Talk in French | The best site to learn French for busy people

Great Articles to Learn French Language and Culture

Learn more about the French Language and Culture

Vote for Talk in French in the 2016 Best Language Learning Blogs!

May 22, 2016
Bonjour, tout le monde ! and Lexiophiles’ annual contest for the top 100 Language Learning Blogs is here again. Last year, Talk in French placed at #4 and ranked highest among French language blogs. In 2014, Talk in French was at #6. This year, Talk in French has been included in the shortlist once again under the category Language Learning Blogs. With your help, I hope to make it to the top 10 once more. So if my work has been helpful to you in any way, please do me a huge favor by sparing a couple of seconds to help vote for Talk in French. You can go to the voting link here: Voting is very simple. All you need to do is go to the link I gave above, look for the button marked  Talk in French, and click to vote. The voting phase is from May 19th up to June 6th only. After that, and Lexiophiles will choose the winners based on their internal criteria (50%) and from your votes (50%). So once again, here are the steps: Go to this link. Scroll down to the  Talk in French  button. Click the button to vote. You should see a confirmation there that your vote has been counted. Don’t forget to share to family and friends! Voting is super easy. It doesn’t require any logins or email addresses, you can vote using any device, and the entire voting process would only take up a few seconds of your time (and a couple more to share on social media). But—I would totally appreciate it SO MUCH from the bottom of my heart. Merci beaucoup, Frédéric  

25 Tasty French Expressions

May 21, 2016
Every language has its own share of unique idioms and expressions, and learning these would give us insights into the thoughts and culture of its native speakers. The French, for example, has a long list of funny and absurd expressions which gives you a glimpse of their creative, deadpan humor. The French language also has a seemingly endless list of idioms about animals such as cats, dogs, and goats, among others. But another common theme in French expressions is food. Being a country that is utterly in love with good food, fresh ingredients, and tasty desserts, you’ll notice that different kinds of edible delights have made their way into French idiomatic use. Today, we’ll be learning about 25 French expressions that are all about F-O-O-D. Let’s start the ball rolling with two expressions about cheese. Expressions about Cheese   1. En faire tout un fromage Literal meaning: to make a whole cheese about it What it really means: to make a big deal of something If you make a giant fuss about something, the French would say, en faire tout un fromage, or you’re making a whole cheese about it. English speakers would say you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, but it’s not nearly as tasty as the French version, don’t you think? Here’s another cheese-related expression: 2. triste comme un repas sans fromage Literal meaning: sad like a meal without cheese What it really means: to be very sad A meal without cheese…what a lonely sight. If you’re as passionate about cheeses as the French, a cheese-less meal is not only incomplete, it’s also super sad. (For a quick background of French eating habits, check out this article.  For a list of some of the most popular French cheeses, go here). Expressions about Bread Bread is another common part of a French meal. So after cheese, let’s take a look at expressions about bread. 3. avoir du pain sur la planche What it means literally: to have bread on the board What it actually means: to have many things to do While English speakers would say “to have one’s work cut out (for him)”, the French equivalent of the expression just has to make use of bread. 4. Pour une bouchée de pain What it means literally: for a mouthful of bread Its real meaning: for a pittance; for a small amount/cheaply When you buy something for an amount so insignificant that it doesn’t make any dent in your wallet the French would say you bought it for a mouthful of bread. Another similar expression is “pour un morceau de pain” which means ‘for a piece of bread’. It basically means the same thing: not expensive. Expressions about entrées We’ve talked about bread and cheese. How about some starter dishes or entrées? 5. Cracher dans la soupe Literal meaning: to spit on the soup What it really means: to be ungrateful When someone offers you a steaming bowl of soup, what would you do? Would you spit

