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Je m'appele Leonard, je suis un informaticien américain: Adam Parrish's suggestion, that to get my French back I buy a French phrasebook and simply read it cover to cover, has been surprisingly helpful. However, the phrasebook is full of ridiculous phrases like "Where are the most beautiful landscapes?", which implies that Francophones have some device that measures the beauty of a landscape, and that they are keeping this information secret from the rest of us. Also, the phrasebook assumes you're going to France, and contains precious little information about Belgium other than an injunction to check out the fine linens and crystal, which I have no intention of doing.

Finally, the vowels in my phrasebook have all sorts of weird lines on top of them, like sprigs of linguistic parsley. So Kevin and I are starting our own phrasebook, dealing with situations likely to occur specifically in Belgium, and with no funny accents on the characters to confuse things. The English phrases are Kevin's; the French, my half-assed translations.

"Give me the large waffle with herring."
"Je voudrais du grand gaufre des harengs."

"Please place the kippers under my shoe in the morning."
"S'il vous plait, mettez les kippers sous mes chausseures le matin."

"You heard me; you know where the damn kippers go."
"Tu m'entende; tu sait ou vont les kippers!"

"Get out of my way; I'm heading to France."
"Allez! Allez! Je vais au France!"

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