Welcome to my French class blog. I hope to post periodically with updates on what's going on in class.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More on Stereotypes...In the Words of My Students

In preparation for National French Week, I have been discussing common stereotypes that many Americans hold true about the French.  We watched several videos depicting blatant stereotypes, and the students identified them.  The next step was to read some articles and blog posts with a more realistic spin on France and French culture.  I had students pull together all of this information and write opinion paragraphs.  Here is what some of them had to say:

  • We should learn to respect each other as people and countries.  The majority of stereotypes are incorrect.  Don't always believe what you hear; understand reality first.
  • Stereotypes are normally fake.
  • French is normal in French, we are normal in America
  • i dont agree with the sterotypes. i agree with you and believe people should get to know the french before you judge them. i dont belive that sterotypes are fair, i think they are plain stupid. people get mad when you jude them. (america) but... we go around and judge other people. i think that the french are very interesting people. and we should take time and think about what we say before we say it.
  • I do not believe in stereotyping. I think that people just make up things that they see in movies and believe it to be real. like with french always wearing stripes and a beret. This is not true in real life, this is just something people make out to be true because this is what french people are always shown as. also the french eat more than just croissants!
  • I think that the french are misunderstood and there stereotypes are likley to not be true.
  • You know that the term 'stereotype' means to characterize or judge someone by what youve heard or seen, and that you could easily say that to stereotype is to spread rumors and gossip about an entire country.
  • don't always believe everything you hear, check back into reality.
  • stereotypes are ignorant. they flabbergast me in the morning
  • All of the reasons that we do not like the french is about stuff that happened over thing that happened a long time ago.
  • i think that the french are sterotyped to much beacuse we as americans think we are superior to all other and that they should just throw aside there customs and learn ours overall i think that america should deflate their air head and think about others for once
  • I belive that many stereotypings are fake with some truth in the matter. For instance the French actually did smoke an incredible amount until recent times. Also the French are actually one of the cleanest nations in Europe. Once again though some truth the French along with most of Europe was very unsanitary in the past. It is true that the French eat some strange food ,and pastries. but that is not all they eat. As for the rudeness we can be very rude to other nations as well.
  • It is kind of sad how many stereotypes there are on the french.
  • i think that french people are just as good as any other person. in africa, england, america , france and any other country we all are diffrent and other people are just going to haveto accept it.
  • the french arnt appreicaited enough for what they do to help the americans and that americans need to relize how much they do for us and that americans and frennch need to get along better
  • It's never about what they look like.Or what they wear. Everyone is different some people migh think the french sterotypes are stupid and pointless, but other people think there not. You dont know what that person has been threw. Dont judge anyone or anything without knowing where there shoes have been
  • The stereotypes are stupid and we should all just get along and prevent other wars thar might happen in the futer.
  • i think us americans should be greatful to the french for many reasons. the french helped us win the war, they gave us many foods and drinks. they have been so helpful to us that6 we can't thank them enough.
  • The french are really underestimated because of so many rumors or stereotypes. It's not nice to believe what people are saying cause some of it isn't true like the french aren't rude people it just seems that way and all.
  • one stareo type is french people are rude .they are only rude when they think u are being rude to them.
  • french Stereotypes are poop i think poeple shut there mouth if they dont know all the facts and stop maken lies.
  • I always thought that french were like the awesomest people. then I saw all the stereotypes. I was like.. oh word? but The french are really clean and amazing. People stereotype the French way too much.
  • Stereotypes are people who judge first and dont get to know that person or persons. French are stereotyped for cleanslyness as i read. The truth is that french are some of the cleanest people in the world but yet worlds will be twisted and people will judge.
  • we have lots of sterioe types about french because we belive any thing that poeple tell us if we dont know about them lik e if french poeple are in a movie poeple think that is what they all are like that but they are not.
I love my job!  I love my students!!!


Monday, September 26, 2011

le Déjeuner à l'École en France

Voici un clip vidéo qui montre le déjeuner aux cantines françaises.  À mon avis, c'est très différent de ce que je vois à la cantine de notre lycée.  Je pouvais observer la cuisine pendant que nous cuisinions pour la Fête des Nations en mars.  Bien sûr qu'il y a beaucoup de règles hygiéniques ici qu'on doit suivre en cuisinant pour les élèves, mais J'ai vu aussi des choses dans ce clip qui m'ont surprises.  Par exemple, quand j'étais en France, j'ai visité des marchés et des boucheries à Paris.  J'ai vu la viande qui pendait du plafond en plein air.  Ça me semblait un peu bizarre, à cause de la possibilité des microbes et insectes qui pouvaient contaminer la viande qu'on acheterait.  C'est aussi une des histoires que quelques Français racontent des Américains -- que nous sommes obsédés par les microbes et la hygiène de notre nourriture.  Mais peut être ça change pour les Français.  Je ne suis pas certaine.

