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Le Top 10 de 2015 – Top French Articles on This Blog! Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

As 2016 approaches, it’s a good time to think about all the greatest moment of 2015. With that in mind, here’s a look back at the top articles of 2015. It’s an interesting mix of practical and cultural, and there’s sure to be something for everyone who studies French.

10) Must-Know French Words for Facebook Users

Aujourd’hui (nowadays) it’s almost more important to know how to say I’ll add you on Facebook than what’s your phone number. Words that have become normal for most people might surprise you with how different they are in French. Taking a moment to learn how to ajouter un ami can be a quick way to up your French level.

9) French Grammar: How to Use the Pronoun “On”

 

One doesn’t use the pronoun one in English quite like one would in French. While the English “one” comes across as a bit dated, in French, on is a normal word used in everyday speech.

Knowing how to tell the difference between:

Où est-ce qu’on va ?
Where are we going

And

On m’a volé mon sac !
Someone stole my bag!

is important in French!

8) Alsace-Lorraine: French or German Originally?

With older countries there’s bound to be a few controversies over what belongs to which country. A big one between France and Germany is Alsace-Lorraine (or is that Elsass-Lothringen?). If you ever bring it up with the French, you’ll quickly see the expression on their face change to show how it’s a complicated topic. Understanding where all the confusion comes from can make it to appreciate the whole of French history and all its unusual turns.

7) French Language – Prepositions + Countries/Cities

When I was in middle school, I learned that prepositions are words that you can use to describe a mouse and du gruyère (a piece of Swiss cheese).

La souris est sur le fromage.
La souris est dans le fromage.
La souris est à côté du fromage.

The mouse is on the cheese.
The mouse is in the cheese.
The mouse is by the cheese.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always help you know when you should use them. Par exemple (for example), do people live in or on Hawaii?

In French the biggest confusion comes from whether or not the country’s name is masculine or feminine, and that can be a bit hard to know without looking it up!

For more information on which preposition to use with which state or province check out Which State/Province Are You From? Expressing Location in French.

6) Learning through Poetry: “Le Message” de Jacques Prévert

It would be surprising if there were no poetry on this list. Prévert and his poetry made the list with Josh Dougherty‘s post that goes into great detail exploring his poem, Le Message. More than simply reading a translation, it’s important to understand the interpretation and culture behind everything. Just reading one of Prévert’s poems will get your creative juices flowing and ready to learn more French.

5) Top 10 “Untranslatable” French Words

Sometimes when you learn a new language there are words that just can’t be explained. That feeling of dépaysement can be very strong no matter if you’re a new student or a near native speaker. Add in words that are unique to the language’s culture and you’ll find yourself lost in dictionaries for days.

Just imagine trying to explain to someone from France what exactly on fleek means. While it might be possible to translate the meaning, or even explain it, these unique words have a distinct feeling in their native language that is next to impossible to translate.

4) La Fontaine’s Fable: “Le Lièvre et la Tortue” (The Hare and the Tortoise)

 

French is famous for its rich literary history, and one of the most famous French authors is without a doubt La Fontaine. It’s no surprise that he’s on this list!

La Fontaine’s stories are so common that they’ve made their way into most English speakers life, as in the famous story of the tortoise and the hare. Reading the story in its original language is a delight and not only gives good advice in keeping a steady pace, especially in language learning, but also teaches you fun words like le lièvre and of course la tortue.

3) Top 10 Most Frequently Used French Verbs

When you first approach a new language all the vocabulary can feel monolithic. It’s hard to tell what’s important to know and what’s less important when everything is new. Luckily there are ways to narrow down that list!

Knowing which words to focus on is a good way to make the daunting task of learning vocabulary a bit less dramatic and easier to handle. It also gives you the motivation to start using the language when you can already say the most common of things!

Another similar post at the top of the list was naturally, The Top 100 Most Frequently Used French Verbs.

2) Top 50 Funniest French Names (The Letter A!)

Puns might not be the most appreciated humor, but for a language learner it’s a fun way to learn both pronunciation and culture. The French version of the Knock Knock joke is the Monsieur et Madame… ont un fils joke. They’re based in a similar punny setup and lead to as much groaning as their English equivalents.

For more French humor, check out French Jokes: “Where Is Brian?”

1) French Numbers 1-100

The top few articles were all about numbers. Numbers in any new language can be tough. When you’re starting out it can be especially annoying when you see a sentence that looks like

Ça coûte 80 euros.
That costs 80 euros.

You can read it and understand it, but you still might not know how to say 80. It’s easy to forget that the symbols we use for numbers don’t give us any hints on pronunciation. Add that to how common numbers are, and there’s no way you would be able to call someone or count to a billion!

On top of that, French numbers have the added difficulty of getting a bit strange once you get to 70, and especially up to 99 with quatre-vingt-dix neuf, literally four twenty nineteen, meaning ninety nine.

There were several posts about numbers that made top of the list. While 1-100 was solidly in the number 1 position, these articles were nearby:

French Numbers: Learn to Count from 1 to 1000
French Grammar: Ordinal Numbers: 1st – 100th
French numbers 1 through 20

It’s only appropriate the countdown ends with numbers. This New Year in between fun with your friends and eating snails, try to count down to midnight in French!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.