Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: March 2014

The French Minister (aka Quai d’Orsay)

The French Minister (aka Quai d’Orsay)

This 2013 French film has recently been released in the US.  Interestingly, it features Julie Gayet, who has recently been linked in the press to French President Hollande.

Official trailer @


Languages do matter!


La population française officielle aux US continue de croître

La population française officielle aux US continue de croître

“Le nombre d’inscrits au registre mondial des Français établis hors de France aux Etats-Unis continue sa progression.

“Au 31 décembre 2013, la population française officielle aux Etats-Unis s’élevait à 129.520 personnes, soit une augmentation de 3,5% depuis l’an dernier, ce qui est supérieur à la croissance observée au niveau mondial, note le Quai d’Orsay. Au total, l’Amérique du Nord (Etats-Unis et Canada) est la deuxième région d’expatriation pour les Français, accueillant 13% des inscrits au registre, avec une majorité (61%) aux Etats-Unis.

Les circonscriptions consulaires de la Nouvelle-Orléans (+ 17,4 %), de Houston (+ 10,2 %), Los Angeles (+ 8,3 %) et Chicago (+ 7,3 %) enregistrent les croissances les plus fortes.

Atlanta, Boston, New-York et Washington se caractérisent par des augmentations de l’ordre de 2 à 3 %.”

Languages do matter!


April Fools’ Day in France: Le Poisson d’Avril

April Fools’ Day in France: Le Poisson d’Avril

“Today in France, those who are fooled on April 1 are called the ‘Poisson d’Avril’ (the April Fish). A common prank (especially among school-aged children) is to place a paper fish on the back of an unsuspecting person. When the paper fish is discovered, the victim is declared a ‘Poisson d’Avril.'”

Languages do matter!

I was Vladimir Putin’s (German) teacher

I was Vladimir Putin’s (German) teacher

The Russian president was so grateful to his former German teacher that he bought her an apartment in Tel Aviv, and filled it with appliances.     

Meet Mina Yuditskaya, Vladimir Putin’s former high-school teacher, who now lives in Tel Aviv in an apartment her former student, the Russian president, bought for her.”

This article came to me via FB this morning.

Languages do matter!

Can Anyone Save French Food?

Can Anyone Save French Food?

A great article by Michael Steinberger.

Languages do matter!

Road Trip: Flower Route, Netherlands

Road Trip: Flower Route, Netherlands

“The flowers reach their climax, of course, in April and May, when Holland offers Europe’s quintessential spring drive. For anyone who wants to see nature in all its glory and smell the roses—or in this case the tulips, hyacinths, narcissi, and daffodils—western Holland is the prime place to be. And the Dutch, as practical as they are aesthetic, have made certain that visitors won’t miss a single bloom.

Starting in Haarlem, the northernmost point of the Bollenstreek Route—also known as the Bloemen Route (Flower Route)—and running approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) south to Leiden, this drive takes in the densest concentration of flower fields, with alternating strips of flowers shooting in thick ribbons of primary colors to the flat Dutch horizon.

The queen of this nonstop flower extravaganza is the tulip, bursting out in every candy color.”

Languages do matter!

Scandinavia in Spring

Scandinavia in Spring

“The spring months in Scandinavia are great for travelers. Milder weather, longer days, and low off-season flight and hotel prices are the most popular reasons to visit Scandinavian countries during springtime. In addition, this is the time of year in which there are countless annual events and traditional celebrations.”

Languages do matter!

Lost in translation: Non-English speakers grapple with Obamacare

Lost in translation: Non-English speakers grapple with Obamacare

“Language is just one of the challenges faced by community groups that have been working to boost enrollment ahead of Monday’s deadline to enroll for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

Translation challenges and a lack of widely available materials in many foreign languages have strained the capacity of the groups that try to take the state’s non-English speakers through the complicated process of signing up — and understanding American health care.”

Languages do matter!

Tokyo brushes up on English for 2020

Tokyo brushes up on English for 2020

“More people in more business sectors are increasingly enthusiastic about improving their English conversation skills to offer better hospitality for foreign tourists before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.”

Languages do matter!



“Spring is definitely one of the loveliest seasons in Spain. The days are warm and sunny with clear blue skies while evenings are pleasantly cool.

Almost anywhere in the country is worth visiting at this time of year, but to enjoy the very best of the weather we suggest heading for Andalucia or Catalunya.”

Languages do matter!