Monthly Archives: April 2016

93 - Honking - Vocabulary

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When you've lived in a foreign country for a while, it's easy to forget how strange certain things were on arrival. For me, this is the case for car horns. It was only on a recent trip back home to Australia that I realised just how rarely we beep compared to Creoles. I was in the passenger seat with my dad at the wheel and someone cut us off at a turn. One second later, I realised that I hadn't heard a beep, as I am so used to in my everyday Reunion life.

Far from fitting the stereotype of relaxed tropical islanders, Reunionese drivers jump at the chance to beep that horn no matter the reason, place or time.

Here's a list of the occasions where we honk the horn in Australia: 1) to warn other drivers or animals of danger. And, that's it.

According to driving laws, a car's warning device (the horn) can only be used for warning other road users. In fact, if you decide to toot at the slow driver in front of you, you could regret it. Illegal use of the horn can result in a fine or having points deducted from your driver's licence. Of course, Australians aren't perfect and you can occasionally hear a honk or two in any city.

But there really isn't any excessive honking, and it's not just because of the strict law enforcement. Most people would never toot in residential areas, as well as early in the morning or in the evening.  It would be too impolite.

In comparison, here's a list of occasions I've observed Reunionese drivers honking:

1)         to warn other drivers of danger,

2)         to show their frustration at real or perceived injustice,

3)         when someone is driving too slowly or has taken longer than 0.5 seconds to start at a green light,

4)         during traffic jams,

5)         after a wedding,

6)         during election campaigns,

7)         when you drive past someone you know,

8)         when you arrive at someone's house to signal your arrival, and the list goes on and on.

 

Now, I really do try my best to be accepting and non-judgemental of others. And I would probably just shut my mouth and accept this issue as a cute example of cultural difference if it wasn't so annoying. Why on earth does a group of twenty cars always have to start beeping right outside my house just when I'm trying to get my son to sleep? And do people seriously think that beeping during a traffic jam will miraculously cause the traffic to start moving again?

Occasional tooting never hurt anyone, but I just wish I didn't have to hear it all the beeping time.

 

Vocabulary

foreign - étranger
car horns - klaxons
to beep, to honk, to toot - klaxoner
at the wheel - au volant
to cut someone off - couper la route a quelqu'un

according to - selon
driving laws - le code de la route
driver's license - permit de conduire
to warn - prévenir
traffic jams - embouteillage

wedding - mariage
and the list goes on and on - la liste continue encore et encore
non-judgmental - tolérant
annoying - énervant

00:0000:00

93 - Honking - Slow

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When you've lived in a foreign country for a while, it's easy to forget how strange certain things were on arrival. For me, this is the case for car horns. It was only on a recent trip back home to Australia that I realised just how rarely we beep compared to Creoles. I was in the passenger seat with my dad at the wheel and someone cut us off at a turn. One second later, I realised that I hadn't heard a beep, as I am so used to in my everyday Reunion life.

Far from fitting the stereotype of relaxed tropical islanders, Reunionese drivers jump at the chance to beep that horn no matter the reason, place or time.

Here's a list of the occasions where we honk the horn in Australia: 1) to warn other drivers or animals of danger. And, that's it.

According to driving laws, a car's warning device (the horn) can only be used for warning other road users. In fact, if you decide to toot at the slow driver in front of you, you could regret it. Illegal use of the horn can result in a fine or having points deducted from your driver's licence. Of course, Australians aren't perfect and you can occasionally hear a honk or two in any city.

But there really isn't any excessive honking, and it's not just because of the strict law enforcement. Most people would never toot in residential areas, as well as early in the morning or in the evening.  It would be too impolite.

In comparison, here's a list of occasions I've observed Reunionese drivers honking:

1)         to warn other drivers of danger,

2)         to show their frustration at real or perceived injustice,

3)         when someone is driving too slowly or has taken longer than 0.5 seconds to start at a green light,

4)         during traffic jams,

5)         after a wedding,

6)         during election campaigns,

7)         when you drive past someone you know,

8)         when you arrive at someone's house to signal your arrival, and the list goes on and on.

