Archive for April, 2011
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 !
With the arrival of spring, many of us want to be on the move and are actively preparing for their holiday. For those planning to visit a French speaking country this summer, we selected a few sites to initiate you in French, and French for travelers websites that will surely be useful.
The following language method is a courtesy of Learnissimo. It includes illustrated phrasebooks, audio, and quizzes to test your skills while having fun. This method, based on everyday French, is perfectly suited to travel and will allow you to learn essential vocabulary as well as correct pronunciation.
Travlang also offers language courses especially designed for travel. You must initially select your native language, then the one you wish to learn. The French course is accompanied by audio files in standard and Quebec French . The vocabulary is divided into the following pages: Basic Words, Shopping and Dining, Travel, Directions, Places, and finally Time and Dates. At the bottom of each page, there is a quiz to test your knowledge.
About’s Laura K. Lawless offers French travel lessons in a newsletter you receive over six weeks. She covers topics such as: Travel Vocabulary, Accommodation, Airport, Directions, Emergency! , Shopping, Ailments, Banking and Money, Restaurant and Transportation. You may also have direct access to all these lessons by clicking on a link that appears on the following page: http://french.about.com/c/ec/22.htm
Have a good trip!
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/