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Category: French language

French Immersion in Paris: foodie related vocabulary and the top 4 food markets

 

Paris is a city that has a food market for everybody. Experience quintessential French food, as well as fragrant spices of a diverse cultural blend of countries. Paris counts more than 90 Food Markets. In this week’s blog, we share with you some useful expressions relating to all things food. We’ll share what we believe are the top 4 food markets to visit, and how much fun an immersive two-hour tour can be with a dedicated and experienced private French tutor in Paris.

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Learn French with Pastry and Chocolate Vocabulary

 

Are you a chocolate and pastry fanatic? If not, after visiting Paris, you are pretty much guaranteed to join the Pastry and Chocolate fan club! If you are soon travelling to France are you planning to enjoy delicious chocolates and pastries? Why not try out some French with our handy pastry and chocolate vocabulary.

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Paris 5 best bakeries and bread related French vocabulary .

In Paris where the official “pain” is definitely the Baguette, this iconic bread is part of most Parisians’ daily routine. Have you sampled some cheap baguettes in Paris yet?  When it comes to delicious, freshly baked bread, there is a wide range of other types of baguettes including slow-rise, gluten free. Not to mention the plethora of different types of Baguettes! You may be used to just asking in French for “une baguette” simply because it is the only one sort of bread that that you know in France. In today’s blog, I will share with you in useful French vocabulary and expressions related to the boulangerie (bakery). Also, at the same time I’ll share with you the 5 best boulangeries in Paris. Read more and enjoy!

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French Vocabulary and Politics : Some Background On The Presidential Election and phrases to know.

The first round of the 2017 French presidential elections will soon be held in less than a week now. Suspense! If you are an expat in France, no doubt that you will certainly discussing the election with French friends. In this post, French à La Carte shares with you a bit of background relating to the presidential election and also some French election vocabulary to help you to follow the news. Better yet, to give your opinion while debating fervently about politics.

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French Vocabulary Related To Celebrities who are Icons of Parisian Style.

France is renowned for influencing style. From  fashion designers, stylists, actresses, models, each have unique style signatures. At French a la Carte -Paris, we have curated a tour dedicated to all things French Fashion.  In this post, we will also share with you expressions and vocabulary to describe celebrity and success, taking some examples of the most influential celebs otherwise known as “French Style Icons”.

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5 Confusing Expressions For English Speakers in the French language

French language and the five most confusing expressions for English speakers.

You are charmed by the French language, you find it sophisticated and melodic, and would like to be fluent. Or maybe you are an expat in France and you have to master French to adjust to your new life.

 

5 Confusing Expressions English Speakers French language

Whether it be homophones or synonyms, English speakers usually tend to make recurrent mistakes.  After many years teaching hundreds of students, I have listed 5 most common and confusing expressions or verbs for English speakers. I hope this will help you in your French Language journey!

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Eda A is a young illustrator newly arrived from New York to live and work in the City of Lights. After a few weeks, she decided to take French courses in Paris. Here, she shares with us her experience about how she learns French in Paris and adjusts to her new life here.

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Learning French, as learning any other language, requires effort and motivation. Even if nearly 30% of all English words come directly or indirectly from French, English speakers learning French often fear that the language is difficult and tricky to master. If you have decided to learn French, I have listed 5 difficulties of the French language.

 

1 – False friends

The English and French languages were strongly influenced by the introduction of French at the time of the Norman invasion of Britain in the 11th century.

English and French contain many cognates. False friends, also called false cognates, can be challenging to master ; indeed, people learning French have sometimes seen them written and assume that they have the same meaning in English, which is wrong.

Sometimes the sound is close but not exactly the same : « actually » in English is not phonetically far from « actuellement »in French which means « currently ».

There are 1,700 cognates (words identical in the French & English). Some have the same meaning in English while others do not. Here is a short selection of some common false friends used in French :

 

Finalement vs Finally
Finalement means « eventually » or « in the end », while finally is « enfin »

Envie vs Envy
 Avoir envie de means to want or to feel like something: « Je n’ai pas envie de travailler » – « I don’t want to work « / « I don’t feel like working. » The verb envier, however, does mean to envy. Envy means to be jealous or desirous of something belonging to another. The French verb is envier: «I envy John’s courage »- « J’envie le courage de Jean »

Librairie vs Library
Une librairie refers to a bookstore, while library in French is une bibliothèque.