 

Now, I really do try my best to be accepting and non-judgemental of others. And I would probably just shut my mouth and accept this issue as a cute example of cultural difference if it wasn't so annoying. Why on earth does a group of twenty cars always have to start beeping right outside my house just when I'm trying to get my son to sleep? And do people seriously think that beeping during a traffic jam will miraculously cause the traffic to start moving again?

Occasional tooting never hurt anyone, but I just wish I didn't have to hear it all the beeping time.

 

Vocabulary

foreign - étranger
car horns - klaxons
to beep, to honk, to toot - klaxoner
at the wheel - au volant
to cut someone off - couper la route a quelqu'un

according to - selon
driving laws - le code de la route
driver's license - permit de conduire
to warn - prévenir
traffic jams - embouteillage

wedding - mariage
and the list goes on and on - la liste continue encore et encore
non-judgmental - tolérant
annoying - énervant

00:0000:00

93 - Honking

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

When you've lived in a foreign country for a while, it's easy to forget how strange certain things were on arrival. For me, this is the case for car horns. It was only on a recent trip back home to Australia that I realised just how rarely we beep compared to Creoles. I was in the passenger seat with my dad at the wheel and someone cut us off at a turn. One second later, I realised that I hadn't heard a beep, as I am so used to in my everyday Reunion life.

Far from fitting the stereotype of relaxed tropical islanders, Reunionese drivers jump at the chance to beep that horn no matter the reason, place or time.

Here's a list of the occasions where we honk the horn in Australia: 1) to warn other drivers or animals of danger. And, that's it.

According to driving laws, a car's warning device (the horn) can only be used for warning other road users. In fact, if you decide to toot at the slow driver in front of you, you could regret it. Illegal use of the horn can result in a fine or having points deducted from your driver's licence. Of course, Australians aren't perfect and you can occasionally hear a honk or two in any city.

But there really isn't any excessive honking, and it's not just because of the strict law enforcement. Most people would never toot in residential areas, as well as early in the morning or in the evening.  It would be too impolite.

In comparison, here's a list of occasions I've observed Reunionese drivers honking:

1)         to warn other drivers of danger,

2)         to show their frustration at real or perceived injustice,

3)         when someone is driving too slowly or has taken longer than 0.5 seconds to start at a green light,

4)         during traffic jams,

5)         after a wedding,

6)         during election campaigns,

7)         when you drive past someone you know,

8)         when you arrive at someone's house to signal your arrival, and the list goes on and on.

 

Now, I really do try my best to be accepting and non-judgemental of others. And I would probably just shut my mouth and accept this issue as a cute example of cultural difference if it wasn't so annoying. Why on earth does a group of twenty cars always have to start beeping right outside my house just when I'm trying to get my son to sleep? And do people seriously think that beeping during a traffic jam will miraculously cause the traffic to start moving again?

Occasional tooting never hurt anyone, but I just wish I didn't have to hear it all the beeping time.

Vocabulary

foreign - étranger
car horns - klaxons
to beep, to honk, to toot - klaxoner
at the wheel - au volant
to cut someone off - couper la route a quelqu'un

according to - selon
driving laws - le code de la route
driver's license - permit de conduire
to warn - prévenir
traffic jams - embouteillage

wedding - mariage
and the list goes on and on - la liste continue encore et encore
non-judgmental - tolérant
annoying - énervant

00:0000:00

92 - Fist Bumping - Voabulary

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In a previous podcast, Jen spoke about the weird and wonderful world of ‘la bise’, which for new-comers to France is never easy to manage, especially if you’re a girl in St Gilles-les-Bains and you don’t particularly fancy kissing the local tramp

As for us boys, we have a similar dilemma related to greetings, but this one is very specific to Reunion: the fist-bump. Question 1: what exactly is it? Well, the perfect well-oiled fist-bump is a thing of beauty, with both participants ready to first slap hands, then form a fist and bang them both together, with style and nonchalance. But for new-comers to Reunion, this is rarely as easy as it seems.

This brings us to question 2: why is it difficult? Well, the problem is that you never know if the other person is going to fist-bump or simply shake hands. Like normal people. Which means you either end up going for the formal hand-shake and grabbing a wet fish which is already slipping away and preparing the fist-bump, or, horror of horrors, you end up slapping a firm handshake and the fist-bump hits the ends of their bemused fingertips.

