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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“It wasn’t a mini-tornado, these don’t exist”

As the weather is a bit stormy these days in France, some trees fell, some houses lost their roof, and you read articles in the press telling about mini-tornadoes, with an explicit picture (you can google.fr “mini tornade”).

Immediately, weather specialists stand up in furia and learnedly explain to the community that “It wasn’t a mini-tornado, these don’t exist”. You see their point : categories, how “real” tornadoes appears, etc.

As if you’d slap your little boy in the face because he plays with cars. “It’s not a car, silly, it’s a toy car!“. Bim!

There is something to notice here, a pattern we should watch closely.

At first you want to say “Breathe, buddy”. This thing looks like a mini-tornado, so why can’t people use this word? What’s the point with definitions, here? Isn’t, like a “toy car”, mini itself enough to say “not real”? What if we obey? It’s not a mini tornado. So what?

 

It’s like a cristallization of our problems with words and reality.

  1. Reality is real. Your house really lost its roof, even if mini-tornadoes “don’t exist”. Words are impartation, values – and names are conferred words.
  2. When we think about someone, we have a bunch of labels all ready, and the person disappears under stickers. It is convenient, but wrong.
  3. We often amalgamate the word and the reality, which deprives us from intelligence. A word closes the box, letting us stuck in stupid simplicity.
  4. What else?

 

“Haecceity” is about Labels on your Forehead, from where I copy paste this :

Deleuze says we are more accurately longitudes and latitudes, a group of different speeds and slownesses, an individual, a singularity, constantly inventing grapes of possibilities, a play of forces or encounters.

 

Thanks for reading!

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An Ardent Patience & Depuzzlement Processes : seeds in Chronicle 29

People underestimate kids, right?

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  1. Someone hears a sound, and doesn’t understand what it is about
  2. Then hears it’s a voice – of unknown words
  3. Then hears it’s his language, but doesn’t understand the phrases
  4. Then gets the phrases, but doesn’t get what one is talking about
  5. Then understands and stands up

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Les enfants aux ailes de rue – Street-Winged Children.

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It’s time to repost this : Some French feel-good movies to choose from

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Exploring mood? Google “Best Albums 2017”. I’m on it! What are yours?

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In a conversation about things and events and ideas, do you focus on the sense and the logic, or on what you feel, the specifics? That’s a real question…

Oh, both, dear : naturally. How to weave/dance? Finding invariances in the particulars…

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Serenity as a sign of love.

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A good friend, or your child, has a problem, an hesitation. Needs you. You then develop a big bubble of attention, a gigantic ear. You focus & try to ask questions – useless or trappy or good questions. The purpose is to help him/her to give birth to a solution – to help the depuzzlement process…

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À l’aurore, armés d’une ardente patience, nous entrerons aux splendides Villes.

In the dawn, armed with a burning patience, we shall enter the splendid Cities.

Arthur Rimbaud

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Here’s a secret (or a question) :

People have different burdens, different ways to be bereaved (“deprived of loved ones”).

I remember telling a friend, in a letter, more than twenty years ago, about my difficulties with my lover, who had lost her mother at the age of 11.

“Go to the cemetery, with her”, she answered. Ohhh…

There are many types of bereavement : death, cutting bonds because of serious misconduct, friendship loss, remoteness… It creates, I’m sure, a black veil, with a crow under. Who can pinch. It’s maybe our responsibility to come close to the veil and whisper : “Let’s go to the cemetery”.

Talking about a dark past, wrong choices from people you loved, or the loss of a mother. Holding up (a little) the veil. See if there’s a sail under, ready to inflate and breathe. Or not.

Who will be the one who says : “Let’s talk about the past”? What can it bring? What if the answer is “No, never”?

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Forgetting the past to move forward is like to erase maps and the knowledge on the maps.

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My friend was a teacher for kids “with big problems”. She wrote me a long letter about these children who became worried – thus violent – when they began to understand that a special freedom comes from… learning. Then, she said, they go on, and calm down.

