Showing posts with label french. Show all posts
Showing posts with label french. Show all posts

10 April 2011

wwoofing vocabulary: le marais

gironde06-smalleach morning begins withbrume covering everything.

gironde05-smallafter that, like clockwork,

balrougeappears in the sky.

gironde04-smalllast but not least,nuage take over.

gironde02-smallhere you can roam and exploremar to your heart’s content.

gironde17-smallwhat is is it that giveslavie to the landscape?

gironde33-smallas usual it is lesanimaux in this cause it would be deuxchevaux who are nameless. but you quickly remedy that.

the large one, the female, you name doucette the small one, the male, you namepissenlit

as for why, that will be explained plustard gironde34-smallthe marais is also a natural habitat forlesoiseaux gironde35-smallas you explore, you see evidence of the cycledelavie can you guess what animal this carcasse belongs to?

gironde10-smallif it were ete you could flip this canoe over and hop into the estuaire gironde11-small

part of your travail here at laferme is to chercherlafoin because there are soixante hungry mouths to be fed deuxfoisparjoursexplanations, definitions, and translations:

  • la brume: the fog.
  • un ballon rouge: a red balloon, otherwise known as the sun.
  • les nuages: the clouds.
  • le marais: the marshlands/wetlands.
  • la vie: life.
  • les animaux: the animals.
  • deux chevaux: two horses.
  • doucette: wild lamb’s lettuce, the name you give to the female horse
  • pissenlit: dandelion, the name you give to the male horse
  • plus tard: later
  • les oiseaux: the birds
  • cycle de la vie: the circle/cycle of life
  • carcasse: carcass
  • été: summer
  • canoë: canoe
  • estuaire: estuary, a transitional body of water where the freshwaters of rivers and streams flow into the open ocean.
  • travail: work
  • la ferme: the farm
  • chercher la foin: collect hay
  • soixante: sixty
  • deux fois par jour: twice a day

08 April 2011

helpful french vocabulary for wwoofing in the 33

gironde42-smallafter israel you landed back on french soil.

literally. you arrived and headed straight to the marshlands of girwhere you went

wwwand this is why you need thatlost because on it you had written all thevocab that you learned.

too bad. you’ll just have to rely onmem  so. the first thing that you need arebottes

because you are stepping intomonde and you promised to cite your friendfran because he always helps you with your french questions.

explanations, definitions, and translations:

  • la gironde: a department in southwest france whose number is 33. bordeaux is also located here.
  • wwoofing: world wide opportunities on organic farms, where one works on a farm in exchange for food and housing.
  • lost sheet of paper: click here.
  • vocabulaire: vocabulary.
  • ta mémoire: your memory.
  • les bottes: boots.
  • un monde non pavé: an unpaved world.
  • françois: your friend and neighbor who is one of the most reliable french dictionaries you trust.

26 March 2011

la pissaladière d’émilie

fri01a life without pajama days would not be much of a life.

not too many – but every now and then it is nice to wake up and have no reason to change into regular clothing.

so with a friday completely free, you decide to tackle some projects in your backlog of things to do. starting with a pissaladière.

fri01ba pissaladière? you’ve actually never heard of this either. but someone named émilie, someone you don’t know, emailed you the recipe more than a year ago. october 2009 to be exact. it’s now 2011, and how could you have forgotten to make her recipe? so on your pajama day, you bring out the onions, anchovies, and olives.

in short, a pissaladière is essentially a pizza… without cheese and without tomato sauce. from the south of france.

fri02first you will need to peel and slice onions. lots of them. get ready to wipe away those tears. caramelize them for about an hour over low heat. puree your anchovies over low heat as well, but definitely not for a whole hour. make your pizza dough and let it rest. then you just assemble them in layers.

fri03 roll out the dough.

spread the anchovy paste.

top with onions.

add olives.


fri04and eat.

