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How to Start Thinking in French

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in French

Going through French lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of French, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in French. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between French and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the French vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in French

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through FrenchPod101.com.

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1. Surround yourself with French

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with French constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a French radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of FrenchPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then French words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in French.

FrenchPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach French.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in French not only gets you in the mindset of French, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With FrenchPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native French speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but FrenchPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with FrenchPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that FrenchPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

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To Do or not to Do on the Beach in France

Learn some French basic phrases to fully enjoy your holidays in France!

Voilà l’été! Ok, not yet…We are only in June but the months of July and August are highly awaited by many, because it is vacation time!

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Do French people like to go to the beach?

Many people take their summer vacations so they can go to the beach. French people usually spend a weekend or even as long as three weeks at the beach.

So if I wanted to go to the beach in France, where should I go?

The most fashionable beaches are on the:

  • English Channel: Cherbourg, Honfleur…
  • Atlantic ocean: Biarritz, Saint Jean du luz…
  • Mediterranean sea: Cannes, Nice, Marseilles…
  • These are the main sea resorts in France, and the destination usually depends on what people want to do.

    The Atlantic side, especially Biarritz, where the waves are big, and it is a surfing spot. There is a famous surfing competition there every summer. All of the Atlantic coast is great for jetskiing.

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    For partying, the French Riviera along the Mediterranean sea is the best. Oui, you can enjoy private beach parties with famous international DJs and if you are lucky, you can make VIP friends who will invite you to night parties on luxury yachts.

    For a family vacation, the north is the place to go if you don’t mind stone beaches and cooler water. The Atlantic is also nice. But be wary of the tides when you go to the beach because in France, they are as fast as a horse running. I don’t know if your horse runs but “tides” in French is les marées.

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    Are French beaches free?

    Most of them are free, but you may have to pay to go to private beaches.

    What should you eat on the beach? Cheese?

    No, we don’t eat cheese! We eat chouchous. Chouchou are peanuts with caramel. There is a guy who yells: chouchou, chouchou! Many people want to sell you things on the beach. Don’t hesitate to ignore them or just say “I don’t speak French” with an American accent, and they will not bother you again!

    What about attitude ?

    Try to not to be loud and noisy. Don’t play music with a sound system as there will be probably one on the beach.

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    What are some other recommendations?

    Keep an eye on your stuff on the beach. Don’t leave your bag alone. French people are nice but you never know!

    Learn some French basic phrases to fully enjoy your holidays in France!

    Here are some handy ways you can master the quotes with this lesson:

  • Press the sound icon to hear each word and read along
  • Review all words in a slideshow by pressing “View Slideshow”
  • Listen to all the words in one lesson with “Play Audio”
  • Add the words to your Word Bank or Flashcards
  • Print the entire list out for your personal review
  • Leave us a comment and put these quotes to use
  • Speak and master even more French with our fun audio and video lessons made by real teachers. Click on “Browse Lessons” in the top menu to access our massive library. Then, start speaking minutes into your lesson.

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    6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

    6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

    There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

    What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

    1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
    Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

    2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
    Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

    Click here for French Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

    3. It helps you relax.
    Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

    Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

    4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
    Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

    Click here for the Top 25 French Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

    If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

    5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
    If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

    6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
    For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

    5 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language

    5 Tips to Motivate Yourself

    1. Schedule your time.

    One of the most important factors in keeping your motivation up is developing it into a habit. Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, schedule time to study every day and stick to it. Regular exposure solidifies what you learn and keeps you progressing. To make sure you stick to your routine, a great idea is to build a schedule for your day and decide that every day/Monday/weekend, you study from 6pm to 8pm. Just remember that 30 minutes a day, every day, is better than a binge 8-hour study session at the end of the week (though it’s obviously better than nothing).

