Tag Archives: Language

French Language Week

Apologies to subscribers via MailChimp, which has played tricks and not included the link to the post in the alert. Hopefully, you have got here by clicking on the blog title at the top of the alert.  Today is the … Continue reading

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What Difference Will French Spelling Changes Make?

First, I have to note that it’s six years today since I pressed the ‘go live’ button on this blog. Since then, I’ve published 496 posts, made a lot of virtual friends and had a ball researching into French life, … Continue reading

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Language Larks: What French Words Mean Depends on Where You Live

Just a short post this week, for reasons that will become apparent later. Before we moved here, in my ignorance I had always assumed that French was a pretty homogeneous language and that the vocabulary of Lille must also be … Continue reading

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A Question of Accent

  I speak French with an English accent. Try as I might, I can’t get rid of it, even though my French is now pretty fluent after 18 years here. As soon as I open my mouth, I give myself … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language | Tagged , , , , , | 38 Comments

Things I Didn’t Know When I Moved to France: Part 2 the Negatives

Thanks to everyone who commented on Part 1, the Positives. They added to my list of unexpected pleasures, including: the (comparatively) empty roads; the variety of regional produce and recipes; the friendly interaction with neighbours and rural French people’s lack … Continue reading

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More Difficult French Phrases

Difficult for we non-French, that is. While writing an email to a French friend recently I had to consult the dictionary several times to make sure I got a particular construction right. This is after more than 16 years in … Continue reading

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An Opportunity to Meet French Schoolchildren

We attended a rather nice event last Friday at a school in Villefranche-de-Rouergue. Le Lycée Beauregard, a secondary school, invited local English speakers to meet the students and talk to them – in English.

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The Same Country Divided by Countless Languages

Today we paid an Easter visit to our elderly neighbours, M. et Mme. F. We are very fond of them but our conversations with them are sometimes characterised by total incomprehension on our side. This is not just a cultural … Continue reading

Posted in History, Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

French Acronyms

Since the world is going to end on December 21st this year, I had better get blogging. You hadn’t heard? But I told you back in January. The only place that will escape the cataclysm is Bugarach in the Pyrénées … Continue reading

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Yet More French Colloquial Phrases

French is a remarkably colourful language. When at school, struggling to conjugate irregular verbs and make nouns and adjectives agree, I would certainly have disagreed with that statement. Having struck up a more intimate acquaintance with the language during our … Continue reading

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French Test or Testing French

Just a short post today. I have been rather snowed under with article commissions recently. I’m not complaining – after all, it’s partly how I earn my corn. But it doesn’t leave much time for other things. If you were … Continue reading

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Found(ering) in Translation

We’ve just got home from a choral concert given in the Eglise de Saint-Andéol (above) at Parisot. The Chantier Voix choir from Limogne (Lot) interpreted a range of songs from negro spirituals to Russian Orthodox sacred music to Corsican polyphonic chants. Very good it … Continue reading

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More French Colloquial Phrases

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of French colloquial phrases. I wrote about a few of the more common ones a while back. I read in the Figaro Magazine last weekend that a new book had been published about those that … Continue reading

Posted in Customs, Language | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Speaking in tongues; or why I have trouble with my own language

For a writer this is a rather serious problem. I realise that my command of English leaves something to be desired these days.  Fourteen years in France have eroded my ability to wield the language of Shakespeare in the way … Continue reading

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French Regional Accents: comment?

We have just returned from a 10-day holiday in Corsica, hence the lack of posts, comments etc for a while. I did schedule this post to appear while I was away, but for some reason it didn’t, so here it … Continue reading

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Exams French style

I mentioned a while ago (see the post here) that I had been selected for the regional finals of a French national competition called Les Timbrés de l’Orthographe, to find the people in France who master French grammar the best. … Continue reading

Posted in French life, Language, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

My French isn’t that bad, then

French, as I have often remarked on these pages, is fiendishly difficult. It’s a far more precise language than English, so if you use a word that’s slightly wrong or a grammatical construction that is less than perfect, you risk … Continue reading

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French colloquial phrases you never learnt at school

See also my post More Colloquial French Phrases. For my other posts about the French language, please click on ‘Language’ under Topics in the right-hand sidebar. French, like all languages, has its colloquial phrases. The pure French that we learnt … Continue reading

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French social customs 7: tu or vous?

Another knotty problem in my French social customs series [for the others, see Customs in Topics in the right-hand sidebar].

Posted in Customs, French life, Language, Top tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments