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 !

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Instagram : _bodylanguage_

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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

 

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Acceleration & Ways of laughing : Chronicle 14

Why are my friends mostly women? Because men always want to win. As a man, talking to a man always leads to competition. This is really boring…
And, of course, my female friends almost all say that they prefer to talk with… men. It’s the way the world goes, I suppose…

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Today I learned about the word “Culprit“, and in my mind there’s a confusion with “Guilty”. In French, the word is the same : coupable. It’s a weird feeling to discover two words in a language while you have just one in yours!

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A few days ago I saw a guy I know coming in the street. He didn’t see me, then, as I was parking my bike, he did the Store Front Escape. What I read in this “sudden interest” is “I don’t want to talk to this person”. So be it. Me neither maybe, voilà.

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There’s a Virilio simple dial : “Acceleration leads to accident”. What does that mean? When you examine this pattern, do you think about the guy who drives too fast, progress, or about the whole civilization?

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In this blog I claim to be a pecker , like a bird lacking of culture, casually (and randomly) finding microscopic ideas to share. This strange freedom, weaved with the uneasy but comforting idea that my-english-is-not-good-but-I-try-though… makes it what it is!

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There’s a seesaw (we call this in French un tape-cul : a hit-ass – makes sense?) I find in many authors or artists : it’s a swing between 1/ the anxiety of losing some time and 2/  go with the flow and do nothing special. Always interesting to see how people deal with that, and what maturity brings them (guess in which way)…

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We have this word for “shell”, in French : un coquillage, which seems more magic to me. Une coquille d’œuf : an eggshell. Une coquille d’escargot : a snail shell. What do you find on the shore? A shell or a shellfish? Shells, of course. I wonder if in English it’s “charged” like in French : a word full of the sea, the salty taste, the texture and the frame of shells… Maybe it is! But the word itself is delicious, right? Coquillage…

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Some French words in “age” (pronounce not “age”, but “aj”) are like dreaming in the air at the end of the word : nuage (cloud), sillage (the wake behind a boat)

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You’ll always read that other people “can’t really know you”. We are islands, etc. In fact, I’m sure that it’s not true. Some rare people are able and will “know” you (ha, like “I see you” in Avatar!), or a part of your personality. There’s nothing like someone who gets you. Immediately, love is around, or at least a kind of magic bond, intensity. And I think that one of the tragedies of life is to have someone who is able to see you… and you don’t realize it. You don’t listen…

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There’s this little trick between French and English about this phrase : “I miss you”. We say : “Tu me manques”, because this verb is used the other way round in France. It’s a little like “You miss to me”, or worse : “You lack to me”. I’m sorry, it’s uglily said, but it’s true! And I can’t stop plunging into a meditation about how language structures our reality. “I miss you” is very different, in fact, than “You now are lacking to me”… well… sort of. Just imagine that “miss” in French is the other way round. So sorry 🙂

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Sometimes you know someone very well, but you’re surprised to see this person with unknown people. There’s one thing to watch, then : the way she laughs in front of others. Countenance or composure laughing… where people hear joy, and where you hear timidity, hidden rushes, panic, a way to shut up, a given time to think about things to say and, her eyes constantly checking you, a need for help, support, hand in back, come next to me, I need you, friendship and deep bond reaffirmation. All this… in a laugh.

 

Thanks for reading!

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“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!

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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!

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Instagram : clara_ferreira_alves

When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things – Chronicle 11

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”
“Regarder, c’est oublier les noms des choses que l’on voit”
― Paul Valéry

A few days ago I was in Paris at a book marathon for professionals. Imagine rooms full of booksellers, and a parade of book companies representatives (with Powerpoint slides) lecturing them about all the “GREAT” books (about food, art, science, nature, history, whatever) which will be available before the end of the year. This for hours.

This is exhausting, but it’s also very interesting, of course. We were sometimes amazed by some splendid front covers, or by good ideas (there’s a Art coffee table book about “the last painting before they die”). It’s a bit like you, hungry book lover, when you come in a store to lurk what is “on the tables”.

Most of the representatives had only 10 minutes to talk about their stuff, before leaving the place for the next one. In the afternoon, as a part of us were in a smaller room to talk about, well, “more specialized books”, a guy came, began his lecture and we all immediately realized that… we’ve seen the same slides in the morning, presented by someone else.

I doubt it was made on purpose (but who knows?) but it was interesting and we watched it differently for many reasons :

Nobody had the heart to say him. We breathed differently like in a release of tension, like “Oh, OK, I’ve seen these”, defocusing and refocusing with casualness, along the presentation. I was playing this game which is to notice the different ways this other man was talking about the books, focusing on details the other person forgot to tell, and vice versa. When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things.

Isn’t there a tool, here, for lectures, advertising, marketing, entertainment? I’m sure there is…

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Charles Juliet writes in his diary that it’s sometimes when you are at your lowest ebb that other people come to see you for help. Is it because you’re dismantled inside? Well, it’s not written on your forehead, right? Then… I don’t know. But it’s true.

