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3 Practical Ways to Improve Your French Listening Skills

3 Practical Ways to Improve Your French Listening Skills

So, you’ve been studying French for a year or two. You feel like you have a pretty good handle on the most romantic of the Romantic languages. So you buy a ticket to a French speaking country. You’re confident about your skills and expect to woo the natives with everything you’ve learned. Then you step off your flight and suddenly reality hits you right between the eyes…

You’ve studied French but you can barely understand native speakers. If they were to write down what they said or simply said it slower you’d probably be fine. You know the vocabulary and grammar they’re using. For some reason when they speak at a faster speed you can’t keep track of what’s going on. You pick out the first word, a few in the middle, and a phrase at the end; but you’re still halfway trying to guess what they’re talking about.

What’s going on? Have you spent all this time learning French in vain?…

This is a common issue that all language learners face at some point or another. The truth is it’s a really good problem to have, because only students with a higher level of French will experience it. When you know a ton of French but have trouble understanding native speakers the problem is almost always with your listening skills.

Learning what French words mean and practicing how to use them in a sentence are both invaluable skills to develop, but people often forget that in addition to speaking, writing, and reading we have to develop our listening skills in a foreign language as well.

In this post we’ll look a 3 practical ways to improve your French listening skills, so you don’t have to show up to a place like Paris French-struck and dumbfounded. You’ve made it this far in your learning, now it’s time to add that tiny missing piece that will take your conversation skills to the next level.

Listening Skills

1) Practice active French Listening

One of the best ways to practice listening to French is to well….listen to French (shocking right?). But this doesn’t mean putting on some French music and listening to it in the background as you bake baguettes or sip wine. You need to practice active listening.

Get your hands on a recording of spoken French. You can use a movie, news broadcast, or podcast. You can even try subscribing to a French Youtube channel Listen to a segment of the audio and do your best to write down what you hear. After a couple tries at this go back and double check what you wrote against the script of what was actually said. If you’re streaming a movie on Netflix or Youtube you can double check yourself by turning on the French subtitles. Just be aware that sometimes Youtube has auto generated subtitles which aren’t always correct.

FrenchPod101 is one of the best tools for developing your listening skills. You can listen to the French conversation in a lesson and then check back against the lesson transcripts. This is simple, easy, and you can be sure that the transcripts are correct.

There is also a free site called Lyrics training which lets you practice your listening skills by listening to a French song and typing in the missing lyrics as the song plays. It’s a bit more fast paced than using a podcast but it’s also effective and can be fun too.

2) Practice pronunciation

Any problems you have pronouncing French words correctly will be reflected back in your listening skills. It’s hard for your brain to decipher and remember a sound (be it a letter or a word), that you don’t know how to make yourself. A good French accent will give you the ability to hear and pick out the otherwise unnatural (to a native English speaker) French sounds.

To develop your accent focus on any sounds or letters that feel difficult or unnatural for you. In the French alphabet there are a total of 26 letters. Of those 26 there are 3 consonant sounds and 6 vowel sounds that each could pose difficulties for native English speakers. Once you get more comfortable with the basic sounds, start to combine them using words and whole sentences.

Listen to native French speakers as much as possible, and take note of how words and sounds can blend, morph, or get dropped in rapid speech. Do your best to listen to this phenomenon and imitate what you hear. Focus more on how the syllables are said together rather than simply saying the words “next to each other”. There is often a significant difference between how words are said individually and how they are said when spoken together in a rapid fire sentence. This is a big part of the reason French learners can know a lot of French but still not understand native speakers.

I should also point out that FrenchPod101’s playback feature is great for pronunciation practice. You can play back the podcast itself or listen to words individually. You can even listen back at a slower speed! I wish I had known about this tool when I first started learning a foreign language!

Listening

3) Make French listening part of your routine

Now that you’ve started practicing active listening and pronunciation, make it a part of of your regular French learning! I recommend that you allot a specific amount of time for each of your listening activities. For example: you might practice 10 minutes of active listening, followed by 10 minutes of practicing French vowels, and then 10 minutes of imitation practice with a French podcast.

