“Help yourself, the sky will help you” – and cats and ducks

“Heaven helps those who help themselves”.

In French it’s not heaven, but… the sky. It will help you. Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera.

I find it interesting that you use “heaven” in English, instead of God himself. “Heaven helps those who help themselves”. Does that mean that people understand that they can NOT ask God himself to help them (find a place for your car, pass your exam, change your life)? Yep : He has probably other and bigger fish to fry.

In French, we would say “Il a d’autres chats à fouetter” : “He has other cats to whip”.

Really? Yes really.

So… Help yourself, the sky will help you.

Nevertheless :

It seems to be a good advice (even if there’s no God or Heaven or Sky to “help” you). This invitation to act (with an implicit “Instead of complaining”) sounds a little like :

“Move your ass, silly, and maybe you’ll get something”. Okey!

This decision process is a funny thing to study. “To begin, begin”, said the wise man. But how? First, your have to find your goal, right? Then…

  1. Action, go go go, push, push towards your goal, drive your way towards it.
  2. Observe what’s around, find where the flow flows, rotate little things to facilitate flows… towards the goal. The flow. Where it goes. That’s important!

I already wrote something about 2 : The Propensity of Things.

Who says “Help yourself”? Your mother? Your friend? Why? Do they want to help you really? Are they angry of your laziness? What can happen? Where’s YOUR flow? Did you consider it? Or do you constantly work against it?

What’s the worse that could happen? You help yourself, you move, you change things, you try, you… fail?

Well, not THAT a big deal, right? “Y a pas d’quoi casser trois pattes à un canard” is the French way to say “Nothing to write home about” :

That doesn’t break three legs to a duck

Mmhh, makes sense?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

C360_2015-06-07-18-38-29-110.jpg

Advertisements

Quiff is a mess & French frou-frou noiseling : an #ESL struggles with English words…

One pleasure of ESLing is to gain vocabulary.

This week I watched a clever crime movie, Body Heat. Smart dialogs offer you new words – and I watched it in English with English subtitles. Each time I find an unknown word I remotestop the film and I check on my phone, and it’s… almost always a problem (because the French words are, obviously, “not exactly” what yours mean, it’s always a bit… displaced).

All these words were totally new to me :

  • Outsmart seemed easy but it’s not : beat by cunning, surpass, foil, thwart – what is it exactly? I like the way it’s made : “Out + Smart” (could be offsmart, right?). We have “déjouer” in French, which could be “de-play” or “out-play”. I love the cousinning of all these.
  • Rustle is great. I imagine it’s non human, something in a tree or maybe from a dress’ fabric, right? We have bruissement in France, and as “bruit” means noise, it could be… “noiseling”. I wonder what’s the difference with creasing or crumpling. We have in French the delicious “Frou-frou” for the “dress swish”, the word says it all, right?
  • Searing is clear, but then, when don’t you say burning? Is it… more painful? More red? More intense? Can you use it to talk about meat (then is it spoiled, or delicious)? What is scorching, then? Can I have a searing memory?
  • Arson is “setting fire to property”, but is it a law word only? Could I use it metaphorically, like I want “to arson my feelings/my past”? Where does this word come from?
  • Quiff is a mess. I found the hairstyle thing, OK. But what’s a “quiff’s eye”, then? A “haughty little stare”? (Haughty? Really? New word again… which led me to “your high horse”, a clear idiom, for once). But for quiff I also find “legitimate spouse” (really?), which seemed the case in the movie I was watching.
  • Askew : where is it used? For a hat? For a life? Does it sound vintage or do young people will say it about your eyes (or your books on the shelf)… askew?

 

Where does it come from, to feel such pleasure, exploring this? I don’t know.

Feel free, ô my reader, to make things clearer in the comments. Maybe it’ll help my brain (and some other’s) to understand these daily subtleties…

Thanks for reading! Bonne journée !

1389229493365108069_1204809845.jpg

Instagram : _bodylanguage_

Wonderfool Dayda Cacography : Eye Spelling!

I tried 241 times to pronounce Dakota (“DayGO-Da”?) until I gave up and pronounced it the French way (as it is : Da Ko Ta, plain and simple). Watching Ghost in the Shell, I heard the word “Data” many times, mimicking it to learn something, until I understood that DATA is pronounced DAYDA.