Newsletter Q&A: 3 Tips for French Teachers

May 17, 2016
Bonjour tout le monde. In the weekly Talk in French newsletter sent to email subscribers every Sunday, I feature a question from subscribers. The questions cover everything—French language, culture, travel, and even totally random ones—and a lot of it are quite useful. So in the interest of helping more readers, I am also publishing some of them here in the blog. Today, I will be sharing with you a question sent by Daniella. « My Core French classrooms in Southern Ontario read your article about not worrying about sounding French! It was last week’s article! These students, most are not personally invested in learning French, although it is one of Canada’s two official languages. My question: how can I help students improve their oral French in an Anglophone environment? There is no immediate reason, beyond required curriculum, to learn and practice oral French. They can conjugate a verb. They can’t put together a couple of sentences without a script. Do you have any suggestions? » Here is my answer: It’s a very challenging job to teach when people have little interest in your topic. I don’t have a magic formula for that and I am not sure how free you are to implement some of my ideas, but here are some suggestions that I hope would help. 1. Focus on the culture rather than the academic part of the language   Learning the grammar rules or conjugating verbs can be really boring for your students and they’ll just be doing it mechanically. But maybe if you try to connect the lesson with some cultural elements (like learning tenses with some catchy music in which the lyrics refer to some grammar point), it would pique their interest and give them additional motivation to learn. Students like movies, music, food, TV shows, and other pop culture topics so I am sure you can find a lot of activities related to that. You can perhaps introduce a boring topic together with an interesting cultural aspect. I have plenty of resources in the Talk in French website about culture topics, so you might be able to make use of those. 2. You can also work on some projects with your students   For example, by the end of the semester they should be able to produce something: A presentation about some aspect of the Francophone culture (not necessary about France, it can be about Swiss, Belgium, Togo…) Write a song in French and sing it in class, Do a fake cooking show where students have to share a recipe in French. Projects seem to work well for students, and those above are just a few things that you can perhaps implement in your classes. 3. Immerse them into the language through fun activities   There are plenty of ways you can immerse your students into the French language. Here are some of them: Listening to a French podcast: you can check out the Talk in French podcast here. Watching a French TV series: here’s

10 useful French proverbs for all situations

May 14, 2016
Life is one hell of a roller coaster ride. One moment you’re up and feeling like the king of the world, the next you’re down in the dumps and wishing the earth would just swallow you whole. But hey, no matter what situation you’re currently in, there’s always a good French proverb to knock some sense into you. From the lowest of lows to the the most mundane situations, here are some useful French proverbs that would be a perfect advice for you or for anyone in your life. 1. Un clou chasse l’autre. What it literally means: One nail drives out another. But its real meaning: Life goes on. Oh, life. Some days just truly suck. Perhaps your dog died or you broke up with someone you thought is “the one”. Or maybe, you lost your job… or heck, your super embarrassing photo went viral on social media. *sobs*   via GIPHY Cry your heart out but remember, it’s not the end of the world. Un clou chasse l’autre. Life goes on. 2. En tout pays, il y a une lieue de mauvais chemin. Literal meaning of this proverb: “In every country there is a league/area of bad road.” What it really means: There will be bumps in the smoothest roads.   via GIPHY Did your project at work (the one you spent long hours in the past weeks) caught a major hiccup? Did your travel plans go awry? Or maybe your marriage hit a snag?  Cheer up, bud. After you’re done pulling your hair out of sheer frustration, just remember: there will always be bumps even in the smoothest roads. En tout pays, il y a une lieue de mauvais chemin. It will get better. 3. Il faut casser le noyau pour avoir l’amande. What it literally means: You need to break the shell to have the almond. What it truly means: No pain no gain. via GIPHY So… You’re starting out a new workout regimen to achieve the ideal body you’ve always dreamed of. Or perhaps you’re training to join your first ever marathon. As you force yourself to endure every bit of aches and groans of your sore muscles, just think: Il faut casser le noyau pour avoir l’amande. No pain, no gain! Now go ahead and train some more. 4. “Il ne faut jamais dire « Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau !” Literal meaning: “You should never say, ‘Fountain, I will never drink your water!’” What it means: Never say never. Maybe you used to swear you will never ever be one of those yoga-crazy people. Now you are rocking some insane poses like you were born to do it. You can even do it with a bottle of wine! Amazing. via GIPHY (By the way—if you’re into yoga, you should check out this list of yoga-related French vocabulary.) So if someone emphatically tells you he or she will never do something EVER, keep that person in check by giving her a

Get Your Copy of My French Routine Volume 6 Today!

May 12, 2016
After you have learned the basics of the French language, at some point you will find yourself wondering how to continue. You still need to polish your French every day, and you will still need some guidance and a lot of practice, but the materials are either too easy or too difficult for your level. How do you find that perfect balance? If you are a high-intermediate to advanced learner, here is an e-book that is exactly what you’re looking for: My French Routine Volume 6. This 6th volume of the My French Routine learning series is created for learners who have already mastered the basics but still need guidance in polishing their French. The e-book will give you four weeks of lessons broken down into five lessons each week with recaps during the weekend. Some highlights: Each lesson is a mix of grammar and vocabulary topics with audio guides and learning exercises. It is short but challenging. Perfect for even the busiest learner. The e-book is tied in with audio material. This ensures a strong focus on listening, a skill that every learner, regardless of level, needs to strengthen. The audio includes French conversations that will further illustrate the grammar points discussed in the lesson. It also serves as a pronunciation guide and listening practice. All audio materials are recorded by native French speakers. The lessons are designed to be tackled daily to help provide consistent practice. Would you like to know more about this e-book? Check out the details here.  There’s a huge discount during the launch week that will never be offered again. Go check it out. Merci!