Le Projet Germinal (1e jour)

Today I’m going to begin Émile Zola’s novel, Germinal, in the original language.My goal is to read a certain number of pages per day, then post vocabulary here. So, to begin:


  • betterave (f) : beetroot
  • rafale (f) : gust (of wind)
  • embrun (m) : a fine rain, like a spray
  • gîte (f) : shelter
  • talus (m) : slope
  • besogne (f) : deed, task
  • charronage (m) : profession (archaic)
  • croûte (f) : crust, rind
  • bise (f) : dry winter winds
  • disette (f) : scarcity, dearth
  • tôle (f) : sheet metal


  • crever : to burst, to kick the bucket
  • culbuter : to tip over
  • goudronner : to tar
  • grelotter : to shiver
  • ronfler : to snore
  • saigner : to bleed

Today’s Plans (9.10.14)

  1. Write Scarcity paper
  2. Read La chute to pg 35
  3. Work on pronunciation for Russian
  4. Color AG pic
  5. Eat lunch
  6. Sketch AG pic
  7. Go to MSU
  8. French class
  9. Write Scarcity paper
  10. Write “Eugene”
  11. Read + review a short story
  12. Read Goon Squad to pg 84
  13. Read La chute to pg 75
  14. Read Pt. 6 of WFF

Quick French Lesson


My past French classes completely neglected this, so here goes! 

Usually when we see a word beginning with H, we treat it as silent. This is called the H muet, or the “silent H”. Examples include homme (man), habiter (to live in), and heureux (happy). You don’t say “le homme”, but “l’homme”. “J’habite aux États Unis”, not “je habite”, and so on. 

However, there are many words that do not follow this rule. In these words, the H is aspirated. Most of these are loanwards, usually from English or German. 

Examples include:

  • hache (f, axe)
  • haïku (m, haiku)
  • haine (f, hatred)
  • halal (adj, halal)
  • harceler (v, to harass)
  • hareng (m, herring)
  • hâte (f, haste)
  • haut (adj, high)
  • hurler (v, to shriek)

More extensive lists can be found here and here.

How To Get A’s In Hard College Classes


1. Know what the class consists of before you start the class. Do a little research to find out what you’ll be facing throughout the semester. This way you will have an idea of how much time and energy you will need to put in when the class starts.

2. Check every professor teaching that class on ratemyprofessor.com to pick out the “easiest” professor you can for the hard class.

3. Get the required textbook and materials before the class starts. If you don’t know whether or not the textbook will be used, email your professor (make sure to introduce yourself in the same email).

4. Introduce yourself in person (even if you introduced yourself through email) after the first class privately. MAKE SURE your professor knows your name while you’re in class the whole semester. Otherwise, the effort is meaningless. Professors sometimes curve grades, so if they can identify your name from a list of names, you might be in luck if you’re a point away from an A.

5. MAKE FRIENDS. Specifically the “smart ones” and “my kinda smart” ones. Study for tests and do homework with the friends that are your kinda smart. Then, before you turn in ANY homework, check answers with the “smart” friends. This will usually get you a 100% on the homework section of the class.

6. GET A 100% ON HOMEWORK. Since the class is hard, you need EVERY bit of help you can get. You can do homework with friends, but you can’t take exams with friends. Getting a 100% on the homework and easy work (which is usually around 20% of the class weighting) can turn your high B into an A.

7. Sit in the front row. This way, your teacher knows your face. Make sure you smile when the professor looks at you. The more the teacher knows you, the more likely he/she will want you to get a good grade in class.

8. Ask questions in class. If you think your question is dumb, ask people around you. If no one knows the answer, then that means most of the class doesn’t know either (which means you won’t look dumb in class!) Again, the more you look like you’re trying, the more the professor will like you.

9. Email the professor questions. Again, this just lets the professor remember your name and face while answering your question at the same time!

10. Get the old test material from your friends that took the class before. This will give you extra study material, and you will have an idea of what format and question types your test will consist of.

11. Go to the TA office hours EVERY WEEK (introduce yourself the first week). They can help on homework, projects, concept help, anything! The TA office hours are where you can ask “dumb” questions and have them explain a lot. Since TA’s usually grade, MAKE SURE they know your name and the amount of effort you are putting in. When they help you with homework and understanding, the TA’s are usually sympathetic when grading. (TA stands for teaching assistant)

12. Go to the professor’s office hours when the TA is not available. This way, you have TWO opportunities to get your questions answered: the TA office hours and the professor office hours. Use both.

13. Get your questions and confusions answered ASAP. You do NOT want to fall behind. The class is hard enough already. Here are your question asking opportunities: TA office hours, professor office hours, TA email, professor’s email, after class, before class, during class. There’s no excuse for not being able to understand a concept.

14. Record the class lecture and play it back when you need clarification of what you learned in class.

15. Study in little chunks every couple days (or every day if you can) for the upcoming exams. DO NOT “CRAM”. Cramming will give you stress and depression and will not allow you to ask as many questions to the professor as you would like to when you are confused.

(via beingsmartissexy)