Category Archives: Teaching French

Examples of Authentic French: The Case of Ils

As a follow up to my post on Subject Pronouns in Textbooks: Written vs. Spoken French and how French textbooks do not include the spoken meanings of the pronouns, I came across a few examples of the use of ils in the indefinite sense while preparing transcripts to use in class.

Textbooks still teach that on is the indefinite pronoun that means one / they / the people in a general sense when not referring to anyone in specific; however, this is not actually the case. Just like in English, French uses ils to mean they in both a specific and indefinite sense while on, instead of nous, is used much more often to mean we – which most textbooks do acknowledge, though it is usually classified as only being used in “casual conversation.”

  • From the film L’auberge espagnole:

Moi, par exemple, je suis wallonne, je ne parle pas le flamand. Quand je vais en Flandre, je me fais passer pour une française. Alors, ils me parlent en français… S’ils comprennent que je suis wallonne…

  • From the series Bref on Canal+:

Sur la notice, ils indiquaient qu’il fallait être deux pour monter ce meuble.

 

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

 

For advanced levels, all of the episodes of Bref are available online for free – though many of them probably cannot be used in American classrooms. For self-study and learning slang vocabulary, they are extremely useful. There are no subtitles for the online videos, but the DVD does have closed captioning (of course, it is not the transcript but more of a summary.) The opening screen even includes more examples of using ils in the indefinite sense:

Ils m’expliquent que c’est pas bien de télécharger, mais comme ils me disent sur un DVD que je viens d’acheter, j’ai l’impression que je me fais engueuler à cause des autres.

Finally, Institut Français Deutschland has several great dossiers pédagogiques to use in class on many French films, including L’auberge espagnole, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, Astérix et Obélix : Mission Cléopâtre, Ma Vie en Rose, etc.

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.

Links from the Australian Teachers of French Conference

The conference I attended in Perth at the beginning of April was The Federation of Australian Teachers of French Associations Biennial Conference and the Teachers of  French Association of Western Australia Annual Stage. I presented my research on the gap between what applied linguists recommend for inclusion in textbooks and what is actually in the textbooks regarding vocabulary (more on that later), but for now here are some links from presenters/sponsors/speakers:

  • Frenchteachers – new blog for Australian teachers of French by l’Ambassade de France en Australie
  • Hearsay Language Learning Downunder – using the Accelerative Integrated Method or AIM to teach languages with gestures, plays, songs, etc.
  • Le Forum – French bookshop in Fremantle
  • The Language Centre Bookshop – lots of language learning and teaching resources in Leederville
  • Joe Dale – creating a Personal Learning Network using social media, such as Twitter, to connect with other educators
  • Shay Stafford – former dancer at the Moulin Rouge and author of Memoirs of a Showgirl

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.

More Beginning French Songs

More French songs for beginners! I like quirky (ok, weird) repetitive songs that make the vocabulary stick.

L’alphabet

Comment tu t’appelles ?

Les prénoms

Ça va (there is no actual video for this song but I love the Muppets!)

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.

Beginning French Songs and Videos

I am teaching beginning French this semester and since all of the classrooms are equipped with computers and projectors, I have been delighting my students with weird songs and videos to reinforce the vocabulary they are learning. So for beginning learners of French or other French teachers who want to use videos in class, here are some examples of what I’ve been using:

Alphabet

A bonus in this video is showing how the French count on their hands, starting with the thumb.

What is your name?

Français Interactif’s chansons français has PDF exercises you can download.

I believe I will also introduce them to the love of my life, Pierre Capretz.

But I haven’t decided yet if I will terrify them with Téléfrançais or not.

I use the site www.keepvid.com to download the videos so I don’t have to rely on a working internet connection in the classroom. Windows Live Movie Maker and VirtualDub are free and easy to use programs for editing the videos if you want to cut some parts out or repeat certain sections.

Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.