August 29th, 2008

Regaining Whatever French Fluency I Might Have Had, Pronto

A couple of days ago, I came across a job posting I was interested in on my college's student employment website. The author of the post was looking for a French tutor for a 13-year-old. He wanted someone who was "fluent", had a top score on the SAT subject test, and a 5 on the AP (maybe he doesn't know there are two).

Now, I think most people can agree that "fluent" is a pretty ambiguous term, and I'm not sure I'd apply it to myself, but I meet the other requirements, have further qualifications (other French tests, contests, short time spent in France, related work, related study), and have tutoring and teaching experience, so I figured I'd express interest.

Well, turns out this kid's a genius, has a higher score (as a 13-year-old) on the SAT math than I did (as a high school senior), etc. And while I thought this whole affair would be pretty low-key, interviews for the position are to take place this weekend.

I suspect that the mom or dad speaks some French, or that they're going to bring in someone who does, to speak with the applicants, and, you know, sort of test us. I spent the summer teaching English in Ecuador (can you say hola?), and haven't gotten back to school yet, so I've had no French classes since then to get back into the swing of things - I've tried speaking a little French to myself, and Spanish is *definitely coming out*.

I can't figure out why these people aren't choosing to hire a native speaker (they're specifically looking for an undergrad)... but as far as non-native speaker undergrads go (hehe), I think I'm pretty qualified for this position, and I love French, so I'd really love to get it. BUT I'm really rusty and I'm afraid this interview might be a disaster.

So, long story short, how can I re-immerse myself (in such a short period of time!) back into French, to prepare for this (kind of intense and scary) interview (maybe in French)??

Thank you! D:
AWESOME thiourea

-ic vs. -ical in English

I'm a native English speaker with a usage question. Are there any hard and fast rules for using -ic versus -ical? In many instances they seem interchangeable. I was in Washington D.C. this week where tourists can visit the botanic garden and zoological park. In Spanish and French there is one choice for both: jardín botánico and parque zoológico (es); jardin botanique and parque parc zoologique (fr). In New York you can attend either the New York Botanical Garden or the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. For logic the only acceptable adjective form is logical, but magic and magical are both acceptable.

"meaningless guttural sounds"

I need a wee bit help here; recently someone posted an (link to) Youtube clip of this Norwegian tv show (can't remember the name of) that made fun of the incomprehensability of Danish. There were these guys speaking English with heavy Danish accents and trying to fix a bicycle. I loved it but now can't find it again!
Canadian Borg

Polish! Specifically, how to swear in it.

Please teach me some authentic Polish profanity! I don't really trust those "how to swear in X language" websites (if nothing else, I'd be leery of using them in a sentence), and I'd like to know so I can add that extra touch of authenticity to some Polish RP characters I'm going to be playing soon. (If you have advice not specifically related to swearing but that you think would help anyways, go for it!)
time to eat

translation of mysterious food label requested

An Israeli relative of a friend left this can of food behind. My friend assumes it's tuna and she doesn't like tuna, but knows it's one of my primary sources of nutrition, and that's why she gave it to me. So, my friends, tuna, or not tuna? Please translate the Hebrew on this mysterious can for me.

LATER NOTE, 7:58 p.m., Eastern Time, 8/30/08: It was salmon pate', indeed. Thanks to the couple of you who made that guess. It was delicious atop several Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Wheat Crisps. joethecat seems to like it, too, although he's yet to chow down on the second dollop I left out for him.