Category Archives: Website

Buy French Language Tutorial - PDF plus over FIVE HOURS of mp3s!

French Language Tutorial (2nd edition) Now Available

The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is now available!

Changes from the first edition:

  • Much more vocabulary and sample sentences, such as asking for help, giving advice, expressing opinions, likes & dislikes, etc.
  • New order of topics with cross-references (clickable within the PDF) for easier review of previous vocabulary
  • Conjugations in present, past (imperfect) and future tenses for irregular verbs throughout the book, with International Phonetic Alphabet symbols for pronunciation
  • Each page has its own mp3 to make listening and reading along easier
  • Mp3s have been re-recorded by three native speakers (including a female voice)
  • Alphabetical index for vocabulary and grammar topics

The 2nd edition of FLT is currently only $29 USD and it includes over 200 mp3s – that’s more than FIVE HOURS of French.

Visit the store for more information or click Buy Now below.


French Language Tutorial (2nd ed.) e-book

PDF format + 209 mp3s

Immediate download through Gumroad

$29


Buy Now

 

New Language Tutorial on ielanguages.com: Afrikaans!

I’m happy to announce that a new language tutorial has been added to ielanguages.com: Afrikaans! The tutorial was written by Selçuk Mert Köseoğlu and proofread by native-speaker Sarien, who also plans to record some mp3s.

Afrikaans originated from 17th century Dutch and is one of the official languages of South Africa. It is also spoken in Namibia and a few other African countries. There are about 7 million native speakers and 20 million speakers overall. There is still a lot of mutual intelligibility between Dutch and Afrikaans, though it is easier for Dutch speakers to understand Afrikaans than vice versa.

South Africa 2001 Afrikaans speakers proportion map
Where Afrikaans is spoken by the most people in South Africa

As PageF30 mentioned a few months, Afrikaans is rather easy for English speakers to learn because the grammar is not nearly as complicated as other Germanic languages. Nouns have no gender and no cases. There is only one definite and one indefinite article. Verbs do not conjugate for person or number. The infinitive is identical to the present tense and the imperative. The past tense is comparable to the present perfect in English, with a few exceptions for some verbs that still exist in the preterite. The future and conditional tenses are just like in English. There are no progressive / continuous tenses or past perfect tense. The only thing that seems remotely difficult is word order.

I’ve been trying to find more resources for learning Afrikaans online, but there don’t seem to be very many. Hopefully Mert, Sarien, and I will be able to fill in that void. I do plan to create comparative tutorials with Dutch as well for those who want to learn both Dutch and Afrikaans at the same time. (Though I am currently swamped with my translation work and updating French Language Tutorial so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it.) If there are other Afrikaans speakers out there who want to help others learn your language, please let me know.

If you are interested in South Africa, I recommend checking out the beautiful photos in the South Africa Flickr pool.

Everything on the Internet is in the Public Domain

Actually NOT everything on the internet is in the public domain but it seems that a lot of people do not know this or simply don’t care about copyright laws. Since creating my website more than 10 years ago, I’ve come across numerous other websites that have copied my tutorials without asking permission or giving me credit. Then I found out copies of my tutorials were being sold on Ebay. In the past few months, I’ve also discovered someone selling Kindle books on Amazon and someone else selling a crappy iPhone app, all stolen from my tutorials. I sincerely hope that no one has wasted their money on these illegal copies.

I have never given permission for commercial use of anything on my website. Everyone is free to use the tutorials, photos and mp3s at home or in the classroom, but no one is allowed to make money off of them.  The only product I currently sell is the French Language Tutorial, but everything else on ielanguages.com is free for personal use. If you find other webpages or ebooks that have blatantly copied any part of my website or blog, please let me know.

Copyright Symbols
MikeBlogs ]

I know that I am not the only webmaster or blogger to have problems with thieves stealing their work. Unfortunately it is a very common problem since it is so easy to copy and paste. Expats in France will probably remember Polly-Vous Français?’s fiasco a few years ago when an author quoted one of her popular blog posts and did not ask Polly for permission beforehand, nor did she attribute the work to her in the actual book (claiming that she couldn’t find the blog online because she’s apparently never heard of Google) nor did the publisher offer any financial compensation to Polly for having used her work.

