Posts from the ‘French language’ category

How to say “Grumpy”

This is my favorite new word, thanks to a student I’m tutoring who asked me how to say it this week. I guess I am always happy when I study French, because I had to look it up! Since it is currently December, I know I will always associate this word with one of my childhood favorites, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. As I am heading into my final semester of school, I hope I don’t need to say this about myself very often, though!

grincheux (masc); grincheuse (fem)

 

Je suis grincheuse! = I’m grumpy! 😠

 

Ne sois pas grincheux ! C’est le Noël ! = Don’t be grumpy! It’s Christmas!

 

How to say "I'm grumpy! or "Don't be grumpy!" | Frenchcapades.com

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La Vie en Rose Song Translation

Whenever I hear this song, cliché though it may be, I always feel a deep longing to be in Paris. One day I was singing along to it as it played in one of my favorite movies, and I realized I wasn’t 100% sure of all the words in the verses – the way they are either condensed or drawn out in the melody. So I looked up the lyrics.

After having taken a French translation course last year, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own English translation for it as well. What follows is not word for word, but a very close rendition of how we would say the same ideas in English. I also made a free printable version of it for you. I hope you enjoy it!

La Vie en Rose (français)

Des yeux qui font baisser les miens
Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche
Voilà le portrait sans retouche
De l’homme auquel j’appartiens

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose

Il me dit des mots d’amour
Des mots de tous les jours
Et ça me fait quelque chose

Il est entré dans mon cœur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause

C’est lui pour moi, moi pour lui dans la vie
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie

Et dès que je l’aperçois
Alors je sens en moi
Mon cœur qui bat

Des nuits d’amour à ne plus en finir
Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place
Des ennuis, des chagrins, s’effacent
Heureux, heureux à en mourir

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose

Il me dit des mots d’amour
Des mots de tous les jours
Et ça me fait quelque chose

Il est entré dans mon cœur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause

C’est toi pour moi, moi pour toi dans la vie
Il me l’a dit, l’a juré pour la vie

Et dès que je t’aperçois
Alors je sens dans moi

La Vie en Rose (English)

A look in his eyes I can’t meet with mine
A laugh that gets lost on his lips
That’s the unaltered picture
Of the man I belong to

When he takes me in his arms
He speaks to me so softly
Life looks rosy to me

He whispers sweet nothings
Everyday words
And it does something to me

There’s a little bit of happiness in my heart
And I know the cause of it
It’s him for me, me for him, forever
He told me so, swore it forever

And as soon as I see him
I feel within me
My beating heart

Nights of neverending love
Bring great happiness to me
Troubles and regrets are erased
Happy, I’m so happy I could die

When he takes me in his arms
He speaks to me so softly
Life looks rosy to me

He whispers sweet nothings
Everyday words
And it does something to me

There’s a little bit of happiness
in my heart
And I know the cause of it

It’s you for me, me for you, forever
He told me, swore it forever

And as soon as I see you
I feel within me
My beating heart

Written by Edith Gassion, Louis Guglielmli
Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Beuscher Arpege

Free Printable Version:


Click above to download PDF

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How to Say the U.S. States in French

When traveling, the first thing people often ask you is where you’re from. Of course, you could always say your state in English and probably be understood. But it’s interesting to think about the way place names change across cultures. For example, London becomes Londres in French. Paying attention to these small details will elevate your level of French speaking and understanding.

Here’s how I learned to easily remember the names and genders for all the US states.


Step 1

Learn the gender of each state. Only 9 of the 50 US states are feminine! If in doubt, go with masculine and you’ll be right more often than not.

All of the feminine states have a different spelling (more on this in Step 2). They are:

Caroline du Sud
Virginie Virginie de l'ouest
Floride Louisiane

Another way to remember the gender is that all feminine states end with an “e.”  Naturally, there are 5 pesky exceptions of the masculine states which end in “e” also. I think it’s easiest to commit the 9 feminine states to memory, rather than memorize the exceptions separately. But just in case you’d like to know, they are: Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware, Tennessee, and Nouveau-Mexique.

 


Step 2

Learn how to say the state names. Only 15 of the 50 states have a different spelling; most are only slightly different. These include all 9 feminine states above, plus these 6 masculine states:

Nouveau-Mexique Dakota du Sud
l'état de Washington l'état de New York Hawaï

“L’état de” (the state of) is used to differentiate these states from New York City and Washington, D.C.

The rest of the masculine states are just the plain old US names, spoken with a French accent, of course! For example, “Iowa” is pronounced “EE-owa.”

So out of 50 states, learning a mild variation from the English for just 15 of them isn’t too bad!

