Hello everyone. How are you? I wasn’t going to blog until tomorrow but there is too much that has happened today in world history for me to wait. First and foremost – no, it’s not the first black president of the USA – Isabel took her first steps this morning. She has been on the verge for a while now but this morning was the time she chose to bowl me over and I welled up and started blubbering, which confused her slightly! I felt a fool but I was so emotional I couldn’t help myself. Then, when I went into the office and everyone’s phones were beeping ten to the dozen and the colour of the USA map was changing from red to blue at a fantastic rate, it all became too much for me. Will he make a difference? We can only hope…
Well, enough of US politics and baby talk, time to get down to brass tacks, Olfa, it has to be said that your English is pretty good and your vocabulary can be very precise. Take for example, your use of the word catastrophic to describe the distressing situation you found yourself in on the eve of your first student blog experience, I can well imagine what you must have been going through, as I’m sure the other readers could too. Likewise, your use of to top it all was absolutely spot on in that sentence and context. It sounded very natural and added spice to your sentence. By spice I mean colour, flavour, it enriched your sentence and helped to paint a picture for us. Well done!
Now I have a question for you Olfa, and maybe one for all the other bloggers to consider too. How often do you write/speak by using direct translation? The reason I ask is that because your mother tongue is French, the temptation is probably greater than with languages not as close in root to English. You have the advantage (or disadvantage depending on which way you look at it) of having a huge passive knowledge of English words which are very similar – to look at - to the French equivalent. For example, fantastic, formidable, catastrophic etc. However, there is a risk that you can end up using the wrong word in the wrong place through translating.
An example in your first blog of this is reunified. 'Well, in short, it seems that everything is reunified to make this day a particularly sad and desperate one'. Try to rephrase this sentence keeping what I have said in mind. Maybe the other bloggers can help out too. OK, that’s vocabulary; now let’s look at some grammar. Your sentence construction is good and your sentences hang together well. You might want to pay some attention to your use of tenses and verb forms. Again, maybe the other bloggers can help out. Find the mistake in the following sentences and rewrite.
1. I wish I've could have sent this first letter yesterday, but it was completely impossible.
2. Just think for a person who is used to be connected many hours a day, the situation was just catastrophic.
3. I'm trying during this month to share with you some special time and make French culture and habits more understandable for everyone.
4. To everyone, I will really enjoy to answer to any of your question.
OK Olfa, tell us now more about where you live and work and whether you can get me a job in Paris! I have to say, I love that city and wouldn’t mind living there some day.
P.S. for fans of British culture and traditions, take a look at the blog on 5th November 2007 – Rachel Hunt does a pretty thorough job of describing events that led to us celebrating Guy Fawkes’ downfall.
Answers to last blog's challenge:
Are over – have come to stay with us/are here/came to visit us - there are actually many ways we can rephrase this and we can use different tenses to express the same thing. I chose to use the present simple aspect to bring you closer to the event, and make it sound closer to now.
Curiously - strangely
Draw a blank – fail to recall something/fail
Came up trumps – complete something well or successfully, especially when not expected
Befitting - suitable
Oughtn’t to – should not – the use of oughtn’t to in the blog was meant to be humourous. It was not used to advise but to mock anyone who might think of leaving such a paradise
Serenity – peace/absence of stress or anxiety
Proximity to – closeness to
Palm her off – get rid of her (sounds really awful but it is said in jest and we only did this temporarily!
Alliteration – repetition of consonant sound at the beginning of each syllable
Cohesive – sticks together well
For today’s vocabulary, try matching the word/phrase from the blog with the correct definition. Good night all.
Engage with the basic facts or realities
bowl me over
Overwhelm/impress or delight
get down to brass tacks
Got tears in my eyes
Crying and snuffling/weeping
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.