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Learning French

La Rentrée en France: Back to School… and Strikes

The official back to school shopping list for all French public school students is not only a lesson in vocabulary, but also in culture.  Most people know that France is a very centralized country and that all roads (and railroads) lead to Paris. The academic calendar is set in stone for the three zones of […]
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Le Grand Robert & Collins French/English CD-ROM Dictionary

Since I’ve been doing more French-English translations lately, I decided to invest in a CD-ROM dictionary instead of a standard paper dictionary. Wordreference.com is of course a great online resource but I wanted something more. Le Grand Robert & Collins French/English CD-ROM Dictionary contains 425,000 entries, all with standard IPA pronunciation and plenty of sample phrases […]
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French Slang Nouns (New Video)

Here are some common informal nouns used in everyday speech in France. Once again, it is more important to simply understand these words and not worry so much about trying to use them. The standard vocabulary is given after the sample sentences.
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The Importance of Learning Collocations instead of Individual Words

As Randy from Yearlyglot pointed out recently, word pattern recognition is an important concept in language learning and attaining fluency. Word patterns or collocations are simply the way certain words (whether function or content) habitually occur together. These conventional sequences are instantly recognizable to native speakers of a language, but remain difficult for second language learners to acquire […]
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French Summer School Online: Free Resources to Download

Académie en ligne is the official website of Education Nationale in France that provides support materials for all courses in public schools so that students can continue learning during the summer. The site was launched last summer, but I had forgotten until This French Life posted about it.  It’s designed for all students from CP […]
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Death of a Language Website: learncanadianfrench.com

Last year a friend of mine who had recently immigrated to Quebec sent me a link to a great website about learning Canadian French. The URL was simply learncanadianfrench.com and the site included grammar and vocabulary specific to Quebec as well as several videos of Quebecois songs and examples of Quebecois speech. It was an […]
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Learning French Slang & Culture through Hip-Hop and Rap

Even if you don’t like rap in English, it pays to listen to it in foreign languages because the songs are usually full of informal language and slang as well as cultural references. Here are some songs that also teach you verlan (a “backwards” form of slang), French geography, Francophone names, common acronyms and the […]
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