Getting Used to Being an American Abroad (and Realizing that 30 Degrees is Hot)

The weather has been gorgeous in France this past week and I’ve been looking at the forecast everyday hoping that the sunshine sticks around for a while. Yet every time I watch the météo on TV or check the prévisions on meteofrance.com, I always have to stop for a moment and convert the Celcius degrees […]


Recent Foreign Language and Traveling News

Some interesting articles and websites on foreign languages and traveling that I’ve come across in the past week or two: In Troubled Spain, Boom Times for Foreign Languages: more Spaniards learning languages in order to find jobs abroad Scandinavians Rule, Russians Low in English Language Skills: ranking the proficiency of English among 44 countries and […]


My Say it in French Phrasebook Available in September from Dover Publications

Guess who’s a published author now? It’s on Amazon so that makes it official, right? One of my jobs last year was revising and updating Dover Publications’ Say it in French phrasebook. The original was written in the 50’s and included a section on telegrams and cablegrams, so there was a lot I needed to […]


New Language Tutorial on ielanguages.com: Afrikaans!

I’m happy to announce that a new language tutorial has been added to ielanguages.com: Afrikaans! The tutorial was written by Selçuk Mert Köseoğlu and proofread by native-speaker Sarien, who also plans to record some mp3s. Afrikaans originated from 17th century Dutch and is one of the official languages of South Africa. It is also spoken in […]


Swearing in French and Degrees of Vulgarity

Swearing is another cultural concept that is difficult to master when learning a language. Exact translations among swear words are hard to come by since a lot of the meaning depends on the situation and tone of voice. What is considered vulgar in one language may not be in another. In French, merde is usually […]


France has a new département d’outre-mer: Mayotte

As of March 2011, France now has five overseas départements instead of four. Mayotte was previously a collectivité d’outre-mer, but now it is officially a département d’outre-mer joining Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and La Réunion – all of which also have the status of région. So where is Mayotte? Geographically it is the 4th island in […]