Category Archives: Learning French

How to say in 12 languages

How to Say in 12 Languages – Image Gallery

Learn multiple related languages together

Do you like to learn related languages together? The 12 languages images will help! Words or phrases appear in French, Italian, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish.

These images are also posted on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest when I create them. The old 8 languages images will be updated to 12 languages too.

For more multilingual goodness, visit the Comparative Vocabulary and Verb Conjugation Lists for Romance, Germanic, and Scandinavian Languages.

Also subscribe to the Youtube channel where multilingual videos are available. I plan to create many more videos in 2019.

How to say in 8 languages

Learning 8 languages together

For aspiring polyglots, the 8 languages images that I’ve been posting to the ielanguages social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest) can be found in the photo gallery below.

Languages include French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Dutch, and Swedish. Use the tags to find translations on a certain topic, such as weather or health. In 2019, a new gallery of 12 languages will be created to include Catalan, Afrikaans, Norwegian, and Danish. All of the 8 languages images will be updated to the new format.

Frequent French Words in Lexique Database

Frequent French Words in Lexique Database

French Language Database: Lexique

Lexique is a free database of frequent French words that you can download (text file or spreadsheet) or consult online. It contains 135,000 French words that can easily be filtered or sorted to look at patterns such as most frequent words or phrases, number of homophones, parts of speech, etc. The corpus that it is based on includes both literature and film subtitles so you can also compare differences among books and films. You can also search the corpus for the sentences containing certain words to see how they are used in context.

Frequent French Words: Verbs

One aspect of Lexique that I prefer over other databases or frequency lists is that verbs are not only included as the infinitive form. All conjugated forms are included so you can easily see which tense or person/number is more frequent. Auxiliary verbs (avoir and être used in compound tenses) are separated from regular verbs, so if you are interested in form only rather than meaning, you’ll need to add up the frequencies. Homonyms such as va (imperative) and va (present tense) are not separated, but different parts of speech are, i.e. danse as a verb vs. danse a noun are two separate entries in the database.

If you download the Excel spreadsheet, apply a filter to only show AUX and VER, then sort the list by frequency, you can get some interesting on data on verb forms. In the table below, you will see that the imperfect tense is quite common in books. There are also a few conditional forms, but no future or subjunctive, in the top 30 verb conjugations.

Verb Form Infinitive Aux/Verb Frequency Conjugation
est être VER 6331.76 ind:pre:3s;
était être VER 3688.99 ind:imp:3s;
avait avoir AUX 3116.42 ind:imp:3s;
a avoir AUX 2926.69 ind:pre:3s;
ai avoir AUX 2119.12 ind:pre:1s;
a avoir VER 1669.39 ind:pre:3s;
est être AUX 1600.27 ind:pre:3s;
était être AUX 1497.84 ind:imp:3s;
avait avoir VER 1496.15 ind:imp:3s;
été être VER 818.99 par:pas;
sont être VER 713.18 ind:pre:3p;
être être AUX 685.47 inf;
avoir avoir AUX 649.26 inf;
ai avoir VER 619.05 ind:pre:1s;
avais avoir AUX 566.76 ind:imp:2s;
suis être AUX 560.47 ind:pre:1s;
ont avoir AUX 553.31 ind:pre:3p;
étaient être VER 534.19 ind:imp:3p;ind:pre:3p;sub:pre:3p;
avaient avoir AUX 524.26 ind:imp:3p;
être être VER 505.61 inf;;inf;;inf;;
aurait avoir AUX 491.15 cnd:pre:3s;
eu avoir VER 436.76 par:pas;
étais être VER 403.11 ind:imp:1s;ind:imp:2s;
étaient être AUX 393.85 ind:imp:3p;
sont être AUX 386.35 ind:pre:3p;
avais avoir VER 351.96 ind:imp:1s;ind:imp:2s;
as avoir AUX 294.46 ind:pre:2s;
serait être VER 285.27 cnd:pre:3s;
fut être VER 284.46 ind:pas:3s;
es être VER 256.62 ind:pre:2s;

This is something to keep in mind when learning/teaching French. Perhaps we should introduce the conditional before the future? Most textbooks tend to do the opposite, especially since the future and conditional use the same stems. However, the imperfect and conditional use the same endings, so the same argument could be made for teaching them together – which is strengthened by the fact that conditional forms are more frequent than future forms, as the Lexique database indicates.

I’ve always disagreed with teaching tenses separately (going from present to passé composé, then adding imperfect, followed by future, conditional, subjunctive, etc.) It seems more useful to me to teach the most common verbs and their forms regardless of the tense. This is why I include imperfect and future forms when I first introduce avoir and être in my French Language Tutorial – though now I see that I should perhaps have included conditional instead.

