Monthly Archives: July 2010

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The minefield of French pronunciation

By | 2010-07-24T21:58:47+00:00 July 24th, 2010|Life in France, Strasbourg|

Some things take longer to sink in than others. While I may now be able to speak the lingo with a reasonable level of confidence in some departments (grammar, fluency and vocabulary for example). I still lack the experience to ensure the words come out as intended, or as they should. Successful pronunciation of an unfamiliar French word depends a great deal on having heard it before, much in the same way it does in English. Simply reading the word in black and white is no guarantee that the subsequent attempt at verbalisation will be anything close to the word that French ears would expect to hear. There are of course rules to follow, and you can more often than not grasp shape of the word in your mouth proficiently enough for a native Francophone to understand what it is you are trying to say, and hopefully correct you. Bizarrely until recently I had managed to go some five years pronouncing the word for alcohol entirely incorrectly without anyone bothering to point out that I had got it subtly, [...]

Big excuse

By | 2010-07-20T12:52:19+00:00 July 20th, 2010|Life in England, Life in France|

I have rarely taken the view that the words emanating from the lips of David Cameron are little more than the verbal equivalent of honey-coated horse droppings. That is, seemingly substantial and sweet - yet upon closer inspection clearly just horse manure. Never was this more true than at yesterday's launch of his 'Big Society' project. Which is based upon the idea that if the public want public services then it is the public who should provide them - for free. As an old Etonian, I doubt whether Dave has ever needed to use a public service - so no doubt this all seems quite logical to him? There is one major flaw in his plan however - taxes. The reason the populous pay 'taxes' is so that the government can provide public services. That is the main if not the only point of paying taxes (stealth or otherwise). The fact that the current, last and previous governments of the United Kingdom have failed to use tax revenues as intended, is no fault of the people who pay them. [...]

Book

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:40+00:00 July 16th, 2010|Life in France, Strasbourg|

So, you may have noticed that the blog has dried up a bit in recent days? This is because I am focussing the majority of my orthographic efforts on writing a book. The subject matter is predictably expat, however hopefully I will be covering new ground in the field of Travel Writing. To whet your appetite, here's a brief extract: It is at this point I have to make a confession. The reality of our situation was no more than the result of a series of events and decisions that we had made without a great deal of forward knowledge. In other words, it wasn’t as if we’d planned to emigrate six months after the birth of our son, it just happened that way. Nor did we end up in France as the result of any lifelong affection or affinity for the country. Indeed, my first real experience of France as a child was hardly an indication of things to come. We’d caught a coach from London Victoria and were queuing at the border (remember those?) to get into [...]