Faire du sport

I’m all breath when I run. In. Out. Out past the school yards, around the block, up the hill, on the gravel.

In French, there are two translated expressions I really like.  One is the use of the word sport.  In English, we tend to use sports to mean designated sports–like track, football, tennis.  In French, Vincent uses it like, She does sports.  It’s the construction of the French “to make or do” a sport: faire du sport.

In English, I tend to think of people as either athletic and liking sports and then thinking about the kind of sports they participate in.  Like “She’s really athletic.  She’s a marathoner.” Like our friend Sebastian runs a lot (I love following his instagram to see where he’s running in France) so I think of him as “athletic” where I see the French language creates a feeling of doing a lot of doing.  I like this.  Like all you have to do is just do (hello Nike, just do it!).  Instead of my construct which has undertones of “are you athletic? are you already pre-dispositioned to participate in sports?”  From my French book, I tend to also think French people count things like walking on a promenade as being a sport.  Whereas I just see walking as a weight loss strategy or a means to keep fit, not as a sport.  You can disagree with me here.  I’ve had a speed walker beat me in a running race.

The other translation I like is “as you want.” Vincent says this to me all the time and I’ve started saying it back to him.

Me:”Do you want to get a coffee or go walk around Delaware park first?”

Vin100: “As you want.”

(this makes it look like we chat on aol to figure out our plans and Vincent’s screen name is Vin100 but it’s just me making a joke that his name means “wine 100” in French.  This is a weird joke because it’s not actually what it means.  He was named after a Saint.  Let’s just stick with us chatting on aol to figure out our afternoon plans.)

As you want reminds me of the Princess Bride.  Like Wesley is saying “as you want, Buttercup.” It seems so polite.  In English, I would more likely say “whatever you want” or “whatever you prefer.”  It should be noted that I don’t like princess stories, but my interest in The Princess Bride is from a linguistics stand point.

In fact, I think about language quite a bit, especially when I’m running.  For instance, Americans tends to say “Actually” where as my France-French friends say “in fact”, en fait.

So, let’s go back to me running around my neighborhood.  I’m just running up the hill and I’m thinking about how I have to do a reading/talk in February when a book I wrote comes out and I get a dull pain in my stomach every time I think of trying to get people to come to this event.

I don’t like trying to get people to come to things.  This is why I liked teaching.  The class was already assigned to come.

I do like to think about speaking in front of people. I like thinking of lectures. I loved this when I was an adjunct professor: the energy of a classroom conversation.  I miss this a lot. I miss looking up ideas and teaching about them.  I used to think of each student as a little match that I needed to ignite.  I wanted my classroom to be ablaze with ideas.  My professors in college did this for me and this is what I wanted my students to feel.  Ideas.  It’s always about ideas.

Well, in fact, I need to go do some sports. You can stay and look at the white space . . .as you want.



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