So, question 3: how do you know which one to do? THAT is the trickiest of all! Charting my own progress, I would say that after two weeks in Reunion, I thought the fist-bump was a comedy reference to gangster rappers by the Erasmus students I had met in St Denis. After two months, I was joining in but getting it wrong every time - I was either horribly unfashionable or painfully embarrassing. After two years, I started to get it right. For once, it’s not all about watching the other people around you and copying them - someone may bump fists with their friends, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same treatment yourself.

Anyway, at first I felt awkward - it is NOT a very British custom, as most Brits would rather look like Borat than Booba. But after fifteen years here, I now know that it means many things, such as friendship, acceptance, and complicity.

A final question: where does the fist-bump come from? I’m sure there are several theories, but most people I have asked say that it comes from teenage boys at school here, with different groups having their own secret handshake. As they left school, it continued. This must have been a long time ago, because I sometimes see guys in their fifties who greet each other like that.

But, like with Jen’s kissing experience, it’s just another part of Reunionese life. As the saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans. Or rather, ‘When in Reunion, chill out and bump fists.’

 

Vocabulary

to fist-bump = checker
weird = bizarre
new-comers = nouveaux arrivants
tramp = clochard
well-oiled = bien-huilé

to slap =  claquer
fist = poing
to shake hands = serrer la main
to grab = saisir
to slip = glisser

bemused = perplexe
fingertips = bout des doigts
the trickiest = le plus difficile
to join in = participer
awkward = gauche

the fifties = les cinquantaines
greet = saluer
as the saying goes = comme dit le dicton
to chill out = se détendre

00:0000:00

92 - Fist Bumping - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

In a previous podcast, Jen spoke about the weird and wonderful world of ‘la bise’, which for new-comers to France is never easy to manage, especially if you’re a girl in St Gilles-les-Bains and you don’t particularly fancy kissing the local tramp

As for us boys, we have a similar dilemma related to greetings, but this one is very specific to Reunion: the fist-bump. Question 1: what exactly is it? Well, the perfect well-oiled fist-bump is a thing of beauty, with both participants ready to first slap hands, then form a fist and bang them both together, with style and nonchalance. But for new-comers to Reunion, this is rarely as easy as it seems.

This brings us to question 2: why is it difficult? Well, the problem is that you never know if the other person is going to fist-bump or simply shake hands. Like normal people. Which means you either end up going for the formal hand-shake and grabbing a wet fish which is already slipping away and preparing the fist-bump, or, horror of horrors, you end up slapping a firm handshake and the fist-bump hits the ends of their bemused fingertips.

So, question 3: how do you know which one to do? THAT is the trickiest of all! Charting my own progress, I would say that after two weeks in Reunion, I thought the fist-bump was a comedy reference to gangster rappers by the Erasmus students I had met in St Denis. After two months, I was joining in but getting it wrong every time - I was either horribly unfashionable or painfully embarrassing. After two years, I started to get it right. For once, it’s not all about watching the other people around you and copying them - someone may bump fists with their friends, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same treatment yourself.

Anyway, at first I felt awkward - it is NOT a very British custom, as most Brits would rather look like Borat than Booba. But after fifteen years here, I now know that it means many things, such as friendship, acceptance, and complicity.

A final question: where does the fist-bump come from? I’m sure there are several theories, but most people I have asked say that it comes from teenage boys at school here, with different groups having their own secret handshake. As they left school, it continued. This must have been a long time ago, because I sometimes see guys in their fifties who greet each other like that.

But, like with Jen’s kissing experience, it’s just another part of Reunionese life. As the saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans. Or rather, ‘When in Reunion, chill out and bump fists.’

