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 !
The study of grammar is to language what the memorization of dates is to History, that is to say something often dull, yet inevitable. Recognizing this, we have chosen for you high quality grammars, pleasant to read and filled with exercises that allow you to monitor your understanding of the material as you go along. We sincerely hope that you enjoy exploring them.
Pomme, an initiative of the University of Alberta, is a completely free site dedicated to French grammar. It provides 400 rules and 400 exercises classified by degree of difficulty where 1 indicates the beginner level and 5 the most advanced one. ABC of French Grammar is an English simplified version of French grammar and can be found in the index. The Conjugaison component provides access to the conjugation of all verbs in all tenses. A registrant will receive an individualized program of rules and exercises through the online diagnostic test. Learners can even take personal notes with the notebook available online. http://www.pomme.ualberta.ca/pomme/
Both French grammars of Glenunga International High School in Australia are written in English and also include exercises. The first is designed for learners of all levels. The topics are: verbs, nouns and articles, prepositions, adjectives, pronouns, adverbs, days, months, seasons and weather as well as numbers, time and quantity. http://www.gihs.sa.edu.au/loteweb/Grammar/
The second link takes you to an advanced grammar about verbs, adjectives, problem words and pronouns:
See you soon,
Your Bon Français Team
Portals or directories, each of the several sites that we present today are worth a long detour. Whether you are looking for a complete course or just want to check a specific point of grammar, you will surely find what you need there.
Charity begins at home, the proverb goes. Well, we start our nomenclature with our own FSLall directory, searchable in English as well as in French. It includes over 1400 free online resources for French learning and teaching, carefully divided by levels and categories. One of these categories is devoted to business French and is designed specifically for those who must write or speak French at work. http://www.fslall.com/
Le point du FLE: This site lists and organizes high-quality free resources, relevant and useful in the fields of French as a second, foreign or native language. Its main sections are: activities, grammar, tenses of the indicative and other moods, French for specific audiences, general resources and a special section for teachers. It offers French dictionaries, audio exercises, humor, vocabulary, FFL courses online and news. There are also writing tips, software downloads, and resources for French teaching. For all levels. http://www.lepointdufle.net/
ClicNet is dedicated to French as a second or foreign language. Although this site is not regularly updated anymore, it remains of high value. The many educational resources there are directly usable in a French course and are classified by subjects. Each one shows a description and the language level required. (Level 1 = beginners and false beginners; Level 2 = intermediate and advanced ; Level 3 = high advanced). http://clicnet.swarthmore.edu/fle.html
In conclusion, we would be remiss to ignore the excellent Français Facile website which contains thousands of French resources and of which we made an extensive reference to in our last article.
The Bon Français team
This week, entire courses have the place of honor. Whether you’re a true or false beginner, a learner of intermediate or advanced level, the resources that we recommend today will enrich your knowledge of the language of Molière step by step.
FrançaisFacile.com : Here is an ideal site to learn French or improve your knowledge of it. There are level tests, 7241 courses and exercises as well as the following utilities: conjugate, play, translate, pronounce, check and multiple dictionaries. A component on the site allows you to record yourself to hear your pronunciation. A registration to the site allows you, among other things, access to the system to translate French / other language, to participate in forums, find pen pals, have your scores recorded in the school report and enjoy a customized workbook. You can also receive a free weekly French lesson by email. http://www.francaisfacile.com/
The following link provides access to courses divided into four levels. http://www.francaisfacile.com/guide/index.php?niv=1
Ielanguages.com : This site offers a complete French course, from basic phrases and sounds to past and imperfect subjonctive tenses. The lessons, divided into seven courses, include MP3s, exercises and flashcards, some of them with an audio component allowing you to record yourself to compare your accent with the native speaker’s pronunciation on the audio files. Among other things, the site also includes sections devoted to informal French, a blog, and French-Italian, French-German bilingual resources. A site to discover! http://www.ielanguages.com/french.html
Canal Rêve’s course 1,2,3 Bravo is primarily meant for beginner and intermediate learners. It aims to develop oral and written comprehension, as well as specific skills in everyday communication. It consists of 8 modules divided into three parts: communication, vocabulary and writing (écrit). Each of these parts includes videos, audio files and exercises. http://babelnet.sbg.ac.at/canalreve/bravo/index2.htm
The following link includes activities that complement the units of 1,2,3 Bravo. http://babelnet.sbg.ac.at/canalreve/bravo/bravo.htm
As announced in our last post, we present today some intermediate courses for those of you who already know the basics of French. The Ma France course, which offers an excellent transition between beginner and intermediate level, can be an good choice in many cases. Anyway, a visit to these sites will allow you to judge for yourself which course is the best for you.
