Séries générales • LV1
Espaces et échanges
Séries générales • LV1Text 1
An Australian in France
The narrator is called Sarah.
On a winter’s day in January under a watery sun, my plane touches down at Charles de Gaulle airport. Once again I’m struck by the ambivalent appearance of the place. I wonder if this rundown spaceship is a sort of metaphor for France if this country is in some respects ultramodern and sophisticated yet in other ways behind the times. But a couple of things are different from my arrival here last summer. The weather, for starters. And this time Frédéric’s punctual! We met up for only one weekend in the last four months but we spoke a lot over the phone and gradually going to Paris had come to seem like the only sensible solution. There’d been no talk of whether I’ll give it two months, six months, or a year. Like many life-changing decisions, the move to Paris was decided with little thought of the consequences. I am totally ignorant of what lies in store.
Frédéric is not the sole reason for staying on in Europe, though. The truth is, I’m not ready to go home. And feeling ready is hugely important when your country is so far away from the rest of the world. No Australian or New Zealander wants to end their working holiday in London only to be haunted later by the thought of unlived adventures. Because once you go all the way back, you’re there to stay, goes the logic. Oh sure, you’ll travel and go abroad again but future trips will not stretch towards infinity like this one, they won’t contain so many possibilities. Heading home is the fullstop marking the end of adventure the beginning of a responsible life.
And despite twelve months of travelling, I am not ready to be responsible. The television network I worked for in Sydney had given me one year leave without pay from my job. Sitting at the dining table of what is now my new home, I write to say I’m not coming back. This is not an especially difficult decision. I’d spent five good years at the Special Broadcasting Service, the national television network set up to serve Australia’s ethnic communities. But now, in my late twenties, I’m wary1 of being stuck in a professional rut2. The time seems right to take a risk. In my mind, Europe is simmering with exciting opportunities for a journalist. It’s just a matter of finding them.
Still, the prospect of living in France is daunting3. I have no job, no friends here and I barely speak the language. Frédéric and I are living together after little more than a month in each other’s company – by any reasonable standards a ridiculously short time for such a serious move.
This recklessness is both scary and sort of exciting. It’s also totally out of character – in Australia I’d have thought this was mad, shacking up4 before the relationship has even got off the ground. What a recipe for disaster! But risks seem less alarming in a new and foreign environment where you can’t measure your behaviour by familiar yardsticks such as family or friends or society in general.
Sarah Turnbull, Almost French, 2002.
1. wary: afraid.
2. rut: routine.
3. daunting: intimidating.
4. shacking up: living with somebody.Text 2
Travelling in Europe
The narrator is called Bill.
Sometimes a nation’s little contrivances1 are so singular and clever that we associate them with that country alone – double-decker buses in Britain, windmills in Holland (what inspired addition to a flat landscape), sidewalk cafes in Paris. And yet there are some things that most countries do without difficulty that others cannot get a grasp of at all.
One of the small marvels of my first trip to Europe was the discovery that the world could be so full of variety, that there were so many different ways of doing essentially identical things, like eating and drinking and buying cinema tickets. It fascinated me that Europeans could at once be so alike - that they could be so universally bookish and cerebral, and drive small cars, and live in little houses in ancient towns, and love soccer, and be relatively unmaterialistic and law-abiding2, and have chilly hotel rooms and cosy and inviting places to eat and drink - and yet be so endlessly, unpredictably different from each other as well. I loved the idea that you could never be sure of anything in Europe.
When I told friends in London that I was going to travel around Europe and write a book about it, they said, ‘Oh, you must speak a lot of languages’. ‘Why, no,’ I would reply with a certain pride, ‘only English,’ and they would look at me as if I were crazy. But that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you’re five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.
Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, 1991.
1. contrivance: machine, appareil, dispositif.
2. law-abiding: respectueux de la loi.
1 Give information about Sarah (approximate age, former occupation, country of origin). (20 words)
2 Fill in the blanks with the corresponding periods of time taken from the text. Copy the completed sentences.
1. Sarah worked in her country of origin for…
2. Sarah temporarily had a break from work for…
3. Sarah has been travelling across Europe for…
3 Line 15: “The truth is, I’m not ready to go home.”
1. What does “home” refer to
2. So what has Sarah decided to do Choose the correct statement from the list below.
Sarah has decided to:
a) rent a flat in Paris.☐
b) work for a television channel in London.☐
c) stay in Paris.☐
d) visit a friend in London.☐
4 1. Apart from Sarah, name the character also present in the scene.