 

Vocabulary

to fist-bump = checker
weird = bizarre
new-comers = nouveaux arrivants
tramp = clochard
well-oiled = bien-huilé

to slap =  claquer
fist = poing
to shake hands = serrer la main
to grab = saisir
to slip = glisser

bemused = perplexe
fingertips = bout des doigts
the trickiest = le plus difficile
to join in = participer
awkward = gauche

the fifties = les cinquantaines
greet = saluer
as the saying goes = comme dit le dicton
to chill out = se détendre

00:0000:00

92 - Fist-Bumping

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

In a previous podcast, Jen spoke about the weird and wonderful world of ‘la bise’, which for new-comers to France is never easy to manage, especially if you’re a girl in St Gilles-les-Bains and you don’t particularly fancy kissing the local tramp

As for us boys, we have a similar dilemma related to greetings, but this one is very specific to Reunion: the fist-bump. Question 1: what exactly is it? Well, the perfect well-oiled fist-bump is a thing of beauty, with both participants ready to first slap hands, then form a fist and bang them both together, with style and nonchalance. But for new-comers to Reunion, this is rarely as easy as it seems.

This brings us to question 2: why is it difficult? Well, the problem is that you never know if the other person is going to fist-bump or simply shake hands. Like normal people. Which means you either end up going for the formal hand-shake and grabbing a wet fish which is already slipping away and preparing the fist-bump, or, horror of horrors, you end up slapping a firm handshake and the fist-bump hits the ends of their bemused fingertips.

So, question 3: how do you know which one to do? THAT is the trickiest of all! Charting my own progress, I would say that after two weeks in Reunion, I thought the fist-bump was a comedy reference to gangster rappers by the Erasmus students I had met in St Denis. After two months, I was joining in but getting it wrong every time - I was either horribly unfashionable or painfully embarrassing. After two years, I started to get it right. For once, it’s not all about watching the other people around you and copying them - someone may bump fists with their friends, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same treatment yourself.

Anyway, at first I felt awkward - it is NOT a very British custom, as most Brits would rather look like Borat than Booba. But after fifteen years here, I now know that it means many things, such as friendship, acceptance, and complicity.

A final question: where does the fist-bump come from? I’m sure there are several theories, but most people I have asked say that it comes from teenage boys at school here, with different groups having their own secret handshake. As they left school, it continued. This must have been a long time ago, because I sometimes see guys in their fifties who greet each other like that.

But, like with Jen’s kissing experience, it’s just another part of Reunionese life. As the saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans. Or rather, ‘When in Reunion, chill out and bump fists.’

Vocabulary

to fist-bump = checker
weird = bizarre
new-comers = nouveaux arrivants
tramp = clochard
well-oiled = bien-huilé

to slap =  claquer
fist = poing
to shake hands = serrer la main
to grab = saisir
to slip = glisser

bemused = perplexe
fingertips = bout des doigts
the trickiest = le plus difficile
to join in = participer
awkward = gauche

the fifties = les cinquantaines
greet = saluer
as the saying goes = comme dit le dicton
to chill out = se détendre

00:0000:00

91 - Tropica’dingue - Vocabulary

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In November 2015 I had the pleasure of partaking in Reunion’s 2nd edition of a very different race the – Tropica’dingue. Those whose who are familiar with this event, know that it roughly translates to lots of crazy people running around looking extremely ridiculous under a hot tropical sun.

It is however, a little more structured than that.

The race is 12kms long, full of obstacles, it’s done in teams and most importantly – everybody has to dress up! Start times are staggered in the aim of reducing human traffic jams at each obstacle. This was even more important for the second edition given that the number of participants had gone up from 900 in 2014 to 3,500 in 2015.

Before getting underway all participants are invited to take part in the official ‘warm-up’. This is a great opportunity to check out everyone’s costume. For me, this is by far the highlight of the day. The effort people go to is truly impressive. This year my team, team ‘Zourite’, decided to dress up as octopi. We were dressed in blue and had a dressmaker design and make a wig in the form of an octopus head equipped with eyes, tentacles and all. We achieved our goal of looking as silly as we could but were still outdone by many others!

The minions were quite a popular theme as were pirates, surfers (with actual surfboards), fireman, cowboys, men in actual nappies, penguin onesies, superheros and much, much more.

My personal favourite were the Flying Scotsman. No idea if that was their team name but as they passed us during the race, the group of young lads were very proud to show us that they’d respected the tradition of wearing no underwear underneath the kilts!

