"If" - by Rudyard Kipling photo

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

— Rudyard Kipling, “If”, 1895


L’année dernière, j’ai – contre mon gré – enseigné à l’école primaire à deux classes de CM2 et ces quelques ressources m’ont été utiles :

  • http://chapman.jimdo.com/
  • http://www.maprimaire.fr/pages/anglais/accueil.html
  • http://www.academie-en-ligne.fr/Ecole/Ressources.aspx?PREFIXE=AL5AN0E

J’ai étudié aussi quelques vidéos en fin d’année dont deux en particulier ont suscité un certain intérêt de la part des élèves.

plume-encrierMy several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

  1. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  2. A writer should not alienate half his readers by using gender-specific language.
  3. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  4. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  5. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  6. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  7. Avoid clichés like the plague – they’re old hat.
  8. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  9. Be careful to use the rite homonym.
  10. Be more-or-less specific.
  11. Contractions aren’t necessary, and shouldn’t be used.
  12. DO NOT use all caps for emphasis.
  13. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
  14. “Do not use unattributed quotations.”
  15. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  16. Don’t indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
  17. Don’t never use no double negatives – that’s a no-no!
  18. Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!!!
  19. Don’t repeat yourself, or recapitulate what you have said before.
  20. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  21. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  22. Eschew obfuscation.
  23. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  24. Exaggeration is a million times worse than understatement.
  25. Foreign words and phrases are no longer de rigueur; French is so passé.
  26. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  27. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  28. Indubitably, you should employ the vernacular.
  29. It behoves thee to be abstentious of archaic expressions.
  30. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
  31. No sentence fragments.
  32. One should never generalise.
  33. One-word sentences? Eliminate. Always!
  34. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  35. Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
  36. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences of ten or more words, to their antecedents.
  37. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
  38. Prepositions are not words to end a sentence with.
  39. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  40. Puns are for children, not groan adults.
  41. Remember to never split an infinitive.
  42. Subject and verb always has to agree.
  43. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  44. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  45. Understatement is always absolutely the most fantastic and best way to promote earth-shattering ideas.
  46. Use an apostrophe in it’s proper place, but omit it when its not needed.
  47. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  48. Using euphemisms is ill-advised; they should be consigned to the sanitary landfill.
  49. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  50. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

Written by Frank L. Visco and originally published in the June 1986 issue of Writers’ Digest.

Un groupe de chercheurs du Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) et de la New York University (NYU) ont créé une carte interactive de la langue anglaise en utilisant plus de 7,5 millions d’images trouvées sur internet.

Ces images sont triées selon les relations sémantiques entre les mot et, selon les chercheurs, ce projet explore “la relation entre les similarités visuelles et sémantiques”.

Voici ce que cela donne au final :


Chaque pixel de l’image est relatif à un des 53 464 noms communs et représente environ 140 images, donnant les caractéristiques visuelles de chaque mot : cela peut être une image précise, un résumé, une définition. La liste des noms vient de Wordnet.

C’est assez génial je trouve : essayez la carte.

Si vous pouvez prononcer correctement chaque mot de ce poème alors vous parlez mieux anglais que 90% des native English speakers dans le monde.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

It’s been a while since the last vocab round-up so here goes : essential additions for the workplace and/or pub vocabulary for 2008 :

SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than by working hard.

SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.

PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people’s heads pop up over the walls to see what’s going on.

STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

ADMINISPHERE: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

404: Someone who is completely clueless. From the World Wide Web error message ‘404 Not Found’ (meaning that the requested document, like the person’s brain, could not be located.)

CROP DUSTING: Surreptitiously passing wind while passing through a cube farm, then enjoying the sounds of dismay and disgust.

GENERICA : Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is, such as fast food joints, strip malls, and subdivisions.

SITCOMs : Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What Yuppies get into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

XEROX SUBSIDY : Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one’s workplace.

FRIENDILIGENCE : The amount of time it takes to maintain friend requests on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

PREHAB: A program to prevent young stars from behaving inappropriately.

EARJACKING: Eavesdropping on a conversation.

GINORMOUS : Combination of gigantic and enormous.

AEROPLANE BLONDE : One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a ‘black box’.

SALAD DODGER : An excellent phrase for an overweight person.

SWAMP-DONKEY : A deeply unattractive person.

TESTICULATING : Waving your arms around and talking bollocks.

GOING FOR A McSHIT : Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food, you’re just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you’ll buy their food afterwards is known as a McShit with Lies.

MONKEY BATH : A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: “Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!”.

MYSTERY BUS : The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you’re in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

MYSTERY TAXI : The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10 Pinter in your bed instead.

BEER COAT : The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise At 3:00am .

BEER COMPASS : The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after booze cruise, even though you’re too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you’ve come from.

BREAKING THE SEAL : Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.

TART FUEL : Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women.

CrazyLet’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indixes ? If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught ? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it ?

The end of the year also means words additions to the dictionary. You know new words are added constantly, reflecting our use of the language – but… ever got to the front of a supermarket queue only to have a swipeout? Maybe you’re more of a mouse potato who shops online or perhaps you’re never far from the stores because you’re wed to a WOOF.

No idea what we’re on about? Then swot up with this compilation of the newest words and phrases of 2007 – otherwise you might find yourself having an oh-no-second…

HEAVAGE: Breasts so big they need a special bra for support – think 34FF Big Brother beauty Saskia Howard-Clarke.

IRRITAINMENT: TV shows and celebs so irritating or bad that they end up being compulsive viewing for all the wrong reasons.

BLAMESTORMING: Getting in a group, discussing why something went wrong and then deciding whose fault it was.

SMIRTING: Flirting between tobacco addicts forced outside by the public smoking ban.

FLEXTING: Flirting through mobile phone texts.

MOBISODE: A clip of a full-length TV show or film made for watching on a mobile phone or MP4 player.

WOOF: Stands for Well Off Old Fogey – the sort a gold-digger goes for.

CHINDIA: The combination of China and India as a major economic force.

OH-NO-SECOND: That minuscule fraction of time when you realise you’ve just made a huge mistake.

NONEBRITY: Someone who ends up a minor celebrity despite having no obvious talent. Examples include Jade Goody.

SWIPEOUT: The moment your debit card is swiped at a till and you find you’ve run out of cash. Also used to describe the magnetic strip on a card becoming worn out through overuse.

SINBAD: Stands for Single Income, No Boyfriend And Desperate.

MOUSE POTATO: A modern version of a couch potato. Someone who spends all their time at home surfing the internet.

PLAY-DOUGH: Money set aside for a night on the town.

BROMANCE: When two heterosexual lads are such good mates they spend as much time together as a couple.

SCUMMY MUMMY: The opposite of a scrummy mummy.

PROBO: Someone who makes a tidy living from begging. A professional hobo.

TURDBIRD: Someone who flies into a situation, slags it off then goes away again. Like a negative know-it-all.

Can you read these right the first time ?

01. The bandage was wound around the wound.

02. The farm was used to produce produce.

03. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse .

04. We must polish the Polish furniture.

05. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

06. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

07. Since there is no time like the present , he thought it was time to present the present

08. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

09. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10. I did not object to the object.

11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .

13. They were too close to the door to close it.

14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.

19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

The Washington Post‘s Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners :

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent… for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating… The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It’s when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then… the Earth explodes, and it’s a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning… and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

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