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Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France [Paperback]

Kristin Espinasse

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Book Description

May 1 2007
Imagine a former French major getting vocabulary tips from her young children! That was the experience of Kristin Espinasse, an American who fell in love with a Frenchman and moved to his country to marry him and start a family. When her children began speaking the language, she found herself falling in love with it all over again. To relate the stories of her sometimes bumpy, often comic, and always poignant assimilation, she created a blog called "French Word a Day," drawing more admirers than she ever could have imagined.

With an approach that is as charming as it is practical, Espinasse shares her story through the everyday French words and phrases that never seem to make it to American classrooms. "Comptoir" ("counter") is a piece about the intricacies of grocery shopping in France, and "Linge" ("laundry") swoons over the wonderful scent the laundry has after being hung out in the French countryside while "Toquade" ("crush") tells of Espinasse's young son, who begins piling gel onto his hair before school each morning when he becomes smitten with a girl in class.

Steeped in French culture but experienced through American eyes, Words in a French Life will delight armchair travelers, Francophiles, and mothers everywhere.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (May 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743287290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743287296
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #224,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Vignettes and vocabulary create the base for this lighthearted memoir by Espinasse, whose blog "French Word-A-Day" spawned three self-published books. Born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., Espinasse followed her heart to France, where she married and started a family. Thirteen years later, she still endures being labeled l'Américaine and experiences the indignities of grammar correction (by her own children, no less). Each short chapter (some are just one page) is inspired by a French word, shares a brief anecdote about French life (incorporating French words into the text), and ends with a list of all of the vocabulary words used in the anecdote, their English translation and a list of expressions using the word. In between explaining words like complicité("closeness, complicity") and égard ("consideration"), Espinasse recounts her adventures, from fitting in with the French moms to undergoing culture shock on return visits to the States, with honesty and humor, never afraid to have a good laugh at her own expense. With its innovative and entertaining way of teaching the finer points of French, Espinasse's memoir will be popular with travelers and expats alike. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Blogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Her popular blog covers a different French word each day for an English-speaking audience. Espinasse's "definitions" come from her everyday experiences, particularly those provoked by her children's frequent delight at their mother's mistakes, misuses, and mispronunciation of words. When her son asks her to pass the ficelle, she searches the table for a string, not comprehending at first that the same word applies to an exceptionally narrow loaf of bread. Her daughter's loss of a baby tooth reminds Espinasse that French children earn a visit from the little mouse, not the tooth fairy. By birth an Arizonan, Espinasse has full command of English, so her explanations are lucid and helpful. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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