The aim of the day is to a) have fun, b) dress up and look silly c) have some more fun! The beauty of the Tropica’dingue is that there are no prizes for finishing first. Everyone is just there to muck around. It’s also perfect for those who don’t typically do a lot of sport as you can walk the whole 12kms if you like. And if you really don’t want to complete an obstacle, you can just walk around it and proceed to the next one.

However, the obstacles are what make the race. Some are physically hard and require a good dose of teamwork, others are easy, some are just fun; dancing to loud music in a tent in the middle of nowhere, some are dirty; jumping into an enormous mud bath, but all are downright entertaining.

Anyway, I won’t give too much more away, you’ll just have to sign up for the 3rd edition to find out for yourselves!

 

Vocabulary

to partake - assister, participer
roughly - à peu près
to dress up - se déguiser
to stagger - étaler
to get underway - se lancer

costume - déguisement
by far - de loin
highlight - temps fort, moment le plus marquant  
dressmaker - couturière
wig - perruque

as silly as - aussi débile que
outdone - faire mieux que
nappy - couche
onesie - combinaison intégral
lad - gars

underneath - sous
to muck around - faire l’imbécile
dirty - sale
downright - carrément, franchement
sign-up - s’inscrire  

00:0000:00

91 - Tropica’dingue - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

In November 2015 I had the pleasure of partaking in Reunion’s 2nd edition of a very different race the – Tropica’dingue. Those whose who are familiar with this event, know that it roughly translates to lots of crazy people running around looking extremely ridiculous under a hot tropical sun.

It is however, a little more structured than that.

The race is 12kms long, full of obstacles, it’s done in teams and most importantly – everybody has to dress up! Start times are staggered in the aim of reducing human traffic jams at each obstacle. This was even more important for the second edition given that the number of participants had gone up from 900 in 2014 to 3,500 in 2015.

Before getting underway all participants are invited to take part in the official ‘warm-up’. This is a great opportunity to check out everyone’s costume. For me, this is by far the highlight of the day. The effort people go to is truly impressive. This year my team, team ‘Zourite’, decided to dress up as octopi. We were dressed in blue and had a dressmaker design and make a wig in the form of an octopus head equipped with eyes, tentacles and all. We achieved our goal of looking as silly as we could but were still outdone by many others!

The minions were quite a popular theme as were pirates, surfers (with actual surfboards), fireman, cowboys, men in actual nappies, penguin onesies, superheros and much, much more.

My personal favourite were the Flying Scotsman. No idea if that was their team name but as they passed us during the race, the group of young lads were very proud to show us that they’d respected the tradition of wearing no underwear underneath the kilts!

The aim of the day is to a) have fun, b) dress up and look silly c) have some more fun! The beauty of the Tropica’dingue is that there are no prizes for finishing first. Everyone is just there to muck around. It’s also perfect for those who don’t typically do a lot of sport as you can walk the whole 12kms if you like. And if you really don’t want to complete an obstacle, you can just walk around it and proceed to the next one.

However, the obstacles are what make the race. Some are physically hard and require a good dose of teamwork, others are easy, some are just fun; dancing to loud music in a tent in the middle of nowhere, some are dirty; jumping into an enormous mud bath, but all are downright entertaining.

Anyway, I won’t give too much more away, you’ll just have to sign up for the 3rd edition to find out for yourselves!

 

Vocabulary

to partake - assister, participer
roughly - à peu près
to dress up - se déguiser
to stagger - étaler
to get underway - se lancer

costume - déguisement
by far - de loin
highlight - temps fort, moment le plus marquant  
dressmaker - couturière
wig - perruque

as silly as - aussi débile que
outdone - faire mieux que
nappy - couche
onesie - combinaison intégral
lad - gars

underneath - sous
to muck around - faire l’imbécile
dirty - sale
downright - carrément, franchement
sign-up - s’inscrire  

00:0000:00

91 - Tropica’dingue

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

In November 2015 I had the pleasure of partaking in Reunion’s 2nd edition of a very different race the – Tropica’dingue. Those whose who are familiar with this event, know that it roughly translates to lots of crazy people running around looking extremely ridiculous under a hot tropical sun.

It is however, a little more structured than that.

The race is 12kms long, full of obstacles, it’s done in teams and most importantly – everybody has to dress up! Start times are staggered in the aim of reducing human traffic jams at each obstacle. This was even more important for the second edition given that the number of participants had gone up from 900 in 2014 to 3,500 in 2015.

