Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

NYT proves my French is getting better


Reading through an opinion piece in The Times recently, I came across a “French” word and paused to consider it because it looked wrong.

bad French in nytA little to my surprise, I was right to find faute with the word: it doesn’t exist. The correct word is épistémè (note location and direction of accents) which is also insane looking but doesn’t cause me to do a double-take and get to Googling.

As for the content of the article, I have no idea what any of it meant. Shortly after resurfacing from an extensive primer on Foucault and the concept of épistémè I went back to the piece and came away more confused than when I started. This just goes to show you that while I am able to detect misspellings of French words, I still have a hard time understanding things in English.

Learn Something

→ I re-read Lolita when I was in Lyon a couple years ago and was excited (poor word choice?) to learn that Humbert Humbert attended lycée in Lyon. It was an odd bit of biographical info that led me to seek out more about Nabokov. He spoke and wrote in his native Russian as well as English and French. Color me impressed.

→ Despite fronting my (statistically) favorite band and putting out six solo albums I quite like, Sting will forever be the guy who taught the world to willfully mispronounced “Nabokov” as NAH-boh-kahv just to suit his rhyme scheme. It’s actually nah-BOH-kaff. You can listen to a genuine Russian pronouncing it here.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

4 thoughts on “NYT proves my French is getting better

  1. Ok what I’ll bite: what does it mean for The Police to be your “(statistically) favorite band”?

    • Sorry, didn’t mean to be provocative but I couldn’t fit the explanation in the post. It just means that of all the bands I love, The Police have the least number of songs I don’t like (both are written by Andy Summers). The Beatles would be my go-to desert island group, but there are whole sections of their catalog that I just don’t care for (second White album, most of Revolver, etc.) which lowers their ratio of good to bad.

      Mostly it just means that I think about stuff too much.

      • I really like that, and I think I’m going to have to use it when talking about various bands/artists.

      • How do other people think critically about stuff? I’m always surprised when my way of thinking isn’t the norm because I genuinely can’t figure out how else to assess things.

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