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Step 3

Put it all together to say where you’re from. Remember that de means “from,” but it changes to du when combined with the masculine article. When preceding a state that starts with a vowel, it becomes de l’

Examples:

    Je viens du Texas.   (de + le Texas = du)
    Je suis de la Floride.   (de + la = de la)
    Je viens de l’Iowa.   (de + le + vowel)
    J’habite au Missouri.   (à + le = au)

I created a PDF chart and map you can download for free, to help you learn these.

US States in French chart and map

Click image above to download PDF

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Petit à petit – French proverb

“Little by little, the bird builds its nest.”

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, this reminds me to take one small step at a time!

Petit = little (adjective) à = at, to, by (preposition)
l’oiseau = bird (masculine noun) fais = from verb faire, to do or to make
son = his/her (possessive pronoun) nid = nest (masculine noun)

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Project: Build a French City

At our homeschool co-op, I taught a class called “Bon Voyage” with travel-themed vocabulary and culture lessons: famous monuments, shopping, transportation, and directions on a map.

One of the most charming aspects of French life is the variety of small specialty shops found in each town, from small villages to large metropolitan cities.  Despite the noise of the bustling, modern world, wandering the streets in France can feel like traveling back in time. Popping in and out of little mom-and-pop shops, exchanging greetings of “Bonjour Madame, Bonjour Monsieur!” is so vastly different from shopping at Wal-mart!

French shops - la crèmerie

One of my faves – fresh cream ladled into cups, yogurt in glass jars, and dozens of fragrant cheeses.

(Hmmmm… I wonder if somewhere in France there is an opposite of me, someone who thinks French shopping is old-fashioned and yearns to shop at Wal-mart? Would they take pictures of giant cola and chip displays, like I take photos of pastries in bakery windows? Surely not!)

Before classes began, I found several long, rectangular boxes and spray-painted them a creamy stucco color, to represent the limestone of Parisian buildings.  I spray painted the box flaps a textured slate-gray color for the roofs. Each student was given a stiff cardboard panel, about 14″ tall by 11″ wide, to fit the outside dimensions of my boxes.

I wanted to make wrought-iron balconies from pipe cleaners or wire, but it was time-consuming and didn’t look right in the end. I tried finding a window graphic of balconies to cut and paste, but no luck. Another mom found an arched window graphic, so we printed several sheets of windows and cut them out. This gave everyone’s panel a unified look.

Balconies in Paris 1

As my students learned the names of French specialty shops, each chose their favorite and created a representation of it on their cardboard panel.  Every week we added buildings, streets, shops, and monuments to build our city.

The streets were spaced wide enough for them to walk through, so we could practice giving/receiving directions to tournez à gauche (turn left), tournez à droite (turn right), or continuez tout droit (go straight) until they arrived at their assigned destination.  This is what I love about homeschooling: learning “off the page,” i.e., learning by doing. No boring workbook pages!

Once all the storefront panels were finished, we attached them to the large boxes I’d painted, and arranged them into market streets, like this one:

rue Montorgueil – one of my favorite market streets in Paris

Student ages ranged from 7 to 17 years old, and I was amazed to see their creativity!  Below are some photos from our Open House, where we had to fit everything on tabletops along with displays from other classes.  For some reason, I didn’t get photos of it on the floor in the classroom, probably because we were always busy trying to make progress in a 45-minute class held only once a week!

La pâtisserie, the pastry shop

This student amazed me by sculpting her own pastries and cakes for her window!  She covered the cardboard in scrapbook paper, made an awning, and cut an opening for the door.

La boucherie, the butcher shop

This student cut out the butcher and meat display, then added foam spacers for a 3D effect (hard to tell from photo but a great effect). His awning is bordered with a ribbon, and the door and windows have real wood frames.

 

La boutique de fleuriste, the florist shop

Two girls worked on this shop. In another co-op class, they were learning paper quilling, so they made all the flowers from paper and sculpted little clay pots for them! Floral fabric for the awning.

La poste – the post office

French mailboxes and mail trucks are all yellow, as opposed to blue in the U.S. and red in the U.K. Isn’t that interesting?

Le café

This one has tables outside, with a chalkboard menu, and a white poodle! The French love to take their dogs with them everywhere, even to restaurants.

Le parc – the park

Every town has its green spaces, some with ponds and water features. This lady is having a pique-nique with a baguette.

La boulangerie – the bakery

More 3-D bread in the window. Awnings are an essential feature of French shops.

Le musée – the museum

The girl who made this one took time to paint the inside, cut out fancy windows, and fill it with paintings and adorable hand-made sculptures. Love it!

For the open house, I added photos and labels so observers could see what we’d been learning about in class.

We also created a roundabout with a model of the Arc de Triomphe, from a free online printable. Since then, I’ve found a nicer color version here.

These are grouped close together on tables, but during class they were spaced far enough to walk through. See the tiny airplanes at the airport? We also had a zoo with animals, hotels, and little cars and buses, all made by the students.  Voilà!  Everything you need for a successful city!

