L’état d’Apprendre l’anglais et d’AnglaisPod.com

Bonjour tout le monde!

Ça fait un petit moment, n’est-ce pas? Veuillez m’excuser pour l’absence, environ 2 ans depuis le dernier podcast, et seulement quelques petits trucs sur le forum pendant ce séjour. En tout cas, ça c’est le passé. Alors, qu’est-ce qui est dans l’avenir pour Apprendre l’anglais et pour AnglaisPod.com?

En fait, j’ai des bonnes nouvelles. Si vous regardez ce petit photo peut-être vous pourriez deviner…

Alors, oui, c’est mon nouveau studio de podcast ! Je viens d’acheter tous les trucs plus tôt aujourd’hui, et je suis vraiment heureux avec le micro maintenant. Aussi, c’est mille fois mieux que celui que j’utilisais avant…

Ce n’est pas que ce vieux micro était terrible, mais…ben, c’était terrible. Mais je n’avais pas beaucoup d’argent à cet époque-là (ce n’est pas à dire que j’en ai beaucoup maintenant, mais plus qu’avant :p )

Alors, qu’est-ce que je vais faire avec le podcast, c’est toujours la question à laquelle tout le monde veut une réponse…je vais le recommencer. Je sais bien que j’ai essayé de le recommencer au passé quelques fois, mais cette fois, cela va arriver. J’ai beaucoup d’idées pour ce que je peux faire, mais je ne vais pas vous tout dire ce soir, vous devez attendre juste un peu ! Ce que je peux dire à ce moment, c’est que je vais tout d’abord commencer à enregistrer des nouveaux épisodes. Je vais essayer de faire un peu de ménage (on dit ça en français? en anglais on dit “do a bit of housekeeping” même si ce n’est pas une vraie “maison” dont on parle) avec le flux RSS et le site en général, le forum, le blog, et tout ça. Mais ne vous inquiétez pas, parce qu’il y a beaucoup d’autres choses, y compris des trucs intéressants, que je vais commencer dans les prochains mois avec AnglaisPod. Je vais mettre un indice au dessous de cet article, si vous voulez essayer de deviner.

Pour répondre à d’autres questions que je reçois de temps en temps, qui pourraient être résumer par “Qu’est-ce que vous faites maintenant, Thomas?” je vais en parler un peu. Maintenant j’ai 26 ans (que je deviens plus vieux chaque année, pfffft), j’habite à Tuscaloosa, Alabama, et je suis des cours à l’University of Alabama pour finir mon Master en linguistique française. Aussi, j’ai une fiancée maintenant! Elle s’appelle Rebecca, vous pouvez visiter sa chaîne sur YouTube à youtube.com/xannbe. Et nous avons un chien adorable qui s’appelle Cosmo. Voici un photo de lui…

Alors, si vous avez d’autres questions, n’hésitez pas à me contacter, vous pouvez me trouver sur twitter @anglaispod, vous pouvez toujours m’envoyer un mail anglaispod@gmail.com, ou poster un message sur le forum. J’essaye de répondre à tous les messages, mais de temps en temps c’est impossible. Et je vais essayer de rattraper un peu les mails que j’ai déjà réçu, alors si vous m’en avez envoyé un, je vais essayer de répondre! Et voici l’indice que j’avais mentionné…

Merci de m’avoir lu, et bonne journée!

Complimentary vs. Complementary

Watching TV today while trying to catch up on the backlog of emails I have for the podcast, I saw the following commercial:

It’s a homeaway.com commercial (a site I am not familiar with), and seeing it made me think that I should write to explain the difference between the two words complimentary and complementary, as they are one of many pairs of words in English that are pronounced the same, but spelled and used differently.

Complimentary (with an “i”) has two main uses. It stems from “compliment”, which is when you praise someone or something. “John complimented my new kitchen.” This sentence shows that John likes the new kitchen, and said something nice about it, called a compliment, and thus he was being complimentary. The other use of complimentary, the “i” version, is to mean something is free, usually in a restaurant or a hotel or such. For example, at many Mexican restaurants in America, you receive complimentary chips and salsa with any meal. At a hotel, you will probably find complimentary soap and shampoo in the bathroom.

