Géraldine: Learning French through love songs

Listening to French music is a great way to improve your French oral comprehension and speak more modern, everyday French. Today, we’ll discover a famous French love song — perhaps you can use some of these romantic phrases in your own life! Hymne à l’Amour (= Anthem for Love, literally) is a song from 1949 by the very famous French singer Édith Piaf. She was a huge star between 1935 and 1960.

Let’s walk through this French love song’s history, some of its lyrics, and see how you could use some of this French poetry yourself! Take care and stay safe. – Géraldine

12 French Words and Phrases You Should Know

Sometimes updating your French is as easy as just learning a few new words and phrases.

1. C’est mort

If you absolutely don’t want to do something and it’s simply not possible, “c’est mort” [say more]. You’re basically saying that something is dead or like death. If you had all-you-can-eat sushi for lunch and your friend suggests you get all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue for dinner, tell him, “non, c’est mort,” then suggest you go to a place that serves salads.

2. Dans le rush

“Dans le rush” [don le rush] is Frenglish at its finest. It means to do something ASAP, or as a rush-job. If you want the guy in your Paris office you’re working on a project with to get you that sales report ASAP, message him, “On est dans le rush, donc il faut que tu m’envoies le rapport très vite.

3. Sur place

A basic yet important pair of words to know, “sur place” [soor plahss] means “here.” This is essential for when in a pâtisserie and the girl behind the counter asks if you’d like your pastry “à emporter ou sur place?” To best enjoy the atmosphere, you’ll of course respond, “sur place, s’il vous plaît.”

4. Direction [location]!

When you want to say “let’s go!” but also specify where you’re going, say “direction [location]!” [dee-recsheeon]. For example, if you’ve been given the task of choosing the bar you and your coworkers are going to for un afterwork, as you’re leading them out of the office, you can say, “Direction le Perchoir!”

5. Une envie pressante

A fun and easy expression, “une envie pressante” [ewn ahnvee preh-sawnt] means “a need to pee.” (It can also mean the other reason you need to visit the bathroom, but mostly it’s a need to pee.) If your friend wants to run home from the Métro to her apartment after a night out of drinking and dancing, she might explain her behavior by saying, “j’ai une envie pressante!”

6. Chômage technique

“Chômage technique” [show-mahj tek-neek] is a handy expression to know because it gets you out of work; it means to be forced to not work. It can be used seriously (as a company would use it) or jokingly. So if there’s a fire in the break room at your office, you might get a few days off while they repair the damage, in which case you can seriously tell people, “je suis au chômage technique.” You can also use it in a funny way, like if the internet is incredibly slow, you might say “chômage technique” to your colleague and start a game of solitaire on your iPhone.

7. J’ai piscine

Swimming is such a common activity in France that the phrase “j’ai piscine” [jhay peeseen], or “I have swimming,” has become the de facto generic excuse that everyone knows is a fake excuse. Or when your coworkers want to go out after work and all you want to do is go home and watch Netflix, tell them “je peux pas, j’ai piscine” on your way out the door (they’ll know you don’t have swimming, but it’s an endearing way to get out of something!).

8. Être un(e) touche à tout / toucher à tout

This noun, “un(e) touche à tout” [toosh ah to] is the equivalent of a Jack-of-all-trades, meaning someone who is good at everything. For example, a job interviewer may ask what your current responsibilities are, and after you rattle off about 10 things, you could say “je suis une touche à tout.” There’s also a verb form of the word, “toucher à tout,” which means to be good at everything. For example, you could be in the middle of a discussion about Elton John, how he’s a singer, songwriter, pianist, philanthropist, and AA sponsor of Eminem, and say “il touche à tout.”

9. Franco-français

Because it isn’t enough just to be French, we have the word “franco-français” [franco-frahnsay] which translates to “French French.” It’s an adjective used to say something is very French. A business started by a French person in France is franco-français. The debate about whether headscarfs and veils should be allowed in public is franco-français. A U.S. Open tennis match between two French players is franco-français. A girl whose family has been in France for five generations is franco-française.

10. Coup de cœur

This is a useful noun you’ll see a lot in women’s magazines, “coup de cœur” [coo duh cur]. It means “favorite”; it’s basically something that you’re loving right now. Visualize: a page in a magazine’s February issue, titled “Nos Coups de Cœur” that includes images of lemongrass candles, grandma sweaters, a vinyl of Angèle’s album, AirPods, and other trendy things.

11. Michto

Okay so maybe you don’t need this word, but it’s good to know. “Michto” [meeshtoe] means “gold digger,” and it is unfortunately only used to describe women. It’s short for “michtonneuse” and it used to be another word for a prostitute, but the word has evolved to mean women who date men for their money. If your very wealthy friend Laurent is being pursued by a woman who only wants to do expensive activities together then push the bill his way, you might consider gently telling him, “c’est difficile à dire, mais vraiment, c’est une michto.”