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French words used in English

One of the most convincing reasons I know for learning French is to help with English vocabulary and spelling.  That’s right, I said English!  Did you know nearly one third to one half (depending whom you ask!) of the English language is made up of French words? We can attribute this fact to the Norman invasion of England, back in 1066.

Read any great book of literature, and you’re likely to come across several French words or phrases, such as raison d’être, nouveau riche, or savoir faire. Your understanding and comprehension is much greater if you’re familiar with these words. As well, many spelling rules, or exceptions to rules, have to do with French phonograms, like words ending in “-tion.”

Here’s a lesson I created to help whet your appetite for learning more French.  It’s called 13 Everyday English Words that are Actually French. Continue reading…

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Clafoutis – Easy French Dessert

If you can make pancakes, you can make this easy French dessert recipe! Don’t let the fact that this recipe comes from Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking frighten you. There is nothing scary about these 7 ingredients, and it’s versatile as a tasty breakfast, snack, or dessert.

Start by assembling all your ingredients and measuring them out. This step is called mise en place in French, and it’s very important! Notice the recipe says to use half the sugar called for in the batter. The rest will be used to sweeten the fruit itself. Continue reading…

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The Most Important French Lesson in One Word

I’ll never forget the most important word my Russian language teacher taught me, and I think it applies to every language.

When I was 16, my family moved from Texas to Missouri, and my new high school’s French program left a lot to be desired.

In my senior year, I decided to skip French and try out Russian, a new course offered for the first time that year. (Back then, Russian was the “in” language to learn, so we could help win the Cold War.) For me, the linguist wanna-be, it was just another fascinating language I wanted to try. Memorizing was easy for me, and I really liked the teacher, Mr. Bob Bair.

One day he was drilling the Cyrillic alphabet, writing the symbols on the chalkboard and calling on us to identify them. He wrote one of the few letters I’d not mastered – the equivalent of the letter “G” in English – and called on me. My mind went blank, and after a few tense moments of silence, I had to admit I didn’t know the answer. I was both embarrassed and furious with myself. I had gotten nearly perfect grades in my French classes, and I wanted to be the best student in Russian, too.

As he gave me the correct answer, I pounded my fist on my desk, saying loudly, “Dang it! I can NEVER remember that one!” I was truly frustrated, and my mind was full of negative self-talk, punishing me for my “stupid” mistake. Mr. Bair stopped and strode over to my desk. He leaned down to look at me and said quietly, Continue reading…

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The Little Paris Kitchen {Cookbook Review}

This book has some very kid-friendly recipes along with a few hoity-toity ones I probably won’t make, but still find interesting to look at. Overall, a lovely book with lots of French words and pretty photos. 120 recipes. Click the product image for more info.

Croque-madame muffins made with bread, eggs, ham, Swiss cheese, and béchamel sauce

Croque-madame muffins made with bread, eggs, ham, Swiss cheese, and béchamel sauce

Now here are two of my favorite recipes from the book that she did on her BBC show. I love how she takes a classic French dish, then puts a fresh spin on it. Like these Croque-Madame Muffins! The sandwich is nice, but these are so fun to make! The kids will love rolling the bread and sprinkling ingredients in.

I’m always a francophile first and foremost, but on a secondary level, I’m super keen on those Brits, too! This book and show marries the best of both worlds for me. I’ve even been known to make my boys endure an English tea party or two!

croque-madame muffins tea party

Real men DO eat finger sandwiches, scones, and croque-madame muffins!

These little madeleines she makes are so delicate and moist! Even without the lemon curd. Serious yummmmm, or as the French say, “Miam miam!” I get a huge kick out of her accent and using words like “whisker” for whisk.

I bet you want to drop everything and go watch the rest of her videos, don’t you? I love/hate when I binge-watch shows like that! Just don’t forget to get your copy of the cookbook by clicking on the image above. (:

This page contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I’ll receive a small commission when you click any items below and purchase on Amazon. This helps offset my site expenses, so I can create fun, informative, and free content. I only recommend things I personally use and love with all my Frenchy heart. Merci for your support!

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Mastering the Art of French Cooking {Cookbook Review}

I am a huge Julia Child fan! If you love food, you simply must own this informative and entertaining book, written for all “servantless American cooks.” I’ve made several recipes from the book (some are posted here) and find it full of so many tips for ingredients and techniques.

I love the master recipes with many flavor variations, which helps you feel more creative in the kitchen. Whenever I find French recipes on Pinterest or elsewhere, I always compare them to what Julia’s take on them was.

It’s a tasty way to learn French food vocabulary, too, because all recipes include the equivalent French recipe names and some French cooking terms. Click product photo for more information.

This page contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I’ll receive a small commission when you click any items below and purchase on Amazon. This helps offset my site expenses, so I can create fun, informative, and free content. I only recommend things I personally use and love with all my Frenchy heart. Merci for your support!

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