Foreigners make mistakes. This morning I woke up with some words in my mind, this marvelous way one friend of mine described my lover at the time : “Quelle formidable folle!” – What a wonderful fool she was, indeed. I woke up like : Wonderfool.

So I googled it and discovered this : Eye Spelling, Eye Dialect, or Pronunciation Spelling – nonstandard spelling but doesn’t indicate an unusual pronunciation.

women : wimmin
gentlemen : genlmen
listen : lissen
light : lite

Nooooo I won’t use it, it’s too dangerous. I could “get mixed up” (is it good English? Become mixed up?), though I know that it’s really used to get the “dialog” mood : kinda for kind of, wanna for want to. Also, it’s used for marketing purpose of course : I found “Froot Loops” cereals, froot for fruit, of course.

Now think about this group names : The Beatles. The Byrds. And the way rap groups use U instead of You.

Tool : What will you do of that? What could you invent? Where? Why? A name? A brand? A groupe name?

A deliberate comic mispelling is called CACOGRAPHY. I love that word so much that I almost fainted… Awweee!

 

Have a good day!

Jean-Pascal

 

IMG_20140925_093322.jpg

 

“Pylons & Passing Lands” : Brain Meandering Vagrancy in a Train

Traveling by train is different. Plane is powerful and a bit frightening, and windows are seriously too small. In a car you have to focus on the road, and if you’re a passenger you often… talk to the driver, right? In a car, if you’re the passenger, there IS a driver, obviously.

When you’re alone, traveling by train is different. Windows are big. Today’s trains are really fast. You can breathe, sleep, even have a walk in the aisle… Your spirit can wander, c’est la rêverie, the dreamery.

So for this article I vocabularied a bit for my “brain in train” metaphor. I found : meandering (like a little train around mountains?), wandering (walking for leasure), rambling seems colored by “rambling discourse” : is it like drunk, or undecided?, drifting seems more lost, right?, sauntering seems more lazy, showing a silhouette, peregrinating, perambulating

In a two hours travel by train, alone, you watch by the window pane.

At first, your brain plays with your eyes. At 200 Mph, if you fix the ground (which is often the neighbor railroad) with a look, you get a fastblurred confusion, which is, in a way, very pleasant, a mix of “Oh that’s a fast train/Oh I saw something but it’s already gone/I’m lost in a time illusion/OK I let go sssshhhh”.

It can happen this : at one moment your head decides to separate its own work from what your eyes continuously, almost in a panic (“Hey it’s to fast, buddy!”) send to it. Here you are, unplugged.

High speed staring up gives you a dance of pylons and cables, you could really feel like you’re in a Steve Reich from Chicago to New York/One of the fastest trains music.

 

One sad thing though :

The high speed trains today need continuous railroads, therefore we lost the magic sound of train traveling, the famous “tak’tooossh-tak’tooossh-tak’tooossh-tak’tooossh”. This was, during long hours of the night, when I was traveling with unknown kids towards a new summer camp, almost comforting. Someone put a 8 hours (!) sound of this on YouTube :

 

If your staring activity comes from the ground then goes further, your brain will be pleased with this concept : the closer you watch, the faster it seems to go. If you watch in long range, things in the distance (a horse, a church, a village, a wood) move slowlier. That’s lovely, oui?

You wander, you dream without sleeping, your brain forgets the bridle…

But something has to be seen by the window. Hoooo a funny factory. Hooo these cows are funny. Hoooo a tall redhead in a lost station… Interruptions. Then you’re back in dreamery, in the moment, you watch your thoughts passing by, they’re not THAT important, you’re quiet, you… hey, but wait a minute :

Isn’t it meditation?

Thanks for reading!

#train1549931205942731615_40270600

#wheat

1548600219241997469_40270600

1548606694643437399_40270600

 

 

 

 

 

Merde alors ! : “Polite swear words?” – Some #ESL concerns…

Everyone in the world knows for good that, when you learn a language, the first things you want to know are bad words, insults and other blasphemies.

But you are in the merde if you want to swear… politely. Sometimes you have to! In front of kids in a class (“Oh dear”, “Oh my goodness”) or your grandparents, right?

