With our eldest fast approaching school age (3 years old) we've been doing some research into international schooling options in Strasbourg. 'International' meaning bi- or multi-lingual schooling. You only qualify for international schooling if your child's 'langue maternale' (mother tongue) is something other than French, so the ream of schools offering bi-linguilism do so only to foreigners, immigrants and mixed-origin families; much to the chagrin of local all-French families, because it is reputed that international schooling is far better than regular state schooling. Nonetheless this doesn't stop countless competitive French parents from applying ... hoping that their claims to bilingualism will be believed. Fees and main teaching language are the other big questions. With regards to fees, rarely is it a matter of affordability, as private schools here cost approximately half that of those in the UK. The question is whether you want to pay at all. And as for main teaching language it usually comes down to mother tongue or French. So here are our options in a nutshell: Strasbourg International School | up to 12,000 EUR per [...]
Continuing the theme of children's literature - I decided to pick up a French version of Roger Hargreaves' chef d'oeuvre "Mr Silly" the other day. Not just because I felt we should have at least one or two French language books for the kids to read, but also because it happens to be one of my favorites. Even as a children's book it would be hard to find a more accomplished piece in the field of 'silly' humour. Only the exploits of Monty Python are in any way comparable - in my humble opinion. What is surprising about the translated version though - is that Mr Silly is not called Mr Silly, but 'Mr Surprising'. Which is surprising, because silliness and surprising-ness are two entirely different things. The problem for the French though is that they don't have a word for 'silly'. Which by all accounts is quite surprising because they have a word for 'ridiculous'. But then if you look up 'silly' in an English>French dictionary it will suggest 'ridiculous' as the closest translation. No wonder then, they [...]
In almost every language A.A. Milne's famous teddy-bear character is known as Winnie the Pooh, except that is, in French. The French do without the 'pooh' and know him simply as Winnie l'Ourson (Winnie the bear cub). Now the word 'pooh' in English is dodgy enough, given that it is a widely used synonym for excrement; but down the decades we have all been adult enough to regard Milne's work as genius rather than potty humour; because as we all know 'pooh' is the sound you make while attempting to blow a butterfly from your nose (according to Christopher Robin); so what is it that the French find so vulgar that requires retitling this children's classic? In short: head-lice. In French 'Winnie le Pooh' would sound exactly like 'Winnie le Pou' - which translates as 'Winnie the head-louse'. So the French, fearing that their children would grow up thinking that all their teddy bears were in fact head-lice, they took the logical step of changing the name of the book. But clearly this creates a gap in the French [...]
Groan. Just when you think you're safe from the corporate tentacles of Richard Branson - he goes and sticks another 'Virgin' enterprise up your nose. This time the unfortunate target was France's second most popular music station 'Europe2' ... which from 1st January 2008 is now known as 'Virgin Radio'. But it's not pronounced 'Verge-an Raddy-oh' the way it should be pronounced in French (certainly not in the jingles) it's pronounced in exactly the same manner as in the UK. 'Virgin Mobile' has also recently been launched in France. What does this tell you? That Branson has got a sniff of free enterprise opening up in France under the Sarkozy regime. Who knows what's next - with a load of possible privatisations in the offing Branson could be there to snap up his share in SNCF (Virgin Chemin-de-fer?), La Poste (Virgin Poste-Escargot), Les Autoroutes (Virgin Rues), GDF (Virgin Gas)...
Another amusing twist to the BBC's decision to introduce advertising on their international website. Whoever is in control of this project is patently unaware of the raison d'etre for advertising - that is TO MAKE MONEY. After all, the thinking must be that if the BBC has to plug a hole in it's 2008 budget - then any cash gained from online advertising is going to help. So how then do you explain the fact that the new allotted advertising spaces on BBC.co.uk - are almost exclusively for ... the BBC!?
Way back when we lived in the UK, I would make a bi-monthly pilgrimage to 'the Rec' in Bath to watch rugby. This served two purposes, the first to get me out of the house, where I worked my nine-to-five in front of a computer, and secondly to unplug my mind from the stresses of the daily grind. So naturally when we moved to Strasbourg, I was keen to check out the local spectator sports, to achieve much the same thing. Unfortunately the rugby team 'Racing Strasbourg' are far from premiership quality, and although entertaining to watch, their stadium at Hautepierre lacks the facilities to make it a comfortable excursion - i.e. there are no seats. When in posession of a car we have tried the Hippodrome at Hoerdt. Here at least there are seats, a bar and even a play area for kids. And although I have yet to understand how to ask for a 'triple-reverse-accumulator' it's a great betting experience. The downside is that there are very few meetings throughout the year - and so you have [...]
Just thought I would give you a quick run down of Englishmaninstrasbourg.com's stats for 2007: 2400 unique users averaging five and a half visits per user Top five articles: Shame on the BBC Tetley the unexotic tea A domesday book of the mind The patron saint of binge drinking Intervilles - hornier than the British copy busiest time of day : 9pm busiest day of the week : monday busiest month of the year : september Thanks for reading!