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french

The Best Board and Card Games for Learning French

In the past few weeks, you might have rediscovered your love of puzzles or some of your favorite childhood board games. The French, too, have been playing more jeux de société than ever, as Les Echos recently reported. But what are the best games that French people play? Of course, they love Monopoly, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit, but they also play games that are little known outside of France like Les loups-garous de Thiercelieux. Below, we’ve listed some of the best board games that you can buy to practice your French as well as French games that you can play right now online for free!

By Sophia Millman

Games You Can Play Online

Blanc Manger Coco


If you’re a fan of Cards Against Humanity, you’ve got to try out its French equivalent! The rules are simple: a card has a fill-in-the blank sentence on it, and you’ve got to choose the funniest word or phrase to complete the sentence. Because the game is “politically incorrect,” you’ve got to have a good sense of humor to enjoy playing it. Since you’ll need a strong vocabulary to understand the French sentences, we recommend playing only if your language skills are intermediate/advanced. In the online version of the game, you can invite four friends to join a private room to play with you. 

  • Number of players: 3 and up 
  • Play online for free here or buy the card game here

Les loups-garous de Thiercelieux (or just “Le Loup Garou”)


This version of the Russian game Mafia is incredibly popular in France. Translated as the The Werewolves of Millers Hollow in English, it can be played with 6 to 40 players. Each player plays either a villager (whose goal is to identify and kill all werewolves) or a werewolf (who wants to eliminate all villagers before being discovered). There’s also a narrator, who walks the players through the game. Whether you play the narrator or one of the other characters, you’ll have plenty of time to practice your French, since the game is all about persuasion. You can find the rules of the game in French here. There are a lot of different variations of the game, so if you’re unfamiliar with it, you might want to check out the rules in English on Wikipedia

  • Number of players: 6 and up
  • Play in French for free online here or buy the game here
  • Watch a French person explain the game here

Trivial Pursuit 


Did you know that Trivial Pursuit was created by a French Canadian in 1979? And here’s another fun thing to know: the small plastic playing piece that you need to fill with wedges to win the game is called le camembert in French! The French love playing trivia, and this is one of the most popular games in France, after Monopoly and Scrabble. Because many of the questions are specifically focused on French culture and history, we recommend that you buy the édition famille, which is best for students studying French. 

  • Number of players/teams: 2 to 6 
  • Play the virtual French version of the game here
  • Buy it here

Time’s Up!


This game was invented by an American, but it’s more popular in France than in any other country. Time’s Up! has three rounds. In the first round, the clue-giver has to make his teammates guess the names of famous people by giving them hints. In the second round, the clue-giver can only give one word per famous person, and in the third round the clue-giver has to mime actions until the other players guess the famous person. If you like Charades, this is the French game for you. Also, it’s a great way to practice describing people in French. 

  • Number of players: 4 or more, played in teams
  • You can play the game on the Time’s Up! on iTunes. 

Other online games we recommend:

French Games You Should Play In Person

Cluedo


Like the British, the French call Clue “Cluedo,” and in the French game the characters’ names are a bit different. Mrs. Peacock, or Madame Pervenche, for instance, is named after a blue flower instead of a bird. You don’t need to buy the French board game if you already have the American one. Instead, you can practice your French by translating the weapons’ and rooms’ names as you play. You can find the rules in French here. Try saying sentences like, “Je pense que c’est le Docteur Olive avec le revolver, dans la cuisine.” 

  • Number of players: 3 to 6

Le Petit Bac


There are many different versions of the French equivalent of Scattergories, and the best part is you can make you own game at home with just paper, pencils, and a timer. In the jeu du baccalauréat, colloquially known as le petit bac, you have a limited time to come up with a series of words that all begin with the same letter. You decide which categories of words you want⁠—household objects, something you drive, boy’s names, etc.⁠—before the game begins. This is an excellent way to review French words by theme! 

  • Number of players: 2 and up
  • You can buy a version of le petit bac here

Burger Quizz


Burger Quizz is a French TV Series that began airing in 2018 and became incredibly popular in France. On the show, two teams called Ketchup and Mayo have to answer crazy (and often hilarious) trivia questions in order to win 25 points. The winning team has to validate the points by passing a “Death Burger” test, in which the presenter asks ten consecutive questions and the candidate must answer them all correctly in the order they were asked. The board game version of Burger Quizz is almost identical to the show, and it’s a great way to practice your French if you’re at an advanced level. 

  • Number of players: 4 and up, in teams 
  • Watch an episode of the show here
  • Buy the game here

Qui est-ce?


Called “Guess Who?” in English, this game became very popular in France during the 1980s. While American kids were playing Sorry!, French kids were playing “Qui est-ce?”. Both players have cartoon images of 24 characters propped up in front of them. A player selects an image from a separate pile of cards and the object of the game is to guess which card your opponent has selected. Players ask yes or no questions like, “A-t-il un chapeau ?” (“Is he wearing a hat?”). The first player to guess the person’s character wins. 

  • Number of players: 2

Classic French Card Games


Did you know that the standard deck of cards you can buy in the US originated in France? There are Spanish, German, and Italian playing cards, too, but French cards are the most well-known in Europe and the US. While there are of course different styles of French cards, the Bicycle brand cards pictured above feature the common “Paris Pattern.” Some of the most famous card games originated in France, like Vingt-et-Un (Twenty One). Below, we’ve listed popular French card games that you might not have heard of. 

Les jeux

French Cards Vocabulary

Les couleurs (the suits): 

  • Trèfles ♣: Clovers or Clubs
  • Carreaux : Diamonds
  • Cœurs : Hearts
  • Piques ♠: Spades

Les honneurs

  • As: Ace
  • Roi: King
  • Dame: Queen
  • Valet: Jack

Battre (mélanger) les cartes: to shuffle the cards

Distribuer: to deal

Le jeu de cartes: the deck

Une main/un jeu: hand of cards

L’atout: the trump suit

Some helpful game vocabulary:

Une partie: one round of the game

Les joueurs: the players

Le plateau: the game board

Le pion: the game piece

La marque: the score

Le vainqueur: the winner

Le/la perdant(e): the loser

Le dé(s): the die, the dice

Lancer le dé: throw/roll the dice

Passer un tour: miss a turn

Avancer/reculer d’une case: move forward/back one

C’est a toi!: It’s your turn!

Ne triche pas!: Don’t cheat!

The post The Best Board and Card Games for Learning French appeared first on Coucou French Classes.

This content was originally published here.

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french

Why learning French should be on your to-do list

As the leaves start changing colours and the cool wind brings in a pleasant (albeit damp) relief from summer, the arrival of autumn is just around the corner. This particular time of the year is not just the ideal season to go hiking or engage in outdoor activities, it also signals the start of a brand-new school term, which means it’s definitely the right time to feel motivated to learn a new language. Autumn gets us in a romantic mood, so why not start things off with a French language class?

Did you know that French is now the fifth most spoken language around the world and the second most spoken language in Europe? Getting the hang of this versatile language will surely get you involved in conversations around the world, no matter where you are. Whether you engage with French-speaking professionals on a daily basis or want to enrichen your social circle, adding one more language to your linguistic arsenal would always do more good than harm. Led by qualified, child-friendly, and native French teachers, Alliance Française has a whole range of diverse and exciting French classes lined up. All students are welcome to rediscover the pleasure of learning, no matter their age and level of French!

Adults (18 years old or up)

Classes for different levels of French language learning are available at three Alliance Française centres in Wan Chai, Jordan, and Sha Tin. Whether you are a beginner struggling with pronunciation or an intermediate French speaker who would like to touch up and expand your vocab skills, it’s never too late to start learning. In addition to their regular courses, there are also fast-track courses and workshops tailor-made with a focus on specific topics and language skills such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Click here to learn more about Sha Tin, Jordan, and Wan Chai centres

Teens (11–17 years old)

One of the strengths of Alliance Française’s learning centres is their small class size, ensuring opportunities for every student to participate and get involved. A combination of language learning activities and workshops make gaining fluency in the French language uniquely effective. Don’t be afraid to chime in during French class, even if you’re feeling shy—everyone will be on the same track as you!

Click here to learn more about French language class schedules

Toddlers, preschoolers & kids (18 months old–10 years old)

Kids’ brains are like sponges; they soak up new knowledge at a frightening speed, so why not give them a head start with a French class? Offer your kids an opportunity to learn a foreign language at their golden age and discover different countries and cultures in French through learning games, songs, and dances! They can create their own passport, pack their own suitcases, and come on board for a summer trip with Alliance Française.

Click here to learn more about French language class schedules

DELF DALF Exam

For those looking to officiate your knowledge of the language, the second session for DELF DALF exam is now open for registration until September 30. The exams take place in November for different levels, ranging from A1 to C2. Whether you would like to achieve a higher level of certified French or if you require the accreditation to earn extra credits for universities, getting a DELF DALF certificate will be handy for you academically and professionally. It also looks pretty impressive on your wall of achievements!

Love Friday at Fringe Club

Nervous about picking up a whole new language? You can get a taste for it first at the upcoming Love Friday event at Fringe Club, hosted by Alliance Française. Held on September 27, Hong Kong Comics Artist Justin Wong will give a talk on his creative craft, followed by a lunchtime film screening of The Girl Without Hands. The event is open to the public, so why not pop by and get a feel of things? It might ignite your interest to learn more about French culture!

Love Friday, Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central | (+852) 2521 7251

Alliance Française

For more information about different French courses on offer, visit Alliance Française or WhatsApp (+852) 6153 8466

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

‘I couldn’t speak French fluently’ – Asante on switching from Burkina Faso to Ghana | Goal.com

Solomon Asante has revealed why he switched his international allegiance from Burkina Faso to Ghana.

Born to Ghanaian parents, the winger who began his professional career at Feyenoord Ghana moved to Burkinabe outfit, ASFA Yennenga at the start of 2009-10 season.

There, he helped them win the Burkinabe Premier League as he was crowned as the league’s topscorer – a feat that caught the attention of national team selectors.

He made his international bow for Burkina Faso in their 3-0 friendly defeat to South Africa on August 10, 2011 in Johannesburg – coming in for Wilfried Balima with 10 minutes left to play.

However, he made a U-turn to feature to the Black Stars: “Well, those experiences were pretty different,” Asante told USL Argentina.

