Posts Tagged 'french'

Festival America: A Fantastically Awesome Literary Extravaganza

Festival America 2012 Every two years, Festival America brings “les littératures américaines dans tous leurs états” to France.

That is America in the largest sense, including the play on words that it’s literature in all its states.

For Festival America wasn’t just celebrating literature from the United States this past weekend; 70 writers from countries both North and South participated in a jam-packed extravaganza of panels and debates, discussing everything from the big questions of society to family relationships in fiction.

Perhaps it would be the same anywhere, but it seemed fitting that the focus of so many panels in this famed city of love was…love. “L’amour, un folie?” (Love, a madness?) was the very first panel after the opening event.

But how about that opening event? Which honored the festival’s special honored guest? TONI MORRISON, people! Noble Prize winner, lady of letters extraordinaire Toni Morrison reigned over this 10-year anniversary edition of Festival America.


(This recording is the entire opening event. All questions and discussion are in French, but Ms. Morrison of course speaks in English!)

Toni Morrison was not the only big name in the festival. In fact, I thought I had died and gone to fangirl heaven as it seemed all of my favorite contemporary American authors were there: Jennifer Egan (Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad) and Nicole Krauss (author of A History of Love, which I adore). There were other dear awesome ones: Chris Adrian, Russell Banks, Dinaw Mengestu.

Throughout the weekend I fell in love with Karen Russell (who said she recognized me from my laugh in the audience when she signed my book!) and Teju Cole. Gary Shteyngart could be relied upon to provide the comic relief.

Continue reading ‘Festival America: A Fantastically Awesome Literary Extravaganza’

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No More ‘Miss’ : Mademoiselle is Out

Yesterday a decree came from Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s office: “Mademoiselle” will be phased out of usage on all administrative documents from now on.

You probably already know: a man is always “Monsieur.” But a woman is either “Mademoiselle” or “Madame” based on marital status. The government and feminist groups have now successfully argued that this differentiation doesn’t make sense.

Is this the end of an era?

Continue reading ‘No More ‘Miss’ : Mademoiselle is Out’

How to Fake French

This video has been making the rounds of my friends in France. Probably because it’s true!

#2 cracks me up the most. The examples may seem a bit exaggerated, but I can vouch that all of these “mouth gestures/sounds” have a basis in reality. (Oh la la! Pfff!)

Funny thing is, I *do* speak French now, but I unconsciously make the mouth sounds, anyway. Guess I’m really authentic!

Enjoy!

Que Veux-Tu? (Most Random Video Ever?)

Granted, I don’t watch a lot of music videos anymore, but this has to be one of the most random I’ve ever seen.

Happy Monday, folks. Have a great week.

Throw off the coils of self-consciousness and dance everywhere!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Live the Language

Time for another video break.

Learn some basic French, but really just “oh” and “ah” at the cuteness.

I’m off to Berlin tomorrow. Looking forward to experiencing a new city. (And kind of trying to escape the rentree. September – ack!)

See y’all when I get back!

Franglish: Language Exchange in Paris

Franglais.

The language I speak most fluently. A mixing of francais and anglais into some bizarre hybrid beloved by anglophone expats (see previous post).

There’s a new game in town, though, and they call themselves Franglish.

While I’ve been wedded to the name franglais for awhile, I have to admit that “franglish” is actually a more equitable term (Francais + English = both languages represented in the word).

Franglish is also a new language exchange event taking place in bars across Paris each week. Brainchild of Nicolas Saurel and Steven Annonziata, two childhood friends from France who studied in the UK, Franglish offers the opportunity to practice both languages in a laid-back environment.

The idea, of course, is not to mix the two in the same sentence, as I often do. The set up is one-on-one conversation on even terrain: 7 minutes in French. 7 minutes in English. Switch partners and repeat.

Curious as to whether this was a straightforward language exchange or some form of bilingual speed dating, I made my way to L’Autre Cafe in the 11th where Franglish holds its Sunday events. I steeled myself for awkwardness as it seemed a distinct possibility: Talking to strangers? Shifting languages? Time limit? (Ack!)

Continue reading ‘Franglish: Language Exchange in Paris’

The Right Word

Large Words

As someone whose life consists mainly of staring at a blinking cursor or the blank page, I know how hard it is to come up with just the right word.

It’s also true that having two languages doubles the hazards.

When I first arrived in Paris, I always thought it was so pretentious, those anglophones who’d drop in French words while speaking English. Please! I thought. Like you don’t know the word in your native tongue!

Well, turns out, I am now one of those people.

Continue reading ‘The Right Word’


paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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