Ship or Sheep or Disgust?

I’m preparing the audio files for our Phonetics labs at home, and I’ve been listening to the units in our book, Ship or Sheep?, written by two Brits about 25 years ago. I got to Unit 4 on the [æ] vowel sound and noticed the dialogue they had written using as many words as possible with this sound. The title is “A Bad Hijacker.” Oh boy.

Even before 9/11, I think I would have been very sensitive about this, so I don’t think it’s just because I’m American or what happened 7 years ago. You just don’t write fake dialogues about planes blowing up! Surely there are plenty of other topics you can talk about using words with the [æ] vowel. Who would find it appropriate to talk about a fat lady with a handbag who turns out to be a hijacker on a flight to Amsterdam? And then end the dialogue with a huge explosion as if it were real? Even the book has a little drawing of the plane exploding with the word BANG written across it. ::sigh::

I was liking this book because of their adorable, stereotypical British accents that no one actually speaks with… and then they had to ruin it. I honestly feel a little sick now.

Pour mes amis canadiens et canadiennes:

Meilleurs vœux pour le jour de l’Action de Grâce! Happy Thanksgiving! P.S. I’m jealous your election is tomorrow instead of 3 weeks away! I ♥ Canada.

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The Story of the Missing Ballot

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who had grown disillusioned with her country. It was too religious, too conservative, too intolerant. I’ll move to France, she thought, and maybe one day my country will get better so I will be less ashamed of it. So off to France she went, and there […]

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Le Retour des Alpages 2008

I just returned from the Retour des Alpages festival today in Annecy. I managed to take more pictures than last year, though I didn’t see much of the parade from where I was standing. Once again, I was constantly reminded why I hate being in Annecy when it is really crowded. Usually it’s the little […]

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I love technology, but I love it more when it actually works.

This week was the start of our language labs at the university (i.e. 9 out of 12 of my classes). They only run for 10 weeks, so we don’t start them when regular classes start. Unfortunately, our brand new computerized language lab is not working properly, so we can barely use it. Instead, we’re running […]

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The Past, Poverty & Perspective

Thanks to David’s dad and his generous gift of Chèque Lire, I got yet another French as a Foreign Language book at Decitre today, in an attempt to improve my faltering French since I can’t afford actual classes. The first chapter was about traveling, and more specifically, Quebec. The second chapter was about rencontres and […]

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The Not-So-United States of America

So the presidential elections (only one more month to go!!!) and having to explain the Electoral College and how voting works in the US to the French have stirred up some emotions about why I don’t like living there. The United States of America is just that – a collection of states, but states that […]

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Two Years in France: Un Bilan

My two year anniversary in France was this past Friday, September 26. I realize I have done a lot  / accomplished a lot / suffered through a lot over the past 24 months in France: obtained 5 Carte de Séjours from my best friends at the Préfecture exchanged American driver’s license for French one and […]

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I want to be a lectrice forever.

I love my job! I work with three classes in the labs: Vocabulary, Pronunciation and Business English. In all of them, I can spy on the students with my headset and make sure they are actually doing the lessons and using English. (I have ALL the power!!!) For vocab class, I’m redoing the weekly HTML […]

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More Language Learning Tips

Websites I found these past few weeks: Dialang is a neat program that you can use to determine your European Level in a foreign language. There are 5 tests – reading, writing, listening, grammar and vocabulary – available for 14 languages – Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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My Say it in French phrasebook and Great French Short Stories dual-language book (both published by Dover Publications) are available at Amazon.com.

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