“Burkina Faso is a French-speaking country so it wasn’t easy for me. Back then, I couldn’t speak French fluently and then it was hard but I thank them.

“It was really great for me because it gave me a lot of international experience. I could play against a lot of top players and also learn from them.”

The Phoenix Rising captain went ahead to feature in 21 international games for Ghana, which included six Africa Cup of Nations appearances and three World Cup qualification games.

“Playing for Ghana was one of the greatest things that happened to me,” he continued.

“I got the chance to play the World Cup qualifiers, the Africa Cup of Nations – I think I played it twice and learned a lot, you know.

“It is amazing playing for the national team, my value went up, my name was well known and it made me super happy.”

After spells at Berekum Chelsea and TP Mazembe, the 2017 Ghana Player of the Year joined the USL Championship outfit where he has since been turning heads with impressive performances.

He also opened up on what it is like growing up in his native country while confirming it helped him attain his football goal.

“Growing up in Ghana was good, you know,” he added.

Article continues below

“It wasn’t easy as a young boy going to practice and just know that I had to come back home to help my parents.

“You know Africa is quite different from America. When I was a boy, I just had to stay at home, help my parents, and then try [my efforts to train].

“It was quite okay but honestly not that easy. But as time went by I thank all that struggle because that made what I am today.”

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

Learn French Numbers With Audio and Exercises

Learn numbers in French with audio. Study with my free French number audio lesson so you understand French numbers quickly. Lesson + audio + exercises.

Learning numbers in another language is not a very easy thing.

The main problem is that most student “calculate” their numbers in French: they think “twenty” and “five” to make “twenty five”.

But that is not how a French native would think.

A native is so accustomed to numbers that “twenty five” is one piece of information.

1 – You Must Change the Way you Learn Numbers in French

Learning the number itself, not putting it together is the key to understanding numbers in French fast.

This is even more true in French where numbers can get really silly.

For example, the French number for 99 is “quatre-vingt dix-neuf”. In other words “four twenty ten nine”…

If you think like this when you hear/think of “99”, you will never get numbers fast enough! You should think of it as “katrevindizneuf”.

The only way to get French numbers fast is to train with audio and do lots of repetition.

Check out my French number audiobook. Over four hours of clear explanations, and random number drills recorded at several speeds. Click on the link for more info, a full list of content and audio samples.

ALL LEVELS

5.00 (2 reviews)

This 4+ hours audiobook goes in-depth on how to construct the numbers and how to properly pronounce them with all the modern glidings and elisions that can sometimes completely change the number from it’s written form!

I also cover many French expressions that use numbers as well as how to properly say the time and prices.

All throughout the audiobook, you will find extensive audio drills recorded at 3 different speeds and featuring numbers out of order so you really get a true workout!

As with all my French audiobooks, it’s available on all platforms with a single purchase and comes with 100% money-back.

2 – Speed and Numbers in French

Speed is also a big reason why students don’t understand French numbers – when numbers are all glided and meshed together, you have less time to think and break them apart, and it can get challenging.

This is why, just like in the French novel part of my French audiobook method to learn French, I recorded these lessons at different speeds.

Start with the beginning – conquering the smaller digits will unlock large numbers for you.

3 – How to Write French Numbers?

A – Hyphen and French Numbers

The rules has changed in 1990. Before, an hyphen was used only between some numbers.

Now, you may write hyphens between all the digits of one number, although both spellings are still accepted (source http://www.question-orthographe.fr/question/le-trait-dunion-dans-les-nombres)

B – Comma Period and French Numbers

Here again, the rules has changed.

A period was used to separate the digits of larger French numbers.
Exemple: 300.000.000

Because it was so confusing for English speakers, we changed the rule: now, we use a space: 300 000 000.

However, we still use a comma where a period is used in English, like for prices.

5.25 in English = 5,25 in French

C – Uppercase or Lowercase For French Numbers?

French numbers are written using lowercase, unless the first letter starts the sentence.
Soixante-dix-neuf-mille-quatre-cent-vingt-huit.

4 – How To Work With This French Number Lesson

We will start by studying the numbers in French and I’ll point out some spelling or pronunciation things.

Then I’ll read random lists of numbers at different speeds. It is essential to train with lists out of order, otherwise your brain will memorize the order as well!

In this lesson more than in any other, repetition is the key. So repeat, repeat, and repeat again!

Bookmark this page and revisit often!

5 – How To Memorize Numbers in French

Use the audio recordings to memorize the numbers in French.

6 – French Number Free Quizz

Use my audio quizz to test your understanding of numbers in French!

I suggest you do the quizz before and after working with this guide.

Remember, repetition is the key!

Now let’s dive into French numbers!

Call me overly zealous but I think numbering paragraphs about numbers is confusing… So I’ll switch to letters!

Zero in French

Don’t forget to put the noun that follows in the plural if you have more than one:

1 to 19 – French Numbers

French digits 1 to 9 and French digits 10 to 19.

First work with the audio without looking at the way these numbers are written.

You need to first memorize the pronunciation, so the letters don’t fool you into a wrong pronunciation.

“Un” to “dix-neuf ” are weird numbers. You really need to know them inside out if you want to eventually understand and handle large French numbers.

In my experience, students have problems with large numbers not because of the “big” part (100.000) but because of the smaller “last” part that they don’t understand fast enough.

French Numbers Pronunciation: 5, 6, 8, and 10

When pronouncing these four digits, you usually drop their final consonant in front of a word starting with a consonant (but not always…)

This is particularly important since this pronunciation will apply in larger numbers, when 5, 6, 8 and 10 are followed by hundred (cent) thousand (mille), million (million) milliard (billion) etc…

A – French Number Audio Drills

To learn numbers efficiently, always learn them out of order. (Just like when you drill with the French irregular verbs… When you learn in order, your brain prioritizes the info: first most important, last: less important.)

Low Intermediate & Above

French Verb Drills – Volume 1

4.89 (85 reviews)

You have several ways of doing these exercises:

B – French Numbers Drills – Slower

Let’s test your French numbers with this out of order drill. We’ll start with a a slower number drill.

Answers to the French number audio drill
14, 12, 1, 3, 4, 0, 7, 18, 4, 14, 2, 19, 17, 16, 3, 6, 16, 19, 2, 5, 3, 15, 5, 8, 3, 18, 9, 16, 12, 16, 6, 13, 12, 2, 0, 1, 17.

C – French Numbers Drill – Faster

Now let’s drill our French numbers at a faster speed.

Answers to the French number audio drill
1, 6, 8, 3, 9, 17, 3, 19, 12, 3, 2, 1, 9, 10, 0, 14, 18, 3, 5, 7, 18, 13, 12, 18, 11, 10, 16, 13, 19, 3, 5, 15, 13, 17, 13, 12.

20 to 59 – The Easier French Numbers

These French numbers 20 to 59 seem easier and therefore are often overlooked by students.

Big mistake! You need to train with them as much as with the other numbers – they are part of telling the time in French, and are very important.

Make sure you listen to the audio to memorize these French numbers.

A – How to Count 20 -29 in French

Watch out with vingt – don’t say the T when it’s alone, but do say the T when it’s followed by another number.

20 Vingt
21 Vingt et un (or vingt et une if feminine)
22 Vingt-deux
23 Vingt-trois
24 Vingt-quatre
25 Vingt-cinq
26 Vingt-six
27 Vingt-sept
28 Vingt-huit
29 Vingt-neuf

B – How to Count 30 – 39 in French

30 Trente
31 Trente et un/une
32 Trente-deux
33 Trente-trois
34 Trente-quatre
35 Trente-cinq
36 Trente-six
37 Trente-sept
38 Trente-huit
39 Trente-neuf

C – How to Count 40 – 49 in French

40 Quarante
41 Quarante et un/une
42 Quarante-deux
43 Quarante-trois
44 Quarante-quatre
45 Quarante-cinq
46 Quarante-six
47 Quarante-sept
48 Quarante-huit
49 Quarante-neuf

D – How to Count 50 – 59 in French

50 Cinquante
51 Cinquante et un/une
52 Cinquante-deux
53 Cinquante-trois
54 Cinquante-quatre
55 Cinquante-cinq
56 Cinquante-six
57 Cinquante-sept
58 Cinquante-huit
59 Cinquante-neuf

As with everything in French, repetition is the key. So bookmark this page and come back often to train on your French numbers!

E – French Number Audio Practice – Slower

Answers to the French number audio practice
21, 38, 59, 33, 46, 22, 53, 33, 41, 55, 34, 39, 24, 32, 28, 41, 50, 33, 53, 26, 22, 40, 39, 25.

F – French Number Audio Practice – Faster

Now let’s train with French numbers out of order at the faster speed.

Answers to the French numbers audio practice
44, 32, 57, 40, 36, 28, 59, 41, 25, 34, 46, 20, 48, 59, 21, 45, 34, 22, 27, 30, 44, 52, 49, 45.

60 to 90 – The Crazy French Numbers 🤪

And now here are the crazy French numbers 60 to 99…

These French numbers are really ridiculous, but it’s essential that you don’t “build” them but learn them phonetically 99 = [katreuvindizneuf].

The problem is that most students think “four – twenty – ten – nine” and therefore “build up” their French numbers.

It may work when you are taking a written test, but not if you are learning French to communicate, and need to understand prices and numbers in a conversation.

Sixty is easy enough: then the “crazy ones” start with Seventy…

Here again, work with the audio, repeat out loud BEFORE you read the numbers, so the letters don’t fool you into a wrong pronunciation!

60 – Sixty in French

60 Soixante
61 Soixante-et-un/une
62 Soixante-deux
63 Soixante-trois
64 Soixante-quatre
65 Soixante-cinq
66 Soixante-six
67 Soixante-sept
68 Soixante-huit
69 Soixante-neuf

70 – Seventy in French

Here is how we say seventy in French.

Remember what I said at the beginning of this lesson: don’t “build” your French number but associate the number to the French sound. Seventy in not “sixty ten” in French, it’s [soissantdissss].

70 Soixante-dix
71 Soixante et onze
72 Soixante-douze
73 Soixante-treize
74 Soixante-quatorze
75 Soixante-quinze
76 Soixante-seize
77 Soixante-dix-sept
78 Soixante-dix-huit
79 Soixante-dix-neuf

80 – Eighty in French

When we reach eighty, the French language becomes ridiculous…

To say eighty in French we do say “four twenty”… but please, don’t think that way. To master French numbers, it’s essential you let go of this logic and associate the number with it’s pronunciation [katrevin].

