Welcome to my blog
Hello, my name is Christine, I am French and have been living here in England since 1986. For most of this time I have been privately tutoring French.
I have now decided to write a blog focusing on tips for English people travelling to France; as I have now lived both sides of the channel for so long I hope I will have some good insight for you!
As well as tips, we will talk about the wonderful French language and culture. Famous for Paris and our beautiful sunny south, we also have snowy mountains and wooded valleys, a country where you really can get it all.
Home of delicious wine and cheese, The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame and luxury shopping – our topics are sure to be broad and fun.
I hope you enjoy!
Grammar Basics, Part Three – A Fundamental for Learning French
Today is the last blog in our grammar series. We have now covered nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and articles, and here we will cover the final three parts of speech.
Yes, French grammar and English grammar of course contain variations and different rules, but this does not take away from the importance of understanding the basic terms themselves and how they are used in your language. You will find knowing the basics of English grammar will give you a big step up in understanding where the likeness and dissimilarities are between the two languages, and you may be pleasantly surprised by its lack of complexity when you begin to learn French grammar with this under your belt.
Prepositions – Les prépositions
These words show a relationship between a person, place or thing and other words in the sentence.
I sit on the chair – Je suis assis sur la chaise The boy is under the table – Le garçon est sous la table The cat is up the tree – Le chat est dans l’arbre She is in the car – Elle est dans la voiture I live near you – Je vis pres de chez toi The shop is by my house – Le magasin est a cote de chez moi He walks down the hill – Il descend la colline
Tip: Prepositions do not translate exactly between English and French. Note the last sentence above, in French it does not actually contain prepositions though it does in English. Understand them well in English and then in your French classes you will discover when they are and when they are not needed in French grammar.
Conjunctions – Les conjonctions
These words are used to join parts of sentences together.
And – Et Or – Ou But – Mais Yet – Encore Nor – Ni For – Pour Because – Car
Tip: Conjunctions come in very handy as you build up your vocabulary and want to expand into creating longer sentences.
Interjections – Les interjctions
These words show strong feeling, covering all ranges of emotion.
Wow! – Sensationnel! Hooray! – Hourra! Ouch! – Aïe! Oh my! – Oh mon dieu! Oh no! – Oh non! Gosh! – Ça alors! Crap! – Merde!
Tip: Many interjections can also be other parts of speech, depending on how they are used in a sentence. If we take the word “help,” “Can I help you?” would be a verb, whereas “Help! I am stuck.” would be an interjection. Note that all curse words fit into this part of speech.
We have now finished all the basic parts of speech. I hope you feel this helped you gain a greater understanding of both English grammar and French grammar. Taking some time to revise these and really get a good grasp of them in English, will really help you when you start learning French and all the ins and outs of French grammar. Remember better to understand English grammar now, rather than trying to learn them both in your French class!
Grammar Basics, Part Two – A Fundamental for Learning French
Today is the second blog in our grammar series. Last week we started with nouns, adjectives and verbs, and today we look at three more essential basic grammar terms, what they mean and how they are used with both English and French grammar.
Don’t get put off by grammar, instead get a good basic grasp of the terms and how to use them in English, and suddenly French grammar won’t seem quite so daunting as before.
Pronouns – Les pronoms
These words are used in the place of nouns.
I – Je We – Nous You (singular) – Tu You (plural) – Vous He/It – Il She – Elle They – Ils
Tip: These are just the basic pronouns, known as personal pronouns. There are many others in both English and French, such as his, hers, him, her, theirs, them, mine, yours, ours and so on.
Adverbs – Les adverbes
These words describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.
He drives fast – Il conduit vite The boy climbs slowly – Le garçon monte lentement The very fat cat – Le très gros chat The unusually tall tree – L’arbre inhabituellement grand She eats quite prettily – Elle mange assez joliment The man laughs loudly – L’homme rit bruyamment She breathes deeply – Elle respire profondément
Tip: In English many adverbs end in ‘-ly’, some examples include, happily, slowly, loudly and softly; in French, this word ending is very often replaced with ‘-ment’, note the words above, profondément, bruyamment, lentement and more.
Articles – Les articles
These words add meaning to a noun, are you talking about any one of those things, or a specific one. To explain further I will give you an example, ‘I want an apple.’ (I want any apple), ‘I want the apple.’ (I want a specified apple).