BBC.co.uk : Ma France : Ma France is an interactive French video course with 24 lessons for post-beginners to improve or brush up your basic French with the help of Stéphane Cornicard. It includes mini-lessons, extra topics, maps, a glossary, a syllabus and a progress page. You can complete the course in 12 weeks with Ma France weekly email tips and encouragements. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/mafrance/
Open Learning Initiative : Carnegie Mellon University, through its Open Learning Initiative, offers two French courses at no cost. The French courses are introductory, interactive video-based courses intended for use by university students and independent learners on the Internet. Each course has 15 lessons comprising the following components: introduction, communication 1, words and expressions, structure, sound, communication 2, cultural world and synthetic activity. If you want to keep track of your progress, click on the button Join French 1 or on Join French 2 to create an account and decide whether or not to be part of a study conducted by the University. Otherwise click on “Peek in”.
To create an account: http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/forstudents/freecourses/
Syllabus Elementary French 1 Online : https://oli.web.cmu.edu/jcourse/lms/students/syllabus.do?section=5cb4627c80020ca6017270458206520a
Syllabus Elementary French 2 Online : https://oli.web.cmu.edu/jcourse/lms/students/syllabus.do?section=5cb49ae280020ca6000e3047b7e3b344
UTexas.edu : Français interactif : This wonderful site presents the first-year French program developed at the University of Texas. A click on any of the 13 chapters’ titles will get you to the chapter’s PDF version, a video introduction, vocabulary lists and notes on phonetics with audio files, grammar and exercises, several videos with exercises and finally an Internet activity. The grammar book « Tex’s French Grammar » is also available through the website to be consulted by theme. The site allows you to download PDF documents, MP3 and podcasts. http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/
See you soon.
This week, we suggest three French courses that are aimed at beginners and « false beginners », who are those who want to get back to studying French and need substantial revision. We selected these courses due to their organization which follows a logical progression likely to facilitate your learning and help you acquire a solid foundation.
FrenchTutorial.com : Learn French for free with 13 chapters, 160 pages and more than 200 audio files. The French Tutorial is a step by step course covering the basics and pronunciation, as well as grammar, vocabulary and everyday French. It offers audio support for better oral comprehension, a table of contents and an index for faster searches. http://www.frenchtutorial.com/
BBC.co.uk : French Steps : Here is a great online course intended for beginners. Learn practical spoken French with the help of French teacher Hakim M’Barek in just 24 manageable steps. Includes a user guide, syllabus, vocabulary list, grammar tips, pronunciation with audio files, Fast Tracks for revision, progress page and a printable learning log. You can complete the course in 12 weeks with French Steps weekly email tips and encouragement. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/lj/
About.com : Learn French – French for beginners : Learn French with hundreds of pages written for anyone with little or no French knowledge. Whether you’re just beginning to learn French or picking it up again after a long absence, you’ll find everything you need on these pages. You can subscribe to a 20 week French for Beginners email course, or go to the checklist to get the same lessons organized in a logical study order. You can also access a French proficiency test and the French for Beginners forum on the page.
Good Studying !
Your Bon Français’ team
Next week : intermediate level courses
French comics are often Belgian. In fact, it is almost impossible to speak about French cartoons without emphasizing the outstanding contribution of Belgium, where comics are considered an art in itself. Creators like Hergé, Franquin, Peyo, Greg and Morris, to name a few, have all created unforgettable characters who have acquired an immense fame. It is with pleasure that we present today a series of fun sites where you will learn about French culture through some of his most famous cartoons.