Now, you don’t have to use this schedule exactly. Tailor it to your own needs and availability. The point is that you should make a conscious and decisive effort to practice your French listening skills on a regular basis. It could be 30 minutes a day or it might be 10. What matters most is that you practice consistently.

Final thoughts

These 3 tips will help you close any gap that might exist between your knowledge of the French language and your speaking abilities. Understand native speakers may seem daunting at first, but with a little time and perseverance you will see your abilities improve!

How to Say Happy New Year in French & New Year Wishes

Learn all the French New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join FrenchPod101 for a special French New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in French

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in French? Let a native teach you! At FrenchPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these French New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in France
  2. Must-Know French Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in French
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn French

But let’s start with some vocabulary for French New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in France

Like in many other countries, French people celebrate the New Year, or “Nouvel An” in French, on December 31. This celebration is also called “le réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre” or “le réveillon du Jour de l’an”. For French people, it’s a special time to be spent among friends, an opportunity to eat a good meal, a time to dance, and of course a time to party until the end of the night.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What do French people traditionally have to do when they pass under a sprig of mistletoe, as well as just after the stroke of midnight on New Years?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

In France, people celebrate the coming New year with friends. The celebration takes place at home, or in cafes and restaurants. The most popular places are those close to the Eiffel Tower, or in French, “Tour Eiffel”. Restaurants and homes are decorated with banners, or “banderoles”, displaying messages that say “Happy New Year.” As soon as night falls, people go and meet to share the last meal of the year, and to also spend the evening together. It’s a good opportunity to take some time and enjoy life.

As you may know, French people are foodies. In order to spend the evening well, they have to eat a sophisticated meal! Supper takes place over several courses. First, there is the “apéritif”, when French people drink champagne and give toasts to the health of friends and family. Then they begin to eat, starting with smoked salmon or foie gras on toast. People also eat oysters, meat, or fish. And of course, there has to be a cheese platter! For dessert, French people sometimes eat a log cake. Doesn’t all of this make you hungry?

After the meal, French people turn on the TV for the midnight countdown. The most watched show of the night is called “Le plus grand Cabaret du Monde”, which can be translated as “The Biggest Cabaret in the World.” It takes place at a theater and features magic, dance, and acrobatic performances. Once midnight has struck, the New Year is here! French people celebrate this moment by throwing paper cotillons. French people also wish a “Happy New Year,” or “Bonne Année”, to all of their close relations, so they call all their family members. Then they give each other New Year’s gifts, or “étrennes”. In general, these consist of envelopes with money in them.

Did you know? After the New Year, you should make some resolutions! In French, “New Year’s resolution” is “Bonnes résolutions”. You need to choose one or more ways in which you’re committed to improving your behavior in the coming year. Losing weight, quitting smoking, or playing more sports are the resolutions chosen most often by French people.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question!

Do you know what French people traditionally have to do when they pass under a sprig of mistletoe, and at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s?

Custom dictates that French people should kiss under a sprig of mistletoe. This plant is used as an ornament for the holiday season. It symbolizes prosperity and longevity. The legend states that couples who kiss under the mistletoe will be married within the year.

Happy New Year!
Bonne Année!

2. Must-Know French Words & Phrases for the New Year!

French Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

année

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in France could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

minuit

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

nouvel an

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

How to Celebrate New Year

4- Party

fête

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

danse

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

champagne

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

feu d’artifice

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

compte à rebours

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

vacances du nouvel an

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

confettis

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Réveillon

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

toast

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

résolution

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

parade

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At FrenchPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what French New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions List

So, you learned the French word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at FrenchPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your French friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

lire plus

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more French in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your French language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Passer plus de temps avec ma famille.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

perdre du poids

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

économiser de l’argent

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to FrenchPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Arrêter de fumer.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Apprendre quelque chose de nouveau.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

moins boire

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Faire du sport régulièrement.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

manger sainement

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study French with FrenchPod101

étudier le français avec FrenchPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning French, especially with us! Learning how to speak French can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. FrenchPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special French new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in French, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read French incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with FrenchPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in French could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in French - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with French - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with FrenchPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn French! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that FrenchPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning French at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with French that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning French with FrenchPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in French

How to Say Thank You in French

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power - use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in French
  2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes
  3. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You
  4. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  5. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in French? You can learn easily! Below, FrenchPod101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways French speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

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1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in French

1- Thank you.

