Archive for the ‘Advanced Level’ Category
Knowing that no online translation tool is perfect, we hesitated a bit before writing this article. So we have performed tests to assess a number of them based on two well-known texts, written in plain but vivid language, and beyond the narrow confines of ordinary conversation. For translation from English to French, we used a sample of Winston Churchill’s speech, known as “We Shall Fight on the Beaches. » For the translation from French into English, it’s the first verse of the song “La Boheme” by Charles Aznavour that has served us as a model.
Here are the automatic translators that we found the most faithful. But keep in mind the Italian expression “traduttore, traditore” (translator, traitor) when you visit!
Google Translate is a free multilingual service that allows for instant translations. It can translate words, phrases, web pages and texts of up to several thousand words in any combination of supported languages. This service also allows you to hear the pronunciation of words, phrases and sentences.
Worldlingo is another multilingual translation tool. According to statistics, it has an accuracy rate of 70-75%, which is excellent for this type of software. There you can translate texts, documents, emails and websites. However, the free translation is limited to 500 words. On the other hand, it is possible to get unlimited translation and even the services of a professional translator for a fee from the site.
Finally, Reverso is the third translation tool that we propose today. It can check the spelling of text before doing the translation to increase its accuracy and it is possible to hear the source text. Although it also seems possible to listen to the translation, this could not be verified in our tests. The site also offers, for English and French languages, sections on grammar, conjugation, spell checking, general dictionaries and thesauri as well as several bilingual dictionaries.
French page including accented vowels : http://www.reverso.net/text_translation.aspx?lang=FR
English Page : http://www.reverso.net/text_translation.aspx?lang=EN
To experiment with different translation tools or to hear « La bohème » about which we talked about earlier, do not hesitate to consult the posts which will appear on the blog GoFrenchGo this week.
See you soon,
The Bon Français team
Culture is something intangible, abstract but pervasive. It is therefore not surprising that it also tinges the holidays, even those that are internationally recognized and celebrated, giving them a local flavor everywhere and consequently raise their interest. In addition to dealing with some peculiarities of the French language with respect to Easter, this article also addresses the way this holiday is emphasized in France.
Le Portail Linguistique du Canada (Language Portal of Canada) devotes an article to Easter. Among other things, it examines the origins of this religious feast and the customs that surround it. It also gives an explanation of the spelling of the word Pâque(s), the gender, number and articles associated with it. Finally, some French proverbs of this celebration are displayed on the page along with their meanings. In French only. http://www.noslangues-ourlanguages.gc.ca/bien-well/fra-eng/vocabulaire-vocabulary/paques-easter-fra.html
To increase awareness of French culture, the site LoveToKnow presents an article entitled “ How Do the French Celebrate Easter “ and offers an overview of the games, holidays, and customs surrounding the celebration, focusing on traditional dishes that are prepared and served at that time. In English only.
CLÉ (Le Centre Linguistique pour Étrangers de Tours, en France – Linguistic Centre for Foreigners of Tours, France) proposes a linguistic and cultural exercise for which the two preceding articles will have prepared you. This article is a fill-in-the-blank test about the traditions surrounding the feast of Easter in France. Multiple-choices for answers are presented with each statement to allow you to test your spelling and grammar knowledge while familiarizing yourself with this aspect of French culture. http://www.cle.fr/centre_linguistique-fr-idm-105-n-Exercices-idh-71.html
Happy Easter !
To follow the posts of the last week relating to vocabulary, we offer to you today three visual dictionaries.
The first, whose reputation is well established, is called simply Le Visuel. It is said that it “shows, says, defines and explains.” The online version allows you to navigate through 17 themes by clicking on the thumbnail or to use the search query to go directly to the section you want. This visual dictionary addresses of 800 subjects and includes 20,000 word definitions and realistic illustrations, all with audio files.
The second very interesting free resource is the Dictionnaire Visuel en ligne (visual dictionary online), a multilingual tool that translates the words of your choice with links to Google translation and to Babylon’s dictionary while showing a dozen images from Yahoo, so you can often see all the meanings of a word in a single glance.