The other complementary (with an “e”), is used differently. It is used to say that one person or thing goes with or works well with another person or thing. For example, “Your purse complements your blouse.” This means the purse and the blouse look nice together, they go together. Another example, “This wine really complements the veal.” This means that the wine tastes very good with the veal, they work well together.  Another usage of the “e” version of complementary is a bit less common, but still important. “This aircraft has a complement of 7 crew members and 1 pilot.” The usage is similar, it means that the aircraft has 7 crew members and 1 pilot with it.

Back to the commercial I saw. Here is the dialog used:

Guest: “You even charged me for…the complimentary bottle of water!”

Hotel: “It’s complementary, with an ‘e.’ The water complements the room, it’s not free.”

Hopefully that will help distinguish the two words — unfortunately, you will see native speakers using the wrong one sometimes, but just keep in mind the meanings! If you have questions about specific examples, post them in the comments.

The Return of AnglaisPod (and the AnglaisBlog!)

Before I go any further, I would like to apologize for the delay in new posts, new podcasts, and such. I really do enjoy the site and the show, and I have missed all of you very much! But no worries, because I am now back :) For starters, I have recorded the next episode, and will be posting it for Wednesday, Expressions Lesson 09. If you use Twitter, you can follow me (under anglaispod), and will sometimes find early updates and fun info about the website and the show. Also, you will find that there is a new photo posted on the site, entitled “Bigger Fridge, Less Food.” As I mentioned in the photo description, my camera is broken, so until I purchase a new one, I only have the camera in my cell phone, so the picture quality is not as good for now. You can also check out the latest version of “Qui suis-je?” though I don’t know how interesting it is for anyone.

As for what I have planned for the site, you will have to come and see! I am working on a completely new version of anglaispod.com and will post previews here once I am closer to finishing it, but for now it is still in construction. I have been cleaning up the RSS feed and old episodes (adding the logo as well as text for iPhones and iPod Touches), and doing some maintenance, and also am working on new features that will be added when the new version arrives, but more on that later. I also have several podcast episodes planned, so stay subscribed and you will be getting those in shortly. Looking through my email, I have around 530 to answer, so that will take me a long, long time, and I will probably not be able to answer all of them, though I will try. Once I post the newest episode and update the main page, I will start participating on the forums again, and I really want to make that an integral part of AnglaisPod version 2, but more on that later.

On a personal note, for those who are interested, I have been working at the same job for several months now, and am enjoying my apartment, too. I work in computer networking, so if anyone is interested in that, feel free to ask me more. I am very excited to be working on the podcast again, and hope that I will finally be able to start doing it like I planned originally, and just in time for the 2 year anniversary of Apprendre l’anglais! Thank you to everyone who has stayed subscribed to the podcast and continued to visit the website, you are all my motivation for returning. Feel free to ask anything or comment below :)

Cooking and Spices

I have been cooking for a few years now, and I have a small repertoire of things that I can cook decently. Most of them are simple, such as pasta, chicken fried rice, or grilled fish, but I do try to experiment and branch out, too. I am a really big fan of spices, and so I am always trying to discover new spices and new combinations for old ones, too. One of my favorite things to do is to try a very plain fish, baked with different spice combinations. This allows me to test out new ideas, and was how I discovered that curry and chipolte chili powder go together well (try it if you don’t believe me).

On a different note, every since I haved moved into this apartment, I have been watching the Food Network a lot. I don’t watch the “how to cook” shows very much, I prefer the cooking competitions or events (Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Dinner Impossible, Iron Chef America, etc.) more. I think I enjoy it because it shows the amazing talents of the cooks. Take Tony Hawk for example. Sure, it’s fun for him to do a show on how to skateboard, how to do basic things, and such, but it’s much more fun to watch him do the amazing stuff that most people could never even hope to do. That’s how I feel about the cooking shows. It’s fun to watch the learning how to cook shows sometimes, but I would rather watch them do amazing things that I could never cook. (I think this may be part of the reason that the expressions lessons and advanced lessons are more popular than the regular and intermediate lessons, as another example)

The reason I mention these two things together is the following. Quite often on the cooking shows I watch, they use a spice called cumin. I am not familiar with it, and I see different chefs use it all the time, for a variety of things. So, last night, while I was at the store, I decided to buy some cumin, so I could attempt to cook something with it. When I got home, I opened it, and smelled it. The smell was incredibly strong, and definitely nothing like I have ever used. And because of that, I have no idea what to use it with. Based purely on the smell, I think it might go well with curry or maybe paprika, but I really have no idea. So…any suggestions? I know some of you have to be cooks!