Before getting underway all participants are invited to take part in the official ‘warm-up’. This is a great opportunity to check out everyone’s costume. For me, this is by far the highlight of the day. The effort people go to is truly impressive. This year my team, team ‘Zourite’, decided to dress up as octopi. We were dressed in blue and had a dressmaker design and make a wig in the form of an octopus head equipped with eyes, tentacles and all. We achieved our goal of looking as silly as we could but were still outdone by many others!

The minions were quite a popular theme as were pirates, surfers (with actual surfboards), fireman, cowboys, men in actual nappies, penguin onesies, superheros and much, much more.

My personal favourite were the Flying Scotsman. No idea if that was their team name but as they passed us during the race, the group of young lads were very proud to show us that they’d respected the tradition of wearing no underwear underneath the kilts!

The aim of the day is to a) have fun, b) dress up and look silly c) have some more fun! The beauty of the Tropica’dingue is that there are no prizes for finishing first. Everyone is just there to muck around. It’s also perfect for those who don’t typically do a lot of sport as you can walk the whole 12kms if you like. And if you really don’t want to complete an obstacle, you can just walk around it and proceed to the next one.

However, the obstacles are what make the race. Some are physically hard and require a good dose of teamwork, others are easy, some are just fun; dancing to loud music in a tent in the middle of nowhere, some are dirty; jumping into an enormous mud bath, but all are downright entertaining.

Anyway, I won’t give too much more away, you’ll just have to sign up for the 3rd edition to find out for yourselves!

Vocabulary

to partake - assister, participer
roughly - à peu près
to dress up - se déguiser
to stagger - étaler
to get underway - se lancer

costume - déguisement
by far - de loin
highlight - temps fort, moment le plus marquant  
dressmaker - couturière
wig - perruque

as silly as - aussi débile que
outdone - faire mieux que
nappy - couche
onesie - combinaison intégral
lad - gars

underneath - sous
to muck around - faire l’imbécile
dirty - sale
downright - carrément, franchement
sign-up - s’inscrire  

00:0000:00

90 - Killing in the Name of Cari - Vocabulary

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I have three chickens: Zelda, Solid Snake and Link. They don't do much, they don't do tricks, they don't come when you call, they don't even fetch. So I've decided to eat them.

In all honesty, we bought these chicks a while ago with the intention of eating them when the time was right. They've provided us plenty of eggs, finished most of our leftovers, and so didn't cost much for food and water. But I know that between three chickens running around in my garden, and three chickens roasting in my oven, there's a small thing I have to do.

I've never killed anything before, nothing larger than a babouk anyway. It's not in my culture to do so. I know that hunting is a 'sport' in the UK and USA, but I've never been a fan of this. I can't imagine killing something for 'sport' or for 'fun'. It all seems a bit macabre to me.

We don't have these sorts of activities in Reunion, when we hunt an animal it's for eating and not to display its stuffed head in our studies. No, when we do it, it's for a reason. Some might argue that we as a society eat too much meat, and these people may have a point. Factory farming is rife in the western world, and even in Reunion we're swamped with bad quality, processed meats. (Naming no names of course, but their so called 'restaurants' are popping up a little too regularly.) I suppose the only way to combat factory farming is through personal protest: simply not to purchase the meat. This is all well and good for those who can afford it, but harder for those with limited income. I hope that we as a society will grow out of this in the future.

I digress. My father-in-law is a classic Creole man, and has killed his fair share of chickens, rabbits, tangue and the like. He's offered to show me how to do it, and I've accepted his offer. Wish me luck! I'll probably mutter a half-baked apology into its ear before cutting its throat, but if it can't understand the simple command of 'fetch' how could it understand my apology?

Vocabulary

trick - un tour
to fetch - faire apporter
chick - poussin
plenty - beaucoup
leftovers - les restes 

oven - four
hunting - la chasse
stuffed - farci
study - bureau
rife - répandu 

the western world - l'occident
swamped - inonder
to pop up - apparaitre
to grow out of - dépasser
to mutter - murmurer 

half-baked - à moitie cuit

00:0000:00