Sunday, March 19, 2017

French language week


Semaine de la langue Française et de la Francophonie French Village Diaries Jean Maillet Melle
The book hut in Melle

Yesterday afternoon I was the taxi that had to take Ed into Melle to meet up with his mates. We were early and although I’m not too clingy a Mum (!) I don’t like to leave him until at least one of his friends has also turned up. While waiting, I thought I’d pop out of the car and take a peek at the little book hut that has recently appeared in the car park. These mini sharing libraries, where anyone is free to take or leave books, are becoming popular in our area at the moment.

Semaine de la langue Française et de la Francophonie French Village Diaries Jean Maillet Melle
Inoubliables Expressions de Grand-Mère by Jean Maillet

I wasn’t really thinking about the books though, more an arty shot with the clock tower and market halle for Instagram. However, I got more than that as a book caught my eye; no real surprise there. Inoubliables Expressions de Grand-Mère by Jean Maillet (Grandma’s Unforgettable Expressions) piqued my interest enough to take a look, and one look was enough to know that despite it being over 400 pages, I had to take this book. With 365 sayings explained with a shortish paragraph, it will be perfect for me to dip in and out of, although reading in French, it may well take me a year to finish it.

I originally assumed these expressions ‘de Grand-Mère’ just meant sayings from the old days, but the more I dipped in, the more I realised many are actually from his Grand-Mère. It certainly made me think about some of the sayings my Nan used to tell us, like:
“N’er cast a clout ‘til May be out”
But as she grew up in Ireland I’m guessing it was colder there in May than it is here.

There was something else about this book that caught my eye; it looks and feels brand new. This is not surprising as this edition was only published in October 2016, so I guess it has either not been read (unwanted gift maybe) or just had one very careful owner. I did wonder if the author was a local, and had left a new copy, so once home, good old google was summoned. Jean Maillet was born in Saintes in the Charente-Maritime and studied in Angouleme, Poitiers and Bressuire, so although not a local to Melle, he is certainly local to this area. I also discovered he is an English teacher and author of several other language-themed books including 100 anglicisms à ne plus jamais utiliser (100 Anglicism’s never to be used again!

Semaine de la langue Française et de la Francophonie French Village Diaries Jean Maillet Melle
French Language week 18-26 March

Yesterday was also the start of the Semaine de la Langue Française et de la Francophonie, a week where we have been invited to have fun and celebrate the French Language. And why not, it is a beautiful thing to listen to, and even if I’ll probably never have perfect grammar or pronunciation, I do enjoy speaking in French. 

What a day to find this book by this author, someone who is passionate about the French language and whose books have a fun feel to them – even if he does seem a little upset with us Anglophones and our words that creep into his belle language. At least he will be helping me with my French reading, and teaching me an expression or two along the way, including 'donner de la confiture aux cochons'  - giving jam to pigs!

This post has been linked to Dreaming of France at Paulita's blog.

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