To conclude, here is Le corps humain virtuel (the virtual human body), a product of QA International, as is Le Visuel. Clicking the following link will allow you to explore the human anatomy with images in three dimensions. The site offers 10 systems and tracts to discover and 2000 words pronounced and defined in the box that appears when you click on a specific area of the image.
Have a good week
Today, we offer you three different vocabulary sites to explore. But remember: human memory being what it is, that is to say a function that forgets, it is not enough to be exposed to something once. We know that it takes between twelve to fifteen repetitions to allow the transfer from short term to long-term memory and internalize the new knowledge.
Lexis is a site that presents French words in 10 lessons. The first five are devoted to nouns and the two following to verbs. Two other lessons are dedicated to adjectives while the tenth and final lesson is devoted to adverbs and phrases of time, place, quantity, manner and interrogation. Like all other sites developed by the teaching team of Hong Kong University, it includes many audio files.
Interlex is a free Windows application suitable for language learners at all levels who want to learn vocabulary in a foreign language quickly and easily. First you compile a list of words and phrases, and then you test yourself until you have learnt them. Four different modes of testing allow you to transfer the new knowledge to long-term memory. Interlex also includes a pop-up menu that appears when you click a text box with the right mouse button to insert a foreign character or symbol. http://www.vocab.co.uk/
Wordprof offers French vocabulary lessons built around the British exam system in three different ways: Interactive lessons will teach you over 600 words of basic vocabulary with recordings in French (Internet Explorer only); Online lessons allow you to study and revise over 9,000 words of vocabulary — and improve your English spelling at the same time. Finally, Vocabulary Tests will show you how much progress you have made. http://www.wordprof.com/
To celebrate La Semaine de la Francophonie (the Francophonie Week) which runs from March 13 to 20, which is la Journée internationale de la Francophonie, we present three sites to familiarize you with the different cultures and accents of the French speaking world.
Discover on the site of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (International Organization of Francophonie) its actions in the fields of international politics and multilateral cooperation, and its Member States. The OIF, founded March 20, 1970, aims to give substance to active solidarity between all 75 states and governments that make up the Organization (56 members and 19 observers) – more than a third of UN Member States.
The following link takes you to the map of the Francophone world.
French Connection is a page examining the French language as it is spoken throughout the world and discussing cultural issues relating to French language and identity. What does the French language mean to its speakers across the world? Listen to the answers of people from France, Benin, Senegal, Algeria, Quebec, Martinique and Guadeloupe. Another series of interviews addresses the issue of the French language today and tomorrow.
Wikipedia devotes a page to La Francophonie. Having given a definition, the site makes its description and tells its history, and also gives the number of French speaking people in the countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie and in the rest of the the world. Among other things, it also addresses issues such as Culture and Media.
See you next week
This article presents companion sites to methods for learning French. These four sites have several things in common : they are all intended for adult learners at the beginner level, they complete textbooks published by Pearson, and they offer a surprising number of resources and activities that will surely help you improve your French.
Here is a link to the online study guide of the textbook Chez nous: Branché sur le monde francophone. It contains 12 chapters and an introduction, each composed of three elements. « Audio Resources » lets you hear the lessons, their vocabulary and get the student activities manual audio. « Practice » lets you try auto-corrected activities, play with Flashcards or a Soccer Game to check your understanding of each lesson’s vocabulary and grammar presentation.
The « Web Resources » element is divided into four sections : first, the « Textbook and Student Activities Manual » exercises, followed by « Web-Based Activities » as Surfons sur Internet (let’sbrowse the Internet) that includes topics related to the chapter theme and Venez chez nous (come to our place) which explores the francophone web. The « Expansion Links » section is devoted to fun links. Finally, « General Resources » includes dictionaries, French directories and portals as well as the section Language and Culture Resources.