2. What is this character’s relationship with Sarah
5 Sarah uses words such as “adventures” (l. 19) and “risks” (l. 43).
Explain how they apply to:
1. her love life. (10-15 words)
2. the country she has chosen to live in. (10-15 words)
3. her professional life. (10-15 words)
6 Say whether these statements are right (R) or wrong (W) and justify by quoting the text.
1. Sarah has a very negative view of France.
2. For Sarah, travelling the world is a once-in-a-lifetime
3. Living in another country makes Sarah more audacious.
7 Fill in the blanks with words taken from the text. One blank is one word. Copy the paragraph.
a) … her hesitations, Sarah has made her b)… to c)… .
Heading back to her country of origin would be d) … e)…, she is ready to take a f)… .
The prospect of g) … does not prevent her from feeling she is h)… .
1 1. Guess Bill’s nationality: British, Dutch, French, American
2. Justify your answer. (20 words)
2 What is Bill’s job Justify by quoting the text.
3 According to Bill, what is paradoxical about Europeans (10 words)
4 Pick up three clichés about three European countries.
5 Why, according to him, doesn’t he need to speak another language than English (Several answers possible.) Justify by quoting the text.
1. Because everybody in Europe speaks English.☐
2. Because he will enjoy not understanding everything.☐
3. Because he doesn’t have the time to learn another language.☐
6 Say whether these statements are right (R) or wrong (W) and justify by quoting the text.
1. Bill’s friends approved of his travelling around Europe.
2. Bill is worried that he does not know a lot about the countries he visits.
3. Bill went to Europe on several occasions.
4. Bill does not care about not knowing the language of a country he is visiting.
7 Pick out 3 expressions showing how interested he is in travelling.
1 Do they have a common opinion about Europe or do they differ Quote from both texts to justify your answer.
2 Find in each text at least 3 expressions showing that Sarah and Bill both dislike a predictable and conventional life.
> Do both subjects. (150 words each)
1 A few days later, Sarah phones her mother to tell her she is not coming home. Write the conversation.
2 If you had the opportunity, would you go and spend a gap-year in a foreign country Discuss the pros and cons.
Sarah Turnbull, qui est devenue par ailleurs journaliste après des études de sciences politiques, décrit dans son roman autobiographique Almost French comment sa vie s’est trouvée radicalement changée par sa rencontre avec celui qui deviendra son mari, Frédéric, et notamment par son emménagement à Paris.
Pour en savoir plus : https://www.paris-expat.com/interviews/8-03_st.html
La narratrice débarque à l’aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle à Paris. Elle confie ses impressions sur la France, pays qu’elle connaît en réalité peu, et fait part de ses doutes quant à sa décision de tout quitter et ne pas revenir dans son pays natal, l’Australie, dont elle est partie initialement pour une simple année sabbatique : sa rencontre – un coup de foudre – avec Frédéric a tout remis en cause.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
A rundown spaceship, l. 3-4 (un vaisseau spatial en mauvais état) sensible, l. 10 (raisonnable) what lies in store, l. 13 (ce que lui réserve l’avenir/la vie) sole, l. 14 (unique) recklessness, l. 40 (imprudence, inconscience) scary, l. 40 (effrayant) recipe, l. 43 (recette) yardstick, l. 45 (critère).
Bill Bryson (né en 1951) est américain. Il a résidé alternativement aux États-Unis et en Angleterre, où il vit actuellement. Journaliste jusqu’en 1987, il a travaillé pour The Times et The Independent, où il a écrit des chroniques humoristiques sur les travers des sociétés anglaise et américaine.
Il a signé une dizaine d’ouvrages où il fait la chronique de ses voyages Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe est l’un d’eux.