you’re again reminded about how regional everything is in france, because when you ask your friends in normandy if they’ve ever tasted a pissaladière, all of them respond with a giant blank face. ? quoi? j’en connais pas, désolée.

emilie’s mother’s pissaladière, roughly translated

the dough
380 grams all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
15g buckwheat starter (? i couldn't find this so i used instant yeast and then 15g of buckwheat flour)
2 tbs olive oil
250 ml milk, room temperature

-mix the dry ingredients together, add the olive oil, and then the milk. use a food processor if you have one, but by hand works as well. let it rest, covered, for about an hour.

the onion topping
20 anchovy filets (save a few whole ones for decoration)
2.5 kg onions (i actually cut this down a lot. perhaps only 1 kg for me - i basically could only use an amount that would fit in my skillet. but then i also froze the leftover pizza dough.)
olive oil
black olives (to decorate)

-over low heat, heat the anchovies until you end up with an anchovy puree. set aside.
-peel and finely slice the onions.
-over low heat, slowly cook and caramelize the onions with the olive oil and a little bit of salt, but not too much as the anchovies are already salty. you should have another thick puree.

roll out the dough
cover with the anchovy puree
add the onions
then place the olives wherever you’d like. and even some whole anchovies for decoration if you remembered to save a few (i didn’)

bake in a 210C/410F oven for about 15-20 minutes

vachebut you don’t stay in your pajamas the whole day. once you’re finished with the pissaladière, you change, hop on your bike, and enjoy the signs of spring.

some bonus vocabulary:

vendredi / friday
vache / cow
vélo / bike
voie verte / literally "green lane,” any path or road dedicated to non-motorized vehicles only
vingt degrés / twenty degrees C, which is 68 F
vent / wind

05 September 2009

happy first birthday, lpf!

lpfbirthdaycakebon anniversaire, mon petit journal!
生日快樂, 我的小日志簿! / sheng1 ri4 kuai4 le4, wo3 de xiao3 ri4 zhi4 bu4!
Herzliche Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, meine kleine Zeitschrift!
happy birthday, my little journal!

tu as un ans!
你一歲了﹗ni3 yi1 sui4 le!
Du bist ein Jahre alt!
you're one year old!

et écrire en quatre langues me prend trop de temps.
and writing in 4 languages is too time consuming.

one small correction for the very first sentence i ever wrote: je la retournerai. wrong. (i will return it.) it's supposed to be j'y retournerai (i will return there). but regardless of my error, i made the intent of my dream come true. that's right. six more days until i find myself seven hours ahead... in france.

one year ago, it was driving me mad that I was away from europe with no real reason to return... so all that energy went into this journal and has kept me sane. but more than sane, my goals and plans in life are a lot clearer now that i've been writing about them. and i'm excited to continue pursuing them. ideas are forming and spinning in all sorts of directions. and the only thing for sure is that language, food, and art are sure to be involved. the same exact things i obsess over in life and in la prochaine fois.

je continuerai à réaliser mes rêves pour toujours.
我一定會一直繼續追隨我的夢想 / wo3 yi2 ding4 hui4 yi4 zhi2 ji4 xu4 zhui1 sui2 wo3 de meng4 xiang3.
Ich werde meine Träume zu folgen ständig fortsetzen.*
i will continue to follow my dreams forever.

*i also promise that in one year i'll become knowledgeable enough to correct that german sentence since i'm pretty sure i messed up the word order / vocabulary / grammar.

so one last time, happy birthday!

14 August 2009


done with german. going to miss the class - and boy do I have a lot to say about learning a language in 12 weeks! the last words my professor to me were, "and as you know, keep practicing, or else you will forget all your german..." .......except that today i'm running away to quebec to practice my french. and follow my tummy. you can bet i'll be back with lots of edible eye candy. and hopefully my french will go up as well. can't wait. technically this is my "summer vacation" but this entire summer has felt like vacation - that's how much I enjoyed German! :)

a plus tard! when i come back, it'll be preparing for paris!

