1) There are muscles in your mouth you’ve never used before
I’ve never thought much about language, at least not beyond trying to figure out what to say next. Even then I don’t really think things through. If you never had much of an interest in linguistics (like myself) it can come as a surprise when you start to learn about the basics of how spoken language works.
Here at Trois Pistole one of the French Teachers is a linguist and, incidentally, an anglophone. This gives him a lot of insight. As an English Speaker he has first-hand experience with the kind of mistakes we are likely to make while learning French. Then, as a linguist, he has a good idea of why exactly we make those mistakes. Luckily for us, he also hosts a phonetics clinic once a week to teach us the little details of pronunciation. Last week he focused on how French vowels work. The image I’ve included below is meant to represent where French vowel sounds come from in our mouths.
The French “i”, which sounds like an English “e”, is formed at the front of the mouth when the jaw closed (antérieure, fermée). In contract, the French “ɑ” comes from the back of the mouth and requires a wide open jaw (postérieure, ouverte).
Posted in Canada, language
Tagged British Columbia, Canada, communication, creativity, difficulty, Dugs, Francais, Franglish, French, French Immersion, immersion, interpretive dance, language, muscles, paranoid, paranoid parrot, professor, Quebec, struggle, teacher
This was originally going to be my topic for Monday, but I decided to put this discussion off for a few days and showcase it here. Our “Fame Days”, after all, aren’t just about celebrating achievements but include shining the spotlight on noble issues or events we believe should have more attention, and I’d be hard-pressed to think of any idea more deserving than the “One-State Solution”.
Chances are that you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that’s fine. Normally I rail against what I’d consider self-imposed ignorance when it comes to politics or foreign affairs, but this is a really, really obscure concept (heck, that’s the entire reason we’re talking about it today).
When we’re talking about either the “one-state” or (more common) “two-state” solutions, we’re referencing the debate over the future of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Pretty much every so-called “road map” to “peace in the Middle East” revolves around settling the question of the borders of Israel and what would eventually become the state of Palestine. Who gets what land, access to which resources, authority over which sites- you get the idea.
Posted in Africa, Fame Day, government, history, lgbt, morality, politics, race, relationships, religion
Tagged 1967, a cancer in the body, african migrants, anti-occupation, antisemitism, apartheid, Arab, askhenazi, bigotry, borders, cancer, conversion, democracy, descrimination, Ethiopian Jews, freedom, interracial, israel, jewish, jews, Knesset, leftist, messianic, messianic jews, middle-east, Miri Regev, mizrahi, mk, nabka, one state, one state solution, palestine, Palestinians, peace, prejudice, race mixing, racism, racist, rally, religion, right of return, road map, segregation, sephardic, tolerance, two state, two state solution, Yad L'Achim
GORDON: Friends, Romans, Countrypersons! Lend us your ears! We come to try out a new twist on our weekly discussions!
EVAN: Given Kat’s absence that I mentioned prior, I took a page from what’s been going on over at Marvel to really shake things up hereabouts [while still keeping the spirit of the blog you all love so much].
So Gordon and I got to brainstorming a feature to replace Culture War Correspondence for now [?], and what we settled on was a riff on a little something called “Defending Your Sh*tty Taste”, a podcast on Cracked.com.
GORDON: As the name would suggest, “Defending Your Sh*tty Taste” simply entails each of us bring up one or more cultural elements- shows, music, trends, etc.- which are generally despised, devaluated, or looked down upon by the general public, and proceeding to talk about what value we see in ‘em and why we personally enjoy ‘em.
EVAN: Before we get started in earnest, I think it would be good to lay down some ground rules, and sort of explain the general format.
Like you said we’ll each be bringing up our own topics [which we're well aware have their problems] and extolling their virtues. It will be up to the other person to point out the flaws. What I’m going to insist on is that we solely target the cultural element itself, not bringing up or comparing anything else [ex: "But as a communist doesn't this conflict with your belief that _____?"]
GORDON: I’d also point out that this isn’t really a debate. We’re not here to bash each other’s pleasures, no matter how sick and indecent they might be… Evan.
Posted in cartoons, Comedy, language, morality, music, Surprise Witness, television
Tagged cartoons, clever, comedy, crude, defense, Eminem, Family Guy, humour, jokes, lyrics, music, rap, Seth MacFarlane, Surprise Witness, wordplay
My last quasi-review on this blog was of Helix, a sci-fi horror show about a strange and deadly contagion which had overpowered a research lab in the arctic circle. My issue wasn’t with the set or the story, but rather that Helix wasn’t really about anything. Science fiction is a medium for us to explore big ideas, like the line between humanity and technology, free will, and responsibility. The horror genre functions the same way, with its stories serving as ways for us to examine the duality of our nature…
…our place in the cosmos…
…and questions of faith.
Going into The Strain, my biggest question was “what’s this all about?”, and readers, I’m not entirely sure. What I do know is that it’s a blast.
Posted in literature, review, science, science fiction, television, zombies
Tagged based on, contagion, del toro, disease, F W Murnau, Fear, Guillermo del Toro, Helix, helpless, horror, infection, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Mayalsia, nosferatu, paranoia, plague, review, science, science fiction, the strain, theme, vampire, zombie
As you may remember from last week, I’m currently attending a full immersion language school in Quebec. A little over a week ago I gathered in a sweltering auditorium with approximately 250 other students while a professor spoke to us in English, for the last time.
“The people of this village have a name for you anglophones;” he explained, “they call you the ones with the blank stares.”
I’ve been here for about two weeks now, and more often than not that’s how it goes. I limp out something French. The Francophone responds so fast that to my untrained ears a sentence sounds instead like one very long word. It feels a little bit like being two years old again, only with memories of a time when you were actually a competent human being.
Just imagine that first image is someone trying to explain something in French.
Growing up in British Columbia I heard complaints against French language laws, which work to protect French culture. English speakers argued that it was an unfair double standard, and that the French were just being snobby. That has not been my experience here in Quebec. Continue reading
Posted in Canada, language, politics
Tagged Anglophone, bicycle, big families, British Columbia, deer in the headlights, Francophone, French culture, French Immersion, French language laws, language, language extinction, language preservation, professor, Quebec, Quebecois, snobby, Trois Pistole, university