12. Quelle histoire

This one comes in handy in everyday conversation. “Quelle histoire” [kell eestoir] means a crazy — in a good or bad way — or funny story (it’s literal translation is “what a story”). You can use it to respond to your coworker’s funny story about he lost and recovered his ID during a wild night out: “Quelle histoire!”

Source: 12 French Words and Phrases You Should Know

11 French Words You Should Know to Sound like a Fluent French Speaker – Frenchly

In honor of la rentrée, France’s return to school and also normalcy, you should make a learning goal of your own:

In honor of la rentrée, France’s return to school and also normalcy, you should make a learning goal of your own: speak French like a real French person. None of this “qu’est-ce que c’est que ça?” stuff, you’re going to say “c’est quoi?” like a normal Gaulle. Here are 11 words and phrases you absolutely need to know for speaking French without sounding like a textbook, as spoken and defined by our French Morning coworkers in the office. Refresh you mind with our lists of words from February,  MarchAprilMayJuneJuly, and August, then dig in. There’s no time to learn French like la rentrée!

1. Ça fait du bien

A very French phrase, “ça fait du bien” [sa fay do bee-en] means “it feels good” or “it does you good.” It’s often used in reference to things that are good for your health / wellness / general being. For example, “ça fait du bien de faire de l’exercice” (it’s feels good to get some exercise) or “ça fait du bien de prendre les vacances” (it does you good to take some vacation).

2. Gros

An adjective meaning fat, “gros” [gro] is also a slang term for “friend.” Think of it as being the same thing as bro. Next time you see your French friend, greet him like this: “salut gros, ça va?”

3. Ah ouais?

“Ah ouais?” [ah whey] is an exclamation that basically means “really?” (in an interested way, not in an indignant way). Because “ouais” is an elongated, dramatized version of “oui,” it translates to “ah yeeees?” If a friend tells you your ex-boyfriend posted on Facebook that he’s engaged, you’ll probably say “ah ouais?” Keep in mind, if you say “ah ouuuuaaais,” dragging out the wheyyy part without raising your voice at the end, it means “yes, of course.”

4. Kiffer

An excellent French slang verb, kiffer [keef-ay] means to like or love something or someone a lot. Je kiffe les croissants de Maison Kayser (I really like Maison Kayser croissants). Maxime kiffe Shania Twain (Maxime loves Shania Twain). Il la kiffe grave (he loves her so much). You can also use it for “has a crush on.” Jessica kiffe Benjamin Pavard (Jessica has a crush on Benjamin Pavard).

5. Tu déconnes

Using the verb “déconner” [day-cone-ay] which means messing around, you can tell someone “you’re kidding” with “tu déconnes.” You can use it when you’re incredulous about something, or when you’re indignant, like “you’ve got to be kidding me.” In the popular song “Djadja” by Aya Nakamura, she tells off an acquaintance for claiming they slept together: “Putain, mais tu déconnes / c’est pas comme ça qu’on fait les choses” (Damn, but you’ve got to be kidding me / that’s now how we do things.”

6. Justement

Another one of those French words that’s ubiquitous but you don’t know what it means. “Justement” [joost-mahn] is like “exactly” or “rightly.” If your coworker is arguing that the best time to visit France is in the fall and you agree with him, you can respond, “justement, tous les touristes sont partis.” You cannot, however, say “justement” on its own as an exclamation. It has to start a sentence.

Continue reading at 11 French Words You Should Know to Sound like a Fluent French Speaker – Frenchly

How Duolingo uses dirty gaming tricks to get you addicted to French

By watching its users learn languages – and make mistakes – in real time, Duolingo is developing a unique view of education

After months spent away from the language-learning app Duolingo, my level-five French skills were in decline. The “food” category was particularly threatened, coded red (for danger) with just one “strength bar” remaining. I clicked it, and was asked to translate: Je mange un repas. No problem. “I eat…” Wait, what was repas? My mind drifted to arepas, the Colombian snack. Defeated, I Google Translated. A meal! I should have intuited this from the English “repast”. But, in the moment, I forgot.

Learning is forgetting; or, more accurately, it’s virtually forgetting that we know something, but then being able to magically retrieve it when called upon. As Ulrich Boser, author of Learn Better, suggested to me, the human mind is not simply a computer; we will forget things, at a fairly predictable rate. So should I have simply drilled French food vocabulary every morning over my petits déjenuers? No, Boser says. The best thing “is to learn a word right when you’re about to forget it”. With each instance of effortful relearning, you remember longer [ . . . ]

More: How Duolingo uses dirty gaming tricks to get you addicted to French