24 May 2009

a crush

spam look, spam! but spam en français!

it doesn’t matter how terrible, ugly, or awful something is. if it is in french, i have a crush on it. it is the loveliest feeling on earth – to be infatuated with something. to be obsessed. to be in love. for me, it’s with a language, and anything associated with that language. (and also bakeries and jewelry and food and all sorts of other things. but i could go on forever about things i like.)

and i think its important, to have these passions and interests that drive your motivation to do things.

so have crushes. on people. on things. on animals. on anything. it gives you a wonderful reason to wake up and do stuff :)

and since i’m on the topic of french – i’m on my 4th french workbook right now, McGraw Hill’s Complete French Grammar by Annie Hemingway. I’m not sure if the book is simple, or if I’m smarter in French now, but it’s super easy! Less things are confusing to me. What used to give me a major headache and tons of re-reading only causes minor annoyances now. And that is a good good feeling. I’m also reading Le Fils du Pendu by Francis Chalifour, a french young adult novel I found at the library. And L'elegance du Herisson by Muriel Barbery. And resuming Don Quixote by Cervantes. And Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin in Chinese. For the first time since junior high, I'm reading seriously for pleasure again. However, the question is if I’ll actually finish them before they’re all due back at the library!

ps: vie de merde, the french version of fml, is my new favorite french learning tool. not only are they hilarious and in french, but most importantly, they're short. i can spend a few seconds or a few hours, but I always end up with lots of new vocabulary and phrases. another good one is postsecret france. They may be short, and not only do you improve your language skills, but you come out touched by the things people share.

09 April 2009

grad school plans

emphasis on plans. minimum 5 years later. i want a break from school, I need some life experiences doing things! but i already have many ideas for what I want to research for grad school.

oh yes, i forgot to mention, as of right now, i don’t want to go to grad school for art. mainly because those programs are aimed at people who want to teach art a college level or are serious conceptual artists who are truly making art. There are a few people at my school right now that are like that, and I know for sure I’m not like that. I'm not a very conceptual person, i prefer to focus on form and design, and I don’t feel as if the contemporary art world direction is right for me. It doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about it, only that my interests don’t match up with the graduate programs. and plus, the art related things i do like to do, i don’t feel as if i need school as much as I would need it for linguistics. but perhaps the more realistic reason is that i'm just a little bit tired of art school and would like a change. remember, i prefer small bites of everything over one big bite of one thing.

My interest in languages goes very well with many linguistics programs. Plus they still bring in my passion for art and food.

Topics I enjoy and would perhaps pursue:

1. How the choice of words we use reflect who we are as a person. (this may not be the correct title, but its all I can think of at the moment.) For example, in our photography class, my professor, Lawrence McFarland, became very passionate about the difference between shooting a photo, taking a photo, and making a photo. In the end, the same thing happens: a new photo exists.

Shooting a photo implies the photographer is forceful, rude, invasive, and harsh. Shooting is for guns and weapons. When you shoot a photo, its aligning yourself with those objects of destruction. And that is not what photography should be about.

Taking a photo implies you know nothing about what you are doing. You’re just mindlessly pushing the button. Harmless, but no real thinking involved.

However, when you make a photo, you are thinking about what you are trying to communicate. You are creating something in the form of a photograph. There’s a level of skill and thought involved here that the other terms can’t imply.

Another example is from p. 116 of teach yourself linguistics by Jean Aitchison. (I know, i know, i’m a huge dork for reading this book willingly, but I always regretted not taking a linguistics class in college). She (or he?) talks about these 3 phrases:

I should be grateful if you would make less noise.

Please be quiet.

Shut up!

All three of those end in the same result: a person making less noise, but the way you request it makes all the difference. And plus it tells you a lot about the personality of the person making the request.