Back to football!!

I am so glad that football season has started again. Just to be very clear from the beginning: I am a huge Seahawks fan, have been for several years now. In college, I am an Alabama fan, so Roll Tide! I am a graduate of Ball State university, and so I do pay some attention to their football team as well, but not as much as Alabama. And those are the teams I root for.

Now down to business. First off, I am absolutely blown away by the success of Ball State this year. 4-0 so far, and even beating Indiana! That is just insane, we really sucked when I was there at school. But Nate Davis and Dante Love have really stepped up and played amazingly this season. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to actually watch them play on TV, but I have seen some highlights. Now, as for Alabama, wow. We have been doing better this season than we have in a while. Granted, Wilson still can’t really throw the ball all that well, but especially in the last game, against Arkansas, we have been doing great. And as an Alabama fan, and thus being against Auburn, I was very happy when LSU beat them yesterday, and it was a great game, too.

As for the Seahawks…well…we have not been doing so well. But we’ll see in today’s game, maybe we can get a win in, we really need it. Being without Shaun Alexander, and being Holmgren’s last year, things are definitely different, but I think we still have potential, especially in the passing game. Here’s to no more dropped balls!

finding an apartment

As I said in Advanced Lesson 010, I have found an apartment. Today is Wednesday the 16th, and I will be moving into my new place on the 23rd. I’ll post a couple pictures when I get moved in. But I am excited to live in my own place again! In France, I had 3 roommates, one other American, a guy from Morocco, and a guy from Gabon. We had a lot of fun. But sometimes it seemed like a really small apartment with 4 people in it! I was wondering, though, in France, do people typically live by themselves, or with roommates? Does it change by age, or any other factors?

Here in America, it seems to me that people often have roommates when they first move out of their parents’ house. Some people go to school, and have a roommate there, and some people get a job and a place to live, and they have a roommate there. And sometimes people do have more than one roommate. About the age of 22-25, though, people start to live by themselves more often. The ones who went to school graduate, and often times when they move wherever they are going to work, they get a place by themselves. The ones who have been working jobs already usually have some money saved up, and so they decide at some point to move to a different apartment, or a different city, or they just get a better job, and then they start to live on their own. That is what I have seen in my own experience at least. People often have roommates until the lower to mid 20s, and then they tend to live by themselves more often. Of course, there are exceptions (one of my favorite shows, Friends, shows plenty of them :P ), but that seems to be the general trend here. What is it like in France?

But in my case, I will be living by myself, without a roommate. I am very much looking forward to having a whole apartment to myself!

apple pear juice

I miss my apple-pear juice :( I have looked in about 6 stores now, and all I can find is regular apple juice. I like apple juice, it’s good, but…it just gets kinda boring, especially after the apple-pear juice. I wonder how expensive it would be to import it…

It’s kinda funny — I am getting used to speaking English again, and I have not had any problems adressing people in the wrong language since the 2nd day after I got back. However, there are a couple things that have been programmed into my brain that I can’t get out yet. It’s those little things that are more instinct than communication, words like “merci” and “pardon,” especially the second. Now, luckily, it is possible to say “pardon me” in English, and even though it is pronounced differently, people seem to accept me just saying “pardon” instead of the typical “excuse me.” When I say “merci” instead of “thanks” though, like I did at the grocery store earlier, I always get strange looks. It amuses me. Parler français me manque :( It is no longer exciting to do every day things, and in a funny twist, it kinda feels like I’m “cheating” by speaking English, like I’m taking the easy way out or something.

I’m glad I finally got an episode up. I should be able to get back into my pattern of once a week for a while now, thanks to everyone who stayed subscribed!

flight day

In a few hours, I will be leaving on a train from Tours to Paris, to Charles de Gaulle to be more precise, to fly back to the States. I am really going to miss France, I have enjoyed all my time here and all the things that I’ve learned. Right now I am really looking forward to having some of the things that I have really missed, like Popeye’s, but I am already missing things like Apple-Pear juice, which as far as I know, is nonexistent in America.

To all of you who are planning on making or currently enjoying a trip to America, England, or any other country to practice your language skills, make the most of your time! There’s always too much to see it all, but enjoy it while you can.