Perhaps the most ridiculous example of someone truly believing that “everything on the internet is in the public domain” is Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs who was actually quoted as saying that the entire internet is considered the public domain. Think about that for a second. She’s been a magazine editor for 30 years. And she thinks she can just copy whatever she wants from the internet, as long as she credits someone as the author, but without asking for permission, telling them, or paying them. I wish I were making this up. Gawker, BoingBoing and NPR all picked up the story a few months ago if you want to read the unbelievable e-mails the woman sent.

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content is a good explanation of what webmasters and bloggers can do when (not if) someone copies their website. Any other bloggers out there have problems with intellectual property theft? How are you handling it?

Pour les francophones qui veulent apprendre l’américain / For French speakers who want to learn American English

NOUVEAU! Cours gratuit à Udemy!

American English for French Speakers

Voir aussi le cours de prononciation américaine pour apprendre à prononcer toutes les voyelles et toutes les consonnes de l’anglais avec un accent américain !

American English Pronunciation: Vowels and Consonants

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Après quatre longues années en tant qu’enseignante d’anglais, j’ai envie d’aider les francophones à apprendre la langue des Etats-Unis, ou l’américain comme disent les français. Même si la plupart des manuels scolaires sont écrits en anglais britannique et la plupart des profs parlent anglais britannique, mes élèves et mes étudiants voulaient toujours mieux comprendre l’américain parce qu’ils préféraient l’accent ou ils adoraient le cinéma américain ou ils avaient l’intention de travailler pour une entreprise américaine. Malheureusement, il existe toujours cette idée ridicule selon laquelle l’américain serait moins correct et moins désirable (ce qui est complètement xénophobe) et même moins utile dans le monde anglo-saxon – une opinion absurde vu le nombre d’anglophones, ou américanophones pour être plus précis, dans le monde entier.

Pour les francophones qui veulent apprendre l'américain

Donc j’ai commencé à écrire un tutorial pour les francophones qui veulent apprendre l’américain et réviser les bases de langue pour éviter les fautes gênantes ou traductions trompeuses. Il n’est pas encore fini, et par conséquent ne figure pas parmi les tutoriaux actuellement disponibles sur le site, mais voilà quelques petites leçons :

  1. Les américains ne disent jamais I speak American, mais seulement I speak English. American n’est pas une langue aux Etas-Unis, sauf si on veut être vu comme un nationaliste excessivement patriote. Par contre, American English est tout à fait normal si on veut distinguer les accents. On parle aussi de British English pour l’accent anglais (mais pas pour les accents écossais ou gallois ou irlandais – ils ont leurs propres adjectifs). Pour nous, British est égal à English dans le sens de nationalité ou de langue. C’est simplement pour éviter de dire English English qu’on dit British English.
  2. Méfiez-vous des différences de vocabulaire et des mots qui ont un sens plus péjoratif. Fag est de l’argot en Angleterre pour une cigarette, tandis qu’aux Etas-Unis, c’est une injure grave envers les homosexuels. Homely en anglais signifie quelqu’un aux goûts simples ou quelque chose de simple, familial, voire accueillant. Aux Etats-Unis, ça veut dire laid, peu attrayant, déplaisant, etc.  Rubber veut dire une gomme (pour effacer) en anglais, mais c’est un préservatif  pour les américains.
  3. Water with gas n’est JAMAIS correct en américain pour parler de l’eau pétillante. D’abord, les américains ne boivent presque jamais de l’eau pétillante. Je ne savais même pas que ça existait avant mon premier voyage en Europe !  Si vous êtes serveur/serveuse et vous voulez parler anglais avec vos clients, dites sparkling water (le plus courant dans les restos) ou fizzy water. Carbonated water est même plus courant dans la vie quotidienne. Gas en américain veut dire l’essence ou le gaz en langage standard, mais il veut dire aussi la flatulence en argot. Donc la première chose à laquelle on pense quand on entend la phrase water with gas, c’est que soit quelqu’un a mis de l’essence dans l’eau, soit quelqu’un a pété dans l’eau – et évidemment on ne veut pas du tout boire ni l’un ni l’autre !
  4. De façon similaire, si vous travaillez chez un glacier, dites scoops et pas balls pour la traduction de boules de glace. Balls en américain, ce sont les ballons ou les balles en langage standard, mais ce sont aussi les testicules en argot. Mélanger des testicules avec de la glace, ce n’est pas très joli (ou confortable, j’imagine…)

Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning Online and Teaching (MERLOT)

The MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning Online and Teaching) website is a great collection of online materials for students and teachers across all disciplines, ranging from agriculture to world languages. If you’re looking for resources to use in your classroom or for self-study, I recommend starting with MERLOT before doing a general internet search because the materials are peer-reviewed, under a Creative Commons license, and the results are not influenced by certain companies who are promoting a product.

