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When in French: Love in a Second Language
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Published:
Penguin Publishing Group 2016
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Description
A language barrier is no match for love. Lauren Collins discovered this firsthand when, in her early thirties, she moved to London and fell for a Frenchman named Olivier—a surprising turn of events for someone who didn't have a passport until she was in college. But what does it mean to love someone in a second language? Collins wonders, as her relationship with Olivier continues to grow entirely in English. Are there things she doesn't understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue? Does "I love you" even mean the same thing as "je t'aime"? When the couple, newly married, relocates to Francophone Geneva, Collins—fearful of one day becoming "a Borat of a mother" who doesn't understand her own kids—decides to answer her questions for herself by learning French. When in French is a laugh-out-loud funny and surprising memoir about the lengths we go to for love, as well as an exploration across culture and history into how we learn languages—and what they say about who we are. Collins grapples with the complexities of the French language, enduring excruciating role-playing games with her classmates at a Swiss language school and accidently telling her mother-in-law that she's given birth to a coffee machine. In learning French, Collins must wrestle with the very nature of French identity and society—which, it turns out, is a far cry from life back home in North Carolina. Plumbing the mysterious depths of humanity's many forms of language, Collins describes with great style and wicked humor the frustrations, embarrassments, surprises, and, finally, joys of learning—and living in—French.From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/13/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780698191075
ASIN:
B01CDVCBB4
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Lauren Collins. (2016). When in French: Love in a Second Language. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lauren Collins. 2016. When in French: Love in a Second Language. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Lauren Collins, When in French: Love in a Second Language. Penguin Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lauren Collins. When in French: Love in a Second Language. Penguin Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Jun 12, 2018 19:22:47
Date Updated:
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fullDescription
A language barrier is no match for love. Lauren Collins discovered this firsthand when, in her early thirties, she moved to London and fell for a Frenchman named Olivier—a surprising turn of events for someone who didn't have a passport until she was in college. But what does it mean to love someone in a second language? Collins wonders, as her relationship with Olivier continues to grow entirely in English. Are there things she doesn't understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue? Does "I love you" even mean the same thing as "je t'aime"? When the couple, newly married, relocates to Francophone Geneva, Collins—fearful of one day becoming "a Borat of a mother" who doesn't understand her own kids—decides to answer her questions for herself by learning French.
When in French is a laugh-out-loud funny and surprising memoir about the lengths we go to for love, as well as an exploration across culture and history into how we learn languages—and what they say about who we are. Collins grapples with the complexities of the French language, enduring excruciating role-playing games with her classmates at a Swiss language school and accidently telling her mother-in-law that she's given birth to a coffee machine. In learning French, Collins must wrestle with the very nature of French identity and society—which, it turns out, is a far cry from life back home in North Carolina. Plumbing the mysterious depths of humanity's many forms of language, Collins describes with great style and wicked humor the frustrations, embarrassments, surprises, and, finally, joys of learning—and living in—French.
From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 30, 2016
        This smart memoir by New Yorker writer Collins is an extended essay on how the languages we speak shape who we are. Collins is an American living in London who speaks little French when she falls in love with a Frenchman who speaks excellent English. They marry and move to Francophone Geneva, where Collins decides to learn French after envisioning herself as a mother who can’t understand half of what her own kids are saying. Throughout, Collins shares excerpts from works of history, philosophy, psychology, politics, and literature that show how pervasive language’s influence is on every aspect of our lives. Political goofs result from mistranslation. Even the meaning of love might depend on how you express it: Does “Je t’aime” mean something different from “I love you”? The transitions can be clunky as Collins shifts between story telling and embarking on academic discussions, but her writing is often elegant and exact. Agent: Elyse Cheney, Elyse Cheney Literary.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 15, 2016
        A memoir of unexpected love with a Frenchman. While living in London as a staff writer for the New Yorker, Collins fell in love with Olivier, who grew up in a beach town near Bordeaux. He spoke English fairly well, but the author spoke no French. In her cleverly organized, well-written story, Collins explores how language differences can be overcome with difficulty but can also threaten romance due to poor communication. Raised in North Carolina, Collins chose London as her overseas locale partly because she lacked confidence about developing a work life and a private life in a foreign language. Due to her sudden interest in Olivier, the author had to find the resolve and the skill to learn French beyond the tourist basics. As the memoir unfolds, Collins does not spare herself, sharing her apprehensions and her missteps with candor and frequently with humor. She also shares her misunderstandings and arguments with Olivier as they labored to reach a comfortable place in a bilingual romance. Collins was also painfully aware of differences other than language. She was a writer, he a mathematician; she was a believer in organized religion, he an atheist. She also acknowledged that her romantic history featured poor judgment in men, even when language and culture presented no obvious barriers. As Collins gradually decided to commit to learning French because Olivier seemed worth the effort, she breaks from the personal narrative to share scholarly knowledge with lay readers--e.g., why is the world divided by so many languages and dialects? How did French develop specifically? What are the sometimes-surprising differences between English, especially American English, and French, regarding sentence structure, gender identification of specific words, and linguistic purity? Throughout, the author ably weaves together the personal and the historical. A memoir filled with pleasing passages in every chapter.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A language barrier is no match for love. Lauren Collins discovered this firsthand when, in her early thirties, she moved to London and fell for a Frenchman named Olivier—a surprising turn of events for someone who didn't have a passport until she was in college. But what does it mean to love someone in a second language? Collins wonders, as her relationship with Olivier continues to grow entirely in English. Are there things she doesn't understand about Olivier, having never spoken to him in his native tongue? Does "I love you" even mean the same thing as "je t'aime"? When the couple, newly married, relocates to Francophone Geneva, Collins—fearful of one day becoming "a Borat of a mother" who doesn't understand her own kids—decides to answer her questions for herself by learning French.
When in French is a laugh-out-loud funny and surprising memoir about the lengths we go to for love, as well as an exploration across culture and history into how we...
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