Pour en savoir plus : https://www.billbryson.co.uk/
Le narrateur raconte ce qui l’a frappé lors de son premier voyage en Europe : comment, au-delà des éléments emblématiques qui distinguent tel ou tel pays d’Europe, ces pays sont par certains aspects très semblables, et par d’autres imprévisiblement différents. Il est fasciné par ce contraste entre similitude, variété et différence. Sa réflexion s’étend ensuite à la notion de voyage, et en particulier au plaisir qu’il trouve à voyager : moins il en sait sur les pays qu’il visite, moins il a de clés (il ne parle aucune langue étrangère), plus il peut se laisser émerveiller comme un enfant qui découvre le monde.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
Clever, l. 1-2 (malin) sidewalk, l. 4 (trottoir) to get a grasp of, l. 6 (appréhender) alike, l. 11 (semblable) bookish, l. 12 (livresque) chilly, l. 14 (frisquet).
Les points de convergence
Dans ces deux textes à la première personne (autobiographie pour le premier, chronique de voyage pour le second) les auteurs racontent leur expérience de voyageur en Europe. Ils soulignent combien le voyage peut être une aventure excitante quand il s’agit de découvrir de nouvelles façons de vivre, que l’on visite le pays ou que l’on s’y installe pour longtemps.
Le sujet d’expression 1
Pistes de recherche
N’oubliez pas de prendre en compte les éléments donnés dans le texte : cela fait un an que la narratrice a quitté l’Australie pour voyager en Europe. Elle a rencontré Frédéric quelques mois auparavant, ses parents ne le connaissent vraisemblablement pas. On peut imaginer qu’en téléphonant à sa famille, elle voudra rassurer ses parents. Elle va bientôt avoir trente ans et veut se montrer responsable, capable d’assumer ses choix. À moins que, dans son inquiétude, elle expose le côté aléatoire de sa situation (elle n’a pas de connaissances sur place excepté Frédéric, pas de visa longue durée, pas de travail, et elle vit chez un homme qu’elle connaît depuis peu de temps).
Disapprove of (désapprouver) disapproval (désapprobation) to make up one’s mind (prendre une décision) homesickness (mal du pays) I’ve known him for 4 months (ça fait 4 mois que je le connais) sudden (subit, adj.) worried (inquiet) to dial (composer un numéro) a ring (une sonnerie) actually (en fait) to move in (emménager) to break the news to someone (annoncer la nouvelle à quelqu’un) to make a living (gagner sa vie) to apply for (poser sa candidature pour) an Aussie (un australien – fam.).
Le sujet d’expression 2
Pistes de recherche
Passer une année sabbatique à l’étranger présente des avantages et des inconvénients. D’un côté, c’est l’occasion de faire une pause dans ses études ou sa vie professionnelle pour réfléchir à ses projets d’avenir, pour acquérir une nouvelle expérience professionnelle et pour améliorer sa connaissance des langues étrangères. Ce peut aussi être l’occasion de mener une vie différente, avec de nouvelles opportunités. Cela peut vous aider également au moment de chercher un emploi de retour en France. D’un autre côté, il peut être difficile de se remettre aux études après une pause d’un an cela rallonge par ailleurs la durée des études. De plus, à moins de trouver un emploi sur place pour gagner sa vie, il est coûteux de s’octroyer une année sabbatique. Si cette tradition est culturellement très ancrée dans les pays anglo-saxons, elle l’est peu en France.
A gap-year (une année sabbatique) a foreign language (une langue étrangère) to improve (améliorer) to earn one’s living (gagner sa vie) costly (coûteux) to drop out (arrêter ses études) studies (études) to broaden one’s experience (élargir son expérience) an opportunity (une occasion) to be homesick (avoir le mal du pays) to resume (reprendre, recommencer).
1 Sarah is in her late twenties (about 27-29 years old), she comes from Australia where she worked as a journalist.
2 1. five years
2. one year/twelve months
3. twelve months/one year.
3 1. “Home” refers to Sydney/Australia.
2. Sarah has decided to stay in Paris.
4 1. Frédéric.
2. He is her boyfriend. (“Frédéric and I are living together”, l. 36-37.)
5 1. She intends to live with Frédéric, whom she met only a short while ago.