Assister vs Assist

Assister à nearly always means to attend something: « J’ai assisté à la conférence »- «I attended (went to) the conference »

To assist means to help or aid someone or something: « she assisted her brother with his homework »-  « Elle a aidé son frère à faire ses devoirs »

Éventuellement vs Eventually
Éventuellement means possibly, if need be, or even: « Vous pouvez éventuellement prendre ma voiture » – « You could possibly take my car » / « You can take my car if need be ».

Monnaie vs Money
La monnaie can refer to currency, coin(age), or change, and money is the general term for argent.

 

 

2 – Gender

Another difficulty of the French language is the choice of the correct gender.

Feminine or masculine, that is the question you often ask yourself as a French learner. After hours trying to figure out why “cheveux” (hair) is masculine and “chaise” (chair) feminine, you come to the inevitable conclusion that the gender of French nouns was randomly chosen by linguists.

There are a few tricks for memorizing the gender, so try a few to find out what works best for you. If you tend to be a list learner, a handy trick is to memorize the patterns of endings that typically fall in the masculine or feminine category.

For example, the nouns with these endings are typically feminine:

  • a vowel then a consonant then “e,” like: -ine, -ise, -alle, -elle, -esse, -ette, -euse, -ance and -ence;
  • -tion, -sion, -son;
  • -ure, -ude, -ade;
  • -ée, -té, -ière.

And the nouns with the following endings are generally masculine:

  • -ste and -tre;
  • -u, -ou, -oir;
  • -me, -ment, -isme;
  • -ble and -cle;
  • -eau and -eur;
  • -age and -ege;

 

3 -Prononciation

Many of my students who learn French find that pronunciation is the hardest part of the language. The new sounds, the silent letters, the liaisons… all contribute to making learning and speaking French tricky. It is important to distinguish between “spelling” and “sound”. Like English, French is not necessarily written at is is spoken. Let’s quickly list the main pronounciation difficulties :

The French R :

 

 

Try to avoid the temptation to roll your r like Italian speakers do. It’s a guttural sound produced at the back of the throat which can be difficult to make when the letter R is placed next to certain letters.The French U : The French U is another tricky sound, at least for English speakers, for two reasons: it’s hard to say and it’s sometimes difficult for untrained ears to distinguish it from the French Ou.

 

Nasal vowels :

 

Nasal vowel sounds are created by pushing air through the nose and mouth, rather than just the mouth like you do for regular vowels.

 

Silent letters : Many French letters are silent, and a lot of them are found at the end of words. If you pronounce the word Loup, the final P will be silent. However, not all final letters are silent and once more, you only have to memorize them. Regarding the silent E, most of E at the end of the words are silent.

 

Liaisons and linking :

 

They are two important points in French pronounciation. English speakers often stuggle to know when to link the words together. Liaisons and linking (enchaînement) help smooth out French words and distinguish different words.It involves taking the final consonant of one word and adding it to the first syllable of the second word when : the first word ends in a final consonant (pronounced orally) and the following word starts with a vowel.

Examples

seize heures –> /se zœ ʀ/
onze oiseaux –> /õ zwa zo/

 

4 -Conjugation

Another area of difficulty when learning French is verb conjugation. The most common French verbs are irregular. As an example, for the verb aller (to go), you have je vais, tu vas, il/elle va, nous allons, vous allez and ils/elles vont for I go, you go, he/she goes, we go, you go, and they go. With English, you only have ‘go’ and ‘goes’.

Also, to form others tenses such as the future or the subjunctive, you must master the present tense first.

A few tips such as repeating the verbs out loud, writing them down, practising with various tenses, using flashcards or downloading specific apps dedicated to French conjugaison might help you.

 

Learning where to use Tu and where to use Vous is sometimes difficult for most French learners. If you still hesitate, have a look at my post on that topic.

 

5 -Subjunctive

When it comes to learning the subjunctive, most of my students start to worry. Some French learners who already have a good intermediate level try to avoid using it by remplacing it with other grammatical structures with an equivalent meaning. About 60% of my students (mainly English speakers) will never use it outside the classroom when interacting with natives. One of the main reasons is that the subjunctive doesn’t exist in English.

