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Posts posted by 5-element

  1. No idea about the grammatical rule. But for instance, "pas UN chat" is "not a single cat"

    as for "not reading the papers", look it's the same in English, as "ne pas lire les journaux"

    same, I think, with your first example, pas de problème or pas de choix - translated in English by "no problem and "no choice".

    I might only have demonstrated above that I am so much the wrong person to ask about rules.... I might speak both languages OK, it doesn't mean I know the rules! [:D] You have to play it all by ear ("au pif" or "au feeling" LOL!)

  2. Norman, I just knew you would have something to say regarding the new Béziers mayor, and I popped back here to see what your take was...

    Several Brits from around here, who go and shop in the Béziers Polygone rather frequently, are threatening to move their custom to Montpellier [:D] although this might only slightly impact on the town's new economy.

    Idun, I share your suspicions re. Manuel Vals - I have really tried to like him (or what he says and does) and just can't. I find him only slightly less objectionable than Jean-François Copé but they both strike me as rather vicious, Vals's saving grace  might be that he seems a bit less sournois than J.F. Copé. Someone (French) summarised the choice of Vals as prime minister as "Hollande getting himself a d-i-ck" (ooops, that might get censored here although, nothing personal here, it is all metaphorical of course!)

  3. Only just saw that thread, and - even though it has moved on a lot since it started - and even though I haven't read every single word of the comments, what came to me immediately was "en pas plus de deux ans" - a clumsy, but almost literal way of translating... what was it again you were supposed to transate??[:D][:P]

  4. Yes you are right (both) about "en avoir pour........minutes/hours/days".

    Yesterday someone asked me about the expression "avoir beau (faire quelque chose)" - he thought it was the same as "même si" - not quite, though.

    For instance, if you say: "J'ai beau me lever tôt le matin, je n'arrive jamais à tout faire"

    So it is "even though". It's a strange expression, I had never thought about it like this.

  5. Yes, sadly, paperbacks are (more and more) making their way to the recycling bin. At first, I felt utterly sacrilegious, until I found out that many other avid readers and book collectors end up doing just the same, as books are so plentiful and increasingly being refused by libraries, and other charities than Emmaus. I think they still take them, but am not even sure. [:(]

  6. "Un eau troublé": are you very sure about that Chancer?????? I've never known water to be both masculine and feminine??? C'est l'explication qui est trouble, pas l'eau!

    By the way, I do franglais fairly frequently (not systematically), but as a shortcut more than anything else; like others have said, when a given word or expression comes to me in the other language. This happens a lot when I am with other bilingual people, and there is nothing pretentious about it. But it is really funny when it is done pretentiously, especially when the speaker has got it wrong anyway, a rather common occurrence.

    Just to go back to the initial posting, I kept having the same problem with being overcharged in LIDL and I became so paranoid about it that I even found overcharging where there was none (most embarrassing)...

  7. [quote user="Chris"]Interesting point. For those that teach French: is it a given that older people have a harder time learning a language/retaining it?[/quote]

    I couldn't tell about other languages, but my experience of trying to teach French to older people (which has only been English-speaking older people in France, and that is the first proviso) is that yes, it seems they have a harder time learning it and retaining it . But this might be skewed, since my point of comparison would be with younger people in England, learning French for a job; an exam, etc. I have never taught "older people" in England.

    So, those older English speakers I have taught in France have been expats, or longstay American tourists.

    Overall, the students who seemed to have learnt or retained the least, taught either in group or one-to-one, are British expats. I found that "the French class" has been for many, little more than another social occasion, with the illusion that "just going to the class" would be sufficient to imbibe the language - as if by osmosis. I must emphasize that it is not true of everyone. I have also had some rather diligent students, and those tended to be the the ones who also joined associations where they would mix with French people exclusively.

    Most older people complain about their memory: (who was that actor, and what was the film again?). I am sure that declining neurones can't make it any easier to learn another language, and I do feel for those who end up in old people's homes where the spoken language is not their native language, but that is another issue.