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Interesting situation, when you want the balance to change but the other one doesn’t want the balance to change.

Funnier : you want to change something, but the other one wants to change another thing. Here you are both of you pushing on different doors…

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Dervishes

Dervishes

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Coding & Composing : What are your lost Kingdoms?

I call a Lost Kingdom an activity you loved in the past, and you don’t do anymore today.

For me it’s coding (I programmed a lot when I was maybe 15) and composing (from 20 to 25). Today, it’s over.

But :

  • In 1993 I had to learn HTML because I wanted to have a clean code for my http://www.maison-page.net – it was delightful, and I have to say I felt this really weird feeling to put on these old shoes. Coding is building something, with immediate tests and gratifications. It’s a little mathematics too. Logic. It puts your brain in a grid of logic, building, making tools. I love it so much! De facto, my page was and stays very fast. Sorry, no PHP or Java here…
  • Five years ago I bought a midi keyboard and began to work with GarageBand. It amazed me, gave me pleasure, and I composed maybe 20 or 30 new tracks. And I remember now… not the music, but the state I was in when I was working on them.

 

The idea of Lost Kingdoms leads me to this idea. Some activities push us in different states. You can play Lego, have a clever conversation for hours, write a poem, take your cam in the countryside, watch a mantis praying, build a cabin in your garden : it’s a “way of thinking”, and your brains knows and recognizes it. Your grow from this.

Lamenting on Kingdoms lost is useless, I agree. Go back to it. Or find new ones : learn an instrument, travel Italy, begin Chinese or horseback riding (question : why not simply “horse riding”??). Bake new cakes . Put your brain in new grids. It’s good, believe me.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

 

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Wrong way up for children : Tablets & TV

Parents think that their child is a genius, or at least, “is on advanced for his age”.

Thus, a computer tablet looks like perfection : with letters, words, multiplications, that’s very cool!

But many studies showed something : there shouldn’t be a single minutes of “screens” time before the age of 3. And no tablet before 6.

Child development is a big thing. They have to grow so many aspects! TV before 3 and tablets before 6 is messing with motor and language development, socialization skills and empathy.

I talked many times with speech pathologists who say that screens (TV all the time, tablets for preschooler) are a disaster. And they told me it’s becoming a real problem today…

And also this : “High exposure to background TV has been found to negatively affect language use and acquisition, attention, cognitive development and executive function in children younger than 5 years”

In France, one man (Serge Tisseron) studied that for years. He talks about the rule of 3-6-9-12

  1. No screen before 3. Not a minute.
  2. TV OK, but no video game or tablet before 6.
  3. They’re OK, but no Internet before 9, with a parent.
  4. Internet OK after 12, with care.

Before 5 years old, never more than an hour a day.

Google : “screen time children development”

What do you think?

 

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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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“This is BLUE” – A child story

We live in words, our intelligence plays with them constantly. We dialog with them (as good tools!), we think in words and images. So much that it can become a problem. Philosophers (who said Wittgenstein?) thought a lot about this. And we books-lovers like to think about the limitation of our world with words. Poets and photographers (and others) try to evoke “richer” things, moods that can not be completely defined with words – which simplify reality. Words are not enough, and the world (us included) is moving

I talk sometimes with people who work with poor people, homeless or living in a very poor condition. Educators, teachers in special schools, or unpaid helpers who give a few hours from time to time, volunteers.

One of them, a former philosophy teacher, lives in my street. A few days ago she told me she met a little boy who didn’t speak. Not a word, ever : mute. She said this kid had been well taken cared of, but no one was speaking to him.

So she stayed around, for months, speaking to him, reading him stories, never asking for anything. Like “When I come, I’m with you, that’s it”. Like nourishing him with words.

Months later, a morning, she said the kid watched her, pointed out something in a book, and said : “C’est bleu !”.

 

This

Is

Blue

 

Thanks for reading!

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