Merci !

The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

C’est très gentil à vous/ à toi.

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

Merci pour ces gentilles paroles!

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

Je vous remercie d’être venu(e)s aujourd’hui.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with French speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your French guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

Merci pour votre considération.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!

Merci beaucoup!

This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in French. Use this in an informal setting with your French friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

Les enseignants comme vous ne sont pas faciles à trouver.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your FrenchPod101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

Merci de passer du temps avec nous.

Any host at a gathering with French speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your French language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

Merci d’être patient(e) et de m’aider à m’améliorer.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal French teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in France, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee - gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

Vous êtes le/la meilleur(e) professeur(e) que je n’ai jamais eu(e)!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

Merci pour le cadeau.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

J’ai tellement appris grâce à vous.

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes

In French, you only need one word for expressing gratitude: merci. And for emphasis, you can say merci beaucoup. In either case, in no situation is merci or merci beaucoup considered inappropriate. You can use them as often as you like without regard for age difference, gender difference, formality, or casualness. However, since there is no other way to express gratitude in speech, we often say merci in a mechanical way. In the Cultural Insight section of this lesson, we will look at two ways in which to make merci more personal.

Cultural Insights
A Little Something Extra Politeness-Wise

As we just mentioned, you can never say merci too much in France. Showing gratitude, especially for newcomers, can be a very successful way to have the French warm up to you. So one way to make merci more personal is to use it generously. For instance, if you ask a question in a shop or restaurant, it is a good idea to make eye contact and say merci or merci beaucoup at the end of the exchange. This is the same when getting off a bus or out of a taxi, after an exchange with a waiter, or really after speaking with anyone. If you make the extra effort to look the person in the eye and say merci, the person will feel acknowledged. It can be refreshing, especially in a culture that can be quite formal and make gratitude somewhat automatic. However, on the flip side, don’t be surprised if you don’t have as many mercis coming back to you-at first.

You can show gratitude with people you don’t know personally by adding the word monsieur or madame at the end. For instance, if someone-say a shopkeeper-helps you and you want to show your appreciation while keeping a distance, say Merci, monsieur (”Thank you, sir”.) for a man and Merci, madame (”Thank you, madam.” ) for a woman. In fact, you can add monsieur or madame at the end of any address to a stranger to make it ring with more politeness and respect.

On the run to France? Wait! You can’t go without some basic language phrases under your belt! Especially if you’re heading to meet your prospective employer! Either in person or online, knowing how to say ‘Thank you’ in the French language will only improve their impression of you! FrenchPod101 saves you time with this short lesson that nevertheless packs a punch. Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in French in no time!

3. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in French

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in French, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of French in France!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At FrenchPod101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in French that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in France, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in French’ again…!

4. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language - it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

5. Why would FrenchPod101 be the perfect choice to learn French?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in French - why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special French friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

FrenchPod101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At FrenchPod101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

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We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and FrenchPod101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak French in a very short period of time!

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Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in French on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now - you will thank us for it.

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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French Slang Part I

For French learners: You need to know that, unfortunately, the real world looks a bit different from what you learnt, more confusing and less structured with the use of slang. Here we will tell you why you must study slang, and you will learn 5 of the most used French slangs in everyday life and how to use them properly!

learn french slang expression for everydaylife free slangs

And if you didn’t start yet and want to learn French, click here to access our Absolute Beginner video course to master French basics in few hours for FREE!

Slang is an aspect of language that isn’t usually taught in the classroom but is an important part of becoming proficient in any language. A person learning French might attend daily classes. They might study the grammar and the formalities and might even produce complex and coherent sentences. But, take this student out of the classroom and away from the textbooks, and they will encounter a world of language that breaks the rules they learned.

