English words I struggle with

Lawmakers concerned about Trump’s mental state summoned a Yale University psychiatry professor who said : “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

I understand it’s something about collapsing, but I’m not sure. It’s knitting vocabulary, right? When do you say that about a human being? Isn’t this verb a bit positive too (like unravelling a mess)?

I guess that stiff upper lip sounds UK, but I’m not sure? Do you use it in America? Does it mean composure and phlegm like in France, or is it colored with coldness? In French, “le flegme Britannique” is a way to stay calm in all circumstances, even if your house is bombed. Thus there’s an (almost) invisible smile in it.

I ask, because stiff is tough and rigid, right?

Shanty is a mystery. Is it a ruin, a small ruin, a sweet ruin? Isn’t it a little house? Is a shanty town a poor ghetto, or can it be a quiet chalet village for tourists? It’s a sailor’s song too??!

What’s the difference between ruse, trick, cunning?

I have a big problem with reckon. First, it’s a false friend, because “reconnaître” in French is “to acknowledge”. OK, it means to estimate and to consider, but also to think. In this last meaning, does it sound Southern, or do you say it in Massachusets too? Reckon on, reckon with, reckon without : do you SAY them?

To bedight : do decorate. Is it vintage? Never said? Funny?

To diminish, to dwindle : What is the difference? To peter into… When do you use this??

Colloquial and familiar…

Ohhh…

Someone told me one day that to learn a language is an infinite process. Tonight I feel terribly weak.

 

Have a nice day!

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Degas & Mallarmé : painting, poetry, ideas and creativity

Degas (a painter) was discussing poetry with Mallarmé (a poet);

“It isn’t ideas I’m short of… I’ve got too many”, said Degas.

“But Degas,” replied Mallarmé, “you can’t make a poem with ideas. … You make it with words.”

Game for brain : behind the obvious, what does that mean? What frontier does is draw? Why? What can we find around this? Where to apply it?

Mallarmé answers a painter… as a poet. He did it on purpose, right? How can a Art irrigate another Art?

 

Have a nice day!

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“Why do you live in this place?” – Shore & Depardon

Bonjour tout le monde !

In the preface of a French photography book called “Habiter en France” (“To live in France”, by Raymond Depardon), the writer says that it’s one of the most intimate question : “Why do you live in this place?”.

Indeed, I think he’s right. It comes from the deepest of the deep. Parents, roots, the sky, people around. We stay “here”, but why? What’s the bond? What do we like? Why do we live here? These questions seem to put us in a thoughtful silence…

Today, the 23 December 2017, I got this huge, heavy, mythical book from Stephen Shore, one of the best American photographer ever : “Uncommon Places”. It’s a present I made to myself…

Both books, one in the USA, one in France, like to show what is rarely showed. Not the Eiffel tower. Not New York. But little roads, normal houses, parking lots. And certainly not in a bad way. Uncommon places in America, and where do people live in France.

They both “insist” on photographing these places until we feel the mood, the sky, the silence or the little winds…

I remember this friend from Kansas, feeling the summer air here in France, like… “Ohhhhh… There is something…”.

 

I LOVE to have these two books together. In this blog, it’s because I found a common structure, a pattern, of course. Pictures of normal life. And as usual :

The pleasure comes from “finding the subtle differences” within these cousin works…

 

Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading!

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Originally published in 1982, Stephen Shore’s legendary Uncommon Places has influenced more than a generation of photographers. Shore was among the first artists to take color beyond the domain of advertising and fashion photography, and his large-format color work on the American vernacular landscape stands at the root of what has become a vital photographic tradition over the past forty years. Uncommon Places: The Complete Works, published by Aperture in 2004, presents a definitive collection of the landmark series, and in the span of a decade, has become a contemporary classic. Now, for this lushly produced reissue, the artist has added twenty rediscovered images and a statement explaining what it means to expand a series now many decades old.

You should hear a French classroom trying to pronounce LE English!

I learned Latin and I hated it. To translate Latin is like to open a clock and take it to pieces. In a minute there’s a mess on your desk, and you want to chuck everything in (which doesn’t help at all). Then, have a beer and watch the sky thinking about the Romans. When in Rome

I learned German. Pronunciation was fun (ahh the ch sound in “ICH”!), but their sentences are bags of knots with the verb at the end – “I know that Kansas in the USA is” – and words are too crazy for my Frenchiness. Try to say Schlittschuhlaufen (ice-skating) or Streichholzschächtelchen (little box of matches). OK. Bye bye!

 

I began English at 11 years old and I liked it. As kids already, we were training our American accent on recess time, playing indians and cow-boys, with a faked and imaginary drowning nosy duck John Wayne accent. Imagine us in short pants running everywhere like crazy swallow birds, saying in loop “wayne right wayne right way yeah I kill you right okey” in a pinchedy nose tone. Yeahhh.

The first thing we struggled with is the ze. Well : THE. We don’t have this “tongue between teeth” thing here. So, well, ze French often tell ZE, and with consequences : Zat music, Zhere it is, Zis is gonna be hard. EVERYSSING will be!

Then, as we like to say the “R” differently, we struggle with your way of saying it. Strrrrruggle is a good example, by ze way. Romance is pronounced RRrromance here, we had to learn Wwomance (oh, this makes suddenly sense!). We had to get used to it, including the ending R, like in RIVER. Hear this classroom munching “Rivehhhwwwaow“, oui?

The first time I read the word “River” out loud in the class stays a trauma for me. I was 11 and I said “Ryver” (because I knew that “Life” was NOT pronounced “lif” but “life”).

– “Not Ryver, River, Jean-Pascal”.

What ze?????!
Today, what stays difficult for me is : the accentuation in words (what, you say “Word Stress”? Really??). Therefore, I don’t know what to do with PREsent (the gift) and to preSENT (the verb). You’re all crazy, that’s what I say 🙂

Where’s the accent on TELevision? TeleVIsion? Eekkk! OK I can say Tivi.

I had difficulties with words like Flaw of Law (we always pronounced this one “Low” in class) – this is such a strange sound, and I hate to open my mouth like that. For Christ, it seems I’m about to drool, being astonished and to swallow a fly at the same time! The LAAAH.

We said NEW like niouw, and I never would have guessed that American people say Noo York for the city. And if you don’t say the k letter in knife… why is it needed?! Nife would do the thing…

Little by little, I make progress though. I know that English blogging for a French is absurd, in a way, but it is not :

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day. Look : it all ensnowed! :

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Le Jardin des Géants, Lille, France

This “Garden of Giants” in Lille, France, is a small and quiet place. “The creation of the garden was entrusted to landscape gardeners from the Mutabilis workshop and to the architect Duncan Lewis”.

In the North of France, Giants ( https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9ants_du_Nord ) are like figures from the Middle Age traditions. Today they are showed in carnivals…

Thus, the park is full of symbols, tall unattainable chairs, silhouettes, mysterious places and paths, old plants…

 

I took these pictures in 2010 :

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