From their About page: “MERLOT is a free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy. MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered, collection of peer reviewed higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services.”

I am proud to announce that my French Listening Resources mp3s are now included in the French materials and that they are available under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share Alike license, meaning that you can copy, distribute, and modify the mp3s as long as you attribute me as the creator, do not make money off of them, and share your adapted works under the same or a similar license.

After a short summer break, I have started updating the podcast once again with another eavesdropping mp3. I plan to continue adding a new mp3 each week, recorded by various native speakers in France and hopefully other Francophone countries as well.

French Listening Resources Podcast

You can subscribe to the French Listening Resources podcast through iTunes, regular RSS, or e-mail and the accompanying webpage is available as a regular blog or as an html page, the latter being where you can also find the transcripts and online listening exercises (and eventually the English translations).

It’s good to be home in France, but I miss Germany. And what is happening to Belgium???

I returned home from my 2 week trip yesterday with a cold and over 800 photos. Getting back into a routine is a little hard because I’m so exhausted, but I have managed to upload Dutch, German and French realia as well as several new photo albums. We went to Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Munich, Hohenschwangau (Schloss Neuschwanstein), Triberg & Titisee-Neustadt in the Black Forest, Strasbourg, and of course Mini Europe in Brussels and Europa Park in Rust, Germany.

Mini Europe

Mini Europe in Brussels: Learn about  the 27 EU members!

Michelle and I only see each other once a year since she lives in Arizona, so we try to make the most of the two weeks and see as much as possible. Next year we’re planning to head to Eastern Europe to visit Prague, Krakow, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and perhaps even parts of Slovenia. Or we were thinking of doing an Adriatic Sea/Greek islands cruise; or even a Nordic/Baltic capitals cruise.  Ah, so many places to see!  After visiting the two educational and fun Europe parks, I really want to see all of Europe (not just the EU) someday, but there are just so many interesting places that I don’t know how I’ll ever find the time or money.

Europa Park

One problem, Europa Park. Finland is not really Scandinavian.

I had been to Brussels and Amsterdam before, but I honestly don’t remember seeing much since it was very cold and I was extremely sick at the time. Plus I could barely speak French back then so Brussels was intimidating instead of familiar. Obviously I feel much less stressed about traveling in French-speaking areas nowadays. I absolutely loved listening to Flemish/Dutch in Bruges and Amsterdam and wished that more people studied it so there would be more resources available to learn it.

Bruges

I heart the architecture in Bruges

I had also been to Germany before, but not along the Rhine River or in Bavaria. My German was a bit rusty but I was surprised at how much I could understand (much more in written form than spoken, unfortunately). I didn’t feel completely at ease like I do in France or southern Belgium, but ordering food and buying stamps were not too difficult. The only hard parts are when the other person responds in an unexpected way and you can’t understand what they say, or even if you can understand the words, you don’t understand why they are saying it. When buying groceries at a small store in a suburb of Munich, the cashier asked if I wanted Herzen after I paid. I knew that Herzen meant hearts but I had no idea why she was asking if I wanted them or what type of hearts she was referring to. She showed us some heart stickers, but I just said Nein, danke instead of asking what I was supposed to do with them because I was so caught off guard. (Anyone know why German supermarkets try to give you heart stickers?)

Disney Castle

Schloss Neuschwanstein (Disney Castle)

Because of my interest in WWII and Holocaust history, German is my 3rd language and I’m hoping to attain the same level that I have in French. French has an obvious advantage (I’ve lived in France for nearly 4 years and my boyfriend is French) but with enough exposure and interaction with other German speakers, plus plenty of return trips to Bavaria (fingers crossed!), I think I’ll manage. Strasbourg was a lovely place and hearing two languages constantly spoken on the streets because of all the German tourists made me wish I lived there. Not that living in the Alps is bad. It’s just that I would prefer to live in a bilingual nation or at least closer to the border where I can always be exposed to at least one other language besides French. One foreign language will never be enough for me.