That’s why learning French numbers with audio is essential!

80 Quatre-vingts
81 Quatre-vingt-un
82 Quatre-vingt-deux
83 Quatre-vingt-trois
84 Quatre-vingt-quatre
85 Quatre-vingt-cinq
86 Quatre-vingt-six
87 Quatre-vingt-sept
88 Quatre-vingt-huit
89 Quatre-vingt-neuf

90 – Ninety in French

And this logic culminates with ninety in French.

If you decipher the number, ninety in French is ‘four twenty ten” and ninety nine is ‘four twenty ten nine’. It’s funny, it’s crazy… but it’s also a very bad idea to think this way…

Imagine the time it takes for your brain to get to that number! If you want to understand French numbers in a conversation, French prices etc… it’s essential you link the French number to it’s pronunciation and learn the French numbers phonetically 99 = [katreuvindizneuf]

So please, repeat a couple of times the audio. Then look at the way the French numbers in the nineties are spelled.

90 Quatre-vingt-dix
91 Quatre-vingt-onze
92 Quatre-vingt-douze
93 Quatre-vingt-treize
94 Quatre-vingt-quatorze
95 Quatre-vingt-quinze
96 Quatre-vingt-seize
97 Quatre-vingt-dix-sept
98 Quatre-vingt-dix-huit
99 Quatre-vingt-dix-neuf
100 Cent

Note that eighty in French – quatre-vingts ends on a silent S, but not the following numbers (quatre-vingt-un).

Note also that eighty one in French – quatre-vingt-un and ninety in French quatre-vingt-onze don’t have an “et”. As if it was not difficult enough!!

Septante, Octante, Nonante… So Much Simpler French Numbers

Some French speaking regions (Switzerland, Belgium…) have found a solution for these pathetic numbers: they use:

which, in my opinion, makes so much sense!!

Unfortunately, we don’t use these numbers at all in France.

The Key to Understanding French Numbers

Most French students “build” these weird numbers. For example, for 99 they think “quatre + vingt +  dix + neuf”. In other words “four twenty ten nine”.

This is a huge waste of time and energy. I guarantee you will never master larger French numbers if you think like that.

You need to learn French numbers with audio, stop thinking about the way we say the number, or the way we spell it, and just memorize that “99” is “katrevindizneuf”.

Learning the number itself, not putting it together is the key to understanding numbers fast in real-life.

Check out my French number audiobook. Over four hours of clear explanations, and random number drills recorded at several speeds. Click on the link for more info, a full list of content and audio samples.


French Numbers Audio Quiz – Slower

And now let’s mix-up the French numbers sixty to ninety-nine and test your understanding of them out of order.

Answers to the French Numbers Audio Quiz
87, 65, 96, 73, 90, 62, 76, 82, 72, 94, 85, 91, 69, 90, 87, 65, 76, 75, 81, 90, 83, 99, 66, 70, 93, 83, 77.

French Numbers Audio Quiz – Faster

And now let’s mix-up the French numbers sixty to ninety-nine and test your understanding of them out of order at a faster speed. You will need to hit pause if you are writing down these numbers in words.

Answers to the French Numbers Audio Quiz
79, 90, 87, 70, 72, 94, 85, 61, 87, 99, 81, 94, 66, 99, 66, 70, 93, 83, 76, 73, 80, 77, 69, 91, 85, 61, 94.

💯 French Numbers 100 to 999

Since larger numbers are going to be grouped in three digits, you need to be comfortable with numbers in the hundreds to be able to understand all large French numbers fast.

One Hundred in French = Cent

When talking about “one hundred” in French, we don’t say the “one”, so just “cent”, not “un cent”.

However, we do say “deux-cents”, “trois-cents” etc…

Numbers Above One Hundred in French

Make sure you first repeat the numbers out loud before concentrating on the way they are spelled.

S or no S After Cent in French?

When “cent” is not followed by any other number, you’ll add an S starting at “deux-cents”.
Trois-cents, cinq-cents…

However, if it is followed by another number, then there is no S.
Trois-cent-quarante-deux.

The S would be silent, but pronounced Z in liaison if followed by a vowel or a mute h.
Huit-cents ans.

Pronunciation of Cinq Cents, Six Cents, Huit Cents

Just like I explained before, the French digits 5, 6, 8 and 10 drop their final consonant sound before another consonant.

This rule applies to the pronunciation of French numbers in the hundreds, so with cent:

Confusing Cent et Centimes

Watch out. Do not mistake the English word “cent or cents” with the French word “cent”.

French Numbers Audio Exercise – Slower

Let’s test your understanding of French numbers in the hundreds with this French number audio exercise. First, let’s drill at a slower speed.

Answers to the French Numbers Audio Exercise
103, 377, 836, 937, 820, 662, 192, 205, 199, 208, 193, 384, 782, 338, 284, 572, 740, 839, 439, 203, 835, 667, 982, 746, 485, 920, 933, 745, 234, 435, 937, 194.

French Numbers Audio Exercise – Faster

Answers to the French Numbers Audio Exercise
783, 279, 248, 292, 197, 908, 385, 685, 115, 930, 385, 395, 997, 142, 653, 823, 972, 979, 295, 673, 456, 293, 837, 345, 657, 869, 887, 386, 904, 848, 264, 491.

Learn Large French Numbers Thousand, Million, Billion… (with Audio Exercises)

With large French numbers over three digits, the logic is the same as in English.

Training with audio and knowing your smaller numbers inside out are the keys!

One Hundred and One Thousand in French

When talking about “one hundred” or “one thousand” in French, we don’t say the “one”, we only say “cent” and “mille”.

However when talking about “one million”, “one billion” we do say the one: “un million, un milliard”.

Larger French Numbers

S or no S After The Large French Number?

How to Spell French Numbers Over one Thousand

Mille never takes an S.
Trois-mille.

Spelling Huge French Numbers

When spelling million, milliard, billion, billiard, trillion, trilliard in French, add a silent S when it’s over 1.
Deux-billions d’Euros.

De or no de After Your French Number ?

When “mille” is followed by a noun, there is not “de”:
Deux-mille Euros.
Quatre-mille ans.

When million, milliard etc… are followed by a noun, there is a “de” (or a d’).
Quatre-millions d’Euros.
Six-milliards d’années.

Watch Out For the Pronunciation of Five, Six, Eight and Ten in French Numbers

Just like I explained before, the French digits 5, 6, 8 and 10 drop their final consonant sound before another consonant.

This rule applies to larger French numbers: cent, mille, million, milliard, billion, billiard, trillion, trilliard…

Understanding The Logic Of Larger French Numbers

The logic of big numbers is exactly the same between French and English

You group your number by digits of 3, dividing your groups with the words mille, million, milliard…

So you need to develop your ear to focus on these “separating” words so you can get the whole number.

So, if you want to master very large French numbers, you need to drill a lot on numbers of three digits (so up to 999) since these numbers will form the blocks for larger numbers.

How To Say Huge Numbers in French?

You have to be carefully with the word “billion” that doesn’t translate the same way in French, US/Canadian English and British/Australian English…

Note that these numbers, although written “ill” which usually makes a Y sound in French, keep the “il” sound of the exceptions “mille villes tranquilles” (see Secrets of French Pronunciation)

The final d – if any – is silent.

For even bigger numbers, I encourage you to check out wikipedia

Most people (myself included!) have trouble reading a number over six digits, so it’s normal to read it somewhat slowly.

French Large Numbers Audio Test – Slow

Answers to the French Large Numbers Audio test
15.937, 2.737, 33.984, 82.755, 103.942, 1.813, 52.972, 93.484, 77.283, 69.487, 92.174, 86.931, 56.237, 3.372, 1.840, 87.669, 9.375, 28.159.

French Large Numbers Audio Test – Faster

Answers to the French Large Numbers Audio test
90.385, 2.973, 6.837, 1.948, 1.704, 101.743, 3.846, 9.927, 774.388, 3.640, 82.839, 2.744, 3.049, 19.938, 2.940, 38.098, 980.283.

French Huge Numbers Audio Test

Now let’s train with French numbers over one million!

Answers to the French huge numbers audio test

794.135.498.759

32.124.138

Voilà. I hope this lesson helped you. Check out my French number audiobook. Over four hours of clear explanations, and random number drills recorded at several speeds – including much faster speeds than in this lesson. Click on the link for more info, a full list of content and audio samples. As with all my French audiobooks, it’s available on all platforms with a single purchase and comes with 100% money-back.

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french

Why learn French? Six Reasons – The Linguist on Language

To paraphrase Tolstoy, all happy language learners resemble each other. They develop a passion for the language they are learning. Each unhappy language learner, on the other hand, finds his or her own reason to be turned off. I got turned on to French flair long ago and my passion for French has stayed with me for over 50 years.

I recognize that my reasons are subjective, but they need to be subjective. The “objective” reasons that induce people to try to learn, for example, Spanish because of the Hispanic market in the US, or Mandarin Chinese because of the rising economic power of China, or Arabic to work in intelligence, are usually not strong enough to enable someone to overcome the inevitable difficulties presented by a new language.

If the learner doesn’t cultivate a passion for one of those languages, an interest in some aspect of their culture, or some other personal emotional, sentimental, or intellectual connection, it will be a long ungrateful road with few successes and lots of frustration.

I learned French largely as a young man. It was the first language that I came to love, the first of 16 languages that I have committed myself to learning over the last fifty years. But French was the first and for that reason has a special place in my language heart.  

We had French in school when I was growing up, but I had no real interest in it. My passion for French started with a course in the history of French civilization that I took as a 17 year old at McGill University, way back in 1962. As a result, I went to France to study for three years, became a Canadian diplomat, then an international businessman, and ended up speaking 17 languages.

Why learn French? Here are six reasons. 

1. France is Europe in One Country

France was originally the land of the Franks, or at least ruled by the Franks, a Germanic tribe, which also ruled much of Germany and Northern Italy.

The greatest Frank king, Charlemagne, crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 a.d., was a German speaker, but his subjects spoke many languages. A large number of his Western subjects were Celtic Gauls, who had been subjugated by the Romans and spoke a language derived from Latin, which was to become French.