Thanks to corpus linguistics techniques, it is easier to design language learning materials that represent actual language use. Part of my PhD dissertation explores this topic if you’re interested in learning more.

Let me know if there are other databases of frequent French words that include conjugated verb forms instead of just infinitives!

Polyglot Board Game - the fun way to learn languages

Polyglot Board Game is the Fun Way to Learn Languages

Language enthusiasts, if you have ever wondered if a multilingual language learning board game exists, the answer is yes! Polyglot board game was created by Polyglot Inc. of Miami, Florida, in 1987. I don’t know if the company is still active or if they have created other language learning resources, but let’s take a look at this amazing game.

 

Polyglot Board Game

Polyglot Board Game

My game is obviously a bit faded… but at only $14.95, it was a great deal!

From the back of the box: A mind expanding educational game designed to enrich the understanding and knowledge of foreign languages. Play this fast paced exciting game of words and phrases in one or up to six languages. You’ll not only race for the win, but learn new words, phrases and better pronunciation for languages you want to improve or master. Elevate your command of ENGLISH, SPANISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, and YIDDISH.

 

How to play Polyglot

Instructions are included in all of the languages, except Yiddish (though it could just be missing from my game). Read the instructions in English below. Click on the images to make them larger.

Polyglot Board Game Instructions Polyglot Board Game Instructions 2

 

Polyglot Vocabulary Cards

The two decks of cards include 1,800 words in each of the six languages plus 150 commonly used phrases. Phonetic pronunciation is included for each word and phrase. Even if you don’t have any polyglot friends nearby to play the game with, you can just use the cards to study vocabulary.

White cards are for individual words:

I’m not sure why the Romance languages are split up among German and Yiddish, as I think it’s easier to learn them side-by-side. [Take a look at my Romance languages comparative vocabulary lists if you want to learn several languages together and be able to choose which languages are next to each other.]

Yellow cards are for phrases:

 

The Polyglot Board

And the Tower of Babel board:

Polyglot Board Game board that resembles the Tower of Babel

I bought my Polyglot board game at the International Book Centre in Shelby Township in Michigan back in 2005.

If you’d like your own copy, you are in luck because there are some third-party sellers offering it at Amazon!

Has anyone else ever heard of this game or played it? Know of any other polyglot or multilingual board games?

French for Spanish Speakers Courses at California State University Long Beach

French for Spanish Speakers Courses at CSU Long Beach

Did you know that California State University at Long Beach offers French for Spanish speakers courses? They also offer similar courses in Italian for Spanish speakers that emphasize the similarities between these Romance languages. I haven’t heard of other universities (yet) that offer courses like this, though the University of Texas at Austin’s Portuguese courses usually include many students who already learned Spanish and their Tá Falado podcast is designed with Spanish speakers in mind.

Fundamentals of French for Spanish Speakers Course at Cal State Long BeachFundamentals of French for Spanish Speakers course description at Cal State Long Beach

The professors at Cal State Long Beach have also been working with local high school and community colleges to help them develop their own courses. The concept of intercomprehension and taking advantage of the similarities between languages to learn them faster and easier is nothing new in Europe, but I’m always surprised about the few resources available for learning multiple related languages together in the US or for English speakers. I hope more universities, especially Hispanic-serving institutions, follow Cal State’s lead.

Please let us know in the comments if you’ve heard of other schools or universities that offer courses like this!

If you are interested in learning several languages simultaneously, don’t forget to check out our comparative languages resources, including videos for learning French and Spanish together.

Learn Two Languages Together with Duolingo

Interested in learning two languages together, or learning a third language through your second?

Although the majority of courses at Duolingo in other languages are for learning English, there are some courses designed for native speakers of other languages to learn languages such as French, Spanish, German, etc. If you’re already used to the interface in English, it is quite easy to change to another language and try the courses available.

And of course, if you already speak another language, you can always use that language to learn another. Depending on how closely related the languages are, it may be easier to learn a third language through your second language instead of your native language. Personally, I prefer to learn Spanish through French rather than English.

As of mid 2016, the following languages offer Duolingo courses in more than just English:

For Spanish speakers – English, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and Catalan, while Guarani and Esperanto are almost ready

Learn two languages together with Duolingo

Duolingo courses currently available for Spanish speakers

For French speakers – English, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese

For Italian speakers – English, French, German, and Spanish

For Portuguese speakers – English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian

For German speakers – English, French, and Spanish

For Russian speakers – English, German, French, Spanish, and Swedish

For Arabic speakers – English, French, German, and Swedish

For Turkish speakers – English, German, Russian, and French

For Chinese speakers – English, Spanish, and French

For reference, English speakers can currently learn the following languages on Duolingo: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Irish, Russian, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian (Bokmål), Esperanto, Ukrainian, Polish, Welsh, and Vietnamese. Hungarian, Greek, Hebrew, Czech, and Romanian will be released next, with Swahili, Hindi, Klingon, Korean, Indonesian, and Yiddish to follow (but not for a while!)