Until soon, from a different time zone!

losing my voice :(

You know what is one of the most difficult things to deal with when you do a podcast? Losing your voice. Several of the podcasts I listen to have more than one host, and if one person cannot talk, they simply skip an episode or two and the other person/people on the show keep doing it. I, on the other hand, do this podcast alone, and so when I lose my voice, it sucks! I have actually been done with my classes for about a week, but I have been sick for about three, and for the last two of those three weeks, have been almost completely unable to talk. Thankfully, all my tests were written!

I definitely have lots of plans, like I “said” in the podcast (if you count what I was doing as actual talking and not just making noise). One of the major plans is to really improve this blog. I have tried several different subjects, with various success, and I have some ideas for what I can actually talk about now — you’ll just have to come back and read them to find out, though ;)

And by the way, eBay is addicting. I hadn’t bought anything from them since 2004, and for some reason, mid April, I decided to try buying something from eBay France ( http://www.ebay.fr/ ) . This was a mistake, as I have now purchased seven things from them :p The last thing I bought should be arriving tomorrow, just in time to put it in my suitcase (I mostly ordered books and DVDs) for the trip home.

Here’s to a good return flight! I’ll be talking to everyone on the podcast as soon as my voice is back to normal again.

when advertising works

I consider myself an expert at ignoring advertising. I have never once clicked a link in an email ad, I don’t sign up for anything unless I’m 100% sure it’s legit and will get me no spam, be it a newsletter, website account, whatever (I still refuse to get a YouTube account), and most forms of advertising simply have no effect on me, because of the effect many studies have found — repeated, irrelevant advertising in the same location is very easy to tune out as noise for pretty much everybody. (Note: I do have one friend, who shall remain nameless, and when she sees a commercial on TV for almost anything, she wants to try it.) When I watch TV, I often mute it during commercials, depending on what channel I’m watching, and ads like those little videos that play before the video you actually want on some website, I always open up some other browser window or something else to do while the video is playing, I refuse to even give them my attention.

However, I realized the other day that some advertising does work on me. I thought about the situation as it was happening (I was quite aware that the advertising was working, but this did not lower its effectiveness level), and I came to the conclusion that I imagine the same thing happens for a lot of people, and it is that very situation which causes things like mailers to be effective. (Of note: I do NOT believe the same tactic works for spam email — I have encountered this exact same situation with spam email and it had zero effect. I believe that as internet users we are trained that all spam is evil and probably a scam to steal our identity/money/very souls).

So what happened, you ask? Well, a brief backstory: I love movies, and have been a member of Blockbuster’s online movie rental for a long time now, maybe 2 years or so, I don’t remember exactly. Several months ago, sometime last year, I decided that to be fair, I should compare the Blockbuster online movie rental service to Netflix, its biggest competitor. Now, this is not about my thoughts on which is better, if you’re interested, feel free to ask, but after a couple of months of using Netflix and comparing it, I cancelled the service for financial reasons (and again, if you’re interested in comparing the two, don’t read too much into this, there is a lot of other backstory here I’m not telling), even though I really enjoyed it. Recently, I have been considering restarting my Netflix membership for various reasons, but I had not yet decided to do it. But then the advertising happened. I got, in the mail, a flyer from Netflix, saying that I should renew my membership and reminding me of all the benefits and blah blah blah. It didn’t offer me any special prices. It didn’t offer me any more free stuff (new members get a 2 week free trial). And it didn’t tell me anything about the service that I didn’t already know. I enjoy being well-versed in anything I do, so I do my research on every product I buy and every service I use, to a reasonable extent of course, depending on what they are. But the very same night that I got my Netflix flyer, I went online and renewed my membership. Am I a sucker for advertising? No, of course not. Had I received that flyer at a random time, I would have simply thrown it away and not given it a second thought. But I was currently considering restarting my membership at Netflix. So did the flyer tip me over the edge and make the decision for me? Perhaps, nobody can say for sure what tips them in situations like that. But I know that the flyer had at least some effect, be it small or large.

So that, in my opinion, is when advertising works the best. There are other situations for different people where it works in other ways, but I think that it works the best when the potential customer is already considering the product or service offered.

And now I’m off to enjoy my unlimited Watch it Now service :)