Instead of saying “shit“, I heard one day Brian Eno saying “Shhhhite” (like realizing there was a cam, he had to finish his “shh” in another way). I liked shite!

One friend told me that kids could use “Oh snap” instead of it.

Today I googled a bit and found :

Son of a beach, mother trucker, or “Motherfather!” (haha), holy buckets (??). Ice hole. Shazbot. Dirty bear. Cheese and rice (instead of Jesus Christ). Sugarfoot. Upsy Daisy.
Shiznit. Chappaquiddick, etc, ohlalaaa.

“Get stuffed” instead of “fuck you”. I just found “up yours” : REALLY? That’s GREAT!

I love the simple and smart  “What the eff”.

“Rats!”.

One site advised to use Old Swearing Terms, like Fopdoodle or Zooterkins. And what’s “Crummidy Dum Dum”? Well, dear, I need some help here…

Bleep yourself : “I lost my bleeping pencil!”.

These pages :

 

Well, in France we sometimes use the Belgian ones…

Thanks for reading!

(clara_ferreira_alves)10932352_881529048545288_875443943_n.jpg

Instagram : clara_ferreira_alves

Writing in another language

I’m French. I write in English. Why? Here’s what I see :

  • Blogging in English forces me to me short and simple.
  • So it’s like pendrawing instead of oil painting. Water instead of wine.
  • I constantly check (and thus learn) vocabulary.
  • So I have to think about the French vocabulary too.
  • I am not distracted by any search of French “Style”, and it’s a relief.
  • I quit my well known ground, to find another babyway to walk on another soil.
  • Writing in French is like “too easy”, it flows fast (as I type) from ideas to words.
  • Writing in English is more like building a little plane-model with unusual words. It’s slower, and a pleasure too.
  • There’s a playing child pleasure into it.
  • As it’s not my “tongue”, I feel really more chilled out when I write here.
  • Therefore I can focus on my little tools, not “How to say that in French properly”.
  • I invent words with a smile.
  • I make mistakes on purpose… with a smile.
  • I know and feel that I miss something, and I have to ignore it, and let go.
  • I can speak English, but I’m also quite lost in it. I explore, then.
  • I learn constantly about American culture, just by watching the way this language expresses things.
  • Idioms are different, and each time it’s like finding a jewel.
  • It’s probably an exercise for “one day write in French”, with new eyes and muscles-of-the-brain gained from writing in another language.
  • It can also be a way to voluntarily lose bad habits in my own language.

 

Beautiful books are always written in a sort of foreign language, said Marcel Proust. That’s a great seed for the mind, don’t you think? It’s about style. When I’ll “write back” in French, I’m sure I’ll be richer, then, because of my English exploration years…

Merci!

 

#French #Blogging in #English : un Songe

OK I’m French, I knowwww that I make mistakes. Sometimes I even make mistakes on purpose, like when I use nouns as verb. Thus… at night : I bed, then in the morning I coffee. I should have written that “I mistake on purpose”…

Blogging in English? Why?

Because it’s not my native language, so I HAVE to make in simple and short. Simple because I don’t have all the vocabulary. Short because… I know you don’t like to read long articles on your smartphone. Therefore short is good. It also forces me to be synthetic.

I asked some friends “how does it sound?”, but they were really not able to tell me. Charming Frenchy? Awkward foreigner? Disturbing little flaws? I don’t know if it brings colors or botherness

Yes, OK, botherness : no, OK. I liked it, though!

What I heard also is that it sounds French ALSO because of the way ideas are expressed (How so? Casualness? Impoliteness?), or even because… American people just simple don’t think like that, or say that. Parfois, un article vient d’un simple songe…

Songe? What’s between “think” (penser) and “dream” (rêver), in English? We have this verb : songer. And a splendid noun : un songe…

Bonne journée. Thanks for reading!

mariadelsur_-__temps__La_vie_nous_donne_chaque_jour_86400_secondes.__Avons-nous_pris_une_seule_d_entre_elles_pour_dire_je_t_aime___ceux_qui_sont_pr_cieux_et_uniques_pour_notre_coeur___Je

Instagram : mariadelsur