Tintin.be : With 24 albums having sold 230 million copies and translated into over 80 languages, Tintin is a cult comic strip. Created by the cartoonist Hergé more than 80 years ago, his adventures have delighted generations of readers while often helping them learn geography. Tintin’s official website, available in English, French and Dutch, not only brings together everything you need to know about his adventures and the endearing characters contained therein, but also many other things. There are games for all, and for children videos, topical articles focusing on several issues, including the conquest of space, and a section for tintinologists, who are Tintin’s hardcore fans. http://www.tintin.be/
Smurf.com : These little guys came out of the imagination Peyo (Pierre Culliford) in 1958. Fifty years later, books, activity books, television series, figurines and games are extremely popular all over the world. Their official website, available in six languages, tells the origin of the Smurfs, introduces the author, and each of the different but similar little blue characters, as well as the detestable Gargamel and his cat Azrael. A perfect location to learn to speak Smurf and French! http://www.smurf.com/smurf.php/www/home/fr
Gaston Lagaffe.com : Here is the official site of the mythical character created by André Franquin in 1957. Indolent, lazy and blundering, Gaston is the anti-hero par excellence. He holds a (too often lying) position in Spirou Magazine, where he spends most of his time trying to avoid work. On his website, you will discover all about Gaston Lagaffe: albums, characters, unpublished drawings, news, games and goodies as well as contests … and loads of blunders! French only. http://www.gastonlagaffe.com/
Astérix.com : Astérix is from France or rather from ancient Gaul. He is also another iconic character of the 9th art. His adventures take place in 50 BC, at the very time of Julius Caesar, in a village of indomitable Gauls. The series, created by writer René Goscinny and illustrator Albert Uderzo, has over 30 albums translated into 107 languages. The site is thus multilingual. The official virtual village of Asterix and his faithful companion Obelix includes all the news from Asterix, e-cards, « smailix »(smileys), video games, contests, unpublished drawings, film clips and much more and can be found at the following address: http://www.asterix.com/index.html.fr?rub=francais
This post presents four links especially directed to our young learners in elementary school. They will find coloring pages and a wide variety of games and interactive activities with audio files. Children will surely enjoy themselves while improving their French vocabulary and their general knowledge as well. Hours of fun!
Zut Language skills : Interactive Activities for French Teachers and Students. A terrific site that contains plenty of online interactive activities organised by class year. The resources include an opportunity to listen to conversations and then do comprehension exercises. The more difficult words are highlighted and may be selected for a translation. In addition to audio clips, there are word searches, crosswords, worksheets and other interesting resources. This British site is free to use after 4pm and before 9am (which is, in North America a part of the night and of the morning only) so it could be used as a homework resource. A subscription is required to access it at any time. http://zut.languageskills.co.uk/index.html
Zut Junior Language skills : Interactive Activities for French Teachers and Students. As its name suggests, this site is the younger brother of the former and is intended for younger children. The exercises include the following sections: Je parle français (I speak French), Je me présente (I introduce myself), En famille, (in the family), Les animaux (animals), Mon anniversaire (my birthday), Le monde (the world), Moi et mon école (my school and I), Qu’est-ce que tu veux ? (what do you want?), Les sports, Les vêtements, (clothing), J’habite (my place) and La France. The site also contains a Christmas section with exercises, christmas carols and pictures to print out and colour in. http://zutjunior.languageskills.co.uk/index.html
Enchanted Learning : French : This is a perfect site for children from third to fifth grade. In addition to visual English-French and French-English dictionaries wirh many audio files, this site offers printable colouring pages, some of which are real short books. There are interactive activities on several themes including: Colours, Numbers, Time and the Calendar, Shapes, Animals, The Body, People, Food, Clothing, The House, Vehicles, Opposites, Musical instrument, etc.. A place where children learn many things in addition to learning French! http://www.enchantedlearning.com/themes/french.shtml
See you next week