Let’s explore the study guide to the 12-chapters textbook Français-Monde: Connectez-vous à la francophonie. It includes the following resources: In-TextActivities Audio with 4 to 7 links divided into sections such as « Pour bien communiquer » (to communicate well) with phrases; « Écoutons! Voix francophones au présent » (Let’s listen to contemporary French Native speaker voices) which presents a variety of native French regional accents; and « Pour bien prononcer » (To pronunce well). The Student Activities Manual Audio are located at the bottom of the box; it contains 8 to 16 audio files by chapter.
Another extensive study guide is the one to Rond-Point: Une perspective actionnelle. For each of the 18 chapters, it offers the following resources : « Practice Exercises » which is divided into En contexte (in context) for vocabulary, Mémento for grammar auto-corrected activities, and Flashcards.
« Web Activities and Resources » includes Internet Search Activities and Regards Croisés which provides interactive culture-based activities, as well as additional resources such as online dictionaries. « Audio Resources » contains In Text Activities audio and, at the bottom of the box, the Workbook/LabManual audio.
The online study guide to accompany Parallèles: Communication et culture includes for each of its preliminary and following 13 chapters the outcomes of each lesson, 4 learning steps (étapes) with practice exercises for vocabulary and structures as well as sections named: Voyage en Francophonie (Trip to the French-speaking world), Cultures en parallèles (cultures in parallel), Le mot juste (the right word) with audio flashcards, Soccer Game, En Direct Audio, Cahier Audio and Resources, which is a repository of links to dictionaries, French directories and portals, translation tools as well as Language and Culture Resources.
To continue in somewhat the same vein as last week, we present a series of sites that complement the method ofTapis Volant (flying carpet), a fully integrated course in three stages written specifically for secondary school students learning French in Australia and New Zealand. Even without the books, the Tapis Volant website, with its abundance of interactive exercises remains very useful for all learners of French.
Tapis Volant 1 is intended for beginners. The site consists of 16 different units each of which includes several exercises. Each unit presents first the outcomes. The exercises are divided into multiple sections : Situation where you listen to the story and fill in the missing speech bubble or highlight a missing word; Manières de dire (ways of saying) where you match a picture with the appropriate label; Grammaire where you will find fun activities to practice your grammar; Vocabulaire where you classify the words to test your vocabulary; and finally Lecture where you identify the missing word from the story. Finally, the Infos section allows you discover more through links to surf the web.
Tapis Volant 2 is the companion site to the second textbook of the series and has 12 units meant for intermediate learners. After a short presentation of each lesson’s outcomes, we find the same sections as the previous site : Situation to listen to a story, Manières de dire (ways of saying), Grammaire (grammar) and Vocabulaire to improve your vocabulary by choosing the correct word. The Infos section is replaced with Document culture with links and suggestions of keywords to discover more through research on the Internet.
Tapis Volant senior is the companion site of the last textbook of the series and was created for advanced learners. Under the Podcasts tab, you will discover a link leading to a site that allows you to watch or download ten different videos. Extra Material provides access to PDF documents containing some exercises that can be done without the manual. Finally, the Grammar Quiz tab offers two to four questionnaires for each of the ten units.
See you next week,
Your Bon Français team
This week, all of the posts of both this blog and GoFrenchGo will have the Allons-y! French teaching method for a central theme. This method is used in many English speaking countries and is meant for high-school and college students. The companion sites that the publisher Pearson has put online make it particularly interesting. Even in the absence of textbooks, most of the exercises found on these sites can be very useful for learners of French.
Allons-y ! 1 is the first book in the series and has eight chapters. By clicking on each you will also have access to a 5 question Quick Quiz, to the Review Questions section that includes 38 to 40 statements, to the Technology Applications section where there are exercises on grammar and vocabulary and to the Web Destinations section that offers links to many sites on culture, Francophonie and French language.
Allons-y ! 2 follows the previous manual and also has 8 chapters. Although the formula is reminiscent of Allons-y 1, there are some differences. The introduction provides a sample of questions and presents the main characters of the book. Each Quick Quiz has 10 questions and 15 to 30 Review Questions. Each lesson is supplemented with 5 audio exercises. The grammar and vocabulary exercises in are in the Drag & Drop Activities. As for Web destinations, they always have interesting links leading to cultural and other resources.
