Unraveling Language

Maxine Eskenazi knows how much can depend on the meaning of a single word. While she was living in France, her French mother-in-law sent one of her American aunts a gift of delicate chiffon fabric. But the French have a different name for the sheer material—mousseline—while “chiffon” means “rag.” Eskenazi’s mother-in-law received, therefore, a well-intentioned note thanking her for the “nice rags.”
Such incidents, along with Eskenazi’s experiences teaching English in France, instilled in her a lifelong appreciation for the intricacies of language learning. More > (PDF p. 15)

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