Sunday, November 28, 2010

Je Me Souviens

I'm in Quebec, and I've made some observations about the French language.

In America, "dead-end" calls to mind a sad little street that literally dies on you. "Cul-de-sac" calls to mind a nice suburban, residential street which ends with a neat curve, perhaps with some flowers near the curb and plenty of room for a comfortable u-turn. When the bus pulled into its first stop in Montreal, it turned onto a street with a sign saying "cul-de-sac." To my disappointment it was just a plain dead end.

In America the word "overt" is always used to mean "figuratively open," and is often used in a high-falutin' way. In Quebec, stores have signs saying "ouvert" to let people know that they're open for business.

It is a bit amusing to hear Americans speaking French with an unabashedly American accent, as in the sentence "Don't park there! It's an arret d'autobus."

On a practical note, if you ever gain control over a province, don't force people to speak your language. It's not very nice.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

At Home with the Heisenbergs

Elisabeth Heisenberg: I can't find my car keys.
Werner Heisenberg: You probably know too much about their momentum.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Miss My Blog

It was nice to be able to write neat little posts, well-written enough that I could be proud of them, poorly written enough that they didn't require much effort. Then y'all would discuss them, and I would feel like my thoughts are worth discussing. Then I would discuss your thoughts on your blogs, and make you think that your thoughts are worth discussing. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, our discussions would degenerate into silliness and we'd go to sleep. But, in the words of Eminem, "those days are gone / they're just memories."