernière restera

(Merci à Lauriane pour cettes paroles)

[ These are Les Passants Lyrics on ] 

More lyrics:
All about Zaz:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Statues ....

A recurrent theme on this blog is ... ways you can inject some French into English situations.

Well, next time you turn to the crossword in a newspaper, just ignore the silly old  clues and set yourself the challenge of filling in the grid with French words. Here's a nice easy starter ... but even that takes a bit if thought.

That's fair enough, but you'll soon want to get your teeth into a bigger challenge .... here's a much bigger grid filled with French words which, of course, have nothing to do with those boring irrelevant English clues at all.
Astute observers ( like you) will notice that I haven't completely succeeded.... In a few places I've blocked out the odd square or used a line to split a space in two. After all, you don't want to beat yourself up trying to be too much of a perfectionist do you? Plus, it's better to do that than spend ages piddling about looking up obscure words you will never ever use.

BUT... I do look forward to the day when I fill one of these big grids up without any cheating at all.

Incidentally, this makes a good competitive game if you can make a few copies of a grid.... it's in this context that I first came across the idea.

OK people ... music time ... it's the excellent Dominique A and En Secret ...

C'étaient les temps obscurs
Tête contre un lavabo
Traité comme une raclure
Quand tu voulais

Et souvent tu voulais
T'en avais jamais trop
Tu donnais, tu donnais,
En bas en haut

Combien nous regardaient
Ils bougeaient mais trop tard
J'étais déjà par terre
C'était tout noir

Et c'est toi qui soignait
Et avec tant d'égards
Puis tout recommençait
Quand c'était mort

Quand tout ça s'est fini
J'ai eu beaucoup d'amis
Je leur laissais penser
Qu'ils m'épaulaient

Je crachais sur hier
Comme pour dire "ça va mieux"
Mais c'est dur en crachant
D'éteindre un feu

On s'aimait bien...

(Merci à Yerdua pour cettes paroles)

[ Ces sont En Secret Paroles sur ] 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Des navets !

Listening to the radio ....... in English of course ........ you'd like to be doing a bit of French ...... translating into English seems a bit of a tall order...... so why not just use whatever level of French you have to argue with everything?

This works fine with anything really ... the news , The Archers, Woman's Hour ... whatever.

You can also do this while listening to conversations on the bus, watching telly, people-watching.....

Here's a few examples of what you might do .... 

RADIO ...... It's a fine season for turnips at the moment.
YOU ...... Des navets !! Les betteraves sont mort!
RADIO ....... Fighting has again broken out in Turkestan ,,
YOU ..... Turkestan ... na !   .....allons donc ! 
RADIO ..... And now for a short story by Will Self
YOU .... Will Self ... tu en as des bonnes ! Il se fiche du monde !
RADIO .... A nuclear attack is imminent..
YOU  .Je n'ai pas peur..... J'ai le sang-froid, je suis calme ! 
RADIO ... and now we turn to Woman's Hour with Valerie Turnbull..
YOU ... Une heure ? Une heure interminable... mais non... au secours ..... !!!

Well, you get the idea.... actually, it's great fun to do, and if you are alone you can do it out loud.... and afterwards, you could listen to Olivia Ruiz  with Marcia Baila ..

Monday, 3 March 2014

Meteomedia 2 !

So incredibly popular was my original and long-ago article about French weather forecasts that I have had another trawl for more of the same..... personally, apart from their intrinsic educational merit I haven't fathomed exactly why they have proved popular .

The real advantage of a format like a weather forecast is the limited vocabulary ... so you can concentrate on that ...... and you can, to a certain extent, prepare for the sort of words and expressions that might well come up. Also, these same expressions will be useful to you as they are part of everday conversation anywhere in the world.

 I haven't put in a link to the aforementioned "meteomedia" original post... this temporary and capricious computer won't let me "do" links....



Musique .... 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

What am I doing ?

I hope you can spot what I've done here.....

here's the lower bit ..... 