Don’t forget that you can learn two languages together, or multiple languages simultaneously, with our multilingual comparative resources

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages

What are the Best Chrome Extensions for Learning Languages?

Extensive reading in a foreign language is an extremely effective way to increase your vocabulary, but without the use of graded readers or interlinear translations, it can be frustrating and tedious using a dictionary to look up words that you don’t know. Luckily there are some Chrome extensions that you can use when reading webpages to instantly translate words and even save them to flashcard decks to review later. These Chrome extensions for learning languages all use Google Translate to produce the translations, but let’s take a look at their different options and features.

 

Readlang Web Reader

My favorite Chrome extension for learning vocabulary through translation is Readlang because it saves every word you click on as flashcards so you can review them later. The entire sentence is also saved so you have the context, which is very important in learning vocabulary. You can also change the settings so that you hear the pronunciation after you click the word, and import the entire webpage to your Readlang account. The free account gives you unlimited single word translations and 10 phrase translations per day, while the premium account is only $5 a month or $48 a year. You can also install the Readlang bookmarklet on mobile or tablet (Safari or Chrome on iOS and Chrome on Android).

Readlang Web Reader Chrome Extension for Learning Vocabulary through Translation

Readlang Web Reader

Readlang Flashcards created from words you clicked on

The words you clicked on and the entire sentence are imported into your flashcards

 

Mango Reader Beta

The Mango Reader extension was just released in April and it is still in Beta mode, but it looks promising. After installing the extension, choose the language that you’re learning in the settings, and then just double click on a word. The translation will appear, along with a speaker icon to listen to the pronunciation, plus links to WordReference and conjugation websites. If you have a Mango account, you can sign in and have the option to save the word to your Vocab List to study later. You may have access to Mango Languages for free through your local American or Canadian library, but if not, unfortunately there isn’t a free option to create an account just for Mango Reader. However, for $20 a month or $175 a year, you will have unlimited access to all of their language courses (71 languages and counting.)

One small bug I noticed was that the pronunciation is sometimes an American accent pronouncing the word as if it were English, but the second click produced the correct pronunciation in the correct language. Currently, the supported languages for Mango Reader include: Modern Standard Arabic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, and Latin American Spanish.

Mango Reader Beta Chrome ExtensionMango Reader Beta 

 

Rememberry

Translate words on webpages and save them to your own customizable flashcard decks with Rememberry. Translations  and pronunciations are via Google Translate. This is a relatively new extension, and mobile apps and offline use are in the works.

Google Translate

Of course, Google Translate has their own Chrome extension that makes it easy to quickly look up a translation. With the Google Translate extension, you highlight a word to get the translation (and pronunciation, if available). Clicking on More will take you directly to the translate.google.com page.

Google Translate Chrome Extension

Google Translate Chrome Extension

 

Overall, I prefer to use Readlang because of the minimalist interface and the fact that the entire sentence is automatically saved. Sometimes I just use Google Translate if I’m not interested in saving words to flashcard decks. If you already use Mango Languages often, then their web reader might be a better option so you can save your word lists to your existing account.

Any others?

Are there other Chrome extensions for learning languages that you recommend? Let me know!

[Post updated in April 2017 replacing Rememberry with the now-defunct lingua.ly extension.]

Learn Informal French, French Slang, and Spoken French Expressions with authentic and spontaneous mp3s by several native speakers of French - transcripts and exercises also included!

Learn Informal French and Spoken French with new e-book and mp3s!

Informal and Spoken French e-book + mp3s now available

The companion to French Language Tutorial, Informal and Spoken French, is now available. This e-book is also more than 200 pages with 91 mp3s and free lifetime updates. It is designed to help you learn informal French that is often missing from textbooks and grammar books.

Learn informal French, French slang, and spoken French with authentic mp3s

This new e-book includes: reductions in speech, slang vocabulary and informal expressions, proverbs and idioms, 61 authentic and spontaneous French listening resources with fill-in-the-blank exercises and transcripts, and various realia images from Europe that show how French is used in real life. Both PDF and Word formats are included for easier editing and printing of the exercises. French teachers, feel free to use them in your classes! There are also online exercises to accompany the informal vocabulary lists and listening resources. Download a sample of Informal and Spoken French (including the table of contents).

