Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

French Dialogue from Parlo's French 1 course

Click on this link for a sample. Interactive French 1 Course. Things get interesting between these two pretty quickly. Can you guess how it will end up?

(Listen to this audio file while looking at the script in French. You can Show/Hide the English translation to check your understanding)

Estelle Legout Bonjour, la place est libre ?
Hello, the seat is free?

Didier Beauregard Oui, je vous en prie.
Yes, go ahead.

Estelle Merci, c'est très gentil . Le train est vraiment complet .
Thank you, that's very kind. The train is really full.

Didier Je me présente. Didier Beauregard. J'habite à Paris.
I'll introduce myself. Didier Beauregard. I live in Paris.

Estelle Enchantée. Je suis Estelle Legout.
Pleased to meet you. I'm Estelle Legout.

Didier Parisienne?
Parisian?

Estelle Je suis de Bordeaux, mais je travaille à Paris.
I'm from Bordeaux, but I work in Paris.

Didier Vous êtes en vacances, je suppose?
You're on vacation, I suppose?

Estelle Non, je travaille. Je suis journaliste de mode. Et vous?
Non, I'm working. I'm a fashion journalist. And you?

Didier Journaliste sportif.
Sports journalist.

Estelle Ah, un reportage sur le Tour de France...
Oh, a report on the Tour de France...

Didier Exactement. Et vous?
Exactly. And you?

Estelle Des photos et une interview de Raymond Laflèche.
Photos and an interview with Raymond Laflèche.

Didier Tiens, je dîne avec Raymond ce soir.
Hey, I'm having dinner with Raymond this evening.

Estelle Et moi, j'ai rendez-vous avec Raymond mercredi.
And me, I have an appointment with Raymond Wednesday.

Didier Vous êtes très compétitive… Madame ou Mademoiselle Legout?
You're very competitive... Mrs. or Miss Legout?

Estelle Mademoiselle. Mais je préfère Estelle. Quelle heure est-il?
Miss. But I prefer Estelle. What time is it?

Didier Il est trois heures et nous sommes à Nice!
It's three o'clock and we are in Nice!

Estelle J'adore la ville , l'ambiance, la plage .
I love the city, the atmosphere, the beach.

Didier Vous êtes à l'hôtel?
You're at the hotel?

Estelle Pardon, voilà un taxi! Taxi! Taxi! Hôtel Prestige, s'il vous plaît!
Excuse me, there's a taxi! Taxi! Taxi! Prestige Hotel, please!

Didier Moi aussi, je suis au Prestige!
I'm at the Prestige, too!

Estelle Désolée, Monsieur "beau regard", mais le taxi est pour moi. Au revoir!
Sorry, Mr. "handsome face", but the taxi is for me. Good bye.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spanish Culture - Review of "Travels with My Donkey"


What possesses a completely urban Londoner to want to walk 500 miles across northern Spain... with a donkey named Shinto? Herein lies a tail, er... tale of self discovery and adventure through torrential rains (no rein puns here!) sweltering heat and encounters with religious and secular pilgrims (peregrinos, en espanol) on the Camino de Santiago. This ancient Christian pilgrimage crosses northern Spain from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, resting place of St. James, patron saint of Spain. On opening this wonderful book you find yourself in the company of a person and donkey you enjoy spending time with. Smart, funny and a keen observer of people, Tim Moore's humanity suffuses this book and makes you feel the value of compassion. This is also one of those books that earns you inquisitive stares in public when you laugh loudly at one or another of his unexpected observations. When you are done you can even say you learned somthing about the history of Spain. This is great light reading.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Panamanian slang words and expressions

This is some very cool, up-to-date stuff that I found on Wikipedia. It's about Panamanian slang. Note how it relates to our "Pig latin". This is an informative article that I recommend to folks going to Panama or who just like to learn a little slang from other cultures. After reading the snippet I've included below you can read the entire article at Wikipeda Enjoy!

Panamanians also speak a form of backslang, perhaps derived from a highly successful shoe marketing campaign from the 1970's, whose slogan "EL TO-ZAPA [zapato] MAS CLASE" prompted high-schoolers everywhere to start using reverse slang, much to the dismay of teachers and parents. ZAPATO (shoe) became TO-ZAPA, PELAO (dude) became "LAO-PE", and so on. Even after another campaign in which the characters stopped each other from saying these neologisms, the usage "stuck", becoming mainstream. Some examples of reverse slang include:

* TE-FREN = Frente (front of, in front)
* DA-TIEN = Tienda (convenience store)
* SO-PA = Short for "qué pasó" = "What's up". Compare to "'sup" in US slang
* IS = SI (yes)
* ON = NO (no)

You get the picture. The general rule is that the last syllable becomes the first syllable and the rest of the word follows, except where pronunciation would become difficult, when some changes can be made. Panamanian reverse slang is also comparable to the verlan language game.