Brain Fart qui schlingue

My sleeping habits aren’t getting any better. Scumbag body woke me up before butt crack of dawn ever happened, then refused to go back to sleep. I managed to get back to sleep at some point, but it wasn’t for very long. Regardless, I had to find a way to function… I’m about ready to start drinking some of Sheila’s customary cafe au lait for breakfast instead of my usual black tea since it might give me a bit more of a kick in the behind. We made it to Sweet Briar around 1 PM, and the elevator is still broken… I’ve stopped keeping track of how long it’s been since it broke. My trick for climbing the stairs is staring at the ground and not looking at the signs of floors to see how quickly slowly I’m walking…

I filled out a ton of post cards while Sheila was in class, so I was moderately productive today…

We were given a worksheet in last week’s Atelier d’Écriture class, so we went over it for the first half of class. I got most of the subject-verb agreement portions of it right, but there were some other traps, like where pronouns and negation pieces of the sentences go. Now that I look over the sheet, there wasn’t anything that was new on it… The one example that I was asked to give in class I managed to mess up. It was a pronominal verb situation, and I realized after I’d given my incorrect answer that I’d made a mistake. One of the Sweet Briar “pranksters” is in my section of Atelier, so when I realized my mistake and said, “Oh! Brain fart. ‘Nous’ est l’objet direct, et c’est avant le verb… donc, il y a d’accord avec un “s.” The prankster laughed as soon as I said “brain fart” and chimed in. “Yeah, and it stinks!” “Tais-toi!” (Shut-up!) Our lesson today involved the French version of “to bring with/to take with.” There are really two different translations of each… and each of them have specific uses. Amener, emmener, apporter, emporter. The first two both have the root verb mener which means “to lead.” The last two have the root verb porter which means “to carry.” When you’re usually dealing with people (or things you can effectively lead, like a dog to the veterinarian or your car to the auto shop), you use the first two verbs. When you’re dealing with things that you carry (which usually are just things, but babies also fall into this category), you use the last two verbs. So how do you decide when you need to use amener/emmener or apporter/emporter? The two verbs that start with “a” (amener et apporter) refer to either a person or a thing that you arrive with. The two verbs that start with “e” (emmener et emporter) refer to a person or a thing that you leave or depart (whatever verb that you understand better) with. Now that we’ve demystified all of that… let’s put it to use. What verb for “to bring” are we using in the sentence “May I bring a friend?” Hmm. What are you bringing? A friend… that’s a person, so we’ve narrowed it to amener or emmener and we know that you’re arriving with that friend, so the proper verb to use is amener. Pourrais-je amener un ami? “You can bring a bottle of champagne.” A bottle of champagne is a thing, and you’re arriving with it… apporter! Tu peut apporter une bouteille de champagne. “I’m going to take you to the movies.” This one’s tricky… look at it like you’re “leaving the rest of the world” with your friend to go to the movies, so that’s… emmener. Je vais t’emmener au ciné. “The wind took everything away.” Okay, the wind departed with everythingemporter. Le vent a tout emporté. We got a smaller lesson after this one. How would you say “change your mind” in French? It’s the direct translation of “change your opinion.” changer d’avis. This isn’t just an idiomatic expression, the French use changer de + nom (sans article) for tons of things that have to do with the idea of replacing one thing for another, and this is almost always singular (I’ll explain when it’s not in a minute). If we say “we’re switching classrooms” it’s plural because our logic is that somewhere in the middle, we have two classrooms. In French logic, there’s the one classroom at the start, and one classroom at the finish, so the translation is nous allons changer de salle. Classroom is singular. The only time the noun is plural is when the thing you’re replacing is plural, like if you’re switching out your shoes for a new pair. “I’m going to change my shoes” is je vais changer de chaussures. There’s one other case for changer where you wouldn’t use changer deWhen you talk about changing something in the sense of transforming it, you’d use the structure changer + article. “The youth want to change the world” becomes les jeunes veulent changer le monde.

I headed home after this lesson to relax for a bit. Sheila had a bit of a hiccup with her class being moved from creepy Paris III/VII to the normal Paris VII, which she was very happy about, but then her professor somehow didn’t know, so the professor was very late, so Sheila got home later than usual, it was quite a mess. But Sheila no longer has to go to creepy Paris III/VII for the rest of the semester. She was also having one hell of a good hair day and couldn’t stop talking about it… I just have hair. I don’t understand the concept of a good/bad hair day. We had steak, potatoes with parsley, and sautéed leeks for dinner. I had remembered Mme. Mellado mentioning that one of the students in an earlier session of Atelier mistranslating “don’t cry” (it’s supposed to be ne pleure pas for the record) as “pas de pluie.” (no rain) and I started cracking up at the table, so I asked Sheila if it was someone in her session, and it was.  Oh man… some of things we say sometimes… Brain farts and no rain…

I hate Wednesdays. I just really hope I can get some freaking sleep tonight…

L’amour-propre est la source en nous de tous les autres. Corneille: Tite et Bérénice

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