OOps...what did I just say? Check out the most embarrassing mistakes you absolutely don't want to make!
Making (a few) mistakes when speaking in a foreign language is something completely normal. Very often, those mistakes are gender related (eg. le voiture instead of la voiture) or are the result of a bad conjugation. When
conversing with French natives, your mistakes will be politely corrected and the conversation will gently go on.
However, some mistakes might interrupt the flow of the conversation and
even cause some red faces....Indeed, some pronunciation mistakes or wrong usage of a verb can completely change the meaning of your sentence and create some awkward moments.
Here are a few examples of very common 'gaffes' you really don't want to be making.
When being asked how you are. "comment ca va?'. Many learners tend to
answer by using a literal translation from English 'I'm good'.
'Je suis bien' which is incorrect but harmless but another answer could be
'Je suis bonne' (for women) which doesn't mean I'm good but I am sexually attractive.
This answer will probably be followed by an awkward moment of silence..
The correct sentence is : Je vais bien ou ça va.
If you want to comment on the weather and the hot temperature, again using a literal translation of the English ' I'm hot' is not a good idea
Je suis chaude (for women) doesn't mean I feel hot but I am sexually aroused...
The correct sentence is : J'ai chaud (for both men and women)
Going on a holiday is definitely a time for relaxation so if you decide to go have a massage, make sure you pronounce properly the parts of
the body you would like to get massaged.
Je voudrais un massage du cou ( pronounced 'koo') meaning I would like a neck massage. If mispronounced, you could end up saying 'Je voudrais un massage du cul (pronounced 'ku' ) meaning I would like an arse massage!!!! you might just be sent home with no massage at all.
You will probably spend a lot of time in French restaurants and ordering your meal in French would be a nice touch to your immersion experience.
For meat lovers, if you wish to try some duck make sure you pronounce it
the right way or you might get an awkward smile from the waiter.
'Je vais prendre le connard' I'm gonna have the schmuck when you are meant to say 'Je vais prendre le canard' ( i'm gonna have the duck)
At the end of your meal, after enjoying your 'cAAAnard' if the
waiter asks you 'Vous avez terminé?' (Are you done?)
You can reply 'Oui j'ai fini,merci. (I have finished, thank you) and not
'Oui, je suis fini(e), merci. (Yes, I am doomed, thank you)
Feel free to share your awkward moments (moment de solitude in French) so we can all benefit from your experience by not making the same mistakes!
It is very easy to find a French textbook along with a French cd and work on your pronunciation from home repeating sentences and words over and over again.
There are maybe some alternatives to make the exercice a bit more
Go on Youtube and find some French songs by typing 'variété
française' or 'chansons françaises'. Pick a song with a slow pace. Find
the lyrics and translation on Google and you are ready to start!
Listen to the artist first, sing along with the music next and compare
your pronunciation to what you hear. For the brave ones, you can find
karaoke versions on Youtube!!
Here is a song that I really like, your first attempt maybe?
Emotions are usually the most difficult things to express in a foreign language. Thinking about the gender of each noun and the conjugation of verbs is already hard work but when strong emotions are added to the mix putting a sentence together can become even trickier.
Before being able to express emotions verbally let's try to work on how to put them down on paper. By repeating this exercise, you will broaden your vocabulary and feel more confident when required to express emotions in public.
Here's the challenge of the week!
Watch a French film, listen to a French song or read a French article and express how it makes you feel.
*Useful words and expressions to complete this challenge*:
Apres avoir écouté cette chanson/avoir vu ce film/avoir lu cet article: After listening to this song/watching this movie/ reading this article
Je me sens: I feel
Je suis: I am
En colère: angry
Je me sens concerné(e): I care/I can relate
*Some resources you might want to use for this challenge*:
Enjoy et a bientôt!
We all have favourite expressions or words that we use all the time. Those words define our communication style and say a lot about who we are. When expressing ourselves in a foreign language, we want to be able to use expressions that define us... but do we know their equivalent?
Here are some commonly used English expressions transposed into French.
By the way: au fait
In fact: en fait
Indeed: en effet
Whatever: peu importe
Nevermind: c'est rien/ laisse(z) tomber
Long story short: pour faire court
These expressions can add more depth or strength to your speech and help you sound more articulate, so feel free to add your favourite expressions to this list and use them when conversing during class or with French people you know!
It takes time and passion to learn a foreign language.Very often, time is lacking and the difficulty of the task takes away the passion.
Today, we will be sharing some advice to help you make the most of your time whilst keeping your passion alive. One of the key things is to make the learning experience interesting, personalised and make it fit into your life.
We will be giving you a series of challenges to help you practice your
French communication skills whilst targeting areas you like: shopping,
cinema, dining, cooking...
Here's the challenge of the week!
Have dinner or lunch in a French restaurant and use as little English as possible.
*Some useful expressions to use during your challenge*
- Bonsoir, j'ai une réservation au nom de....Good evening, I have a reservation in the name of...
- Quelle est la spécialité de la maison ? What is the specialty of the
- Je vais prendre I am going to have...
- Auriez-vous.....? Would you have...?
- C'était très bon, merci It was very nice, thank you.
- L'addition s'il vous plait: the bill please
- Nous payons ensemble / séparément We are paying together /separately
Prepare more expressions before your French immersion experience, work on your pronunciation and feel confident!
*Where to go*
Here are a few good addresses in Melbourne
- The French Brasserie
- Roule Galette
- France Soir
- Chez Olivier
If you are in a different city, don't hesitate to research on Google to
find the best French restaurants close to you.
*What you get from this challenge*
- Delicious food
- A safe training environment ( you can still switch to English if it becomes too difficult) before your next attempt in a French speaking country
- The pleasure of discovering the French assets of your own city
- The chance to impress your friends by showing off your French
Enjoy et à bientôt!
Living in an English speaking country, chances to immerse yourself into French culture can seem pretty limited. But, if you keep your eyes open,
you will see that some opportunities exist…. One of them only requires you to inject a bit of French flavour into your existing daily activities.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Write your grocery shopping list in French
- Keep a diary
- At work start your day writing a to do list in French,
- Count in French while doing your push-ups
- Change the language on your phone
- Use the French version of Facebook…
Costless and easy to put in place, put yourself in French mode and get
a taste of France every single day.
Cosmopoli'French is an exciting new concept language school based in Melbourne.