2. How new words are formed related to culture and food. (again, a terrible title, but I'm not too concerned with naming my topics yet)

Let’s start with the Chinese word “餅” pronounced “bing3”

This character is used in the words:

cookie, 餅乾, “bing3 gan1”, “biscuit”

deep-fried pancake, 油餅, “you2 bing3”, “crêpes chinoises aux oignons”

moon cake, 月餅, “yue4 bing3”, “gâteau de lune”

In other words, there is absolutely no way to translate bing3 concisely. It is anything that is round and flat made from a dough. However, just look at the huge variations in english and french:

A cookie in America is always sweet. A “bing3” can be savory! It can be baked, fried, dried, etc. It can even be a flat bread (for the deep-fried pancake). However, although it is widely accepted to call it a pancake, it actually is a flat bread! Yet you could absolutely not call it a type of bread in Chinese. And yet it is not a pancake, because pancakes use a batter, and this uses a dough. And in French, they call it a crepe, but a crepe is also from a batter and much thinner than the bing3. And a moon cake is most definitely not a cake. You also could not call it a cake back in Chinese. It’s a bing3. The word “cake” in Chinese is completely different

See how 1 word is so confusing? But so fascinating to me.

Another example is “fry.” There are 4 ways to say “fry” in Chinese. However, only one word exists in English for “fry.” And so when Chinese food started to trickle over to the western world, new words were created (and old words adapted) in English to help differentiate between the Chinese definitions of “fry.” Stir-fry, pan-fry, deep fry, and sauté.

3. Ancient phrases that people have adapted to contemporary times. I love how the essence of a phrase never loses it’s meaning regardless of the centuries that pass. And I think it would be nice to study those changes. In Chinese we study a lot of proverbs, and the majority of them are from ancient classical chinese culture, where it was all about emperors and conquering lands and what not. However, the lessons of these proverbs continue as people have updated the context into situations that are of today’s times. The timelessness of them is what makes me so attracted to them.

My current French prof brought up anthropology today when I mentioned language, culture, and food. I hadn’t even considered that topic because I thought I was going into the sociolinguistic realm. But who knows. I’ve got many years to figure out what exactly I want to do!

07 April 2009

rings sneak peek and french and other ramblings

rings01 dried fruit rings

rings02 the pear ring

All those shots of dried fruit that I have been posting have not been for photography’s sake only. All the fruit, besides being eaten, are being turned into rings for metals. The photographing of them was a side thing, but it’s turning into its own project as well. playing with several ideas: 1. non permanence of jewelry and art in general, 2. food without the use of preservatives, 3. design wise, finding an original shape without destroying the inherent strength of the dried fruit, 4. a friend brought this up, femininity… feminism… this goes deep! that’s not my intent, but if the work makes others think of that, then i should consider it

Let’s talk French! yay!

The post below – that was the longest continuous French paragraph I’ve written. And I can’t wait until I can write something that long without getting a headache. Already, I am referring to wordreference less and less.

Of course i can’t talk when I am excited/happy/nervous in English. Imagine me in French. Imagine me attempting to talk to my French professor this morning in French about getting into the assistantship program. Uh huh, it was embarrassing.

BUT! I think there’s something else to it as well. During the summer, I had absolutely no problem speaking French because I knew very few structures, so everything came out very simple. Passé composé , imparfait, and present were about the only ones I used. And a voudrais every now and then to be polite. But I could form sentences fast in my head because the structures were short and sweet.

Now, I know so much more, and so it takes me a lot longer to formulate my sentences before I can say them. So although its part nervousness that makes me suck at talking, its also because I’m running through 7 or 8 tenses in my head. But it’s getting better. I’m going to speak fluidly eventually, and I know I’ll get plenty of practice!

I no longer feel embarrassed or uneasy about skipping so many French classes, because, I’ve proved that I belong where I am. I worked to catch up, and I’ve got the grades as well as a job in France to prove it! I’ve got one last crazy detail thing I’m doing, but I’ll talk about that later.

Let’s see where I go from here.. 4 weeks until the last day of class!