Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a foolproof method to increase your vocabulary in a foreign language

1. move to a foreign country (this may prove a bit difficult, but it is very much worth it)
2. specifically a foreign country that puts out a daily newspaper gratuit (free) that you can easily access and read. (this may limit your choices, but also very much worth it)
3. get hold of one of these daily papers
4. read it
5. keep an eye out for upcoming special events
6. find an upcoming event announcement that looks safe, but has lots of words, or just one, that you do not understand
7. go to this event
8. discover exactly what it is you are seeing, and find out what the unknown words mean

this method is, as previously stated, foolproof. most of the time. and, in case you don't believe me, i have an example. i will now take you through these 8 easy steps using a real life situation.
1. i moved to france
2. france has daily, free newspapers. they are at almost every metro stop - a little light reading for the morning train ride. i think there are actually 4 different kinds. my favorite is probably 20 Minutes. it has the most celebrity updates and the best horoscopes.
3. i grab a journal every chance i get
4. i read them (it helps that reading them fufills a major requirement for one of my classes), i either read the daily nouvelles or i metro nap. its a good life.
5. i always look out for special upcoming events, and today while reading i found one
6. it read "Ah les jolis gilets jaune fluo...." and had a picture of a yellow sweater. although i have no idea what the word gilet means, and at first wasn't sure about fluo either, that is the point of the exercise.
7. i convinced some friends to go see this yellow sweater with me. it was some kind of art exhibit with 65 artists/designers and had something to do with a yellow sweater. we were unsure if the artists all collaborated to make one awesome yellow sweater, or if there would be multiple, but it was a risk we were willing to take.
8. we found the art gallery and discovered that 'gilets jaunes fluo' are not sweaters at all. they are vests! fluorescent yellow safety vests! gilet = vest. lesson in vocab? done.

see how applicable these 8 easy steps are? really.
today's adventure was great. we honestly thought we might be seeing one giant yellow sweater. we were glad to find a display that was quite interesting. and it really was a grand little vocabulary lesson. 65 artists had been given a fluo aka fluorescent yellow safety vest to do with as they pleased. some made dresses, some made head dresses. some spray-painted designs, some added feathers. it was totally modern and totally fun. i loved it. it was a perfect little adventure, and they even had pastries up for the taking at the end. i love france. ah, les jolis gilets jaune fluo...
i like this picture lots.
i love french window displays,
especially when wedding dresses are involved
drew and emily, my yellow sweater buds

me unsuccessfully navigating us through back alleyways of paris.
double door
'piece unique'
there's no better way to put it
this is the very the safety vest sweater that appeared in the add, and made us think we were going to see sweaters.
more fluo treats
emily with a particularly great one
drew with some spray-painted vests
me with a bathrobe+vest.
not sure how this one made it in the collection.
shoe shot.
had enough neon yellow yet?
we saw some seriously intense russian stacking dolls in another window display.
the best part about the whole day was probably when emily and i got off the train and saw this woman. wearing a fluorescent safety vest. we died. we could not stop laughing. hence the poor quality of all these photos. i suppose she is the epitome of fashion.
speaking of epitome of fashion, this week is fashion week here in paris. i am so excited! who knows what other great things i will run into in the daily paper...


  1. Thanks for the french lesson. Now I remember the word gilet because I bought a suit there and it had a gilet (vest). Grampa Hart