Above all, you must clearly understand in which context one needs to use the subjunctive.The subjunctive is is used to express wish, hope, fear, uncertainty, and other attitudes or feelings toward a fact or an idea.

To memorize it, start to concentrate on the most common verbs : aller, être, avoir, venir, prendre.

The subjunctive is used with very common grammatical structures such as « Il faut que » ( it is necessary ), « je veux que » ( I want that ). You also use it anytime you give your own opinion on a topic such as «  c’est intéressant que » ( it is interesting that ), «  c’est dommage que » ( it’s a pity that ), « c’est étrange que » ( it’s strange that ).

Some common French verbs such as « vouloir » + que (to hope that ), « demander » + que ( to ask that ), « avoir peur » + que ( to fear that ) are also followed by the subjunctive.

If you have any questions related to difficulties regarding the main diffculties of the French language, don’t hesitate to share this with me, and I will try to guide you in a helpful way.

 

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If you wish to learn French in Paris with personalized on a one-to-one basis French à La Carte offer  customized French lessons in Paris to match your needs, learning abilities, schedule, and location in Paris

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French language

How to say « Yes » in French

French for beginners includes learning the different variants of “oui” but if if you wish to sound a little bit less than a tourist, there are some secrets to be revealed about this simple French word. If you wish to increase your linguistic skills in French and be able to say : yes, absolutely, yes,indeed or simply yeah, read this lesson. Learn how to say « yes » in French and sound more like a native.

 

 

1 – “Ouais”: the informal French yes

 

learn to say oui in french includes ouais

 

 

 

 

 

 

When hearing French people speak, you might hear “Ouais”

-Tu habites en Espagne ?  Ouais, j’habite à Madrid

– You live in Spain ? Yep, I live in Madrid

 

 

2 – The emphatic “Mais oui” !

learn to say oui includes mais oui
Learn to say “Oui” includes “Mais oui”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mais oui ! is quite emphatic. It literary means but yes ! of course, it’s obvious isn’t it? It’s often used when you’re slightly annoyed.

-Tu lui as téléphoné ? – Mais oui ! tu me l’as déjà demandé

-Have you phoned him/ her ?  – Yes, of course ! you have already asked me

 

 

3-The obvious answer yes : “Bien-sûr”- “Evidemment”

evidemment another way to say oui in french

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If a person asks you something to which the answer seems obvious, you could answer: “Bien-sûr” (of course) or “évidemment” (obviously)

-Tu aimes le chocolat ? – Bien-sûr/évidemment

-Do you like chocolate ? – Of course, I do

 

 

4 –Exactement -“Tout à fait”- “Absolument “: The formal “Yes” to confirm an information

aboslument is an alternative way to say oui in french
“Exactement” Another way to say “Oui” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you wish to confirm an information that someone has just said, you can use one of these French words: « Exactement » (exactly), « Tout à fait » (that’s right), « En effet » (indeed)

-Vous êtes bien Clara Bernard ? – Oui, tout à fait

– You are Clara Bernard, aren’t – Yes, that’s right

 

-Vous êtes certain d’avoir pris la décision de vendre votre appartement ? – Oui, absolument

– Are you sure to have made the decision to sell your apartment ? – Yes, absolutely

 

5-” Si ” : the contradiction ” yes

 

si is an alternative way how to say oui in french
“Si” :  another way how to say “Oui” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Si” is used to contradict negative questions and statements

-Tu n’as pas aimé le film ? – Si, j’ai adoré

-You didn’t like the movie ? – Yes, I loved it

 

 

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If you have any hesitation about how to say “Yes” in French, please feel free to share this with me, and I will try to guide you in a helpful way. If you wish to learn French  with personalized French courses in Paris French à La Carte offer  customized private lessons to match your needs, learning abilities, schedule and location in Paris.

 

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Learning French for beginners includes « non », but there are several translations for « no » in French. In some situations, answering « non » can be considered as rude. Although French people are generally direct, they can be courteous too and using additional words or expressions in French will add nuances.

If you wish to expand your linguistic skills in French, read this lesson to learn how to say « no » in French.

 

 

1 – The traditional « non »

-Est-ce que vous habitez à Londres ?

Non

– Do you live in London?

No

 

2 – « Oh non ! » the surprised and empathetic « no »

oh non a way to say no in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

« Oh no! » is an emphatic way to express a disappointment and show that you sincerely feel sorry for what happened.