Making your own pictures like this, as you can see, requires almost no artistic skill, and it is a great way to reinforce your word-power and ..... here's the clever thing .... it also helps you remember the gender of the words, because all you smart people out there will of course have realised that I've put the masculine words on the right and the feminine words on the left. 

Why text-books don't use ideas like this more often I just don't know..... why can't the little sentences they use for practice, or the extracts they use for reading etc be done with the m/f  nouns in different colours ? 

More on all this sort of thing coming up... but now ... here's that Saez person with 

Les cours des lycées ....

Il se lève
Il y repense
Il ne parle pas à ses vieux.
Il prend le bus, le mp3
et du métal dans les oreilles.

Il voit les vies de tout ses gens qui s'en vont droit aux abattoirs
Cet inutile qui nous surprend
parfois qu'on verrait l'espoir.
Les pom- pom girls ont les regards des soleils noirs, elles ont l'odeur
des cheeseburgers prêts à bouffer
elles ont l'odeur de la CB.

Les salles de classe qui se répètent
des profs qui ont tous l'air défoncés
Y'a des Matrix sur des tableaux
Trop d'inconnues dans l'équation

Dans le bus, le tramway..
Dans Les cours des lycées..
Dans les fabriques à chômeurs..
Oui Dans les salles des professeurs..

On est foutu on est cernés
passer l'éponge ou la jeter
prendre les gants, aller boxer..

Dans les manifs
Dans les cocktails,
Dans les soirées,
Sous le soleil.

Faut voir le niveau des musiques,
et les modèles des sociétés.
Faut voir les radios qu'on écoute,
De quoi on en parle dans les récrés.
Faut voir les strings en apparence,
Dans les collèges, la jeunesse.
Plus c'est vulgaire et plus ça fait mouiller le corps de nos armées
C'est du Gucci c'est du goûts d'chiottes
C'est le syndrome de nos époques
C'est du Channel c'est du Dolce
Tu fais la belle et ça te plait.
C'est du consommable.. toujours.
Dis moi c'est quand qu'on fait l'amour.
A d'autres qu'a des gilets pare-balle, qu'a des vérités qui font mal

Dans le bus, le tramway..
Dans Les cours des lycées..
Dans les fabriques à chômeurs..
Dans les salles des professeurs..

On est foutu on est cernés
Dans les couloirs
Dans les allées
Dans les manifs,
Dans les cocktails,
Dans les soirées,
Sous le soleil.

Dans les manifs,
Dans les cocktails,
Dans les soirées,
Sous le soleil.

Sûr au pays des teenagers, c'est du Gucci c'est du goût d'chiottes.
Malheur à qui parle du cœur,c'est pas la mode a nos époques.
Qui coulent a flot dans les familles l'éducation de nos enfants.

Dans le commerce du textile, il faudra gagner de l'argent.

Les pom-pom girls ont les regards des soleils noirs, elles ont l'odeur
des cheeseburgers prêtes à bouffer,
elles ont l'odeur de la CB.

Ce faire un nom pour oublier..
la vie de merde qu'on à laissée

Dans les manifs
Dans les cocktails
Ouais dans Les cours des lycées
Sous le soleil ...

Dans les manifs
Dans les cocktails
Dans les soirées
Sous le soleil....

Dans les manifs
Dans les cocktails
Dans les soirées ...

Dans le bus, le tramway
Dans les cours des lycées
Dans les manifs
Dans les cocktails
Dans les soirées sous le soleil

Dans les fabriques à chômeurs
Dans les salles des professeur
Dans les fragiles de nos lueur
Malheur à qui parle du cœur

Dans le bus, le tramway
Dans les cours des lycées
Dans les manifs
Dans les cocktails
Dans les soirées sous le soleil ...

(Merci à Estelle pour cettes corrections)

[ These are Les Cours Des Lycées Lyrics on ] 

More lyrics:
All about Damien Saez: