Tuesday, December 6, 2011

French and Japanese Brain Scramble

There are words and phrases that I find myself uttering to myself in French when I'm walking down the street. I love the sounds of these words, no matter the meaning. A satisfying "maintenant"[mant-en-o] only means "now", but when I'm walking down the streets of New York in the rain, looking up at the half-obscured-by-fog Empire State Building, carrying a big orange umbrella, saying "maintenant"gives me a staccato walking rhythm that carves the perfect path home. So does the act of conjugating my elementary verbs: Je vais, tu vas, il va, elle va [for some reason, a deep pause here before continuing with] nous allons, vous allez, ils vont, elles vont. I like thinking about which mono-syllabic sound goes with which form of the verb. Add to that the verbs etre, faire, and avoir, and you have the crux of my final exam coming up. Actually, that's just a fraction of my final coming up, but c'est la vie. Phrases like "j'adore Professeur Samuel" are coupled with "je suis tres fatigue apres mon cours de Francais." I'm still totally screwed up with my articles [de + le = du, but not always; past participle of etre is eu, etc. etc.], but to me it doesn't matter so much, because to be able to utter "apres mon cours" --after my course-- is a lovely thing. "Boite de nuit" means nightclub, and its literal translation is "box of night." How pretty is that? Box of night.

And then there's the Japanese coming up in the written portion of my blue belt test on Saturday, but that's just a series of body parts and movements. Shotei (palm); sutko (knife foot); shuto satkutsu uchi komi (knife hand strike to face); kensetsu geri (sp?, sideways joint kick to knee).

Next Friday marks the official end of my semester. Cinema et livre date avec moi, moi, et moi!


  1. Oh, I love this! Just hit me right, first thing this morning. I just love pronouncing French words, you've given some new ones to play with.

  2. Thanks, Rossandra! I'll try to post some more good ones after my final.

  3. you are learning Japanese and French? wow! I really want to improve my Spanish and would love to learn french...you are really inspiring me! great blog post! will also post on FB! keep it coming!

  4. I do speak French but I find one phrase always comes back to me from my school days French classes at the oddest times:
    Il se passe des choses bizarres!
    I use it on my teenagers too when they are driving me crazy (though I no longer remember its original context)!
    Bonnes chances Rachel (Rrrra shel')!