fbpx

vocabulary

Bastille Day: Background & Vocabulary

Another July 14th is just around the corner. You may know it as Bastille Day, but here in France, it’s called “La Fête Nationale” or “le quatorze juillet.” What’s it all about? Simply put, it’s the date that marks the start of la Révolution française (the French Revolution) and represents the day on which France won her independence from the unchecked and absolute power of the monarchy.

Bastille Day: Background & Vocabulary Read More »

French Health Food Vocabulary

The gastronomic delights of Paris can make even the most health conscious people want to fling caution to the wind and indulge in the many temptations available. But if you want to eat healthy in Paris, there’s little excuse for not doing so. Paris’s legendary markets offer wondrously fresh and healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and meats. And every year, it gets easier and easier to find quality bio (organic) foods, whether at restaurants, market stalls or in supermarkets.

French Health Food Vocabulary Read More »

Learning the Gender of French Nouns: Part I

Assigning genders to French nouns is often one of the most daunting aspects of learning French. This is particularly true for Anglophones. Since nouns have no gender in English, it can be difficult for an English speaker to take seriously the idea of referring to a dining room table (la table) as a “she” or thinking of lipstick (le rouge à levres) as in any way masculine. (Keep reading to learn an easy way to remember French noun gender.)

Learning the Gender of French Nouns: Part I Read More »

7 Verbs that Have No Direct Translation in French

When you imagine a word that has no direct translation into another language, it’s easy to imagine the existence of some exotic, complex word. For example, take the French verb “entarter.” This means, “to hit someone in the face with a pie”. Somehow that seems like exactly the kind of word that would have no direct translation in to English (or possibly any other language). But how about the verb “to kick?”… “To hug”? Seemingly basic English verbs such as these have no direct counterpart in French.

7 Verbs that Have No Direct Translation in French Read More »

Retourner, Revenir, Rentrer: What’s the Difference?

Some French verbs are more complicated than others for Anglophones, most especially those that don’t have an exact counterpart in English. Such is the case with the verbs retourner, revenir and rentrer. While each of these verbs do generally indicate someone going back to a place, they must each be used in a specific – and different – set of circumstances. Keep reading to learn more!

Retourner, Revenir, Rentrer: What’s the Difference? Read More »

Café Talk: 12 French Phrases for Hanging Out in a Parisian Café

Ah, il fait si beau! This spring Paris is flirting with all of us by offering days of golden sun, bright blue skies and breezes as gentle as a caress. This is perfect weather to sit at a café terrace with a glass of rosé and watch the world go by. If you plan on spending time in a Parisian café, here are some handy words, phrases and other tips to make this classic Parisian pastime even more enjoyable!

Café Talk: 12 French Phrases for Hanging Out in a Parisian Café Read More »

French Easter Traditions, Vocabulary and Ideas for Celebrating in Paris

Joyeuse Pâques! Bonnes Pâques! Bonnes fêtes des Pâques! You will hear these phrases everywhere in France starting from Easter Sunday (or sometimes a day or so before), and lasting the whole week. Of course, these phrases are different ways of wishing someone a Happy Easter.

French Easter Traditions, Vocabulary and Ideas for Celebrating in Paris Read More »

Does Not Translate: 7 Common Mistakes Anglophones Make In French

When learning French, it’s natural to try to translate phrases word-for-word from English. Sometimes it works. But sometimes the words that form an innocent phrase in English may become something awkward, naughty or incomprehensible in French. Since we don’t want you wandering around France asking about condoms or saying that you’re horny when you intend

Does Not Translate: 7 Common Mistakes Anglophones Make In French Read More »

Speak Better French: Learn Your Faux Amis (False Cognates)

Last week, we discussed expanding your French vocabulary with “vrais amis” (true cognates): French and English words that are identical or nearly identical in both spelling and meaning. This week, we’re going to focus on “faux amis” (false cognates): words that look identical in both French and English, but have entirely different meanings. What are

Speak Better French: Learn Your Faux Amis (False Cognates) Read More »