The first written example of this language is to be found in the Serments de Strasbourg 842, where Charlemagne’s grandsons swore allegiance to each other in each other’s languages, one an early form of French, and the other an early form of German. This is a milestone in the evolution of France and the French language, even though the early French text seems to me to be closer to Latin or Italian than to modern French.

It might sound a bit stereotypical, but it is true to say that France, both geographically and culturally, combines the lighter, wine drinking, sun drenched culture of the Latin Mediterranean world with the heavier, beer guzzling, cloudier atmosphere of Northern Europe.

In the end, the northern barbarians conquered Rome, but the softer more sophisticated civilization of the south conquered them back, culturally. Out of this blend came France with its unique contribution to world culture.

2. French is the Language of Love and Chivalry

“Un troubadour est un homme qui chante au monde entier la grâce d’une femme inaccessible”

– Christian Bobin, French poet

A troubadour is “a man who sings to the world the graces of a woman whom he cannot have.” One of the earliest expressions of this Southern cultural influence in France was the flowering of the troubadour culture in Southwest France, where minstrels wandered from castle to castle singing their songs, idealizing courtly love. They sang in Occitan, or the language of Southwestern France.

In Northern France, meanwhile, troubadours were known as trouvères, in the dialect of Northern France, which became modern French. Love, “l’amour”, is a recurring theme not only in French literature, but in everyday life. Flirtatious banter, pretending to be seductive even when no seduction is really intended, the compulsory “bise” or kiss on both cheeks when men and women meet, these all create the feeling that Cupid is never far away. And French is a lovely language with which to express these amorous intentions, whether sincere or not.

Hollywood captured this mood in the film Gigi, with Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier. A little corny perhaps, but confirming the association of France with romance. There are many French singers and actors who represent this connection of French with love in a more authentic way. Yves Montand in his haunting rendition of “Sous le ciel de Paris”, Edith Piaf in “Hymne à l’amour”, and countless other songs by these and other French artists can be found on YouTube and the lyrics make wonderful language learning material.

 Georges

One of my favourite French singers when I lived in Paris in the 1960s, was the poet and chansonnier Georges Brassens. He not only wrote and sang his own poetry, but also put great works of French poetry to song. His popular song, “Les Neiges d’Antan” (The Snows of Yesteryear), is a rendition of a 15th century poem by Francois Villon, “La Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis” (Ballad of the Ladies of Bygone Days).

Listening to Brassens sing this song is a treat, not just for the melodic flow of his southern French diction, but for the mood of languid nostalgia for something we never knew and can’t define. Life is fleeting, but as we listen, we fly through time and connect with bygone days. One of the great rewards of learning any language, is the opportunity to transport ourselves into another world, away from the humdrum of our everyday routines. French is a wonderful escape into lightness and intimations of love.

3. French is the Language of Reason

It is not only love that pervades French culture as a recurring theme, but also the classical worlds of Greece and Rome. On the buildings and monuments of Paris, and elsewhere in France, we see sculptures and styles that reflect France’s fascination with the ancient Mediterranean world. The worlds of Greece and Rome are in evidence in French thought, art, literary references, laws and traditions and of course in the language.

French is, after all, a Romance language, part of a group of languages that includes Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian and other variations of Latin, spoken by over 750 million people today. When the Renaissance burst upon Europe, it reconnected France with its cultural roots in the Mediterranean. The culture that grew out of the French Renaissance placed particular emphasis on logic and reason.

The Renaissance was a humanist countercurrent to the other worldly religiosity of the middle ages. It began in Italy in the late 14th century, where it is known in Italian as Il Rinascimento. Our English word, Renaissance, comes from French. The French Renaissance flowered under King Francois the first (1515-1547). Under his rule, many of magnificent chateaux of the Loire, as well as the Louvre, or royal residence, in Paris were embellished and renovated to reflect Renaissance styles. French Renaissance painters, such as the members of the  Fontainebleau School, flourished.

The Renaissance began in Italy but the Gallic version had its own flavour. A famous poem by the French Renaissance poet Joachim du Bellay (1522-1560), known by most French school children, entitled “Heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage” captures this.  Bellay’s poem, sung by Brassens, can be found on YouTube. What starts out as a voyage of discovery to the semi-mythical world of classical Greece and Rome returns, after some nostalgia, to the more familiar surroundings of home.  

Happy, he who like Ulysses has returned successful from his travels,

Or like he who sought the Golden Fleece,

Then returned, wise to the world

To live amongst his family to the end of his days

The influence of the voyage remains, as the traveler is now “wise to the world”, but a new way of thinking emerges. So it was in France, as the Renaissance gave rise to a renewed interest in understanding  this world, in science, and in logic and reason, rather than just relying on faith.

An example of this new Renaissance thinking in France is the philosopher  Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592).  Montaigne was a statesman who withdrew from the political world to the seclusion of his famous tower, where he devoted himself to writing on life, education and other subjects. His had a profoundly humanist view of the world, infused with the thoughts of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. He was a true Renaissance man who influenced generations of thinkers in France and elsewhere. He was a precursor to René Descartes (1596-1652), sometimes called the father of modern philosophy.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Michel de Montaigne in his tower, through the exquisite audio book version of his essays read by actor Michel Piccoli. The texts themselves are freely available online. If you find them difficult, you can import them into LingQ in order to learn the key words and phrases. Then you can indulge yourself in the pleasure of connecting to the France of the 16th century.

French writers have been dominant in the development of European and Western thought ever since. Montaigne, followed by the great Descartes (“je pense donc je suis”, “I think therefore I am”), enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, 20th century existentialists Camus and Sartre, and a host of post-modern French thinkers, to name but a few, have been giants on whose shoulders modern philosophy has developed. Their works are all there, in the original French, for us to explore and learn from.

The French love to discuss, and pride themselves on relying on logic and reason, rather than passion. The more you can learn about their history and culture, as you learn the language, the better you will be able to join in their discussions. Whether as a student in Paris in the 1960s, or much later doing business in France and sitting around a restaurant dinner table with my business partners, intellectual discussion has always been an important reason for my fondness for French culture and French people.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First let’s continue our journey to the time of the court of the sun king, Louis XIV.

4. France is Splendour and Luxury

Louis XIV ruled for 72 years, until 1715, from his magnificent and opulent palace at Versailles, built in 1685. In 1700 France was a true European superpower with a population of 24 million compared to 14 million for Russia and 5 million for England.

Why learn French? Six Reasons During Louis XIV’s reign the arts flourished. This was the period when the three famous classical playwrights, Moliere, Corneille and Racine wrote their works. I studied these at university and have enjoyed watching them performed. The comedies of Moliere are probably more accessible today than the tragedies of Corneille and Racine. But that depends on your taste. But, all are delightful examples of mastery in the use of the French language, and observation of the human condition. Today, we can easily explore these texts on the Internet, find audiobook versions of them, and even see video versions of the plays on YouTube, all free of charge.

Louis XIV was the arch symbol of the absolute monarch in Europe, and his reign a high point in terms of France’s power and influence in Europe. However, from the time of his death in 1715 France became an important hotbed of a movement that would eventually destroy the established order in the Europe of kings and princes. This was the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason. This was a Europe-wide phenomenon, with Italian and English thinkers playing a dominant role. But France became the crucible of a cultural revolution, where old conventions, especially religious dogma and the privileges of the powerful, were increasingly challenged.

Frenchmen D’Alembert and Diderot compiled the Encyclopedie “to change the way people think”. Rousseau, Montesquieu and Voltaire were important interpreters of this new wave of thinking which eventually led to the French revolution with its ideals of  “liberté, égalité, fraternité”. Despite the terrible excesses of the French revolution, these ideals, the rights of the citizens over the rulers, are enshrined in most modern constitutions.

The glory days of the monarchy were over in France, and this was soon to be repeated elsewhere in Europe. It is worth noting, however, that during Louis XIV’s reign much of the production of the French economy had been dedicated to supplying the court with luxury goods. An enduring consequence has been the importance of the luxury industry to the French economy and the dominant position of France in that industry worldwide. France is associated with luxury and elegance like no other country.

Visitors from all over the world converge on Paris, city of light, to buy French handbags, fashion, perfumes, watches and other presumed symbols of elegance and good taste. Learning to speak French, however, is a more long lasting symbol of elegance and good taste.

5. French History is Fascinating

Why do I talk so much about history? Because when I study a language, as soon as I am past the beginner book stage, I want to get into something interesting. To me history is fascinating, not the kings and the wars, but how people lived, and what they were thinking. The history of a country gives us a better understanding of  people today, and enables us to to engage more deeply with them. Fortunately there is an abundance of material, both written and spoken, available on the Internet. This combination of audio and text is especially suitable for language learners.

A good place to start learning about French history might be “L’Histoire de France Pour les Nuls” and its companion audiobook read by the author. “Pour les Nuls” is the French version of the “For Idiots” series. There are many others resources on French history available to suit different tastes. To make these books comprehensible language learning material, I suggest buying an audiobook listening to it as a companion to reading.  

Converting ebooks into a format that enables the use of online dictionaries, or a system like LingQ, makes it easier to enjoy history as an important part of our language learning journey. Usually these books keep us busy for a long time. They are a good investment in our learning.  Few countries have as many historical sites, cities, and monuments in as excellent condition as France. A knowledge of their history makes visiting them much more enjoyable.

Back to Napoleon… At the end of the French revolution, Napoleon took over a country ravaged by revolution, bloodshed, civil war and foreign incursions, and harnessed that energy to conquer much of Europe. In the end, he exhausted France, lost at Waterloo, and the ancient regime was restored, but not quite. The ideas of the French revolution led to movements of national revival and independence throughout the Europe of the 19th century. The Napoleonic wars also seem to have stimulated a current of thinking opposed to the age of reason known as the Romantic period.

Why learn French? Six Reasons France became a major colonial and industrial power during the 19th century, but not without experiencing more revolutions, uprisings, foreign wars, and foreign invasions. All the while, art, literature and architecture flourished.

I am particularly fond of 19th-century French literature which describes, in different ways, the lives of French people of that century. The texts of the works of Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Balzac, Dumas and others are not only available free on the Internet, but we can usually find audiobook renditions of their works. If full length novels are a bit daunting, the short stories of Alphonse Daudet and Guy de Maupassant provide vivid descriptions of life in France towards the end of the 19th century.  