A/an – une/un The – La/le The – les (plural)
Tip: The rules for using articles is very different in French and English. In English many nouns are not used with articles at all, for example the sentence ‘I like apples.’ in English requires no article, but in French that would read J’aime les pommes.’
In addition to that in French all nouns are either masculine or feminine, which is why there are two variations written above; in English grammar this is not a factor.
Well done on getting a basic understanding of the next three parts of speech. Understanding these well will give you a good head start in learning French grammar! In next week’s blog we will complete these basic grammar terms, with the final three parts of speech.
Grammar Basics – A Fundamental for Learning French
At first glance you may wonder what this blog has to do with learning French. Well grammar applies to all languages and when you don’t understand the basic grammar terms in your own language it makes it very hard to study grammar in a new language. You end up trying to understand grammar instead of trying to understand French.
For that reason, I highly recommend brushing up the basics of grammar before getting into the more advanced forms of French grammar.
OK let’s go!
Nouns – Les noms
These words name persons, places and things.
House – La maison Car – La voiture Cat – Le chat England – L’Angleterre France – La France Christine – Christine John – John
Tip: In French all nouns are arbitrarily either masculine or feminine. Note above la/le, this does not exist in English and is an extra thing to learn for all French nouns.
Adjectives – Les adjectifs
These words describe nouns.
The big house – La grande maison The red car – La voiture rouge The fat cat – Le gros chat The tall tree – Le grand arbre The beautiful fountain – La belle fontaine The interesting story – L’histoire intéressante The funny person – La personne drôle
Tip: In English the adjective comes before the noun, but in French this is not always the case, notice ‘the red car’ above in French is written ‘the car red’.
Verbs – Les verbes
These words show action or state of being.
To be – Être To run – Courir To cry – Pleurer To feel – Sentir To know – Savoir To calculate – Calculer To drive – Conduire
Tip: Verbs change a lot depending on who and when you are talking about. For example, the English verb ‘to be’, changes to ‘I am’, ‘you were’, ‘he will be’ and so on. This means it is very important to first learn the infinitive (those listed above), and then move on to learning the various forms.
OK that is the first three basic grammar forms. In the next blog we will look at some more basic grammar!
French speaking countries: Where should I go? (Part Two)
In part one of this blog we took a look at Francophone Africa and French speaking Canada, but there are many more beautiful French speaking countries to visit!
French in Europe
I won’t talk about France as we have plenty of blogs about that, but it is not just France that speaks French, in fact the following European countries also have French as an official language: Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and Switzerland.
From my experience every European country you visit is unique and diverse in its culture, so it is lovely to be able to learn French and then be able to use it in other travels around Europe.
Belgium is a small country but it is filled with enjoyable sights to visit. The most popular of all being the beautifully preserved medieval city of Bruges. A country full of history, the famous sites of Waterloo and Ypres being just a couple of the more well-known ones.
Luxembourg may not be as famous for tourism, perhaps due to its size – it only covers the small area of 1650 km, but it is still packed with beauty. The perks of the small size of the country is one holiday can really give you a full feel for the place. A few days exploring the city and a few days driving around the countryside would be a wonderful adventure.
If you didn’t think a country could get much smaller than Luxembourg you are wrong, the world-famous Monaco is only two square kilometres in size! Right on the French Riviera it is a hot spot for gorgeous natural beauty, glittering celebrities and old-world charm.
Switzerland, home of skiing, the alps and quaint mountain villages has a few widely spoken languages, German, French, Italian and Romanish. It is home of astounding and blow-you-away scenery, the Matterhorn, Lakes Geneva and Lugano as well as plenty of bustling and lively towns and cities, such as Berne and Lucerne.
French Speaking Islands
Around the world there are many French speaking islands, little places of relaxation from our bustling and hectic day to day life. From the Caribbean to the Pacific these are the beautiful French speaking islands: Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Just click on the above links to learn about these French paradises. Known for their clear blue seas, pristine sandy beaches, friendly natives and relaxing atmosphere, you cannot go wrong visiting any of these wonderful islands.
I also just wanted to mention French Guiana as it didn’t fit in anywhere in these blogs. It is a wonderful French speaking country in South America! Full of colonial architecture set against the backdrop of a thriving jungle, you don’t see many places like it.
So why don’t you spruce up on your French and go and out and explore the world!