Home abroad

Somewhere between Montluçon and Limoges, I drove past a sign informing me I was entering the “pays d’oc”. As a linguist and an explorer of France, I got very excited. First of all, entering a new country is always exciting. The French language has the word “dépaysement”, for the feeling of being in a newContinue reading “Home abroad”

Cap Fréhel and the coast of Emerald

La côte d’Emeraude, the “coast of Emerald”, is between Cap Fréhel and Saint Malo, on the North-Eastern coast of Brittany. This part of Brittany is less typical, less of a picture-perfect postcard than many of the places I have visited so far. The local stone is pink sandstone, not granite. The local dialect was Gallo,Continue reading “Cap Fréhel and the coast of Emerald”

Huelgoat and Bretons d’ailleurs

Eventually I tired of the wind along the coast. I was near Roscoff,and it was blowing from dawn to dusk, kicking up the dust and driving off trains of thoughts. I headed both inland and inwards, to Huelgoat. Huelgoat, “the upper wood” in Breton, is pronounced “U-èl-go-a-t”. It is a quaint village in the centerContinue reading “Huelgoat and Bretons d’ailleurs”

Simple comme bonjour

Literally “As simple as “Hello”, this phrase is the French equivalent to “as easy as one, two, three”. Except greetings in French are actually quite hard to navigate, and you often feel awkward at first. Trust me when I say, it isn’t because of your inadequacies in French. It’s true for French people too. Let’sContinue reading “Simple comme bonjour”

“Such a romantic language!”

I have been told numerous times that French was the most romantic language, and, to be frank, it has always puzzled me. Let me explain. When it comes to the language, it is clear that French has given English, and other languages for that matter a plethora of words relating to romance and sex. “Affair”,Continue reading ““Such a romantic language!””

My favourite accent

As a teacher of French, I should not have a favourite accent. It is almost like confessing to having a favourite child, it is not socially acceptable. But I do have a favourite. Let me celebrate accents in general. One of the main barriers when learning French as a foreign language is the seemingly tenuousContinue reading “My favourite accent”

Le covid or la covid?

For everybody around the world who struggles to speak French correctly, by which they tend to mean “accurately”, hope is out there. And no, I am not selling a piece of code that magically helps you jump through the hoops, twists, turns, quirks and exceptions of French. What I have found out, upon my returnContinue reading “Le covid or la covid?”