Friday, December 12, 2008

Ma Chere Amour

I get this email, "Cher(e),"
Now I know enough about French tell you this is a opening like saying Mr(s), but "Cher" I find out is dear, so we would say, Dear Mr.(s), meaning Mr or Mrs. They can do the gender in one word, kinda like "I can name that song in two notes" . So anyway, I am wondering now about that word.
And speaking of naming songs, "Ma chere amour" this is what has me messed up. I wondered how that was spelled, surely not as above since you can't pronounce the last e in french.
So I have this discussion with my step daughter." Cher " it does mean dear, and they use it as a term of affection also. So why have I learned the a word "Chereee"? Well she tells me you can pronounce the last E in songs and poetry. Songs and poetry pass along so much language, no wonder I'm messed up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Return of the language from hell"

I'm back and taking French class at DVC, a Jr college in Concord CA.
So it's me and Seb my French speaking son trying to figure stuff out together.
I have enough vocabulary to sometimes fill in the gaps with Sebs English.
So I'm going to French class last night and am fixing dinner, I ask Seb if he wants "3" "trois" poisson.
Well he tells me no it's "tRois" I can't hear this, I pronounce it like "toi" or you. I miss the "r" thing and how that works. When people say "toi" or "trois" it sounds the same to me, and I have never been corrected before.

People get a little sloppy with language and I think most of the French don't pronounce well anymore than we do English. "Oui" for instance is pronounced by the kids in Belgium "WAY" rather than the known "WE". I understand this is a Paris thing also.

Now I have a French speaking teacher that also speaks English, this is making my understanding of what I am learning come a little quicker. My Dutch speaking teacher with little English was great but this is a easier for me.

I am really listening to the words and trying to figure this out last night. Something else hit me.
When you are trying to learn the gender of nouns you have to learn the proper article which written is easy to see. It's a little more difficult to hear. For instance "la chaise" the chair, is feminine. But when people are talking they will use the plural or"les chaises" the chairs. OK so the S's are silent and this is pronounced "le chaise" which would be masculine, now "les" and "le" are not pronounced the same but it sounds more like "le" then "la" and I get confused.

What else did I learn, well "neuf" is not only nine but NEW, so there is this town near the airbase in Belgium call "Neufmaison" it was kinda a small town, I always thought it meant 9 houses. So maybe it's like NEWHOUSE Minnesota.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not a good cup of coffee

Well when you get your coffee in bed, you don't complain to much. But on my arrival down stairs I tried to correct what I was told was not a good cup of coffee. To weak, so I made the next cup with much less milk. This was way to strong. Anne told me she came down and remade to pot. It was "jus de chaussette" or sock juice. So now she got the much stronger coffee with less milk.
So what do I do after my coffee, I go to the office, pictured below

Monday, March 31, 2008


So Chocolate of course, it was packed downtown at Leonidas, they are known as the best value in the chocolate business.
Didn't quite get the weather right this year.


Normande bridge and the town of Honfleur, very nice spot. Pretty little harbor, good fish, nice restaurants.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'm at SHAPE today, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, were in the bowling alley. It's really fun to listen to all the different languages and try to figure where everyone is from. The girl serving us, I guessed Romania, no Poland. Then there is this large group having a birthday party, I listen, they are all speaking Spanish, ok what NATO country speaks Spanish?
Americans of course.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

French Logic is like Military Intelligence

I have to start thinking French to speak French. Language is like music, when I play it I don't think about it. A song is like one thing, it just flows out. A friend told me you learn phrases, I do that is music. It has to be like that because French is French it has nothing to do with English, you can't think English and translate to French, you have to think French.
So don't think logic, French and logic have nothing to do with each other, just like military and intelligence. In French "intelligence militaire" they also say "d'oxymore".

French class today was about the infinitive, they have some kind of "logique" for this but I can't figure it out. You just have to think French. The cheese is "le fromage" cheese is "du fromage", more than two cheeses would be "des fromage" but you don't use this formula with everything
One beer or many beers, is "de la biere" singular feminine, also used for plural. In begium there is no such sentance as, " J'ai trop de biere" I have too much beer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We had a nice visit from a retired Greek General. An old friend of Anne. I thought it would be interesting to hear something about what it was like at NATO back in the 70's. He speaks Greek and English, his friends that came along spoke French and Greek, so for the first time Anne and I both couldn't understand at least some of the conversation, but Anne to talk to everyone.

I asked the General if it was hard to get everyone to understand what people were trying to say at NATO, when English was not the mother tongue of most of the nations. He told me the funny thing was, the Americans and the English had the most problems with understanding each other.