    2. Learn a word a day with our great Word of the Day learning tool.

    Trying to learn everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of words in your new language is not a good idea. Sometimes, even if you do learn new words, you forget them quickly because you haven’t heard them enough in context. As mentioned above, daily exposure to new words is an important factor in solidifying your target language. Our Word of the Day tool delivers you daily words and phrases, shows you how to pronounce them and use them in different contexts. Since you can get the WOTD via email, Facebook, or Twitter, this is a passive way of learning a language that fits into your existing daily social media routine. It only takes 3 minutes to review a word and practice its pronunciation, so you can do it on the way to work, in the gym, or even before you go to bed.

    Click here to get the French Word of the Day for FREE!

    3. Make friends!

    Make friends!

    If there’s a community of people who speak the language you want to learn in your city, start attending those events! Friendship is the easiest way to get comfortable with the slang, intonation, and mannerisms of a new language. The key to learning any language is speaking a lot, so try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. Having friends that speak your target language means that you will find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak that language. But since they are your friends, you will be doing things you enjoy with them. So these situations will probably have little or no stress. These friendships will also mean that you have someone you can ask about language, culture, and so on.

    4. Take a break!

    Break time

    If you’re having an off day or if your brain is already tired of studying, see if you can take a break and do something fun AND useful. Comic books, illustrated stories, and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning while reducing the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory, as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors. This is a way to keep the target language active in your brain without the strain of studying a textbook.

    Don’t get stuck with the same content though. When things start to bore you, move on. Change up your books, movies, anime, music, dramas, and so on when they start getting old.

    5. Don’t give up!

    As with any goal, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. You’d have to be incredibly determined to never have an off-day or consider giving up. And when you do it’s ok, but the important thing is to pick yourself up after this temporary setback and keep going. Knowing you’ve overcome a few obstacles is only going to make the moment you have your first conversation in another language that much sweeter. Like the French proverb says, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

    If you need more motivation, check out this list of the Top 10 Inspirational Quotes in French.

    10 Days of Epic French Holiday Deals Start December 10th

    Hello Listener,

    While people were out getting TVs and DVDs…
    Our listeners were getting better, faster, stronger in French instead.

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday were prime time for language learning..

    But if you missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at FrenchPod101, then good news! The holiday season is fast approaching which means two things: one, wear a sweater and two…

    The FrenchPod101 Holiday Countdown Begins December 10th.

    Serious about mastering French in 2013? Join the Holiday Countdown as we count down the holiday season with 10 days of the 10 BIGGEST deals on French Apps, Audiobooks, Software Subscriptions, and much much more. How big? Try 53% OFF Premium! 55% OFF Basic! 50% OFF Apps and more!

    Starting December 10th until December 23rd – not including the weekend – the 24 hour daily deals begin. At midnight one expires and a new one takes its place! But the catch is… you won’t know what the next deal is until it arrives.

    So… do you take it?
    Do you wait for a better French deal?
    What if you miss one?
    What if Santa just decides to fly past your house altogether?

    No worries! There’s something better coming up. From subscriptions on the fast, fun, and easy French lessons to mobile apps and audiobooks, you have 10 days to get in on the biggest deals of the year and start mastering French!

    Act fast! Deals this big come around only once and last for 24 hours each.

    Want to get notified when the best deals come?
    Click here to sign up for a free lifetime account.

    How to Mind Your Manners in French Cinemas

    For movie-lovers, France may be among the top favorite places to be, as France is among the countries that have the largest art-house movie theaters! They usually focus on noncommercial movies or new and talented movie directors .

    But you may be more surprised to hear that in most (if not all!) of these theaters, food or drink is not allowed!

    Good or bad? It’s for you to judge. However, not drinking or eating allows for these small institutions to respect their philosophy of protecting the seventh art and the ones who enjoy it. By not sitting through a movie while hearing popcorn or snacks crunching or slurping and other drinking noises, the feature presentation is more enjoyable. It sure seems that France takes the art of film making seriously!