Not everyone is interested in reading or listening to works of past centuries. The advantage of these works is that they are out of copyright and therefore the texts are available for free download on the Internet. I also happen to have a fondness for 19th century French literature. However, when learning other languages, I have paid for ebooks of modern literature and studied them on LingQ. The cost of these ebooks and audiobooks is small compared to the time we spend enjoying them. It is important to language learning success to find content of interest to learn from.

In some ways, the twentieth century was not kind to France. The first world war brought an end to the period of industrial and colonial expansion, often described as the Belle Epoque. This period is represented by the paintings of Toulouse Lautrec, and epitomized by the  Paris Opera, the racy Moulin Rouge, Maxim’s restaurant with its Art Nouveau decor, the “grands boulevards” and many other landmarks of Paris.

Why learn French? Six Reasons France recovered slowly from the bloodletting of the first world war. Between the two world wars Paris was a beehive of activity for intellectuals, painters and writers from all over the world. The second world war was another tragic blow to a country already exhausted by its losses in the first world war, and riven by the ideological strife of the interwar period in Europe. France is sometimes criticized for not having put up much resistance to the Nazis, but in the first world war, it was the French who bore the brunt of the German assault on the Western front.

Owing to France’s historical importance in Europe, and its role as a colonial power,  a knowledge of French was considered the sign of an educated person, not only in Europe, but elsewhere in the world for several centuries. The courts of Europe spoke French, even as Napoleon invaded them. French was the lingua franca of international relations and diplomacy for a long time.

This is no longer the case, of course. French remains, however, an important international language, at the United Nations, in the Olympic movement, and at international conferences, but it has lost the status it once enjoyed. To me, the attraction of the French language is not diminished because English and other languages have assumed more importance.

6. French is Really Not That Difficult

Roughly 60% of English words are either of French origin, or Latin origin words that also exist in French. You already have a large latent vocabulary in French. The biggest obstacle to learning a new language is vocabulary. With French the hurdle is not as great as with many other languages. Typically we don’t  realize that these words come from French, but when we encounter them in our French reading, they are easily recognizable. On the other hand, there are countless loanwords from French that are of more recent origin and reflect the profound influence French culture has had on the world.

“Impressionnisme” – art

“art nouveau” – architecture and design

 “existentialisme” – philosophy and  literature

“haute couture” – fashion

“nouvelle vague” – films  

“joie de vivre”,  “chic”, “bon vivant” 

The above are but a few examples of the continuing individuality, imagination, even irreverent independence of mind that have always characterized French culture, and which are represented by the language. To speak French is to be “in” on something elegant, creative, and exclusive.

Let’s take the word cuisine. “Cuisine” is a French word that we use in English, and many people don’t realize that it is just the French word for kitchen. What it encompasses, however, is much something more elegant and broader than just cooking and eating. It is the art of “gastronomie”. If we are interested in fine eating, we are automatically drawn to the French language.

Why learn French? Six Reasons French cuisine is not only concerned with food, but also with French wine from the many different producing regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, the Rhone valley or the Loire, and of course the Champagne region. These are not only wine producing areas, but also centres of gastronomy, and popular tourist destinations.

I can’t think of a more pleasant way to pursue the French language than through the medium of French food culture. Google “cuisine française podcast” and you will find an array of language learning content that will teach you French and introduce you to French cooking at the same time. One delightful example combining language instruction with cuisine is La Cuisine de Katy, where you will find recipes and a discussion about eating, in easy French, with both audio and text. The Internet is your world classroom for French.

Today France is a technically advanced country with a vibrant modern cultural scene, integrated into the European Community. France is one of the leading economies in the world. Contemporary French literature, thought, and mass media are available with the click of a mouse, or on our mobile apps today. TV5monde offers French instruction via the news, and that is only one example. The availability of French learning resources on the Internet is almost limitless.  

There are podcasts, radio and TV programs either aimed at the French native speaker or designed specifically for learners. If  we are stuck with an issue of grammar we can use some of the many grammar resources available on the Internet, such as le conjugueur, to tell us how to conjugate a verb we come across.

French grammar and pronunciation may present some problems initially, but these are most easily overcome by not putting them up front. My language learning strategy has always been to focus on comprehension, on immersing myself in compelling content, reading, listening, building up my familiarity with the sounds, words and structures of the language, before worrying about how well I can express myself. Forcing yourself to say things, and to say things correctly, before you have become accustomed to a language, is putting the cart before the horse.

As Stephen Krashen has said, the key to language learning is compelling content. Nowadays the Internet is full of a wide range of compelling French content, and online dictionaries make them easier to understand.  If you are starting out in French, however, texts of history, literature and current events, as attractive as they might be, may seem out of reach, even with the help of online dictionaries and other resources. It is first necessary to get familiar with some of the basic vocabulary and structural patterns of French.

Few things are better for that than simple graded stories with lots of repetition. An example is the 100 mini-stories project that a group of roughly 60 language learners have been developing over the last few months for over 30 languages, including French. Each story consists of three parts, with the same vocabulary and structure repeating with minor changes, and it is recorded by a native speaker. There is even a place to attempt to answer questions if one wants to.

Repeatedly reading these stories, and listening to them, with the help of online dictionaries and flash card review systems, is surprisingly effective. I’m currently developing a mini stories course on LingQ, focused on the use of certain tenses. These kinds of learning materials are becoming increasingly available, making it easier to deal with some of the issues in French grammar that have held learners back in the past.

Start Learning French Now!

There are over 200 million speakers of French in the world today, in Europe, the Americas and most of all in Africa. Some people have predicted that there could be as many as 700 million French speakers by 2050, given the fact that half of the growth in the world’s population will be accounted for by Africa. There are, in fact, 29 countries where French is the official language. That puts French amongst the top four languages which enjoy official status around the world.

France happens to be the most visited country by international tourists in the world, year after year. If you end up visiting France you will enjoy yourself more if you speak French. I never get tired of visiting Paris. Recent visits with my wife to Brittany, Burgundy and the Southwest have been opportunities to rediscover the hidden jewels of the French countryside.

I don’t find French people impolite, as some people like to claim, quite the contrary. This is especially true if you speak their language. Maybe that is arrogance, or maybe they have legitimate reasons to feel pride in their language and some sense of nostalgia that it no longer has the same influence worldwide as it did even a century ago. Young French people are avidly learning English now, but I hope they don’t learn it too well.

Nothing can diminish for me the pleasure of being a French speaker, not native of course, but a speaker nevertheless. I consider it a privilege to be able to access, in the original language, the varied, stimulating and charming culture of France. I love traveling to Paris and other parts of France. I am sure that the elegance and intellectual effervescence that French culture has exhibited since the Serments de Strasbourg will continue to make major contributions to the world. France is undergoing a period of economic difficulty, some social unrest and self-doubt at the present time. I have absolutely no doubt that the French will overcome this and continue making unique contributions to the world in many areas of activity.

Language learning is a personal journey. It requires commitment and attachment. I have sketched out here what attracts me to the French language and no doubt dated myself in the process. It is up to each learner to find his or her own path to fluency in the language of their choice, which means searching for things that attract them, and then pursuing them with passion.

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How to Learn French Efficiently – 12 Top Tips

Learning French, like any other new language, implies a lot of memorization, and often, as adults, our memory is not what it used to be. So what is the best way to learn French? These 12 tips will help you memorize new information longer, and learn French more efficiently.

Table of Contents

12. Always Study French with Audio

Let’s start with one truth that many French students don’t realise but which is key if you want to do more than just read novels or French magazines…

Written French and spoken French are almost 2 different languages.

There are many silent letters, glidings, liaisons, etc… and they are everywhere, including in French verb conjugations and grammar.

Picking the right audio tool though is essential: a French beginner will be discouraged with a French movie.

At that stage, French movies should be seen as a recreation, not a serious study tool.

Many students still learn French mostly with written material. The school curriculums insist on grammar and verb conjugations – the teachers don’t have a choice: they have to follow the imposed curriculum. Yet, if you want to learn French to communicate in French, you need to train to understand modern spoken French.

Picking the right French audiobook is your first challenge, and from your choice may very well depend the success or failure of your French studies.

11. Be in Touch with your Own Learning Style

Do you need to write? or do you need to listen? or do you need to read to learn things by heart?

Whatever the method you are using to learn French, make sure you adapt it to YOUR learning style.

This being said, studying French with audio is a must if you want to learn French to communicate: understand spoken French and speak French yourself.

10. Self Studying is NOT for Everybody

When it comes to learning languages, not everybody is the same. I’ve taught hundreds of students, and I can tell you from experience that some people have an easier time with languages than others. It’s not fair, and it’s not popular to say it… but it’s true.

It doesn’t mean that someone less gifted cannot learn French, but it means that self-studying is not for everybody.

Some students need the expertise of a teacher to guide them through their studies, motivate them and find creative ways to explain the same point until it is understood. Skype and/or phone French lessons can be a good solution.

On this topic, you may be interested in my article on how to select the best learning method and avoid scams.

9. Beware of Free

Nowadays everybody French learning website is offering something free. Free French lessons. Free tips. Free videos…

OK. I get it. Free is lovely.

However if the material is not good, then ‘free’ can be a total waste of your time. And your time is valuable.

Be particularly careful about social networks. It’s easy to get lost in there, and jump from one funny video to another. Yes, there are some really good free material out there – if you have not done it already, I encourage you download my free French learning audiobook.

However, if you are serious about learning French, at one point I suggest you invest into a reliable French learning method. And it has to come with solid grammatical explanations – very few people can master French without first understanding French grammar – and audio recordings featuring both traditional and modern French.

8. Translate French Into English as Little as Possible

When you are a total beginner, some translation is going to occur. As you advance in your French studies, try as much as possible to avoid translating.

Translating adds a huge step in the process of speaking:

Idea –> English –> French
versus just
idea –>French

It makes your brain waste 30% more time and energy and will fool you into making a mistake when the literal translation doesn’t work – which is unfortunately often the case in French!

So if you don’t translate, what should you do?

7. Link French to Images and Visual Situations, not English words

Try as much as possible to link the new French vocabulary to images, situations, feelings and NOT to English words.

For example, when learning “j’ai froid”, visualize that you are cold, bring up the feeling, not the English words “I – am – cold” – which won’t translate well since we don’t use “I am”, but “I have” in French…

And never change the English sentence to adapt it to the French – “ah, Ok, the French say “I HAVE cold”…

Let’s see what this does for your brain:

Maybe this sounds familiar?

