French Language Blog

Archive for March, 2015

Today’s Post is Brought to You by the Letter….H! Posted by on Mar 12, 2015

The letter H in French is, of course, only one letter, but it can cause a problem in speaking and spelling if you’re not familiar with the concepts of h aspiré (aspirated H) and h muet (silent H). Despite the name ‘silent H,’ both Hs are silent: you never pronounce an H in French*. Hurray…

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French Knock Knock Jokes Posted by on Mar 11, 2015

Humor doesn’t always traduire (translate) well. What’s funny in one culture is often not that funny in another culture. Just imagine trying to explain why “to get to the other side” is une chute drôle (a funny punchline) to someone who’s never heard the famous chicken joke. En même temps, (at the same time) un…

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An Introduction to French Phonetics Posted by on Mar 9, 2015

One of the hardest things for advanced French language learners to grasp is how to sound like a native speaker. Your accent largely depends on the age at which you first learned a language. But what can be even trickier than working on the perfect pronunciation of each word is mastering the rhythm of the…

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Be CaReFuL! Final Consonant Pronunciation in French Posted by on Mar 5, 2015

Behind French’s beautiful sounds is a very complicated pronunciation system. Unlike Spanish, for example, the words aren’t always pronounced as they’re spelled; c’est-à-dire que c’est n’est pas une langue phonétique (that is to say that isn’t not a phonetic language). Why are –er, –é, –ay, –ai, –ais, –ait, and –aient all pronounced the same? It’s…

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As Easy As RFI: The News in French Posted by on Mar 4, 2015

When I first came to France I would spend every day in a café studying. I was trying to convert my entire life into French. I watched la télévision française (French television), watched des films français (French movies), listened to la musique française (French music), and followed l’actualité française (French news). Even though my French…

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France’s Wine Regions and Terroir Posted by on Mar 2, 2015

One of the best (and most fun!) ways of getting to know France is through learning about its terroirs. Terroir is a French loanword in English that you might already be familiar with — especially if you are an oenophile — that loosely translates to a “sense of place”. In other words, terroir is the special characteristics of a particular…

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