Although studying proper French rules is important, slang is unavoidable, no matter what language you’re speaking. In drama and music, conversations and advertising, language becomes less formal and goes less and less “by the rules”. Real-life French is so different from the textbooks.

Taking the time to understand slang and informal speech will boost your communication and language skills, and save a whole lot of confusion. Slang will allow you to use language in a current, useful way. No amount of time in class can prepare you for the contemporary nuances you’ll be faced with when you put your language knowledge to practical use out in the real world.

Click here to discover 10 monthly goals that will help you reach fluency in French!

It’s time to cover common French slang expressions that are used every day in France!

1. Vachement - really

The word vachement is a slang expression meaning “really.” You can use this expression when you want to emphasize something. It can be both used with positive or negative words. It is stronger than très (”very”). This expression is often used by young people.

Ce gâteau est vachement bon!
This cake is really good!

2. Etre bourré(e) - to be drunk

The phrase être bourré(e) literally means “to be stuffed.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “be drunk.” You can use this expression when you want to talk about being drunk. This phrase is less formal than ivre and is mostly used with family or friends. This expression is often used by young people.

Tout le monde était bourré à la soirée d’hier.
Everyone was drunk at yesterday’s party.

3. Faire un tabac - to be a hit

The phrase faire un tabac literally means “make a tobacco.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “to be a hit.” You can use this expression when you are talking about something that is a major success.This expression is used often by everyone.

Ce film a fait un tabac chez les jeunes.
This movie was a hit among young people.

For you French Learners, The 15 Best Tips to Remember French Words For FREE

4. Ne pas faire long feu - to not last long

The expression ne pas faire long feu literally means “not make long fire.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “to not last long.”
You can use this expression when you talk about something that doesn’t last very long, or something that ends rapidly. It is often used when someone is about to go to bed, to insist that this person is so tired that she won’t make it much longer if she doesn’t go to bed ASAP. This expression is used often by everyone.

Mon appareil photo n’a plus de batterie, il ne va pas faire long feu.
My camera don’t have battery anymore; it won’t last much longer.

5. Piger - get

The word piger literally means “understand.” But when it’s used as a slang expression, it means “get.” You can use this expression when you are with your friends or family. It is stronger than the neutral word comprendre (”to understand” ) and has a negative connotation.
This expression is often used by young people.

Je n’ai rien pigé à ce qu’il a dit.
I didn’t get anything from what he said.

Check out this list to learn more French vocabulary to be a good lover and sounds like a native speaker!

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The Top 5 Shortcuts To Learning French!

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Hey Listeners!

So you’ve decided to study French, now what?

Chances are you’re looking to become fluent and conversational as fast as possible, right? Well then, look no further! This is the list for you!

Without further ado, here are the top 5 shortcuts to learning French!

Click Here To Start Learning French Right Now!

Click Here To Start Studying French!

1. Create A Study Schedule And Set Some Goals:
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many unorganized language learners there are in the world! Creating a schedule allows you to manage your time wisely, enabling you to free up time to study consistently. Goals are also a key component of learning French. These give you motivation and something to strive for.

2. Make It Fun:
You may roll your eyes at this one, but it’s true! If you learn how to make your study time enjoyable, chances are you’ll be more inclined to study! Try changing it up every now and then with something new. Watch a TV show in French or listen to some French music! The sky is the limit!

3. Find A Language Partner:
This is one surefire way to improve your conversational skills. Having a language partner allows you to practice your target language in a conversational manner. This will help you gain fluency even faster!

Click Here To Sign Up For A FREE Lifetime Account!

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4. Use Word Lists To Build Up A Solid Vocabulary:
This is a great way to build up your fluency, one word at a time. At FrenchPod101, you can use one of our many word lists. Choose whichever topic you want to study and go!

5. Make Mistakes:
Lastly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes! In fact, make a lot of them! Nothing helps you improve more than correcting your own errors. If you catch yourself saying something wrong, you’re likely to remember it the next time around. So just remember, everyone makes mistakes! Learn from them!

