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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Language, Food, and Books

I went to my second French class this morning. For preparation I read about 90 pages of Alex Garland’s La Plage this week. It was slow going but I understand almost everything and I like the story enough to want to continue. When I say slow going I mean really slow and at this rate it will take me a month to finish this 490 page novel.  I studied every day this week for at least an hour.  I think that I will be pretty diligent about my French this time around as I now know a lot more about how to learn a language than I did a few years ago when I last studied French.  I think that it could be completely passable very soon.  I also watched a bit of French TV (we get two channels here) although I didn’t understand much.

I told my French teacher that I wanted to learn how to make my way around a kitchen in French. To that aim I started looking at some French recipes. In just one recipe I came across the following new verbs (new for me):
Éplucher – peel    
Saupoudrer – sprinkle
Émincer – slice      
Écumer - skim
Verser – pour        
Foudre – melt, dissolve
Écraser – crush

It took me a while to get comfortable with kitchen Spanish so I don’t plan on making that mistake again. I figure that I can learn quite a lot of the necessary vocabulary in a few weeks. I already know most of the vocabulary for food so I’m not doing too badly. For my first dish I plan on making boeuf bourguignon which is a lot like coq au vin which I have made before (see my video).  I’ve been looking for something new to cook so tapping into the French classics should be a gold mine.

I haven’t stopped learning Spanish and to that effect I am getting on the Stieg Larsson bandwagon. Today I’ll start reading the first in his Millennium trilogy called Los Hombres que No Amaban a las Mujeres.  I saw the movie dubbed into Spanish so reading the book should be fairly easy. However, I still read rather slowly in Spanish (as compared to English) and at 665 pages this could take me a while. I also have the next two books in the trilogy on my shelf if I choose to continue with the saga. For me the important thing is reading, no matter what it is. Someone else wants to read this book after me so I’d better get cracking.

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