• 2004-12-28
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Suw at Chocolate and Vodka posts a link to a site that displays a shrunken head of George Washington. With instructions how to make one.


Un billet pour Noël, fête au gout doux-amer, et plus amer que doux, pour moi. Les liens postfacés par (fr) sont en français, les autres en anglais.

  • 2004-12-25
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Special Christmas offerings from my favourite blogs:

For other reading material more or less related to the season, there’s Guy de Maupassant’s Conte de Noël (fr) (which I find scary; it is loosely related to the animal tales mentioned above), Jacques Prévert’s fairy tale Le dromadaire mécontent (fr) (something else I’d like to see translated), or, foreshadowing New Year’s Eve fireworks, Elizabeth Bishop’s poem The Armadillo, which you can read and listen to here.

This time of the year has never been an easy one for me. Even, or maybe especially, when I think back to when I was a child, my memories of Christmas celebrations are mixed and confused. I used to cry for every year that went out, too; and was glad when I could take refuge in the reassuring routine of school.

Too pretty, dreamlike mimicry!
O falling fire and piercing cry
and panic, and a weak mailed fist
clenched ignorant against the sky!

Apparently, I am not quite as indifferent to memes as I thought. I saw this one first posted by Rachel at a tear in the fabric of spacetime, and it’s spreading to some other sites I regularly visit.

The idea is the following: when you type a letter of the alphabet into your favourite browser’s address bar, which web page will be suggested first by the browser’s auto-completion feature? Here is what came up for me:


Okay, I cheated a bit. I eliminated password protected pages, this site itself and a new project of mine that isn’t ready to be shown to the world just yet. I assume I am not the only one to bend the rules slightly.

Conclusions? Half a dozen of dictionaries is an awful lot, but accurately reflects my writing habits. Seven more links lead to language/linguistics pages. Most of the pages belong in the “terribly serious” category, but a few are a little more lighthearted. There’s a little less French than there would have been had I browsed my French bookmarks and favourite news sites this morning. None of them is a surprise.

Konqueror goodies

Le navigateur Konqueror, présent sur les systèmes Linux qui utilisent KDE comme interface graphique, a une fonction de synthèse vocale. Elle est basique et ne fonctionne qu’en anglais pour l’instant. Néanmoins, c’est un outil intéressant.

  • 2004-12-23
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My regular readers may have noticed that I run Debian Gnu/Linux on my home computer. I also use the KDE GUI, or “graphical desktop environment” as the KDE folks call it. KDE comes with its own web browser, Konqueror. Konqueror is a nice little browser. Its largely standards-compliant rendering engine (the component that displays the […]

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Prononciation anglaise

Some English pronunciations have subtilities that non-native speakers easily overlook. Here are a few examples.

Si vous êtes parmi les lecteurs et lectrices de alt.usage.english, vous les avez peut-être déjà répérés. Dans le cas contraire, voici quelques mots anglais dont la prononciation pose parfois problème même aux personnes averties. Les liens pointent vers les dictionnaires Cambridge (avec API) et Merriam-Webster (avec son et ascii-API). egregious se prononce [ɪˈgriːʤəs], avec trois syllabes. […]

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More reading

Fred Vargas, Pars vite et reviens tard. À lire.

Now for some reading material that’s more commonly considered escapist: mystery novels. First I have to make a shameful admission: I knew that Fred Vargas is a woman, but didn’t pick up on the fact that she is French. English first name + Spanish last name = American, in my heuristics. I therefore put off […]

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Les verbes à particule anglais, et la célèbre citation qui n’est pas par Churchill.

  • 2004-12-15
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Putting this entry in the category “inspiration” feels quite wrong. This hasn’t been a good week, on several counts, and I’ve been suffering from a painful lack of inspiration. However, that’s precisely the reason it has to be categorised thus. In times like these, reading remains, and there may be a pinch of escapism in it. […]

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For many people, the one special date of the year is an occasion to reflect on other — more famous — anniversaries that fall on that day. For me, this is the 6th of December. I used to think that this date wasn’t an extraordinary one, apart from being St Nicolas’ Day (which is important in […]

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News from #wordpress

La langue, ça intéresse tout le monde. Surtout les WordPressiens dans leur salon irc.

Language is always a hot topic on #wordpress#[1]. Copy-and-paste from today: [Korgan] Why isn’t Phonetics spelt with an “f”? :) [mpt] because most things aren’t self-referential [mpt] e.g. onomatopoeia isn’t onomatopoeic [mpt] and adjective isn’t an adjective [Korgan] Hehe :) Doesn’t explain why, when the English language was evolving, Phonetics […]

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Possession et appartenance

A short note on two ways to express possession (in French), which not always mean the same thing.

  • 2004-12-02
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Mon chat à moi est le mien, et la tête à mon frère, c’est la sienne, pas vrai ? Les deux expressions, avec et sans préposition, veulent-elles donc dire la même chose ? Pas toujours et tout à fait. On s’en rend compte à la lecture de ce passage tiré d’un article paru dans Libération : […]

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