 

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English words I’m struggling with :

  • Roster is a list, but for a team only? People? Can we imagine a feelings roster?
  • Unmoored are for boats, but can I use it for me? I unmoored “from” something?
  • Uphill is upward, so why there’s another word? Is it colored “difficult”?
  • Frayed is for fabric, but also stressed (for a man). Is it stressed but weak?
  • Fester, for a situation, is getting dangerous? Slow? Awkward? Rotten?
  • Uncanny is like supernatural? Weird, or great?
  • Unflinching means also “moving” or it can be “stand your ground”?
  • Gallivanting is colored by laziness or not? Pleasure? Love? Melancholy?

 

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“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”, says Paul Valéry. It’s a very strong sentence, able to stop everything in me. It works for things, concepts, people, etc. Words are really dangerous. Because we eventually think they “are” the truth. Notice he said “the names”, plural.

Dance, poetry, painting and music are able to show things “between” words, when the language is not subtle enough to tell what is happening. Philosophy tells us about haecceity, which says we are constantly different, moving, trying to grip the many changes and the possibilities of life.

Beware when you think about someone with a couple of words. Dreams of reason produce monsters. We are not monsters.

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One day someone said to me :

“You live in the past & I live in the future”

Woahhhh perfect nastiness, right? Give the dog a bone! Some assertions are so absurd than you begin to take them to pieces – without saying a word, right?

We all live in the present, and that’s all. Every human being uses his memory and the past as a map to make better choices. And everyone is constantly watching the possibilities of the future. This is brain functioning…

If you’re not made of cardboard, you change, you use everything you know, you want, you propose, you desire, you are not steady, because you are… alive :

  • you watch behind
  • you watch now
  • you watch in front of you

Well, I suppose this phrase was destined to say “I’m better than you”, right?

 

By the way, what is the difference between nastiness and meanness? I suppose meanness is more calculated, nastiness more cruel and crazy? I don’t know; really…

 

Hey! Have a nice day!

 

 

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”

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Palm of Ordinary Seeds & Masters Wrong : Chronicle 8

Within my reach !
I could have touched !
I might have chanced that way !
Emily Dickinson 

 

For some of us, who have inside a sort of “rush”, a surge, an inner run-up force, there are many ways. You can Huckleberry Finn along a river, you can also Kerouac all along the road, you can choose a passion (collecting – forks or shipwreck books -, throw yourself into sports, politics, veganism or religion, anything that can keep you busy). If you have young kids, you don’t have to worry : these little brats will keep you busy. You can disappear, too, into alcoholism or antidepressants, or sleep. Shopping, why not, if you’re moneyfilled.

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My daughter was in England all past week in Plymouth, including the day people were killed and stabbed in London. You will see plenty of pictures of people in Europa saying “We Are Not Afraid”, and, like Londonians during the V1 V2 Nazi bombing during WWII, we are NOT afraid. I told my daughters to live, to shop, go to theaters and restaurants and have fun with friends. That’s our way to resist : to stay ourselves against idiots.

And yes : spot the emergency exits, everywhere they go.

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When you advise a friend to read a book, to watch a movie, and she or he asks why, you answer : “You will know once you’re on it”. With a certain smile, right?

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When a window is closed, another can open. What kind? What is different? What if it was the last window, closed for ever?

After a big disappointment, what’s left ? Pieces : misanthropy, auto-torture about ideals and dreams, and Art as a shelter.

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What do we do (or think we can do) against an formidable enemy, a wrong energy? What if you can’t resist because it would be stupidly useless? Seeds for an article :

  • Don Quichotte’s mills
  • A drop in the water
  • An attempt for appel d’air
  • Dessiller (open sb’s eyes)
  • Draw maps (for later)
  • Barometer (to warn)
  • Warn, alert
  • Guerilla
  • Witness
  • Grains of sand (in the clock)
  • Breaches & holes drilling

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Map of Variations :

To draw a map is very common. You can use it anytime, on anything. Territory, music, history, love. Then it’s not “really” a map, but a set of informations about something complex, a table, a chart.

Choose a song and list elements : lyrics, instruments, production, place of instruments in the sound, construction. There’s one “another nature” map, though : It’s how all these change and evolve in time.

Seed/Tool : in every chart you find or work on, think about the MoV.

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Feedbacking a patient can have a great effect, I read once. It’s probably the same for teachers, parents… It means : stopping being “The One Who Knows”, ride down next to your patient/student, and talk man-to-man about YOU. This can have a tremendous good effect. Your advice, on this?

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This is a seed for short stories : “When imminent danger is a godsend”. Why, where, how, etc. Your turn!

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Embarrassment when you see a Master out of his domain. Nietzsche’s music? Schoenberg’s paintings? Or someone you know? A great cook trying to fix his car? A genius computer programmer parenting? And so what?

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Sapiosexual breakups are the worse. Because instead of missing an inventing sex life, magic tenderness and a silky skin, you miss a thinking brain, a conversation master, a challenging thinker, you miss questions, surprises, bends and laughs. AND magic tenderness, okay. That’s worse, eventually.

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Eventually is a very tricky word for us French. I know it means “after some time”, or even “finally”. But in French, “éventuellement” means “possibly”, or “potentially”. Well, even now I have to check. Each time I use it. My brain doesn’t not want it. I always want to call Obama on the phone to explain him there’s a mistake.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Jean-Pascal

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