Friday, August 8, 2008

French vs. English in the World.

Free Video and Audio French lessons. Click here!

In France, people are often complaining that their language is at risk because of the influence of new English words that are adopted all the time. If it is true that French is always changing, it is not going to disappear anytime soon. Actually its use is growing worldwide.

French is in 9th position among all languages people use in our world. Approximately 200 million people speak French on the planet. Fifty one countries have French as a 1st or 2nd language. It is used on all continents, only English is also spoken on all continents.

France is very proud of its language, culture and tradition. At the same time, new technologies and terms coming from other countries, mainly English speaking countries like the United States require the creation or adoption of new words in the official dictionaries. This task is left with the French Academy, an independent group of usually older and famous intellectuals.

Certain new English words that are quickly adopted by the French like e-mail , DVD and CD-ROM are eventually officially replaced by new French words: ecourrier, devede, and logiciel. It is particularly funny to note that these changes are made official by the government.

In France, the use of French is mandatory in broadcasting, advertising, instruction manuals, billing and in the workplace. In 1992, the French constitution was amended to make French the official language of the Republic of France.

Did you know that there are more French speakers in Africa than in Europe or any other place in the world? Actually 75% of French speakers reside in Africa. Even Canada with its more than 9 million French speakers is far behind and the USA only count 700,000 French speakers. In Europe, German is the most spoken language. French and Italian come in second and English is third.

On the internet, French is somewhat underrepresented with only 5% of all web pages in French. One could say it is better than none which is the case for 90% of all languages. German does a little better with 7% of all pages and English takes the crown with no less than 45% of all web pages. English is the most studied language in the world but French is in second place.

French was always the language of diplomacy. In the past, treaties between countries used to be written in French. It was spoken by the Tsars and Kings. Still today, it is one of the official languages of the United Nations and the African union. Because Pierre De Coubertin, a Frenchman, created the modern Olympics, it is its official language.

The French can be reassured, their language is not dying. Actually its usage is growing and it is estimated that it will keep growing. The simple reason is that French is mainly spoken in countries with very high birth rates (3 out of 4 French speakers leave in such a country). With them the future of the French language is assured.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Learn French Courses

Hi, my name is Adrien Matt. I am a French native. I grew up outside of Paris and I now live in the States. Half of my family is from the U.S. and lots of my family members and friends have asked me for the best way to learn French. I have also had to learn Spanish since I travel a lot to Costa Rica and Panama for business. I decided to test several "how to learn French courses" and these are my 3 top choices. The final choice is up to you based on your budget. These are all great systems and all come with a full money back guarantee.

Tell Me More: Complete French Learning Software

This is the most comprehensive system I have tested. It's a total of 2,000 hours of French lessons including 10 hours of video. There are a lot of sophisticated systems on the market but what makes this system unique is the speech recognition software.

It visually guides you toward the correct pronunciation as you repeat the words and sentenses. It's like having your own native speaker sitting next to you. They also offer weekly 30 min. online news commentary, role play. etc...

The audio is also totally portable and downloadable to your Pocket PC, MP3 player and CD player. It takes you through 10 levels of learning all the way to fluent French.

Very comprehensive with 24/7 support. The price is $399.99. If you are serious about learning French in a very interactive way, this is the best how to learn French courses out there. This is my favorite and I encourage you to watch the guided tour video. It comes with a 90 day money back guarantee but if price is an issue, consider these other options:

Marie Claire's interactive French lesson is one of the most sold on the internet and I think the main reason is that her method is fun.

One of the challenges when learning a language is to stay motivated. Her energetic and fun approach makes it easy. In 2 months she will help you master French conversational skills. It's basically 11 hours of audio recordings with written transcripts.

You can get a taste of her lessons with a Free 6-day class. If budget is a concern for you, you can get the instant download version. At the time of my writing this post, she is running a a special for $99.95 instead of the hard copy price of $299.95.

Marie-Claire offers support through a Forum and e-mail. For the price, it is one of the best package out there no matter what your level is. The hard copy version comes in CDs or tapes. If you prefer a portable version you can take with you in the car on a CD player, consider buying the hard copy. More info.

The Primsleur Approcah is another well established language learning system. It is used by the CIA and the FBI. Dr. Primsleur, a linguist, took 40 years to come up with his approach.

He studied the way children learn their own native language. He deconstructed the process and came up with this audio system. It is very effective and only requires 30 minutes per day.

It basically teaches you the grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation all at once in the same way children learn. You can read more about the Primsleur method of acquiring knowledge by anticipation and how the method reinforces your memorization.

If you are looking for a fast system you can take with you anywhere. This is it. Note that there is no visual aid with this program. The French conversational course is priced at $49.95. More advanced modules are available. You can start with a free lesson. More info.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Learn French Courses In The 21st Century.

New technologies and a better knowledge of our language learning process have transformed the way we learn today. The internet and other media are bringing all these advances together. There is no more just one way to learn but a multitude of complementary ways. Forget the classbooks amd the boring teachers. Everyone now has so many choices to immerse themselves into a new language and speed up their learning curve.

Audio tapes and CDs have for some time started to replace text books and allowed students to learn from home or during their commute to work. These methods already seem old but audio will of course always be the central part of any learning method. It is just now downloadable to many other media like MP3 players , ipods and other digital devices.

Podcasts are the clear extension of the more traditinal audio devices. The advantage of podcasts is that they give you a more present experience. Numerous podcasts are available in foreign languages where the news and events of the country are commented and translated, giving you a way to practice, learn new words and get a tase of the culture. These are great to complement more thorough methods. They mix learning the language and getting immersed in the culture just like if you were visiting the country.