Strasbourg

Strasbourg in Alsace, France

Speaking of bilingual nations, I am completely fascinated by the elections in Belgium. I adore Belgium and love that they speak French and Flemish, but I can see why there are problems since the two languages are separated geographically instead of nearly every citizen being bilingual such as in Luxembourg. Flemish separatists who want the country to be split into two took the lead in parliamentary elections this weekend. It’s still too early to tell if Flanders will become an independent state, what would happen to poorer Wallonia, and if they both would still be part of the EU, but it’s extremely interesting to follow how the history of language use and politics are so intertwined in certain areas. Luxembourg and Switzerland have far fewer problems with regards to language, but Belgium and Canada have always had vocal separatist parties.

So tomorrow it’s back to work, which will hopefully include catching up on e-mails. I do have another real, bill-paying job that I need to do until the end of July so I won’t be able to devote as much time as I’d like to the website, but I’m really excited about it and will explain more later.

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New Photo Albums:

* Belgium and the Netherlands have a few photos from the trip in 2005 first.

Jennie en France #2 in Top Language Learning Blogs 2010!

Bab.la announced the winners of the Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 today and I was very surprised to see that Jennie en France was #2 in the Language Learning category and #3 in the overall top 100 blogs! Thank you to everyone who voted and a special thank you to Benny at fluentin3months.com (who ranked #1 and #2 in the same categories) for nominating me!  The competition was based on votes (50%) and Lexiophiles’ ranking criteria (50%), explained here.

Top 100 Language Blogs 2010

I’m leaving tomorrow for a 2 week trip through Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany. I will be collecting more realia in French, Dutch, German and perhaps even Luxembourgish and I hope to be able to update the blog and respond to e-mails while I’m gone, but that depends on my hotels’ internet connections. When I return in mid-June, I will be able to focus more on updating the language tutorials and listening podcast on a regular basis. The rest of the summer will be devoted to ielanguages.com!

Please vote for Jennie in France in the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2010

Jennie in France has been nominated for the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2010 at Lexiophiles. Voting starts today and ends May 24, with winners announced on May 28. Click below to vote in the Language Learning category:

Vote the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2010

There are also three other categories for Language Teaching, Language Technology, and Language Professionals. You can vote once in each category.

Thank you! Merci ! Grazie! Gracias! Obrigado! Danke! Dankuwel! Tack! Hvala! Spasiba!

Thanks for Russian, Spanish and Italian Recordings

I just wanted to say спасибо, gracias and grazie to the awesome people who have recorded mp3s for the Russian, Spanish and Italian tutorials recently.  We really appreciate your generosity, Marina, Renzo and Corrado! (All three are fans on the Facebook page if you would like to thank them personally.)

You can listen to the mp3s while you are on each page by using Yahoo Media Player – the play button should automatically appear – or you can right-click on the MP3 button to download to your computer. If you use Firefox, I highly recommend the DownThemAll add-on so that you can download all of the mp3s in one click.

I believe I have found someone to do the German recordings, and David will continue to provide the French audio.  If you are interested in contributing sound files of your native language, let me know!

Eavesdropping on the French [New MP3]

I’ve finally uploaded another French Listening mp3 and this one is a little different from the others. First of all, it is much harder to understand because I was basically eavesdropping on random conversations. It starts out with Mamie working on a crossword puzzle, then Parrain talking about winning the lottery and retiring, then Patricia asks Douné if he wants his hair cut, Parrain mentions the end of the world in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar, and then Obama shows up suddenly and the subject gets changed again to staying with a friend. Did you get that in English?? Now try it in French:

This is yet another reason why French is hard to understand. When Anglophones are sitting around a table talking, usually only one person talks at a time while everyone else listens. The opposite happens with Francophones. Several people talk at the same time so it makes it even harder for foreigners to follow along. (This isn’t a dig at Francophones, just an observation – and further support for the need to learn culture and language simultaneously.)

The previous 20 mp3s that I’ve uploaded have been representative of spontaneous, unrehearsed speech which I find much more helpful than carefully scripted and pronounced dialogs. The major difference with this mp3 is that no one knew I was recording them at the time, and so they didn’t have the chance to change their way of speaking like so many people do when they realize their words can be saved forever.  The goal is to make the listener aware of all of the false starts, fillers in speech, and especially slang vocabulary that are so hard to learn from books or even movies (movies are scripted and rehearsed, after all).

I’m trying to bring the real French language to those who want to avoid the catch-22 of language learning: you want to learn the real language before you go abroad so you won’t be totally lost and confused; however, the only way to learn the real language is to go abroad and be constantly exposed to it. I know there is no substitute for living in the country where the language is spoken and interacting with native speakers, but it’s not always an option for certain people. So thank goodness for the internet!