    Moreover, as these small theaters are not concerned with making huge profits but rather just covering their costs, selling food and drinks is not a priority compared to being the source of bringing film to a higher form of entertainement. One can also imagine that avoiding food and beverage consumption in movie theaters permits their managers to save on cleaning expenses. Have you ever seen what sometimes a theater can look like after a feature is over? Due to the darkness of a theater, there are many spills and it is quite unpleasant.

    We believe though, that the main cause would be to save spectators the trouble of maybe ending up with a loud-chewing-slurping seat neighbor. But if you are a well-mannered spectator, you can bring your own chewable noise-free snack so you won’t get caught!

    French Efforts to Save Starving Artists

    France takes their art quite seriously, we can be safe to say. That being the case, actors, musicians, and artists have quite a special situation in France, which is quite beneficial for their art; as the government allows them to receive an income through the unemployment fund in France.

    This specific status is called “intermittence,” and it provides them with advantageous benefits. To claim this unemployment financial help, an artist must work a minimum of hours within ten months (it used to be one year, but has recently changed). Once the artist has met this hour threshold, the unemployment fund (ASSEDIC) will pay the artist the following year for the value of the work he or she accomplished.

    For example, if the artist worked for La Comédie Française, he or she will get more money then if he or she had worked for a local theatre. That income is a monthly salary calculated on the number of hours the artist worked and how much the artist’s employer paid him or her during those ten months.

    So in France, an artist’s income comes from both the institution or company that employed him or her and the government.
    This special status considers that artists’ work is quite unstable and this particular profession can undergo irregular periods of work. This status is meant to maintain creation, support art, and allow artists to be freed from trivial circumstances. By living in this secure status, the artist can freely create and be more productive.

    What do you think of these measures? Are they very different from your country of origin? Nevertheless, it does make for the opportunity for us to enjoy the work of these artists!

    Truly a Romance Language!

    It is widely known that France has a beautiful culture and language, but did youknow the historical reason why French is a ‘romance Language’ is a result of wars and invasion?

    French language primarily descends from Latin, the language of the ancient Romans, and thus belongs to the ‘romance’ Language group.

    The Romans were a strong empire that once invaded the actual French territory, which was known as La Gaule; where numerous tribes speaking le Gaulois (Gaulish) composed of Celtic dialects inhabited La Gaule. Some traces of Gaulish influence are still present in the French spoken today; for example, these traces include the Gauls’ ancient and unique way of counting people by twenty.
    (in modern French, we still have quatre-vingt {’80′}, but there were also six-vingt {’120′} and quinze-vingt {’300′}.)

    Once the Romans conquered the Gauls in the second and first century BC, vulgar Latin (which the common people spoke) rapidly dominated, as it was similar to Gaulish, and was deemed fashionable and food for business.

    However, the Gauls were invaded yet again, this time by the Franks, a group of Germanic tribes. Later on though, the Franks were also Romanized and accepted the Roman Empire.
    As the Franks melted into the Romano-Gallic population, a new multicultural population was formed: Les Francs.

    At the beginning, French language was called le Francilien. It was born in Paris and spread all over Europe through poems and literature telling the adventures and loves of heroes.
    French language primarily descends from Latin, the language of the ancient Romans, and thus belongs to the ‘romance’ Language group.

    The Romans were a strong empire that once invaded the actual French territory, which was known as La Gaule; where numerous tribes speaking le Gaulois (Gaulish) composed of Celtic dialects inhabited La Gaule. Some traces of Gaulish influence are still present in the French spoken today; for example, these traces include the Gauls’ ancient and unique way of counting people by twenty.
    (in modern French, we still have quatre-vingt {’80′}, but there were also six-vingt {’120′} and quinze-vingt {’300′}.)

    Once the Romans conquered the Gauls in the second and first century BC, vulgar Latin (which the common people spoke) rapidly dominated, as it was similar to Gaulish, and was deemed fashionable and food for business.

    However, the Gauls were invaded yet again, this time by the Franks, a group of Germanic tribes. Later on though, the Franks were also Romanized and accepted the Roman Empire.