It is MUCH simpler and faster to link the feeling of cold or “brrrr” = “j’ai froid”.

If you are doing flashcards to study French – which I strongly encourage you do – draw the word/situation whenever possible instead of writing English. Even if you are not a good artist, you’ll (hopefully?) remember what your drawing meant, and it’s much more efficient to learn French this way.

This is a very important point so I’ll take another example.

When learning French numbers, many students “build” them. They do maths. When they want to say ‘ninety-nine’ in French they think about what they’ve learned and remember this fun (or crazy?) logic ‘four-twenty-ten-nine’ and finally come up with “quatre-vingt-dix-neuf’.

Do you realise the time wasted?
Most French kids know how to count to 99 by age 6. Nobody ever told them about the ‘four-twenty-ten-nine’ nonsense! The only think they know is that 99 sounds like [catrevindizneuf]. They don’t know how to write it – and they don’t care!

Well, that’s how you need to learn French. Not like a kid – adults don’t learn like children. But by linking the French sounds to the notions, the images, the ideas. Not to the English words. Not to the logic. Not even to the grammar.

6. Be Careful With French Cognates

This is exactly why you should be particularly careful with cognates – words that are the same between the two languages.

Many students approach them thinking “ah, that’s easy, I know that one”. But then when they need to use that word, they don’t remember it’s the same word as in English…

Furthermore, cognates always have a different pronunciation, and your English brain is going to fight saying that word the French way.

I hear many students having a hard time with the word “chocolat”. In French, the ch is soft, as in “shave”, and the final t is silent. Shocola. Most French students wrongfully pronounce it “tshocolaT”.

Finally, there are many false cognates: words that exist in both languages but don’t have the same meanings (like entrée in US English (= main course) and entrée in French (= apetizers).

So, cognates need more of your attention, not less

5. Learn French in Sentences

Learn the new French vocabulary in a sentence. Like that you will learn “in context”, you’ll remember the situation and words longer, and you’ll already have a series of words that go well together handy for your next French conversation!

To learn French in context, I highly recommend you check out my unique downloadable French audiobooks, a unique French learning method illustrated by a novel featuring different speeds of recording and enunciation, featuring both traditional and modern spoken French pronunciation.

L1 + L2

À Moi Paris Method – Beginner

4.94 (235 reviews)

4. Make Your French Examples Close to Your Own World

Let’s say your teacher told you to write some sentences for homework – or maybe let’s imagine you are doing French flashcards.

You want to learn ‘red’ in French. Instead of writing down a common sentence like ‘the apple is red’, look for something red that personally means something to you, and write about it: ‘my dog likes to play with his red ball’. (my dog likes to play with his red ball).

Your brain will remember a sentence describing a truth or a memory much longer than it will remember a sentence of made-up facts.

3. Don’t Try to Learn Everything = Prioritize

Often, to make learning more fun, teachers try to present a text, a story. At least I do, as much as possible.

If your memory is great, go ahead and memorize everything!

But if it’s not the case, PRIORITIZE: what words in this story are YOU likely to use? Focus on learning these first, then revisit the story once you’ve mastered your first list.

The same logic applies to tenses: in conversation, most of the time we use the present indicative. So focus on the present when studying your French verb conjugations, and then move on to adjectives, essential vocabulary, asking questions, pronouns… things that will make an immediate difference in your ability to converse in French.

The French subjunctive can wait!

2. Study French Regularly, for a Short Time, not all in one Sitting

If you study French all afternoon,  chances are that you’ll exhaust yourself, and are much more likely to get frustrated, lose your motivation or attention.

Spending 15-30 minutes a day learning French – not multitasking but with 100% of your attention – will get you better results than two hours during the weekend with the kids playing in the background.

1. Review – Repetition is the Key!

This is probably the number one mistake students make.

They concentrate on learning new material, and forget to review the older one.

Rule of thumb: for each hour spending learning new things, you need to spend minimum one hour reviewing older things.

Repetition is the key!

I hope these tips will help you conquer the French language. I post new articles every week, so make sure you subscribe to the French Today newsletter – or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

If you enjoy learning French in context, check out French Today’s downloadable French audiobooks: French Today’s bilingual novels are recorded at different speeds and enunciation, and focus on today’s modern glided pronunciation. 

This content was originally published here.

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french

How to learn French verbs in 5 easy steps | Learn French verb conjugations easily

How to learn French verb conjugations

Learning French verbs can be a daunting task, especially when you’re a beginner

French is quite different to English, in that there are many different verb forms that are used depending on who the subject of the sentence you’re saying is. These different forms are called ‘conjugations’.  

For example, in English, the form of the verb ‘to go’ is the same when you say ‘I go’, ‘you go’, ‘we go’ and ‘they go’. In French, on the other hand, the verb form (conjugation) will be different in each of these four examples. 

It may seem like there’s a lot of work you’ll need to do to learn French verbs. But there are some simple hacks you can use to ensure that learning French verbs is as smooth and quick as possible. 

Here they are! 

1. Learn about French verb types 

Your first step when learning French verbs and their conjugations will be to understand what types of French verbs there are. There aren’t too many types so don’t worry. 

The reason you should start with this is because when you know what type of verb a particular French verb is, you will know how to conjugate it (what form to use depending on whether you’re saying ‘I go’ or ‘you go’ – you get the gist. 

There are three main types of French verbs you will need to learn about: 

2. Learn conjugation patterns for regular French verbs  

Once you know that there are four main types of verbs in French, you will be able to move on to learning the conjugation patterns for each of the types. 

You will start with the first three types I outlined above, which are regular – the ‘er’, ‘ir’ and ‘re’ verbs. 

The patterns will allow you to understand what to do with a verb depending on who the subject of your sentence is. 

For example, when you’re using an ‘er’ verb, such as ‘jouer’ (to play), you will learn that in the first person singular, you just need to drop the ‘r’ from the end to create the correct form of the verb. So, this will be ‘je joue’ (I play). 

Once you know this, you will be able to take any regular ‘er’ verb and conjugate it in the first person singular. And once you’ve learned the pattern for all persons (you, he, she, we, you, they), you will be able to use any French ‘er’ verb in any sentence. 

Those patterns are incredibly useful. They mean that you don’t need to learn conjugating individual verbs and memorising their forms. You just need to learn the patterns and that will allow you to take any verb that fits the pattern and conjugate it based on that. 

I’m not going to go into the detail of the patterns because you can find them online, or you can check out some of the courses there are available, like the French Tense Master (a course about French tenses from the 5-Minute Language School), or Olly Richards French Uncovered course, which takes you from beginner to intermediate in French. 

3. Learn the most common irregular verbs 

Irregular French verbs are a bit more challenging to learn because they don’t follow the patterns I described above. That’s why they’re called ‘irregular verbs’! 

This means you will actually need to memorise the different forms of the verbs. Some of them will be similar to each other, though, which means that the more irregular French verbs you know, the easier it will be for you to learn more irregular verbs. 

The key thing to remember when learning irregular French verbs is to learn the most common ones first. So don’t be tempted to learn them alphabetically because you may end up knowing some verbs that are hardly ever used, instead of the ones you will need in every single conversation. 

Some of the most common irregular French verbs are ‘être’ (to be), ‘avoir’ (to have), ‘faire’ (to do), ‘aller’ (to go), ‘pouvoir’ (to be able to), ‘vouloir’ (to want). Learn them first become I guarantee you’ll need them in most sentences you’ll be using when speaking French.

Again, I’m not going to tell you what the conjugations of these common irregular French verbs are as they are easy enough to find elsewhere. 

But if you’d like a guided introduction to irregular French verbs, though, including how to use them in sentences in different tenses, check out the French Tense Master course that I offer as part of the 5-Minute Language School. 

Or, if you’d like to learn French verbs as part of a broader French course for beginners, Olly Richards’ French Uncovered course will take you from zero to intermediate – I highly recommend it. 

4. Learn French verbs in context 

This is particularly important so make sure you don’t skip this step when you’re learning French verbs and their conjugations. 

Whenever you learn a new French verb (regular or irregular), make sure you look it up in context – as part of a full sentence – and preferably in lots of different forms (how it’s used with ‘I’ but also with ‘you’, ‘he/she’, ‘they’, and so on). You will find examples of sentences in dictionaries so make sure you check in several different online dictionaries to get a good range of examples. 

Seeing the French verbs in context will help you understand how they should be used in conversations, how they fit around other French words, and how to use them to make sure you sound natural when speaking French.

Looking at lots of examples will also help you consolidate the French verbs you’re learning in your memory. 

5. Practise using new French verbs in speech 

Once you’ve done the step above – learned to conjugate a verb and seen a lot of examples of it used in sentences, you should start practising it in speech. Make up your own sentences and say them out loud. Write them down too. 

All this will help you memorise the verb more effectively and you’ll be more ready to use it in a conversation when you need it. 

I hope you enjoyed these five tips for learning French verb conjugations. Make sure you check out my list of French resources by clicking the banner below as well. Good luck! 

This content was originally published here.

Categories
french

[ LEARN FRENCH WITH GABRIEL GATE ] – Canard à l’orange et aux noisettes

Tous les mois, Gabriel Gaté, célèbre chef cuisinier français, invite les lecteurs du Courrier Australien à un délicieux voyage culinaire et linguistique. Découvrez certaines de ses meilleures recettes et leur histoire pour devenir un vrai cordon bleu, tout en apprenant le Français et l’Anglais ! Ce mois-ci, Gabriel vous a concocté du canard à l’orange et aux noisettes…

Gabriel Gaté

Nous sommes si nombreux à être confinés à la maison que le moment n’a jamais été aussi approprié pour élargir notre répertoire de plats et apprendre quelques nouvelles recettes.

Au fil des années, on m’a souvent demandé comment cuisiner le canard, l’une de mes viandes préférées. Il y a quarante ans, lorsque j’ai commencé à enseigner la cuisine en Australie, ceux qui aimaient cuisiner à la maison ne pouvaient que se procurer un canard entier et la façon la plus populaire de le préparer consistait à le faire rôtir. L’inconvénient lorsqu’on rôti un canard entier c’est que la poitrine cuit plus vite que la cuisse, donc le temps que celle-ci soit prête, la poitrine est trop cuite et souvent sèche.

