“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!

 

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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_

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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The French “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?” is our way to ask “What have you been up to?”…

When you meet a friend, you can say “What’s up?”.

It’s clear and simple for a French, with the fascination we have for English’s conciseness : what is “up”, after all? 🙂

I think there’s a slightly different color in “What’s up with you?”, saying “What have you been up to?”, which is “How have you been busy these days?”. I’m good?

Well, we say in this case “What’s new?” : Quoi de neuf ?

After a long-time no-see, we often say : “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?“, which means “Who do you become?”, or “What are you turning into?“.

Yessss you see me coming, there’s a cultural difference here showing on the surface :

USA asks “What have you been up to?”, France asks “What are you turning into?”. One friend is asking about your actions, the other one is asking about your inner transformation. Isn’t it revealing? I don’t know, it makes me think, in any case…

 

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : clairemahoney

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

Fuir -> To Flee/To Leak – a #Deleuze word game

Fuir is a French verb, well, TWO French verbs, which are homonyms :

  1. Fuir : To flee
  2. Fuir : To leak

Therefore, it’s the same for “la fuite”, two homonyms :

  1. Fuite : a flight, an escape
  2. Fuite : a leak

So I suppose you understand it’s a bit “weaved” in our French brain. And if I ask “Fuite” in http://www.wordreference.com/, I find interesting things to prove it :

  • Fuite de capitaux : Capital flight (a leak, a flee)
  • Fuite des cerveaux : Brain drain (idem)
  • Ligne de fuite : Convergence line (in French, so, more like “a lign of flight”)

Gilles Deleuze is a playful philosopher. He likes to play with concepts to make tools.

He notices that to flee is NOT to renounce, or to give up, it’s a real action. To fly away is going on a line which stays like a symbol. It’s fuir (to flee) but also faire fuir (to “make a leak”). To run away is sometimes like to puncture the place you leave. You leave a hole, maybe… Therefore, a leak…

Fuir/Fuir : Flee/Leak.

Yeah I know, it’s a game of words, but it can give birth to ideas, right?

I like this idea too : to run away is to draw a line. Where you ran away, you have to do something else, the place you “leaved” (OK, left) does something else too. Flee as a disturbance. Each of them draws new lines, more lines. It’s like inventing new maps. To flee is quitting a territory A to go to another territory (B). Is it a “go back”? A flee & discovery? If there’s a leak on B, what is its nature? What happens, then? Can the runaway bird be replaced? By what? If you fly away, are you forced by something, pushed away, is it a choice?

More Territories games : you can see here.

Have a good day!

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