Posts Tagged ‘Learn French as a Foreign Language’
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 !
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/
This week we continue our exploration of the great resources offered by the French teaching team of Hong Kongs University. Two courses, one of which is in two parts, are on the menu.
The first course, French for Beginners, contains 28 chapters including several audio files. It addresses phonetics and pronunciation, word stress and intonation of the sentence as well as liaison and the unstable “e” vowel. It also examines the negative and interrogative forms, imperative and reflective verbs, “to be”, pronouns and adverbs.
Both volumes of the course for beginners Contact focus on communication. Each one offers a series of 10 situations drawn from everyday life; each text is accompanied by an audio file. The texts include many colloquial expressions which are often used in conversation, commonly used vocabulary, as well as a demonstration of grammar in use and language structures.
The first volume explores several situations of particular interest to tourists as you can see in the list of contents (in order of presentation): Interview, Rencontre (Encounter), Rendez-vous, Correspondance (Correspondence), Au restaurant, Au marché (At the market), À l’hôtel, À la gare (At the train station), Au téléphone and Weekend.
With titles such as: Demander le chemin (Ask the way), Au magasin (At the store), À l’aéroport, the second volume of this series, as does the previous one, offers to learners situations that may be of interest to travelers. There are more titles like : À La radio, Chez le docteur, Entretien (Job interview), L’appartement, Discussion, Journal (Diary) et Au cinéma.
Have a nice week!
The Bon Français Team
This week, we present to you resources on French grammar developed by Hong Kong University’s French teaching team. They are recommended to early learners of French, but more advanced students can also find them useful.
Structures is an audio grammar aiming to help students to enhance their understanding of the basic language structures and to improve their accuracy in terms of communicative skills. The objective of this series of 12 tutorials is to summarize a range of essential grammatical aspects which play a central role in the early stages of the learning of French. The various cases are approached in a descriptive way, with an emphasis on illustrative examples rather than prescriptive rules.
French Grammar Online is a French grammar written in English whose visual presentation is nice and original. Click on the shopping street’s flags, lampposts or street signs to discover the general rules that apply to the domain of the verb, to the noun, the adverb, the adjective, the pronoun, the article, the preposition and the comparative.
Hong Kong University also presents the Online Grammar Exercises, a beginner-level series of self-corrected activities which include notably articles, determinants, gender and number, adjectives, pronouns, the affirmative form, the interrogative form, the negative form, prepositions, verbs and the comparative. Requires Internet Explorer.
Have a nice week!
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
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