Book number 85 is a book that I have been reading over a long period of time, in bit and pieces. It is Words in a French Life by Kristin Espinasse. It is a collection of stories built around a particular French word with a smathering of other French words thrown in. She includes the translations of all the French words and the various expressions using the main French word in the piece, the idionatic expression that use that word, if you will.
For example, she discusses the term “vouvoyer” which means to use the pronoun “vous,” the formal form of the pronoun “you.” The French use the formal pronoun for quite a while with a person before using the “tu” form, or “tuvoyer,” the more familiar form. Espinasse writes an entire essay on the use of the use of “vous” and “tu” and her experience in the misuse of these terms with the mother of a classmate of one of her children. She had thought that since they saw each other so frequently that they were on a “tu” basis, but the woman continued to use “vous” with her. She learned how hard it is to become familiar in the French culture.
Another word she writes about is “trousse,” a case. You can talk about a make-up case, a toiletry case, a tool kit, a first-aid kit, but the expression “aux trousses de” means hot on the heels of something. So that is an example of an idiomatic expression using a word she writes about. She may also include other French words in the essay for which she includes the translation.
Espinasse has a blog called French Word-A-Day, published three days a week and has published two other books based on her blogs. Her blogs are much like this book, based around a word and its meaning and idiomatic expressions. Her blog includes a MP3 file that includes the word in used a sentence. Eighty-five down, 15 to go. Actually, I’m adding 25 more to the challenge so it’s 40 to go.