 

-Il a été licencié ce matin

Oh non ! ce n’est pas possible

-He has been made redundant this morning

Oh no! how is that possible?

 

3 – « Malheureusement non » : « Unfortunately no »

« Malheureusement non » literally tranlated as « unfortunately no » is a polite way to decline requests while and say you feel sorry for not being able to answer positively.

 

-Est-ce que tu es libre pour venir dîner à la maison samedi ?

  Malheureusement non,  je suis déjà prise

-Are you free to come to dinner this Saturday?

Unfortunately no, I already have another engagement

 

4 – « Jamais de la vie ! » « Out of the question »

 

jamais de la vie : a way to say no in french
jamais de la vie : another way to say “no” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This emphatic expression expresses that it is out of the question to do something.

 

-Vous pensez un jour escalader le mont Everest ?

Non, jamais de la vie, je ne tenterai une chose pareille.

– Do you think that one day you will climb Mount Everest?

Not a chance/ not in a million years!

 

5 – The polite no : « Non merci »

 

"non merci" : another way to say "no" in French
“non merci” : another way to say “no” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are in a shop, the sales assistant might ask you if you need help. If you prefer looking by yourself without his/her assistance, you can reply with the following expression : « non merci je regarde »

 

-Bonjour madame, est-ce que je peux vous aider ?

Non merci je regarde

-Hello, can I help you ?

No thank you, I am just looking

 

6 – In a shop : « Non merci, c’est tout » « No thanks, that’s all »

When you buy something at the bakery, in a food shop or on the market, the sales assistant is likely to ask you if you would like something else. If you have finished your purchases, you can simply answer : « non merci, c’est tout »

 

-Et avec ça, vous désirez autre chose ?

Non merci, c’est tout

-And with this, would you like something else ?

No thank you, that’s all

 

7 – « Moi non plus » : « Me neither »

"Moi-non-plus" : another way to say "No" in French
“Moi-non-plus” : another way to say “No” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The French expression « moi non plus »s expresses agreement with a negative statement. Note that « moi » can be replaced by a name, a noun, or another stressed pronoun

 

-Gaspard n’aime pas les haricots verts

John non plus

-Gaspard doesn’t like green beans

Neither does John

 

8 – « Non, jamais » : « No, never »

Ne …jamais = never

-Est-ce que vous avez visité le Japon ?

Non, je n’ai pas jamais visité ce pays 

 

-Have you ever visited Japan ?

No, I have never visited this country

 

 

9 – Pas du tout – Not at all

« Non pas du tout » can be used in a response to a question when you wish to emphasis on the negation.

 

-Vous croyez qu’il dit la vérité ?

Non pas du tout

-Do you think he is telling the truth ?

No, not at all

 

10 – « Pas encore » – « Not yet »

"pas encore" : another way to say "no" in French
“pas encore” : another way to say “no” in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are supposed to do something, but have not done it yet or if someone asks you if you have ever done something, you can use the negation « pas encore ».

 

-Est-ce que tu as déjà réservé ton billet d’avion ?

Non pas encore, je le ferai ce week-end

-Have you already reserved your plane ticket ?

Not yet, I will do it this week-end

 

13 – « Mais non ! » The contracdictory no

This is a highly emphatic way of saying « no ». For example, if someone makes a statement that you consider to be absolutely untrue or if you try to reassure someone who self-criticizes, you can use « mais non ».

 

-Je suis stupide et je suis laid(e)

Mais non, ce n’est pas vrai

 

-I am stupid and ugly

No, it’s not true

 

14 – Quand je dis non c’est non –When I say no, it means no

You will use this emphatic sentence to clearly express and repeat that once you have expressed a statement, this is for good and you will not change your mind.

-Maman, s’il te plaît, je voudrais des bonbons

C’est la quatrième fois que tu me le demandes, non. Quand je dis non, c’est non !

-Mummy, I would like some sweets please

This is the fourth time that you ask me this. No. When I say no, it means no

 

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If you have any hesitation about using Yes and No in French, don’t hesitate to share this with me, and I will try to guide you in a helpful way.

If you wish to learn French in Paris with personalized on a one-to-one basis French à La Carte offer  customized French lessons in Paris to match your needs, learning abilities, schedule, and location in Paris

 

More insight about French language and French cuture on our blog, Twiter, Facebook

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