De nos jours, les amoureux de la cuisine à la maison ont plus de choix, les filets de canard et la poitrine peuvent tous deux être achetés séparément. Les cuisses de canard peuvent être rôties, grillées ou cuisinées dans un ragoût, comme une tajine ou un coq au vin. En France, les cuisses de canard mijotées dans le gras de canard puis préservées dans celui-ci une fois cuites sont très populaires.

Cette préparation se nomme “confit de canard” et peut être simplement réchauffée au four ou utilisée pour le plat classique du cassoulet.

Les filets de canard sont délicieux grillés ou sautés et sont appréciés par les cuisiniers car ils prennent peu de temps à préparer. En France, dans les régions où les canards sont spécifiquement engraissés pour leur foie (vendu comme foie gras), les filets sont plus larges qu’ailleurs et sont appelés magret de canard. Un magret sert deux personnes pour un plat principal. Les plats de canard sont communs dans la plupart des restaurants français.

Le canard, en particulier au sein du somptueux et historique restaurant parisien La Tour d’Argent, a été servi dès la fin des années 1800. Depuis, chaque client ayant mangé le fameux plat, désormais prénommé Caneton Frédéric Delair (après son créateur), reçoit un certificat chiffré sous la forme d’une jolie carte. Plus d’un million de portions ont été savourées pendant les 130 ans ayant suivi la création du célèbre plat. Le Président américain Franklin Roosevelt a reçu le nombre 112,151, tandis que quelques années plus tard Charlie Chaplin recevait le 253,652.

Le canard à l’orange est probablement le plat le plus apprécié de tous, et la recette de ce mois-ci est ma version modernisée avec des filets de canard. Bon appétit et prenez soin de vous !

Canard à l’Orange et aux Noisettes

Pour deux personnes

Cette délicieuse recette de canard française est simple à réaliser et peut être accompagnée de votre meilleur vin rouge.

Ingrédients

1 large carotte, épluchée et coupée en rondelles
1/2 cuillère à soupe de beurre
sel et poivre fraîchement moulu
2 cuillères à soupe de persil haché
2 filets de canard, sans l’os
1 cuillère à café de graines de fenouil, hachées
1 cuillère à soupe d’huile d’olive
10ml de brandy, Armagnac ou Cognac
jus d’une moitié d’orange
2 cuillères à soupe de bouillon de poulet ou de bœuf
1 cuillère à café de poivre vert en grains
2 cuillères à café de crème fraîche
les quartiers d’une orange, sans la peau
8 noisettes rôties, écrasées en 2 ou 3 morceaux chacune

Déposez les rondelles de carotte dans une casserole avec un peu d’eau.   Couvrez avec un couvercle jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient moelleuses. Égouttez les carottes, puis faites-en une purée avec le beurre. Assaisonnez avec du sel et du poivre et incorporez le persil haché.

A l’aide d’un couteau bien aiguisé, incisez la peau des filets de canard et assaisonnez-les avec du sel, du poivre et des graines de fenouil.

Préchauffez le four à 150°C.

Faites chauffer l’huile d’olive dans une petite cocotte et dorez les filets de canard du côté de la peau pendant environ 5 minutes. Retournez les filets et finissez de cuire le canard dans le four préchauffé pendant environ 10 minutes.

Lorsque le canard est cuit, déposez les filets dans une assiette. Jetez l’excédent de graisse présent dans la casserole, ajoutez le brandy et le jus d’orange puis faites bouillir pendant une minute. Ajoutez ensuite le bouillon et réduisez à environ deux cuillères à soupe.

Ajoutez le poivre vert en grains, la crème fraîche, les quartiers d’orange et les noisettes rôties à la sauce.

Coupez les filets de canard en moitié sur la longueur.

A l’aide d’une cuillère, déposez la purée de carottes dans deux assiettes. Placez-y les filets de canard et versez la sauce autour et sur le canard.

Vocabulaire :

canard : duck
enseigner : to teach
rôtir : to roast
poitrine : breast
cuisse : leg
ragoût : stew
graisse de canard : duck fat
sauté : pan-fried
engraissé : fattened
foie : liver
fenouil : fennel


In English please !

With so many of us confined at home, it has never been a better time to increase our repertoire of dishes and learn a few new recipes.

Over the years I have often been asked about cooking duck, one of my favourite meats.

Forty years ago when I started teaching cooking in Australia, home cooks could only purchase a whole duck, and the most popular way of cooking it was to roast it. The difficulty with roasting a whole duck is that the breast cooks faster than the leg, so by the time the legs are cooked the breasts are over-cooked and often dry.

Nowadays, the home cook has more choice, and both duck fillets and breasts can be purchased separately. Duck legs can be roasted or grilled or cooked in a stew, like a tagine or in a coq au vin. In France duck legs are very popular cooked slowly in duck fat and, once cooked, are preserved in the duck fat. The preparation is called ‘confit’ duck and can be simply reheated in the oven or used in the great classic dish of cassoulet.

Duck fillets are delicious grilled or pan-fried and are popular with cooks as they take a short time to cook.

In France in the regions where ducks are specifically fattened for their liver (sold as foie gras), the fillets are larger than usual and are called magret de canard. A magret serves two people for a main course.

Duck dishes are common in most French restaurants.

The duck speciality of the beautiful, historic Parisian restaurant, La Tour d’Argent, has been served since the late 1800’s and since that time each guest eating the famous dish, now called Caneton Frédéric Delair (after its creator), is presented with a numbered certificate in the form of an attractive card. Over one million portions have been enjoyed in the 130 years since the creation of the famous dish. American President Franklin Roosevelt was given number 112,151, while years later Charlie Chaplin got number 253,652.

Duck à l’orange is possibly the most popular duck dish of all, and this month’s recipe is my modern version using duck fillets. Bon appétit and stay well!

Roast Duck Fillet with Orange and Hazelnuts

Serves 2

This beautiful French duck recipe is simple to make and can be accompanied by your finest red wine.

Ingredients
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 duck fillets, without the bone
1 tsp fennel seeds, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
10ml brandy, Armagnac or Cognac
juice of half orange
2 tbsp strong stock, chicken or beef
1 tsp drained green peppercorns
2 tsp of cream
the skinless segments of 1 orange
8 roasted hazelnuts, crushed into 2 or 3 pieces each

Place the carrot slices in a saucepan with a little water. Cover with a lid and cook until soft. Drain the carrots, then blend them to a purée with the butter. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped parsley.

Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the duck fillets and season them with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof pan and brown the duck fillets, skin-side down, for about 5 minutes. Turn the fillets over and finish cooking the duck in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

When the duck is cooked, transfer the fillets to a plate. Discard the excess fat from the pan, then add the brandy and orange juice and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then add the stock and reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Mix in the green pepper corns, the cream the orange segments and the roasted hazelnuts.

Cut duck fillets in half lengthwise.

Spoon the carrot purée onto two plates. Top with the duck fillets and spoon the sauce around and on top.

Par Gabriel Gaté

Retrouvez la dernière recette partagée par Gabriel Gaté, et son histoire ICI.

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french

Learning French in Paris: The Best Schools and Programs for Your Language Goal

If you’re really trying to speak French, eventually you’ll want to go to the motherland. Unless you are one of those super annoying people who has an “amazing ear” and picks up languages from just a vacation (looking at my sister), you’re going to need a school.

How much it will cost you and how intense of a program you’ll want depends on why you’re in France.

Maybe you’re like my friend Kristi who saved up to spend a summer in Paris. She wanted to learn basics but spend more time seeing the city, not all day sitting in class. Or maybe you’re in France on some sort of Eat, Pray, Love mission finding yourself in croissants, vineyards and Pierres. You may be more interested in social language swaps (where some men come just to meet foreign women) than one-on-one classes. Or maybe you’re like me and wanted to learn as fast as possible without your head exploding so you can talk to your belle-maman (mother-in-law in French is “beautiful mom.” Much nicer, no?).

There are way too many options to give you all of them, but here are the best language schools and programs I’ve personally tried or have otherwise looked into.

IF YOU WANT SMALLER CLASSES

When I first moved to Paris in June 2017, I wanted a smaller school with more personalized feeling to kick start my French learning. I already had the basics, and was looking for a program that would focus a lot of class time on speaking. I found three options that looked great. They don’t have libraries and movie screenings, but do provide a boutique, personal style of learning.

A smaller school is also a good option if you’re only going to be in France for a couple weeks and want to brush up your French quickly. None of these schools utilize textbooks, focusing more on conversational skills and using worksheets when needed.

Lutece Langue ()

I ended up going with Lutece Langue because it had great reviews, was close to my apartment (the school has since moved to the Saint Germain area) and is at a good price point. I’m very glad I did. My classes were never more that 4 or 5 people, my teacher Christine was excellent, patient and fun, and at least half the class was spent practicing conversation. Every day felt like a safe, welcoming place to make mistakes and improve my French speaking, which is exactly what I needed.

Classes are capped at two to seven people. I took the intensive 15 hour a week program in the morning, which cost 246.50€ a week (a little less if you sign up for four or more weeks). They offer also ofter specialized workshops. I liked that the age range of students in my class was from 24-55 years old, and wasn’t all college students. They also have a teacher who speaks Japanese if interesting for you as a student from Japan. Check out the website for all the class options.

French As You Like It ()

FAYLI is another boutique school with “micro group” classes capped at six people. This school actually caters mostly to children studying French, but also has programs for adults during the morning and evening. The school  includes perks like wine tastings and perfume tours, as well as complimentary pastries and treats every day. During my studies there, I’ve had just one other person in my class, so I received a ton or personalized attention.

Located in le Marais near Bastille, the prices are higher than the other two boutique schools I contacted at 445€ a week for a full morning 3.5 hour a day course (17.5 hours/week). Check out the website for full list of class options.

L’Atelier9 ()

I stumbled upon this school online while looking through message board reviews about French programs in Paris, and was impressed by how much students loved the experience. Classes have nine people tops (hence the name) and offers a multimedia experience using songs, newspapers, videos and games in addition to the conversational program.

The “Intensive Plus” program is from 9am-1pm each day plus one workshop a week, and costs 295€ a week with rate discounts for each consecutive week you sign up for. L’Atelier9 also offers Spanish language courses if you’re interested in doubling up on your lessons.

Photo courtesy of Alliance Française Paris

IF YOU WANT A LOT OF RESOURCES

Alliance Française (www.alliancefr.org)

When I lived in France for three months in 2013, I could hardly say bonsoir and needed to start pretty much at the beginning. I had taken a short course at the Alliance Française in New York, and decided to continue at the Alliance Française de Paris.

