Nobody studies French Literature in High School

-+*I recently found out that College Board is going to cancel the AP exam in French Literature as of 2009. Also gone are Latin Literature and Italian Language & Culture. German Literature has been gone for 10 years, so that leaves us with Chinese Language & Culture, French Language, German Language, Japanese Language & Culture, […]

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Translations

-+*Here are the translations from the real French post. I can honestly say I never learned these expressions from my high school or university books/classes. I only learned them when I moved to France. Elle tire le diable par la queue. = She barely gets by (financially). C’est pas vraiment le Pérou. = It’s nothing […]

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Real French.

-+*If you only learned textbook French in school, could you understand these sentences? All of them are from one page of a thread that I found on a random forum. This is why idioms and slang are an essential part of any language course! Elle tire le diable par la queue. C’est pas vraiment le […]

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Learning languages for free with the internet.

-+*Tip of the day: Use the internet to take advantage of the public domain. Foreign Service Institute Language Courses: Designed and written by the US government but with no copyright protection. You can download the texts (PDF format) and audio files (mp3s) for free. Not all languages are available for download as the site depends […]

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Things I learned today

-+*Le premier mai is la fête du travail (labor day) and the only day in France when anyone can sell flowers legally – not just florists. You will see tons of people and places (if they’re open…) selling muguets (lily of the valley) because it’s supposed to bring good luck to whomever you give them […]

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About About.com

-+*There are very few language sites that offer useful, free information to help you actually learn the real language (slang, idioms, informal speech, etc.) About.com’s language sites do include a lot of useful information, but the problem is finding what you want among the bazillion pages and sponsored links that look exactly like the content. […]

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Y en. (Not a French donkey.)

-+*I hate y and en. These little words have caused so much confusion for me in French. The basic rules are: 1) y replaces a prepositional phrase (except those beginning with de). It translates as “there” or “it” and sometimes it is not translated into English. On va à Boston demain. We’re going to Boston […]

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La langue française me rend folle.

-+*Sometimes there are certain aspects of the French language that drive me crazy. Verbs of movement is one example. French does not use adverbs of motion the same way that English does, so it is not possible to translate literally “He ran across the street” into French. Sure, you can say il a couru for […]

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On learning and teaching

-+*I cracked open my French vocabulary books after a much-too-long break from them, and rediscovered why I love learning new words. Vocabulaire expliqué du français; niveau intermédiaire begins with a chapter on prefixes and suffixes, which are mostly the same in English thanks to Latin. But there was one prefix I didn’t know in French: […]

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School & Public Transportation Vocabulary

-+*un débrayage – short stoppage in work, not necessarily caused by a strike. Can include short protests against something that cannot be changed, complete with speeches that cannot be heard over the noise of uninterested students happy to have an excuse to miss class. Also the cause of unexpected trous in one’s schedule (see below). […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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