Dove et racisme à l’ère de l’indignation

Le gel douche. Il n’inspire absolument rien, on est d’accord. Personne n’y pense au delà de sentir quelques parfums dans le rayon au supermarché avant d’en choisir un et passer aux autres choses sur la liste des courses.

Miraculeusement, la semaine dernière la marque cosmétique Dove a réussi a inspiré toute la colère de l’internet avec une publicité pour ce produit quelconque. Pourquoi est-ce que les internautes s’en sont pris si violemment contre la marque ?

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Un constat sur la crise du logement à Nantes

Nantes ne s’est pas échappée de la crise du logement. Les associations actives dans l’agglomération, ainsi que la ville, sont au cœur du phénomène et tentent de lutter pour le logement pour tous, avec des résultats mitigés.

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Les jeunes américains quittent le pays en nombre. Une expatriée témoigne.

Étudier pendant un semestre à l’étranger, voyager à Cancun pendant les vacances de printemps, faire du bénévolat l’été entre des années à la fac. Jusque là, la tendance parmi les jeunes américains était de voyager pour des courtes durées, dans le cadre d’une expérience éducationnelle ou pour des simples détentes. Mais il y a de plus en plus de jeunes actifs et d’étudiants qui s’en fuient des États-Unis pour une durée indéterminée.

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How to Move to France (and Stay There)

Every language assistant, study abroad student, and (if you’re me in 2012) silly tourist on a four-day trip to Paris has a moment where they ask, “How can I stay here forever?” It’s a common thing, because life in France just seems so romantic…especially at the outset.

Seriously wanting to stay is a difficult impulse to satisfy, though; trying to find an answer is frustrating and can turn depressing pretty fast. You come across a bunch of blogs full of peoples’ pictures of their morning croissants, charming little French neighborhoods, and jaunts to Barcelona and Milan. These bloggers (myself included, up until this point at least) don’t even have the decency to explain how the hell they got to that “perfect” place!

Well, people tend to not explain their immigration stories because they’re not always 100% sure how they did it; it feels like luck (or was the result of marriage, which I’m not knocking, but you can’t just go get married). More typically, people don’t write it down because they haven’t actually figured out a forever plan for themselves.

It’s hard, for sure, but it’s not impossible! You have to really want it and be willing to make a series of (sometimes very lateral) moves before you find your long-term solution. With some realistic planning and stringing together a bunch of different experiences, you can find a way. Read on for real advice on how to become that expat person…ups and downs, uncertainties, and croissant Instagrams included.

(Featured image by Ryan Maple on flickr.)

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An Unofficial TAPIF Handbook: Things You Should Know, from A Two-Time Language Assistant

TAPIF, or the Teaching Assistant Program in France, is something very near and dear to me. Directly and indirectly, it inspired 99% of what I write about here.

The program isn’t perfect, but I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunities TAPIF has afforded me. In my opinion, there can never be enough first-hand accounts of the unique experience that teaching assistants have, so I’m hoping to add to the information that’s out there in an honest and complete way.

If you’re considering the program – or you’ve already applied and want to know what you’re really getting into – consider adding this post to you reading list. It’s a long one, but maybe it will answer the questions you have.

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The English language could get really weird if Britain leaves the EU (Quartz)

"Bon Voyage Europe," Parlamentarium - Brussels, Belgium

Quartz published a really short but insightful article about a Brexit effect few have considered: How confusing the English used in the Eurozone will become without the UK’s influence.

The long and short of it is that a kind of “Euro English” — a sort of very negotiated, middle-ground style of English — has developed since the advent of the EU. It’s what’s used in official EU texts and even how officials talk to one another; it’s a jargon version of one of the main languages of the EU that’s quite different from the actual English language used by native speakers.

How did Euro English happen? Basically, “false friends” between other European languages (most notably French) and English have allowed for certain transformations of meaning to become acceptable in  European Union-speak. The article’s best example of EU English is the word “delay.” In regular English, a delay is a hold-up that makes something occur later than expected. In Euro English, though, the word delay has been transformed to also mean a deadline or specific time-frame to accomplish something, because the French word “delai” means just that.

If Britain really does leave after this June’s referendum vote, it could mean that all legal texts and other documents produced by the EU will become further and further distinguished from “real” English. Ireland would become the de-facto guardian of English in the EU and, frankly, they may not have enough sway in the institution to keep things from devolving. The risk is that officials will have even more difficulties truly understanding one another and that interpretations of EU law will become even more varied and more dissociated from one another.

For the rest of the story on this bizarre, but very important, possible effect of the Brexit, read more below or at Quartz’ website.

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Choice Words: American English, British English, and Everyone Else’s English

After doing a semester abroad in London and working as an English teaching assistant for two years, I’ve had my fair share of experience with the funny little differences in word usage between American English speakers, British English and ELLs who fall somewhere in between all the different flavors of English floating around online and in the real world.

I love the quirks of major languages that span across different continents, both French and English alike. And yeah, sure, English is English and I can understand my Anglophone sisters alright no matter where they’re from. It’s all good, but an American and a Brit (or an Aussie and a Ghanaian, or any other combo of Anglophones we could come up with) won’t necessarily be choosing the same words all the time. Here’s a little taste of what I mean: Continue reading