Posts Tagged 'language'

Speaking Franspagnole and Festa Major de Gracia

Carrer Joan Blanques, Barcelona, Festa Major de Gracia 2012

Carrer Joan Blanques, Barcelona, Festa Major de Gracia 2012

So I’m speaking Franspagnole.

That’s a mix of French and Spanish.

My brain can’t handle this transitional period. I actually forgot the verb “to be” in French. To be, y’all!

Festa Major de Gracia, Barcelona

Who am I?

This may be an eternal question, but in this case, I just wanted to remember how to say it. No answer required. The verbs ser and estar kept getting in the way and usurped je suis for nearly 3 days!

Other examples:

When trying to make an appointment for Wednesday, I could not conjure the word mercredi. (Miercoles, miercoles!)

The check came for a couple drinks and I gave the server a billet of diez, not dix.

I went to Castorama to pick up a new bookshelf (more room for books!) and didn’t even realize half my sentence was in Spanish and the other in French. (Hay une etagere en blanc?) I wondered why everyone was giving me strange smiles.

Last night I finally managed to string a few whole sentences together (and was told I sounded Brazilian!).

So, I think I’m getting back on the right track.

Before my Barcelona bliss and buzz fades completely, however, I wanted to document the week-long party that happened right before I left. (It was all for me, right, Barca? I love you, too!)

Dancing at the Festa Major de Gracia, Barcelona

I’m very excited to have a new post over on the hip web magazine, Untapped Cities, about the Festa Major de Gracia. It’s pronounced differently in Catalan, but it is a major good time.

Hop on over to read the post…plus see a TON of photos.

Fiesta, fiesta! (I mean, fete, fete!)

Author Interview: Sophie Hardach

Author and journalist Sophie Hardach on the Turkish-Syrian border

Sophie Hardach wrote The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages while working as a reporter for Reuters in Paris. The novel follows the intertwining lives of a young Kurdish boy trying to build a life in Germany and a registrar working at a Parisian town hall.

If that sounds like an unlikely combination, I can assure you the result is equally as surprising. While grappling with issues of immigration, identity, love, and marriage, the book also displays an unexpected humor that made it a pleasure to read.

As with some of my favorite discoveries, I didn’t know much about the author or the story going in. I was delighted to first hear Sophie speak at the American Library and then delve into her delightful debut. Both her talk and her book sparkled.

On the occasion of the paperback release of The Registrar’s Manual next Thursday, March 29, I’m pleased to have Sophie on the blog today to answer a few questions.

You’re German, live in France, and write in English. Wow! How does this trilingual mix influence your work? And why did English become the language of your creative self?

I fell in love with English literature as a teenager, and unlike most teenage love affairs, this one turned into a lifelong passion. English is my ideal home: a place where everyone is welcome, where writers from countries as far apart as Nigeria, Ireland, the U.S. and Singapore – to name just a random few – mingle and contribute. I can think of no other language today that is so open to new influences, so ready to absorb new trends.

Continue reading ‘Author Interview: Sophie Hardach’

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!

(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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