    Older people are so much more stuck in their ways, not as adaptable or flexible, probably more closed off to new experiences, and that must be a factor too. With many of the older people who at first seemed very determined to learn the language or improve their use of it, I found that the initial motivation seldom lasts. After a while, when they have discovered that they can, actually, get by, their brain seems to shut down, and they'd much rather get together with their other expat friends around a daily apéro - barring the odd interaction with madame next door, or with the plumber.

    Cynical, moi??? No. I still believe that if you really, really want to learn, you can - but it might be a bit like giving up smoking: nobody can do it for you:

  8. Perhaps it is worth pointing out that a very sizeable number of French people (I wish I could remember the official figure....) are also without a mutuelle, as they cannot afford one either. Like some posters here, I naively imagined that those people who really can't afford a Mutuelle don't need one, as surely they would be eligible for CMU-C complémentaire, or even CMU-B de base - but there is an astounding amount of people who actually fall through the net.

    This might account (at least partly) how  the state of someone's teeth as you see them, denotes their degree of wealth or poverty...

    Dental and optical care, this is where it shows the most...

  9. Thanks Brianagain, for your link, I'd missed that incident, but am not surprised - there is definite animosity towards the "non-French" riders in some quarters, including from some of the French Tour commentators, even though they have to show more impartiality on the air and  be a little more sophisticated in their remarks and attitudes. But the French are not very good losers, and losers they were during this Tour... Still, there is always next year...

  10. Great, great post Betty. If only all those who need it, could and would read and apply it... (not referring to people on this forum, but to some of the non-French speakers I know personally)

  11. While living in the UK, I used to buy my duvet covers + pillowcases from IKEA, because they had  such a good range of tasteful, not expensive, 100% cotton ones. I found that IKEA France has the same range, and whenever (rarely) I go to IKEA, I am always tempted by their "housses de couette" - however, they don't always have rectangular pillow cases available - with some models, they only have the square ones. So you have to be a little careful and check with a given set.

    So, buying duvet sets, no, that is one thing I have never find difficult to get - provided you have access to an IKEA branch.

  12. As someone asked earlier: is it OK to make madeleines without madeleine moulds ? I gave my metal madeleine moulds away when it was clear, after several years, that I would never make madeleines. [:(]

    Now you've made my mouth water with all this talk...

    And I am so pleased that Clair posted a recipe (now bookmarked) that doesn't require rum, which I really dislike. Lemon zest or orange flower water, yes!!

    Some people find that the French overuse orange flower water, put too much and into everything. I think it's very easy to overdo it.

  13. [quote user="Gardian"]

    Just had a look at 'Daff' - its really called a Culinare One-Touch.  A fearsome object.


    Yep, that's the one! http://www.culinare.com/products/detail.asp?category_ID=9&index=-1 Look at the video everyone, it's almost spooky! And it makes a hell of a noise!

    Clair: rubber gloves used to be OK when I was in the UK, and younger and with stronger wrists. Incipient arthritis really does make things difficult, and losing one's grip is a sad reality - not for everybody, fortunately. So I can't even answer the OP's initial question, tempting as it is to say that "it was easier in the UK" - but maybe because I was younger and stronger!

    I will try (again) Idun's trick, just for kicks.

    I also sometimes make a hole in the lid to kill the vacuum - but for some jars, you need to keep the lid intact, for re-use.

  14. [quote user="Gardian"]

    We have a 'Daphne', so named after our son's MIL who gave it to us as a Christmas present. Its a battery-powered device, about the size of a mug and its 'jaws' grip the lid of a jar and twist it off.


    So that's what it's called. I seem to have the exact same device, also a Christmas present to compensate lost strength in ageing hands and fingers.  At the time I was mortified as I would have preferred something a little more personal... But now, I  use it regularly as a last resort, as it is so awesome, I am a little scared of it,  it seems to have a mind of its own!

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