Buy Informal and Spoken French


Buy Informal and Spoken French with French Language Tutorial!

Buy French Language Tutorial and Informal and Spoken French Together!

You can also buy the two French e-books together at a discounted price. These two products together include over 450 pages, 300 mp3s, and SEVEN HOURS of recorded French.

Buy French Tutorial + Informal French


If you had previously bought French Language Tutorial via Gumroad, you will receive an e-mail with a link to purchase Informal French and Slang at a large discount. E-mail list subscribers also receive a discount on ALL products!

Thank you for supporting ielanguages.com!

(Italian Language Tutorial will be available very soon!)

Romance Languages Verb Conjugations

Romance Languages Verb Conjugations – now with Portuguese

Romance Languages Verb Conjugations – now with Portuguese

The tables of Romance languages verb conjugations are currently being updated to include Portuguese. The tables are arranged with the columns containing French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese – but you can easily drag the columns into whichever order you’d like:

 

The tables include present, imperfect, preterite, future, conditional, present subjunctive, imperfect subjunctive, future subjunctive (for Spanish and Portuguese), affirmative and negative imperative, gerund/present participle and past participle, and the auxiliary verb used in perfect tenses (for French and Italian; they do not change for Spanish and Portuguese).

I’ve also created some simple blank charts in .docx format so you can practice writing out the conjugations. You could type the conjugations if you wanted to, but you are more likely to remember what you write with a pen or pencil than what you type on a computer.

Although they are designed to match the layout of the online verb conjugation tables, the charts can be easily modified if you want to compare different tenses/moods of the same language (such as present indicative and present subjunctive side-by-side). I’ve also left most of the labels blank so you can change the order of the languages and tenses/moods.

 

Downloads:

Conjugation Charts – Letter – Landscape

Conjugation Charts – Letter – Portrait

Conjugation Charts – A4 – Landscape

Conjugation Charts – A4- Portrait

 

Happy conjugating!

FluentU vs Yabla Language Learning with Authentic Video

FluentU vs Yabla – Language Learning with Authentic Video

FluentU vs Yabla for Learning Languages through Video Immersion

FluentU and Yabla are subscription websites for learning languages with authentic videos. Because they include subtitles (as well as English translations), the videos are a great way to improve your comprehension and learn new vocabulary. In this FluentU vs Yabla review, we’ll start with what both websites offer and then focus on the advantages of one over the other.

Features of both FluentU and Yabla:

  • available in multiple languages
  • ability to show or hide the subtitles and English translation
  • click on a word to see the translation, and add it to a set of flashcards to review later
  • play short sections in loops if you want to focus on a particular phrase or sentence
  • a large library of videos with new videos added each week
  • free videos to check them out before committing to a paid subscription
  • schools/classroom subscriptions for teachers who want to assign videos as homework and track their students’ progress

FluentU

FluentU offers videos in Spanish, French, Italian, German, English, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. (Italian seems to have fewer content than the other languages, and Portuguese appears to be in the works.) FluentU costs $15/month or $120/year for the Basic plan and $30/month or $240/year for the Plus plan.

FluentU prices

The video interface is quite neat and clean, with the translations appearing when you hover over the word. Clicking on the word gives you more sample sentences and the option to add the word to a flashcard set.

FluentU vs Yabla Video Interface

If you are learning several languages, then FluentU will be perfect for you because your subscription gives you access to ALL languages. Fifteen dollars a month to learn nine languages is a pretty great deal.

Yabla

Yabla offers videos in Spanish, French, Italian, German, English, and Chinese. Yabla costs $9.95 a month, BUT each language is a separate subscription, i.e. if you wanted to subscribe to both Spanish and French, you would need to pay $9.95/month two times.

Yabla prices

The video interface includes the dictionary on the right if you click on a word, as well as options to slow the video down and play a vocabulary game:

FluentU vs Yabla Language Learning with Authentic Video

Note that you can use the dictionary to look up any words, not just those that are used in the video you are watching.

How to Choose between FluentU and Yabla

I recommend both websites because they offer invaluable exposure to authentic language. So is there a clear winner in the FluentU vs Yabla competition? The best way to decide between the two basically depends on how many and which languages you are learning:

If you are learning only one language (either Spanish, French, Italian, German, English, or Chinese), then Yabla will be slightly cheaper.

If you are learning two or more languages, then FluentU will be a better deal especially on the Basic plan.

If you are learning Italian, there is currently more content available at Yabla.

If you are learning Japanese, Korean, or Russian, your only option is FluentU.

Let me know your thoughts on these websites!

 

This post was last updated March 2018.