    As the Franks melted into the Romano-Gallic population, a new multicultural population was formed: Les Francs.

    At the beginning, French language was called le Francilien. It was born in Paris and spread all over Europe through poems and literature telling the adventures and loves of heroes.
    These stories were known as ‘Romances’ after the French language, which became in modern French the word ‘roman’ meaning ‘novel’ and in English the word ‘romantic.’

    Because French has been spoken for more than two thousand years, it has spread across its border, and today is spoken all over the world-mainly in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and Monaco. Who knew that invasion and politics would end up creating one of the most popular and loved languages in modern times!

    French Argot Lesson #2: Five Words To Say “L’Argent”

    It is always useful to know the slang for “money” in a foreign language, if only not to get ripped off and to understand when people talk about what is in your wallet…

     So many different ways to say “money” in French! Those greedy French.

     Before we get to those words I would like to mention a French argot specialist. His name is Michel Audiard and even if you probably never heard this name before, you need to know that he is one of France’s pride.

    Michel Audiard (Born in 1920, died in 1985) was a famous screenwriter who is known for his acid, humorous, and “argotique” writing. And, if you happened to watch movies written by Michel Audiard, you surely came across  a multitude of French money-related slang.

    If you would like to check out one of his movies, I recommend Les tontons flingueurs (translated as ” Crooks in Clover” or “Monsieur Gangster” in English). This movie was made in 1963 and is a melange of gangster movie (yes, France has gangsters, too) and comedy. Probably 90% of the French have seen it at least once: it’s a classic. Now, the colloquial French in it might limit your comprehension at some parts, however with perseverance (and subtitles) you will enjoy it as much as any French person.

     And…one scene is ENTIRELY in English! There it is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fRuExSRaBA&feature=related

     Anyway…I got carried away. Now is the time for some serious slang.

     You probably know that the standard word for “money” in French is  L’argent. Here are our five alternate (and much cooler) words:

     - Le fric (the most commonly used one)

    - L’oseille (feminine)

    - L’artiche (masculine - rare but its sound is particularly typical of the argot)

    - Le blé  (literally this means “wheat” )

    - Le pognon (comes from the word poignée, “fistful” )

     Hope you enjoyed!

     

     

    French Bazaar: Oh no! French Slang! Argot Lesson #1

    Have you ever heard of the word l’argot?

    You might have heard of it as being the French slang. Well, it is true to some extent. But there is more to l’argot than just being slang.

     Today we’ll introduce you to one argot French word. But before we do, let’s talk about what l’argot really is.

    The initial meaning appeared in the XVIIth century in France to generally designate professional thieves, beggars and  bohemians.  This group of people was literally called l’argot.

    The word evolved to later designate the language used by this group of people. Just like any social group, they would use a vocabulary that would only exist among themselves. Now, having their own language not only identified each other as a group, it also allowed thieves and assassins to plan their crimes without being understood.

     Overtime, the word l’argot ended up designating every language specific to a certain social group of people. Therefore, there is today l’argot parisien (”Parisian Slang”), l’argot de la Bourse (”Stock Market Slang”), l’argot du journalisme (”Journalism Slang”), etc.

    Here in the French Bazaar, we will mostly introduce you to l’argot parisien, not because we are Paris centered, but because this specific slang is the most used among French people. The Parisian Slang is also the one that directly comes from the original thief and bohemian’s argot we mentioned above.

    Enough with history! What is our first word? It is…

    UNE ALOUF (noun, feminine) - A MATCH

    (Standard French: Une allumette)
    It is very easy to use, you can simply say :

    Tu as une alouf?  “Do you have a match?”

    Or, in the plural form: Tu as des aloufs?  “Do you have any matches?”
    My Dad (I know I keep talking about my Dad, but that’s only because he speaks the most eccentric French), back when he was a smoker, used to ask for aloufs all the time.

    Our next word will start with “B”! We will see you around the corner of the bazaar…