When we start out learning French, we’re usually taught making nouns and adjectives plural involves adding an -s, or an -x to words that end in -eau or -eu. This is broadly speaking true. But only broadly speaking. Take a look at the following examples: les aides-comptables efficaces les abat-jour orange les tire-bouchons noirs les […]
Keeping a decent vocabulary list is key to making progress in a foreign language. It’s the marker in the sand that ensures knowledge sticks. Only you can do it: a good list needs to be composed of words or phrases that you find helpful, interesting or difficult – and only you can know which ones […]
Here’s a technique for learning how to express yourself as a native might do.
By Richard Good For a new era, a new vocabulary. As Britain prepares for its Brexit election, a new chapter in the often awkward relationship between Britain and France begins. If you’re English and travel to France, you’ll find Brexit is a frequent topic of conversation, so brushing up your vocab is good preparation. Le […]
Richard Good Knowing the gender of nouns – masculine or feminine – is important if you want to become fluent in French. When you have difficulty remembering whether to say le or la un or une de la or du à la or au before a noun, it can undermine your confidence and make it […]
By Richard Good Honed in the techniques of rhetoric at the École nationale d’administration, French President Emmanuel Macron delivers speeches that are models of ordered thought. And as learners of French, the texts are a rich source of syntax and vocabulary to absorb. So for this month’s competition, you are to imagine you are une […]
Translation is a great exercise for stretching your knowledge of French. In this competition we asked you to translate a passage from What we talk about when we talk about love by Raymond Carver. The winner was Lesley. The French translation of the short stories – Parlez-moi d’amour translated by Gabrielle Rolin – is available […]
Conversation isn’t so easy when you start out learning a language, especially when there are several native speakers around. Often the exchanges seem to whoosh past; by the time you’ve formulated your own thoughts, the moment to express them has passed. Preparing in advance for such situations isn’t that straightforward either. The author E.M. Forster […]
When we speak words that have been written on a page, they take on a life of their own. When we read out loud we add rhythm and emphasis, or vary the pitch of our voice. The technical term for the additional baggage of spoken language is “prosody” – and it’s a very important part of successful communication.
Richard Good Alvin was the only Asian boy in our class, so he came in for a lot of bullying. Mostly he’d smile forgivingly, though one time he cracked. “You take too much piss!” he complained. His comically ungrammatical observation just prompted more fits of hysterical laughter. There are many definitions of what is and […]