Video is already part of numerous learn French courses that you can play on your computer. Now with the internet and the booming of free broadcating sites, one can visit his favorite internet video site and download free lessons or TV shows from foreign countries. Videos are very powerful as they give a lot of context to the new words. They aslo give direct access to the culture, the accents and pronunciation of real everyday people.

A better understanding of our brain and how it absorbs knowledge has also transformed the way we learn. Most methods are moving away from plain repetition of words and sentenses to a more interactive process. Studies have shown that children for example learn languages in a more intuitive way. More and more the industry is learning from this process. The new methods tend to force our brain to guess the right answers instead of the traditional repeat after me approach.

Studies of our memory process have transformed our language learning process into a science. Some methods time the frequency at which new words are reintroduced to make sure that the retention of new vocabulary will last. These new advances have reduced the time necessary to study to make significant lasting progress.

The most advanced technology which is now introduced is speech recognition software. How does it work? When you interact with your online teacher or simply repeat a sentense into a microphone the software can correct your pronunciation. More exactly it visually shows you on a 3-D graph if you are close or if you need to correct your pronunciation. It is like having your own tutor sitting next to you, correcting you until you get it right.

And of course, internet communication technologies make it possible to talk to a French teacher in France for free. This makes it possible for teachers to reach students from all over the world and give online classes. This is good news for the language teachers in the world as they will not be obsolete but will be able to expand their reach in new profitable ways.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Learn French Courses

Learn to Speak French Confidently and Naturally In Less Than 8 Weeks. Click Here for more info!

Bonjour, je m'appelle Pierre.
Hello, my name is Pierre.

Comment ça va?
How are you?

Je vais bien, merci. Et toi?
I am doing well, thank you. And you?

Très bien, merci.
Very well, thank you.

Qu'est ce que tu fais à Paris?
What are you doing in Paris?

Je suis en vacances pour huit jours.
I am on vacation for 8 days.

Je visite les musées et j'apprends le français.
I visit museums and I learn French.

Au revoir

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I will be posting more simple French phrases regularly. Bookmark this page and come back to learn more.

If you're looking for something more advanced and really want fast progress in your French, check out Marie-Claire Riviere's Rocket French course. She keeps it fun and entertaining and you will see drastic results in weeks. You can start with her free 6-day French course.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Learn French Courses

Learn to Speak French Confidently and Naturally In Less Than 8 Weeks! Click Here For More Info!

The following does not pretend to give you the in depth knowledge all the "how to learn French courses" would, but consider it a French appetizer.

To introduce yourself: “Bonjour, je m’appelle Steve”. Hello, my name is Steve. “Enchanté de faire votre connaissance” translates to “very nice to meet you”. “I am here on vacation” would be “je suis ici en vacances”. “Je suis américain (américaine for a girl)” is you guessed it: I am american. “Je suis ici pour sept (7) jours” means “I am here for 7 days”. “Je suis à l’hôtel du Pont” means “I am staying at the hotel du Pont”.

If you are lost in Paris and need directions. Don’t worry. French people have no problem asking and giving directions unlike here in the states where most men feel uncomfortable asking for them. Start with “Je cherche...” I am looking for... “je cherche la rue de la paix”. Expect the answer to be a combination of these : “A droite” (to the right)... “A gauche” (to the left) and finally “Tout droit”, straight ahead. Finish with “Merci beaucoup” (thanks a lot) and you will be on your way.

No matter where you are it’s important to be able to get what you want. “Je voudrais...” is going to be the magical phrase to get anything. Whether you want a train ticket: je voudrais un billet de train or a bottle of wine “je voudrais une bouteille de vin”, it will do the trick. Add the proper “S’ilvousplait” and you might not pass for a tourist... too much.

In a restaurant: “Je voudrais voir le menu” is “I would like to see the menu”. “Je voudrais un steak frites” is very handy to order a steak and fries, a common dish you will find in every French restaurant unless you are visiting an upscale establishment. “Quel est le plat du jour?” What is the special of the day? The check, please: “L’addition s’ilvousplait.” “Où sont les toilettes?” will come in handy if you can’t find the restrooms. Don’t forget that gratuity is included in France, no need to tip.

Just arriving at your hotel? No problem. “J’ai réservé une chambre” will let them know you have a reservation. “Je veux une chambre avec un grand lit (bed)” will make sure you end up with a queen size bed, the largest bed you can find in France. “Je vais vous régler” will let your host know you are ready to check out. Finally “Je cherche un bon restaurant” comes in handy to ask where you can find a good restaurant.

Need to go to a museum or visit the Eiffel tower? That’s easy. Ask for a taxi cab: Je veux un taxi”. Or you can use the subway, one of the best in the world. “Où est la station de Métro” to ask where the closest subway station is. If you don’t want to be underground but want to see as much as Paris as you can, take the bus. “Où est la station de bus s’ilvousplait?”

A few words about time. Be aware that they use military time in France. There is no am or pm. Just “quatre heures “ 4:00 am or “seize (16) heures” for 16:00, our 4 pm. “Quelle heure est-il?” and they will tell you what time it is. Dans combien de temps? And you will know in how much time...? “A quelle heure?” is “at what time?”

Conversation piece: You can always start with “How are you?” or “Comment allez vous?” “Comment ça va?” is the familiar way to ask, use only with people you know a little better. “Qu’est ce que vous faites?” is what are you doing now or what are you doing as a job, occupation. “Je suis très heureux de faire votre connaissance” is a long one but it just means “nice to meet you”. “A bientôt” is “see you soon”. “Voulez vous coucher avec moi?” is not recommended as it will only get you slapped.

If you are interested in learning more, there are some great "how to learn French courses" I can recommend. Rocket French is where I would start.