September 4, 2010

Francy pants

I speak French fluently.oscar wilde's grave, cimitière de père-lachaise, paris, FR I started learning it in 1998, I went to college and grad school to study it, and now I teach it at a university (my absolute dream job). Besides teaching, language is my passion. I'm oddly in love with grammar rules, with tenses and moods, with verb conjugations and parts of speech. And on top of it all, spoken French sounds so beautiful!

The chapters in my students' textbooks are themed - some are holidays and traditions, some are weather, some are the human body. Without question, though, every student loves the food chapter. I think it might be because some students like sports and others like fine arts, but everyone eats. It's the one chapter that every student is guaranteed to have background knowledge on.

Food vocabulary is really interesting in French. For example, the verb meaning "to feed" changes depending on the direct object (the person or thing recieving the action of the verb):
La femme donne à manger au chien.

La femme nourrit ses enfants.
In the first sentence ("The woman feeds the dog"), the direct object is le chien, the dog. The verb here is donner à manger - literally, "to give to eat." In the second sentence, however, the direct object changes, and therefore so does the verb. The second sentence means "The woman feeds her children," and the verb, nourrir, has the same origin as our English verb "to nourish."

It's a lovely thought, isn't it? I've been keeping this in mind lately when I grocery shop or while I prepare meals. Am I simply giving myself something to eat? Or am I truly nourishing myself?

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