I was surprised that the textbooks were different from the New York outpost (it’s apparently not standardized across the world), but impressed with the entire operation. Located in the Montparnasse area, the building is very large and modern, with a cinema, language lab, large library and access to loads of free tours and activities for students. It’s a great place if you plan to do a lot of studying and want resources, or are new to Paris and want to meet people from all over the world.

My classes could be large at times, 15 or more people, but the teacher and program were solid. Depending on your budget, you can do everything from a few hours a week to full days of private study at Alliance Française.

IF YOU WANT TO TALK A LOT

A great way to practice your speaking skills is to go to a language exchange group event where English and French native speakers get together and practice together in both languages.

The level and depth of conversation definitely depends on who you are seated with and their personalities. Sometimes people are very shy and it is hard to get the conversation going, other times it clicks easily. I recommend coming with a few fun topics in mind to discuss so you don’t end up having the same discussion about where you are from and what you are doing in France over and over again.

Franglish ()

At Franglish, you basically speed date, but for French-English conversation. If you are a native English speaker looking to improve your French, you show up and are seated at a table across from a francophone. You speak in each language for seven minutes together before moving to another table with a new French speaker and repeating the process for two hours. Because this isn’t a lesson, it’s best to have at least a little experience speaking, so this isn’t a great option for complete beginners.

In Paris, Franglish events are held at various bars around the city. It costs 12€ per session (8€ if you have a student ID) and you get a drink included with that. When I went, there were around 15 English speakers and 15 French speakers. Because it’s at a bar, it has a casual, younger adult feel and there were always new people. I once was seated across from a French guy whose English was perfect, and when I asked why he needed to be here, he admitted he only came to these events to meet women!

Franglish holds events in cities across France and all over the world, so you don’t have to be in Paris to partake. The events are often full, so sign up ahead of time on the website.

Photo courtesy of Institut Catholique de Paris

IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET

Mairie de ParisCours Municipaux d’Adultes

If you’re a Paris resident (not on a tourist or student visa), you can take classes provided by the city. It’s a little tough to register because the website and emails are all in French, but the prices are very low. The three week summer intensive session I registered for cost just 202€ for three weeks, 4.5 hours a day.

I was initially wait-listed, but was lucky enough to secure a spot for a summer session. The class was not small, 22 people, but that is not that different from many other larger language schools in the city. The students were an interesting mix of people ranging in age from early 20s to senior citizens, and coming from all corners of the globe. Some are retired, some are here for work, some (like me) came for love and some are refugees.

My teacher Claudine was excellent, and I really like how many of the lessons are Paris-centric. You learn a lot about the history of Paris through it’s famous residents, cherished locations and literature. The course is grammar heavy, and I don’t feel like I got as much speaking time in as with the smaller programs, but for the price the quality is very good.

There are also semester-long courses in the spring and fall.

Catholic University of ParisFrench Language Courses

The Catholic University of Paris offers spring and fall semester-long courses and short term classes in January and the summer at reasonable prices. A four week, 15 hour a week summer programs costs 660€, four weeks of 21 hours a week is 924€. There is also a 98€ per year registration fee.

This is a good bit more affordable than comparable programs, and the coursework is rigorous. I took a summer month-long intensive and would say it was worth the money. The campus is lovely, though my classroom was a little small for the 15 or so students in my class.


Photo courtesy of Institut de Francais

IF MONEY IS NO OBJECT

This final school isn’t in Paris, but I’ve had a slight obsession with it ever since I discovered it, so I wanted to share anyway!

Institut de Francais ()

The Basics: 4 weeks, 8.5 hours a day, located in Villefranche on the French Riviera

In my dream scenario, I go off to this adults-only French-language boarding school in the south of France and return to Paris fluent, with a tan and Blake Lively as my new best friend (yup, she went there). The Institut de Francais caters to students 21-75 years old, has an excellent reputation and focuses on speaking and understanding. Absolute beginners to advanced students welcome.

The 4-week course fee varies by time of year and includes 160 hours of coursework, breakfast, lunch and tea on class days, evening outings with teachers and an excursion. This intensive experience doesn’t come cheap, but I justify it to myself by saying I’d be saving money by learning so much so quickly. And if it’s good enough for Blake, the Princess of Monaco and numerous ambassadors, it’s good enough for me.

For a month long program, the tuition is around 3200€ to 3900€ depending on the time of year you go (warmer months are more expensive). The school offers many housing options, or you can find something yourself in town as well.

Find full course schedule and fees here

FINAL TIPS FOR PICKING A PROGRAM

  • If possible, choose a school somewhat close to where you live. You’re going to be there a lot, and not having a long commute makes the experience much easier.
     
  • Group classes are great for learning the basics, but only move as fast as the slowest student, and you’ll be practicing with other students who are non-native French speakers. Because of this, I recommend a balanced diet of classes and forcing yourself to speak with actual French people either in private classes, with friends or through language exchanges.
     
  • Be sure to do your research wherever you choose to go. I looked at some other larger schools and some schools with quite low prices, but found out that they don’t pay their teachers well, had poor reviews or didn’t have a great program. Not worth spending your money on a school where you don’t learn much!

Finally, it’s normal to get frustrated, and even have some language-induced breakdowns at times (speaking from experience). If you want to read more about my experience learning french and living in Paris hardly speaking French, click here.

Have you studied in French in Paris? What school did you choose and what was your experience like? Leave a comment and let me know!

The post Learning French in Paris: The Best Schools and Programs for Your Language Goal appeared first on Am I French Yet?.

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The Best French Apps for Learning French

If you are anything like us here at Brainscape, you probably spend hours on your phone every day, emailing, texting, and most importantly, using apps.

While there is something endlessly addicting about trying to reach 2048 over and over, and it can be awfully satisfying to swipe left on Tinder, we have to admit our time could be better spent on other things. Thankfully, there are some great educational apps out there for a more productive phone session.

Not long ago, we posted some of the best education apps for language learning in our post on the Top 5 Language-Learning Apps and Websites. While those five apps are great to get on your phone if you already have the basics down, they are not necessarily ideal when you are just starting out. For you, newbie Francophiles out there, don’t despair. These 7 French apps are some of the best apps to learn French and will get you started acquiring and mastering the language in no time. Très Bien!

Top 7 Beginner Apps for Learning French

1. Duolingo

If you want learning to be fun in a game-like setting, Duolingo  is a great place to start. You can learn vocabulary, conjugation, reading, writing, pronunciation, and listening skills on the app in a way that is competitive and fun. Duolingo has been ranked as the highest-rated French learning app on the Apple App Store for good reason. It’s free, fun, easy to use, and gets you the basics fast. Just be aware that while it may be fun to make learning a competition (with prize badges and everything!), the app isn’t too strict on grammar. You can easily develop bad habits if you aren’t careful, so make sure to supplement any Duolingo learning with a quality vocab and grammar app.

2. Learn French with Busuu

Busuu is based around a community of native French speakers, which makes it easy to ensure that you are learning French the way native speakers really use it today.  You will get a lot of oral practice with and even some feedback on written work from native speakers. Plus, the app makes sure that you learn idioms and modern slang (so you won’t arrive in Paris and sound like you are straight out of a 1950s TV show). Unfortunately, all this interaction with native speakers doesn’t come cheap, as it requires a membership cost of about $20 per month. Plus, the quality of feedback isn’t always even — sometimes you get great information, but other times, you get hardly a cursory response.

3. Classics2Go Collection (French)

Reading in a language you are trying to learn is a must. That’s why this free app is so great. The French Classics2Go Collection has a large selection of fairy tales and other simple, classic children’s stories that you can read at an early stage in your French learning. Not only are these stories familiar, making the vocab and grammar concepts at play easy to digest, but Classics2Go even cross-links with its English app so you can read the versions side by side for a refresher. Plus, once you are getting more fluent, you can easily explore the library for some more complex books like Les Trois Mousquetaires or Madame Bovary.

4. Larousse English-French Dictionary

Every new French learner needs access to a good dictionary, and the Larousse English-French dictionary is the crème de la crème. While it may be tempting to use Google Translate to look up every word you are unsure of, a good dictionary like this one gives you context and connotation as well — critical details for learners. It even has tons of idioms and phrases to keep you in the know. Plus, you can get the words read out loud to you in the app for pronunciation practice.

5. Brainscape French

A dictionary is a great way to learn a specific word that you lack, but unfortunately, it can’t really be used as a way to retain new vocab. That’s where Brainscape’s adaptive flashcard app comes in. Using its custom adaptive learning technology, Brainscape will drill you on thousands of French vocab words such that you spend more time on words you don’t get and less on those you have already mastered. According to extensive scientific research, the key to retention is effective repetition, and Brainscape is the only app on the market that uses the custom algorithm shown to be the best-designed to foster this type of learning.

Not only does Brainscape French have verb conjugations and thousands of vocab cards with audio, it also has a Sentence Builder component that will build up your mastery of grammar concepts through the constant translation of increasingly advanced sentences. Brainscape has also recently added flashcard decks for listening comprehension, as well as others tackling French history and pop culture. If you want to build a robust vocabulary, Brainscape’s methodology is the proven best way to get started.

6. Le Conjugueur

French verb conjugations are tricky. That’s why this app is so fantastic. Le Conjugueur allows you to practice translating verbs and identifying the appropriate tenses to use in different scenarios. Use it to supplement your verb practice and ensure you become a well-rounded conjugator!

7. Rosetta Stone

It’s almost impossible to talk about language learning without mentioning Rosetta Stone. Not only has Rosetta Stone’s app been around the longest, but it also offers a balanced approach. You get to practice speaking, writing, and reading at each skill level. Rosetta Stone offers a completely immersive language learning experience, which means that no English will be found anywhere in this app. This has its advantages (such as learning like you would as a child), but it can be frustrating or even ineffective for some new learners, so consider what kind of learner you are before committing. After all, this program has the largest cost — a whopping $199.99 for all the features.

Get Learning!

Once you get some of these programs on your phone, tablet, or computer, you will be well on your way to speaking French couramment in no time. Don’t delay. While at Brainscape we are partial to our own app (because we know how much it can help you!), getting a few of these apps and using them often is going to support your learning even more. Get the best French apps for learning French on your device now and let us know in the comments what other French learning apps are your favorites.

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