2. First, she barely speaks the language. Second, she has no friends.
3. She is taking a professional risk because she has no job yet, and will have to find one.
6 1. Wrong: “I wonder if this rundown spaceship is a sort of metaphor for France if this country is in some respects ultramodern and sophisticated yet in other ways behind the times.” (l. 3-6)
2. Right: “Because once you go all the way back, you’re there to stay, goes the logic.” (l. 19-20)
3. Right: “In Australia I’d have thought this was mad.” (l. 41)/“But risks seem less alarming in a new and foreign environment” (l. 43-44).
7 a) Despite b) decisions c) stay.
d) responsible/sensible e) yet f) risk.
g) disaster h) right.
1 1. d) American.
2. The phrase “my first trip to Europe” (l. 7) implies that he does not come from Europe. So he is American.
2 He is a writer: “write a book about it” (l. 19).
3 They are both “so alike” (l. 11) and “unpredictably different from each other” (l. 15-16).
4 Double-decker buses in Britain, windmills in Holland, sidewalk cafes in Paris (l. 2-4).
5 2. “that’s the glory of foreign travel, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about. I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything” (l. 21-25).
6 1. Wrong: “they would look at me as if I were crazy” (l. 21).
2. Wrong: “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything” (l. 23-25).
3. Right: “my first trip to Europe” (l. 7).
4. Right: “as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want to know what people are talking about” (l. 22-23).
7 “One of the small marvels of my first trip” (l. 7).
“that’s the glory of foreign travel” (l. 21-22).
“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder” (l. 23-24).
“Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses” (l. 28-29).
1 They are both excited by what Europe can offer them.
“Europe is simmering with exciting opportunities for a journalist” (text 1, l. 33-34).
“I loved the idea that you could never be sure of anything in Europe” (text 2, l. 16-17).
2 Text 1: “Like many life-changing decisions, the move to Paris was decided with little thought of the consequences” (l. 11-13) “I am totally ignorant of what lies in store” (l. 13) “heading home is the fullstop marking the end of adventure” (l. 22-23) “I’m not ready to be responsible” (l. 24-25) “I’m wary of being stuck in a professional rut” (l. 31-32) “by any reasonable standards a ridiculously short time for such a serious move” (l. 38-39) “this recklessness is both scary and sort of exciting” (l. 40).
Text 2: “I loved the idea that you could never be sure of anything in Europe” (l. 16-17) “I don’t want to know what people are talking about” (l. 22-23) “I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything” (l. 23-25) “you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life” (l. 27-28) “Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses” (l. 28-29).
I picked the receiver and dialled Mum’s phone number. After four rings, I heard her voice.
“Mrs Turnbull speaking.”
“Mum! It’s me.”
“Sarah! I’m so glad to hear your voice! Are you still in London ”
“Actually, no, I’m in Paris right now.”
“In Paris What are you doing there ”
“Well… It’s a long story. I met someone some months ago while I was working in London. His name is Frédéric.”
“Frédéric That sounds French.”
“It is. I have decidedto move in to live with him, here in Paris.”
Silence. I knew I had broken the news too fast.
“… All this is very romantic, but is that to say that you have quit your job in London How are you going to make a living ”
I giggled nervously.
“That’s the point. I don’t know yet. I guess I’ll have to try to apply for a job here…”
“Of course! Everybody is waiting for an Aussie to work as a journalist in Paris!…”
Suddenly her voice altered.
“Forgive me. It’s just that I’m worried… We are so far from each other, it is not as if I could come and help as soon as you called, you know… Let me know if anything goes wrong, alright ”
“Sure, Mum, I promise.”
On the one hand, a gap-yearabroad is the right opportunity to take some time to think about your plans for the future and to broaden your experience. If studies are not your thing and you have decided to drop out, it can help you find another life, with other people in other places, and maybe good job opportunities. Living abroad is also the best way to learn a foreign language.
Now on the other hand, if you have a tendency to be homesick this will be an awful time and you will only think of going back home, to your family and friends. This can also appear to you as a waste of time, as you won’t be studying or getting ready for a job. Besides, you may find it difficult to resume your studies after a year’s break.
Living abroad can be costly so you may have to find a job to earn your living but this job experience will be helpful when looking for a job back home.