Origin of the word “Mignon / minion”

Just learned the origin of the word minion (mignon) which I thought was pretty interesting.  

min·ion [min-yuh n] 

—noun

a servile follower or subordinate of a person in power.
a favored or highly regarded person.
a minor official.
Printing. a 7-point type.

Definition of minion: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/minion at Dictionary.com

Saigon Stories – Observations of the Week in Saigon

First, let me say that you must take the last entry about the French with a grain of salt. I like France and French people. Parisians still annoy me though. In fact, I’m reading a French book called “les États- Unis aujourd’hui; les maîtres du monde?” (The United States Today; The masters of the world?) by Jacques Portes. I really thought it was going to be a trashing of the US but actually it is extremely interesting to see how this author perceives the US (especially because he is French).It’s not negative at all and basically pretty accurate about the rise of American power, the influence of US culture and so on. For the American, I think it would be a good idea in culture class for students to read books about the US so we can get a better picture about how other nations perceive us. If you don’t speak another language, even a book written in Britain would offer some great insight.

Saigon Stories – Vietnamese vs. French people

Another glorious day here in Saigon. I just got back from Parkson (best department store in Saigon) where I go to get Gatorade for only 85 cents per bottle. Those other damn stores charge up to 4 dollars a bottle and so I make it a habit to get to Parksons at least once a week.

E-mail to Sophie 9.19.2004

Hello Sophie!

Nice to hear from you.  Congratulations with your new job, I hope it goes
well and that you enjoy it.

As for me, I’m still living in Japan but am moving to Vietnam October 1st.
I find the business environment much better there and hope to obtain a job
in importing, exporting or consulting there.  I traveled to Vietnam last
March with a friend and found that I truly loved the place.  I feel it will
give me more of a chance to develop and learn another language.  Aussi, il
y’a bcp des gens qui comprennent le francais depuis comme tu sais, Vietnam
c’etait une colonie francais.  I also have some Vietnamese friends who will
help me to adjust to the new environment.  I’m a little nervous to be
leaving the comforts of Tokyo however…..

E-mail to Mathias 8.20.2004

Mathias!

My classes at Waseda are finally finished and I’m very happy to not have to
go to those boring lectures anymore.  I think it’s time to study Japanese on
my own without the teachers troubling me with too many tests that I always
received a bad grade on.  : )

Now, I’m just teaching English at night, going to the gym and looking for a
job in Vietnam.  I have some friends there and think it would be a great
place to live due to the cheap prices and proximity of the ocean!  Tokyo is
too crowded for me and I need some peace and quiet.  My visa is until
October 10th so I’m hoping to find a job before then but it’s looking to be
a little difficult.  I’m positive that I’ll be in Vietnam in October though.