Monday, April 27, 2009

the final push

Things that have been getting me through the final push...

- coursemates - I love doing such a socially-conducive course! Studying for French oral exams was naturally a communal thing and certainly made for a less boring day! (I know what you're thinking Potter - they were real exams!!)
- And there's the fact that part of studying for french involves reading newspapers (in french of course) :D
- episodes of Doctor Who on iplayer
- copious amounts of jazz especially the Esbjorn Svensson and Brad Mehldau Trios - can't beat that piano-bass-drums combo!

11 days to go! Not that I'm counting or anything...

In need of a title change

Been feeling this for a while... n'importe quoi is still my favourite french phrase and plays a prominent part in my vocab. On the other hand it never really described the way I felt towards blogging... though I do like a good spraff!
Not that the new title exactly describes the content of my blog either. But I think it comes closer to describing my attitude to life i.e. to savour each moment in the same way we Glasgow residents savour the rare sunny days we get - something which blogging has been a part of over the 3 and a half years.
Hmmm I do love sunshine :)
And I do love french words with lots of syllables that begin with "em" or "en", and there are SO many wonderful ones!

Take for example:

- embouteillage (n) - a traffic jam
- ensommeillé (adj) - sleepy
- enracinement (n) - the act of putting down roots/taking root
- embrouillamini (n) - muddle
- embourgeoiser (v) - to become middle class/gentrified
- embrasement (n) - blaze/dazzle/unrest (NB one 's') not to be confused with..
- embrassement (n) - hugging and kissing

Mmmm how I love the way they roll off they tongue... :)

Now what was I doing again...? Ah yes... back to neurophysiology...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On accent imprinting

Lately Mark has started to pick up a wee Scottish twang which I can take at least some credit for, mostly consisting of him rolling his "r"s herrre therrre and everrrywhere. Words like "tomorrra" and "allrrright" sound slightly out of place in amongst his Midlands vowels but I'm hoping those will soon get Scottishified too!

Accents are contagious! Until the age of 4 I had this kind of well-spoken non/almost Sri Lankan accent. As soon as I hit nursery this became a broad Queensferry accent which I can still turn on like a tap, and since uni my accent has got somewhat corrupted by northern-irishness amongst other things. Bizarrely enough my mum thinks I start to say "like" more often between words when I've spent a bit of time speaking french! Ben c'est comme ca quoi!And then there's all those little habits and turns of phrases we pick up from people. I've picked up all sorts, from adding the suffix "-ness" to the end of all of my adjectives and talking endlessly about "the ban'er" in my school days to adding "so I do" at the end of my sentences and saying everything is "actually ridiculous!" - that would be your fault Michie! Sometimes I pick them up accidently like when I start imitating someone's accent or mannerisms out of appreciation or just to tease them and somewhere down the line it becomes part of my own repetoire.I have a friend who picks up mannerisms from international students and keeps them for at least the year after they leave. It's as though they've left their imprint on him or that it's some kind of prolonged emotional connection.

I think there must be some kind of emotional connection or subconscious choice involved. I never picked up speech habits from people I didn't like or feel some kind of affinity with. Needless to say Mark likes Scotland. And I picked up the Scottish accent with such force when I was little because I was adamant that I was Scottish through and through, nothing more, nothing less. But there's more than just choice involved. I only pick up speech habits when I've spent a lot of time with someone. I do know the odd person who picks up an accent as soon as they start speaking to someone, even if it's one that's reasonably unfamiliar to them, but I am definitely not like that! I quite often forget that it's something similar with us and God. I long to be more like Jesus in character. But in order to make it happen, I need to spend time with him, to really get to know him. And I need to make some kind of conscious or subconscious choice to imitate him. The veil has been taken away and that's a huge deal! why do we so often forget, take this for granted... why don't we just look to Him.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Grenoble: Le retour

"Going back" to a place is always a weird thing. There were some things that were just the same, I still knew the voice over in the tram off by heart - "Victor Hugo, correspondance avec la ligne B, 2, 22, 23, 31 et le reseau transisere", the mountains were still there (though I couldn't see them for most of my séjour as they were covered in cloud), the food is as good as I remember it, the French still bisous each other, still eat cheese and drink wine with almost every meal, still say "bah" and "fin" every third word...

Some things had changed, the addition of a new rather useless 5 stop long tram line not far from where I used to live, my favourite icecream place had changed name but the icecreams still tasted just as good! I met some new people, made some new friends,

But the other thing about going back is the memories, they came back with such life... I missed people who made certain good experiences wonderful. Eating an icecream wasn't the same without the crew from feu, frequenting my favourite cafe wasn't the same without the good friend I always frequented it with. A friend and I popped our head in at orchestra (she's no longer playing with them either) and it was bizarre to only recognise a handful of faces. A lot happens in 2 years... but I made some fab new memories - touring Chambery by bike, ski du fond, playing in the snow, salsa dancing, so many new people, international dinners, discovering libanese food hearing stories of the general strike of 1968, Hungary in the 50s and 60s...

and oh how I love speaking french!
It's good to remember that the past is past and the present is now... I'm glad to be home...