Qu'en pensez-vous de ce que vous avez vu dans ce clip?  Comparez le déjeuner à l'école en France au déjeuner à notre lycée.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Un Pique-Nique pour le Club Français

Friday will be our opening pique-nique for French Club. On le menu will be Salade Niçoise.  A "traditional" Salade Niçoise means many things to many people, as you will see in the following excerpts from Steve Cuozzo's New York Post article (April 25, 2007) on the subject:

SPRING has sprung, and with it the perennial battle over what makes Nicoise salad "Nicoise."
The Riviera-born favor ite is popping up on many a spring menu, but in myriad mutant forms that have purists fuming.
Nothing drives them crazier than Nicoise made with fresh tuna. "Salade Nicoise with fresh tuna is a travesty," my friend Mimi Sheraton, the former New York Times critic, cheerfully scolded me after I praised Nicoise made with seared tuna at Time Warner Center's Landmarc last week.
"If you like it, you are wrong!"
Most every French-born chef agrees with her. Traditional Nicoise is built around canned tuna. It suavely marries the preserved product to string beans, olives, cooked potatoes, tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs (and, sometimes, scallions and anchovies) so its natural oily essence permeates all the elements; Le Bernardin pilot Eric Ripert calls the effect "osmosis."
But today, most New York chefs regard anything less than "fresh" as blasphemous, and the canned classic is harder than ever to find.
Even the Upper West Side's Nice Matin, named for the salad's home city, uses fresh tuna. The twist is that it's poached in olive oil - "a process to achieve the canned effect using fresh tuna," says sous-chef Adrian Leskiw.
But, "Canned tuna always," declares Francois Payard, owner of Payard Bistro on Lexington Avenue. Landmarc's dish "is vegetable salad with grilled tuna," BLT Fish chef Laurent Tourondel says. "It is not Nicoise."
In a reversal of stereotypes, it's non-French chefs and owners who look down their noses at old-style Nicoise.
But the Nicoise debate even goes beyond the fish. Take potatoes. Payard, who was born in Nice, says they don't belong.
"In Nice, we didn't use potatoes. It is supposed to be a summer dish and very light." But Tourondel harrumphed, "I've never found any without potatoes."
Ours will include canned tuna and potatoes.
Another area of debate is whether the Salade Niçoise should be tossed, with or without lettuce, or served "deconstructed".  Ours will be deconstructed, served "en famille" so club members may choose what they wish to try, and leave behind what they do not.
Anchovies will be available for les courageux!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Les Français n'Oublieront Jamais

This is an organization in France (although it's name is in English) dedicated to the memory of fallen American heroes. It is a French organization, run by the French to honor Americans. 

I wrote a post over the summer about stereotypes that many Americans have about the French, and that many French have about Americans.  One that I left out, but that came up in class today, was the idea that the French hate Americans.  I can tell you unequivocally that is untrue.  My experiences in France were wonderful, and as an American I was warmly accepted by all of the French people I encountered (except one rude waiter, and those are everywhere, and a homeless person who wanted money from me).  I have numerous French colleagues on Twitter, and one of my other blogs has more hits from France than anywhere in the world except the US.

But I would like to return to this wonderful organization.  The French Will Never Forget.  In honor of the Americans killed in the tragedy on September 11, 2001, this organization will hold a ceremony at the Place du Trocadero (near the Eiffel Tower) where there will be symbolic replicas of the Twin Towers between the French and American flags.  This is a very powerful message from a country that has long been our ally.  It is true that our opinions have differed on certain issues throughout history, and no doubt that will continue.  But it remains the case that France and the United States are friendly nations, and our peoples will continue to share our cultures, learn from, and honor one another.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Je n'y pouvais pas imaginer!

In his book Boulangerie Paul Rambali quotes Pierre Prévert (incorrectly attributed to Jacques Prévert) from the film short Paris mange son pain:

"The menu of Paris is a song, and bread is the chorus."

La baguette in particular is a quintessential part of la culture française.  There is not much a Frenchman wouldn't do, no distance too far to travel to carry that singular goodness tucked under his arm.  But have things changed?  The video below demonstrates, for me at least, the ultimate sin of fast food against French culinary culture

If, as Rambali says, "The history of the baguette is the history of France.", then what do vending machine baguettes mean for the future of France?

Friday, August 12, 2011

What a Cool Job!

I read this article in today's Post Standard.  What a great job!  Translating for movies!  How fun would that be!  I found it particularly interesting the issues they faced trying to translate Larry the Cable Guy's "redneck" lines.  This is (yet another reason) why translators will never replace language learning.  Slang is constantly changing, and the nuances of regional dialects are too many to be accurately replicated by machine translation.  The human factor will always be necessary for communicating with those who speak other languages.  For those of you interested in drama, or careers in that field, this provides interesting food for thought.  Whether as subtitle writer, or actor who dubs in French knowing another language will make you more marketable!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Les Français et les Américains

I'm revisiting my theme of stereotyping in light of an article I read this morning from the NY Times regarding the relationship between the French and Americans.  I find it interesting every September when I get a new group of students, the recurring negative comments about France:  they lack courage because they surrendered during WWII...they "owe" us because we "saved" them (implication that they must support America's every political position until the end of time).  This article puts a different spin on things, and I found it to be quite thought provoking:

For Bastille Day, What America Owes France (NY Times)

Qu'en pensez-vous?