Welcome aboard if you have just come back from holidays! Otherwise, enjoy this new week even if the weather has not totally recovered blue sunshine!

Today, we will enlarge our vocabulary on new technologies and internet. Our reference will be the short talk from David Crystal on BBC about SPAM. We will discuss on this matter tomorrow too.

Firstly, pls listen the below talk as many times as you need to understand: (impossible to download it directly as the size exceeds 1 Mo).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1728_uptodate/ and click on the SPAM category, then go to the Audio - Professor David Crystal on "Spam" (mp3 - 1.12mb) and listen

Secondly, read carefully the enclosed questions and answer:  Spam

Thirdly, only after giving replies to all the questions, you can have a look on the following answers: Spam___key_answers___script

For your record, here is the list of the vocabulary :

- to come in: to arrive: arriver

- broadcasting: sending out sounds and pictures using radio waves: radiodiffusion, emission, TV

- to come along: to improve: faire des progres, arriver

- to flood: to fill an area or space with a large amount of something (water): inonder

- tinned: in a metal can: en conserve, en boite

- tinned food: food which is in a metal container or can

- back in the 1930s: deja, des 1930

- SPAM: pejorative word, advertising message (message publicitaire) all together sent (envoye en masse) through the Internet

- actually : en fait, effectivement (faux ami)

- to catch on : to become popular : devenir populaire, se populariser

- evidence : something that makes you believe that something exists or is true : evidence, preuve, signe, marque

- linguistic: connected to language or the study of language: linguistique

- based upon/on: to take something as the base of a project, an idea: baser/fonder quelque chose sur

- horrible: horrible, affreux

It is also funny and quite interesting to spend time on the expressions related to food words (exercise 2 and 3 on worksheet 3 – extra work). Let us have a look!

- It is not my cup of tea. I prefer rock music. Translation: Cela n’est pas ma tasse de the (ce n’est pas a mon gout). Je prefere le rock. This expression refers to the cup of tea, favourite drink for the British. It is a familiar expression but at least everybody can understand it!

- Stop beefing about doing the shopping. It is your turn, so just do it. Translation: Cesse de te plaindre (rouspeter) au sujet des courses. C’est a toi de les faire (c’est ton tour), fais-les donc ! This expression suggests us the beef always complains about something, maybe because of nervous behaviours, as it is not possible for him to stop long at the same place.

Remark: concerning the gender for animals, it is possible to use “he” or “she” (in accordance to the sex) to talk about a domestic animal (animal domestique). In the above (ci-dessus) example, I have considered the beef as a domestic one and used “him”.

- I was so scared my legs turned to jelly. Translation: J’ai eu si peur que j’ai eu les jambes en coton (wobbly). Another sign related to the British gastronomy. Jelly (gelee) and jam (confiture) are served for breakfast. We can also have a fruit jelly as a dessert. It is quite easy to cook as if I well remember you just have to add some water to a jelly bag (sachet de gelee). The aromas (parfums) are artificial and taste like more or less (plus ou moins) sweetened fruit (fruit sucre).

- He is in a pickle now, how will he escape? Translation: Il est dans de beaux draps a present, comment va-t-il s’en sortir? The word « pickles » refers to some vegetables (onion, gherkin, cauliflower – oignon, cornichon, chou-fleur, carotte) in vinegar. In singular, it matches the same idea of meat, vegetables in a kind of sauce, in French marinade, saumure. So funny, while the British are in a pickle, the French are in “a fine mess”!

- The new computer game is selling like hot cakes. The translation is easy as we have practically the same meaning: le nouveau jeu(logiciel de jeu) informatique se vend comme des petits pains.

- Immigration is a political hot potato at the moment. Translation: L’immigration est un sujet delicat/controverse en ce moment. The combination of these two words gives an idea of something which is a controversial issue and which no-one wants to deal with (traiter, s’occuper).

Remark: while consulting the dictionary, it is also quite surprising to discover so many expressions including the word “potato”: “sweet potato” – patate douce “boiled potato” – pomme de terre a l’eau “baked potatoes” – pommes de terre au four “mashed potatoes” – puree de pommes de terre – also a dance based on “M” steps “chipped potatoes” (GB) or the famous “French-fried potatoes” (US): pommes de terre frites “potatoes crisps” (GB) or “chips” (US): chips “to drop something like a hot potato”: laisser tomber quelque chose

- He is such a ham actor / the actor is so hammy, I think he ruins the film. Translation: Cet acteur est tellement mauvais (cabotin) qu’il va ruiner le film. I discovered the French word « cabotin » when I was in drama class at the Conservatoire in North of France as the teacher ironically said his students were all “cabotin” / ham actors. Originally it is the name of an actor who lived in the 17th century. This word refers to a moderate (mediocre) actor who has a high-level opinion of himself or someone who has a stagy (theatral – pejoratif) behaviour. Apparently, British associate the abilities of a actor with those of ham, maybe as they think ham includes “artificial” components.

Well, now, we will keep our mind on (se concentrer sur) vocabulary linked to mails and Internet... 

THE MAIL ADDRESS is composed of:

- the name (your first name, family name, nickname –surnom-, a noun...) Pls note it is possible to have an hyphen ( - ), a ( _ ) or a dot on the name

- @ pronounce it “at” - name of the service provider, network-access provider (AOL, Wanadoo, Yahoo, Free, Hotmail, Voila...)

- “.” Pronounce it “dot” - COM for company, ORG for (non-profit making) organisation, .UK/FR/AU/CN... for the country of origin

Example: My e-mail address is Debby@hotmail.com. My e-mail address is capital D, small e (pronounciation “i”), double “b” (bi), y (wai), at hotmail dot com. Do not forget to precise details such as capitals (majuscules) or small letters (minuscules).

The real name of an address on the web is called “URL” that means “Universal Resource Locator”.

 “EMOTICON” : it is a symbol that you can use to show your feelings. Ten of them:

:-) if you are happy

:-( :-< if you are sad

:-# if you will not say anything

.-) to mention the other person is winking at you (faire un clin d’oeil)

:-= to mention you have a moustache

:-o if you are surprised/shocked

:-t if you are cross (de mauvaise humeur, fache)

:-/ if you are undecided

1-1 if you are asleep

:-& if you are tongue-tied (muet)

Some advise or netiquette, rules to respect while using the Internet

1. Do not type everything in capitals as people may think you are shouting or angry about them!

2. Use “smileys” when you want to give a nuance.

3. Limit line length to 65-70 characters.

4. Think carefully about what you write – it is a written record, not a telephone call!

5. Do not waste bandwidth (barre de defilement verticale) – what you write should be to-the-point (au debut).

6. Warn the recipient (destinataire) if you want to attach a large file.

7. Write descriptive subject lines so that the receiver knows what to expect.

8. When replying, do not quote back the whole message – delete the excess.

9. When forwarding a message, put any comments you have on the top.

10. Do not over-use acronyms (abbreviations), smileys or internet expressions – not everyone will know what you are talking about.

11. Use a spell checker or be sure of your spelling.

12. Read through your e-mail before sending it – it may be informal but you still have to be clear and concise.

For your record, the main Internet expression are listened on the attached link:


That is it for today. Hope you have enjoyed it! Talk to you tomorrow!

With best wishes,