French Lessons

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This week for the US holiday of Thanksgiving (or, as it it called in Canada, Thursday), OvenMitt came up to visit Panda in Vancouver. While there, in addition to sleeping, napping, resting, relaxing, eating brunch, shopping, and other fun activities, the two of them have been practicing French for their upcoming trip to France next month.

Panda took French in school and has also been studying French on her own for five years off and on, so her pronunciation, grammar, and knowledge of idioms is at the low- to mid-intermediate level; OvenMitt, on the other hand, has next to no skills in French (unless a rudimentary knowledge of Italian and Spanish count as knowing French…). Panda wants OvenMitt to learn all of the restaurant-related expressions and vocabulary in the video, because Panda knows that she may not always be around and that OvenMitt may need to ask for things on his own. (No one wants to be burdened on vacation by a helpless piece of kitchen safety apparel, do they?)

Despite Panda’s accusations of mind-wanderingness, OvenMitt, however, doesn’t want to study more than a few minutes at a time– as a trained educator, he knows that there is a limit to how much new information can be processed in any one session. It’s usually better, in his opinion, to have multiple short practice sessions than fewer, longer ones. In any event, OvenMitt is sure that he and Panda will do just fine on their trip!

dsc_0629Besides, OvenMitt has already gotten good at using Google Translate on his phone to translate English into French. Check out this list of real and fictitious punk rock band names he recently came up with:

Noms de bandes de punk rock français:

  • Quatrième Reich
  • Cultures de famine
  • Gâteau à la mite
  • Discipline de dix dollars
  • Pas drôle
  • Ivrognes avec canons
  • Crâne de poisson
  • Poing à la tête

(If any bands would like to use one of these names, please feel free!)

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Weekend Update: A Rainy Rendez-Vous in Vancouver

Panda and OvenMitt had many plans for this weekend– brunch and snacking, sleeping and napping, watching hockey on television and even some French practice. Happily, despite some rain and a few misadventures along the way, they were able to do all that and more!

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Here are four things you need to know about their weekend:

1) Panda and OvenMitt were very excited to start reading their newly-acquired copy of Jacques Demers authorized biography Jacques Demers: En Toutes Lettres (written by Mario Leclerc). Panda is always looking for an opportunity to read fine French literature, and OvenMitt has many happy memories of Demers, the friendly grandfatherly coach everyone always wants for their team, skippering the St. Louis Blues back in the 1980s. The book will take a long time to read, however, for these two non-French speakers. (Because of the slow going translating the words Panda doesn’t know yet, they were onlyable to read the first two paragraphs this weekend.) Luckily, Panda and OvenMitt have many opportunities to improve their French language skills each and every day (see 2 below)

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2) OvenMitt was very happy on Saturday when Panda showed him several episodes of one of her favourite French-language children’s cartoons (everyone knows that watching cartoons is a great way to learn a new language). The cartoon is called Le Petit Nicolas, and it’s great. You should watch for yourself, and you will agree that it is an easy and exciting way to learn French!

3) One of the most important Sunday morning traditions that Panda and OvenMitt have developed is eating delicious biscuits with butter in bed. The hardest part is making sure not to get crumbs everywhere! Panda really appreciates the way that OvenMitt carefully cuts off small pieces of biscuit and butters them for her.

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4) There was one harrowing incident, however, when Panda and OvenMitt got trapped inside the Coach bag they travel in. Thank goodness, the internet has handy advice on what to do about a stuck zipper.

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(Above– rescued from the bag. The secret was lip balm from the dentist’s office!)

For the past few months, Panda and OvenMitt have only been able to get together on occasional weekends– the next few months, however, will be different. With a trip to Chicago, the US Thanksgiving holiday, and a vacation in Nice, France all on the agenda before the end of 2016, Panda and OvenMitt will get to see a lot more of each other. Just as long as neither of them gets stuck inside a bag…