Posts Tagged ‘Reading’
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 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
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
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
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
Speech synthesis is a technique to deliver a written text by computerized voice. This technique is used particularly by and for the visually impaired, in industry (think of automated interactive messaging, for example) as well as in the multimedia field.
In our opinion, speech synthesis is also of considerable interest in a second or a foreign language learning. It makes it indeed possible to hear the exact pronunciation of a word or a text chosen by the learner himself. Therefore, we have selected three websites that let you type a word or a short text to hear its correct French pronunciation.
Acapela-group.com : You will find on this website a multilingual demo to convert written words and sentences into spoken speech. Simply enter a text up to a maximum of 200 characters, including spaces, and then choose a male or female voice, French or Canadian to listen to an audio rendition of this text.
Wizzard Software.com : This site also offers a speech synthesis multilingual demo to convert written text into a high-quality audio reading. Enter a text of your choice up to a maximum of 255 characters, choose a male or female voice with a French or a Canadian accent and listen to the reading. http://wizzardsoftware.com/att_NV_demo.php
Oddcast.com : This last site offers a Text-to-Speech multilingual demo allowing to hear what you write. Enter a word or a short text up to 150 characters, then choose a male or female voice, French or Canadian and see an avatar read it without an accent. It is even possible for you to create your own avatar on the site!
You cannot fully understand a language if you do not understand its culture(s). The more you learn about French culture and lifestyles in France and other countries, the richer and more exciting your experience of learning French will become. The reading and listening comprehension and writing activity resources of the CUEF are always presented in a humorous way. They will allow you to learn from a distance wherever you are and whatever your schedule.
The first stop on our guided tour is: http://domus.grenet.fr/cuef/ccuefd/hotpot/u2/caric_fr/u2_act1_exo1.htm.
If you are pressed for time, make sure to at least do the first exercise of the second module « Les Français en stéréotypes. » Match pictures illustrating different ways the French is stereotyped around the world to their corresponding statements. This short quiz will give you the opportunity to rethink your own perceptions of the French people who live in France.
A fun reading exercise and a “clin d’oeil” to the French!
Let’s go back to the articles I discussed on February 18. In one of them, the author stresses the importance of having penpals while learning a second language. The author also talks about the importance of including cultural elements in learning French, as one would to learn any other languages. Great! Yet, only one link is later embedded in the article leading to a method to learn French fast . . . for which you have to pay, of course!
This is, unfortunately, a current practice on the web these days. We have, on the contrary, chosen in this blog, Bonfrancais.com and at its brother site http://www.gofrenchgo.com to list only free quality resources, the very best that we know exist on the web. Why? Because it is common knowledge that ready-made language learning methods generally end up on the shelves after only the first few lessons, that is, when the novelty starts to fade.
Learning how to carefully choose from the legion of resources freely offered on the web will help you keep your interest high, while continuing your progress in French without having to spend a lot of money. It is, however, only possible if you can find what you are looking for rapidly and effectively. It is also where our expertise, which we so happily share with you, comes into play. Visit and re-visit us often as to make your learning experience simultaneously more pleasant and successful.
Do you occasionally read articles dealing with learning French? By a happy coincidence, yesterday, February 17, four different articles popped up in the online Google Reader service to which I subscribe, and this, just when I was about to write to you about that same topic. Funny how things work out sometimes. . . Needless to say, I read them all for you.
To tell you the truth, the content of these articles was plain and honest but without nothing much that is new in it. Only one of them, which I recommend that you read, truly caught my attention: Learning French – 10 Commandments of a Good French Learning Environment – Choose Yours Well at http://ezinearticles.com/?Learning-French—10-Commandments-of-a-Good-French-Learning-Environment—Choose-Yours-Well&id=3761320
This article is written in English by Jean-Remy Duboc, a French eLearning developer living in England. In that text, Duboc revisits and applies the wisdom of the Ten Commandments to the learning of the French language. At last, a light, happy and fresh note to lift up your reading spirits
Popular celebration days are always an opportunity to get to know the French language and culture better. Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated on February the 14th, is no exception to that rule. Although very commercial in nature, it can be an ideal occasion for you to enrich your French vocabulary through reading about the history of that special day, choosing the best-suited card or even writing a love or friendship note to all of your valentines. Here are three sites that we have selected for you and where you can learn a great deal about how to celebrate Love Day “à la française” without foolishness:
http://www.samusera2learn.ca/valentin/valentin.asp A site listing ten top web resources about Valentine’s Day.