Allons-y ! 3 & 4 concludes the series. Like the two previous books, it is divided into eight chapters and offers a similar format: 5 question Quick Quiz, 15 Review Questions, and an Audio Questions section which offers four to five listening exercises. The Web Destinations section offers links on the multi-faceted culture of the French-speaking world.
See you next week
Vocabulary with audio files, some listening and reading activities to test your understanding and a quiz on French idiomatic expressions, all focused on love: that’s our program this week of Valentine’s Day.
This festival has its origins in ancient Rome, specifically under the reign of Claudius II the Cruel in the third century. The latter, having experienced problems in recruiting soldiers, resolved to prohibit marriage, apparently believing that single men would be more willing to join his legions.
Valentinus of Terni, a monk or a priest, took no notice of the ban and continued to perform marriages in secret. Claudius had him imprisoned and then beheaded; but in the meantime, Valentinus had restored sight to Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer. He wrote to her a heart-shaped letter which he signed “Your Valentinus.” He was canonized a few centuries later, making him the patron saint of engaged couples. Then, Valentine’s Day was set on February 14 to replace Lupercalia, a fertility festival of pagan origin which was celebrated on the 15th of same month.
About’s Laura K. Lawless teaches learners to express their feelings with the help of audio files. The links at the bottom of the page will take you to a quiz on the French language of Love, to a list of terms of endearment with sound files and to a list of expressions with « love ». You will also have the opportunity to answer yes to the question : Is French the most romantic language? http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/love.htm
Canal Rêve offers three short stories of romantic encounters that have all resulted in marriages. Meet Marie and Patrick, then complete a questionnaire to test your listening comprehension. Read the stories of Paul and Monique and that of Isabelle and Romain before engaging in some conjugation activities.
Finally, the CLE (Centre linguistique pour étrangers – Linguistic Centre for Foreigners) from Tours in France has put online a nine question quiz entitled « Pour la Saint-Valentin : les mots du cœur » (Valentine’s Day: Words From the Heart).You’ll discover some French idioms also related to love.
Happy Valentine’s Day !
Your Bon Français Team
The Quebec Winter Carnival is a major popular festival that emerged from the earliest days of the French colony. The largest winter carnival in the world, it is the third largest carnival after the Rio Carnival and the celebrations of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
The word carnival comes from the Italian phrase “carne levare”, that is to say « to remove the meat », because it ends on Mardi Gras which preceeds Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Thus, February is the month of carnivals. Like all other carnival celebrations, the Quebec Winter Carnival is associated with symbols such as orchestral or brass band music, parades and processions with floats and costumes, in the case above, the wearing of a traditional sash : the pointed belt. Today we present three links to learn more about the festivities that surround this great winter celebration.
Carnaval.qc.ca is the official website of the Quebec Carnival. It consists of several sections, among others “About” which details all activities surrounding the carnival and the Teacher’s Corner where you’ll find a school kit consisting of book games, online games and crafts; Fun Zone includes photo albums, wallpapers, a great video called Carnaval in Action as well as excerpts of Carnival songs with French lyrics. http://www.carnaval.qc.ca/en
The French version of the site is available at: http://www.carnaval.qc.ca/
The Virtual Museum of Canada made the Quebec Winter Carnival one of its online exhibits. This site includes sections like The Carnival devoted to the origins of this celebration; the Quebec section briefly traces the history of the city, Merry Carnival! and The Palace explore some of Quebec Carnival’s most famous symbols, and finally, the section Festivities examines some of it sactivities.
For the French version of the site, click on the link: http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Festiva1/fr/mcq/
Finally, the OQLF (Office québécois de la langue française) devotes a page to the Carnival entitled Les mots du Carnaval (The Words of the Carnival) that contains about twenty terms associated with the carnival. Click on each one to obtain a definition. In French only.
Merry Carnival !