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Archive for December, 2014

Learning through Poetry: “Le Message” de Jacques Prévert Posted by on Dec 31, 2014

Knowing une langue étrangère (a foreign language) has many aspects to it. Some people define their fluency in a language based on the fact that they grew up speaking it, even if they can’t read or write in it. It’s certainly not fair to take that away from them, but I’m an advocate for knowing…

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Reader Request: Si vs. Tellement vs. Tant Posted by on Dec 29, 2014

In French, adverbs that express a certain quantity or intensity are called adverbes de degré or adverbes de quantité. In English, these are similarly called adverbs of quantity and are commonly used in every day speech. For example, you could say: “My friend is so generous” or “My French is much better than my German”…

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Winter Traditions: Marché de Noël Posted by on Dec 24, 2014

In many pays européens (European countries) December brings les marchés de Noël (Christmas markets). These marchés are a special seasonal affaire that last all too short, but provide a nice traditional atmosphere right in the middle of town. The tradition originally comes from l’Europe centrale (Central Europe), and as such, the most famous marchés de…

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Christmas Eve Feasts and Festivities Posted by on Dec 24, 2014

Christmas Eve in France is a holiday in and of itself. Traditionally, it was celebrated with la Messe de Minuit (midnight mass) for many families, even those who are non-pratiquant (non-practicing). With attendance rates lowering, it’s becoming less and less common as a whole for the French to attend this mass, but you can still…

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Etiquette for Gift Giving in France Posted by on Dec 22, 2014

Many people bring up the idea of cultural etiquette during this season of gift giving and receiving. For example, you might have heard that, in Japan, you should accept gifts with both hands. Or that it is common for Singaporeans to graciously refuse a gift several times before accepting it. It is important to have…

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Provincial Nativity Characters: Les Santons! Posted by on Dec 19, 2014

La crèche (the nativity scene) is pretty common this time of year, but in the southeastern part of France in Provence, they go a little further. Le bébé Jésus, Marie, Joseph, les Rois mages, les ânes, et les anges sont tous là (Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, the donkeys, and the angels…

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Bernard Adamus: Y Fait Chaud Posted by on Dec 17, 2014

When learning a new language it’s always good to have some music to listen to in that language. It not only motivates you, but it gives you a fun way to pratiquer the language that goes beyond the textbooks and conjugaison charts that are often so dull they vous font dormir (put you to sleep)…

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