Get On the Fast-Track To Speaking French Now! Click Here!

Again, there is no magical, overnight way to learn French. However, doing a few or all of these will help you out substantially. And remember, if you’re really interested in getting on the fast-track to fluency, sign up for a FREE lifetime account at FrenchPod101.com now!

What’s the Root of Today’s French Language? - History of the French Language

History of The French Language and Top 5 Reasons to Learn French

The Root of Today’s French Language

People have spoken French for more than 2200 years. One important document proving its early existence is the Les Serments de Strasbourg*, dated from 842.

From the ninth century, a common language, le Francien, appeared necessary for trade and commerce in what is today Île de France, the region where Paris is located (called Lutèce under the Roman Empire). It was the place to meet to exchange goods; a place where people speaking different dialects from the other regions could only understand each other through a common language evolved from the common forms of the various dialects.

Le Francien spread and rapidly gained prestige, as it was the language of the king. King Hugues Capet** in 987 was the first king who couldn’t understand Germanic (the original language of the Franks, Les Francs) and spoke Le Francien. Therefore, as a prestigious language, it was also used in literature and commerce.

To sum up, today’s “academically correct” French comes from common forms of the different dialects and its usage in the judicial circle and in the king’s court. Therefore, only a small group of people developed what became modern French.

* Les serments de Strasbourg is an alliance between Charles le Chauve and Louis le Germanique, the two grandsons of Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768 to 814, against the threat of a third grandson, Lothair I, the oldest son of Louis le Pieux (”Louis the Pious,” born in 795, died in 855), the sole heir to Charlemagne’s throne.

**Hugues Capet (born in 940, died in 996) was Duke of the Franks (960-987) and became King of the Franks (987-996). He is part of the Capétien dynasty.

Want to learn more about the history of the French language?
Check out this FREE lesson: History of The French Language and Top 5 Reasons to Learn French

The Origins of and the Different Influences on Today’s French Language

The Origins of and the Different Influences on Today's French Language

French comes from the Romance language family of the Indo-European languages, which is divided into various groups of languages. French is a Romance language because it descends from Latin, the language of the ancient Romans.

Historians have traced the earliest development of the French language to just after the Neolithic period (considered to be the last part of the Stone Age) and to three groups of people:

  • The Ligures (located in Provence, a region on the Mediterranean coast, and the northeastern part of Italy),
  • The Ibères (from the Languedoc region located in southern France near Spain),
  • The Aquitains (from the southwestern region of France).

Each group left some traces in modern French as suffixes in names of places, such as -ax, -ox, and -us, which were inherited from the Ligures.

Before the Romans invaded the actual French territory, France was known as La Gaule. Numerous tribes speaking le Gaulois (Gaulish) composed of Celtic dialects probably close to le Breton (still spoken today in the region of La Bretagne or Brittany located in western France), inhabited La Gaule.

Some traces of Gaulish influence are still present in the French spoken today; for example, these traces include the Gauls’ ancient 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, as opposed to literary Latin, which the upper classes spoke) rapidly dominated.

Its success was due to:

  • Its resemblance to Gaulish,
  • Its social prestige, because Latin was considered the language of civilization,
  • Its use in the government and in schools open to Gaulish people,
  • Its use in the army to recruit the recently invaded inhabitants,
  • Its use for communication in business.

In the fifth century AD, the Franks, a group of Germanic tribes from the Northern Sea and the region near the Rhine River, began their invasion of Gaul, but they too were Romanized (as the Gaulish people) by accepting the Roman Empire. Even though sometimes at war, the Germanic tribes also traded and established military alliances and cultural exchanges. With its decline, the Franks became more and more important by melting into the Romano-Gallic population that would later carry their name, Les Francs.

With this multicultural population of the Gauls, Romans, and Franks, the language diverged into:

  • The language of Oil, a mix of Latin and the Franks’ language, le Francique, north of the Loire River,
  • The language of Oc, close to Latin, spoken south of the river (Bourgogne, Savoie, Dauphiné),
  • In the middle, a mix of the previous two languages, the Franco-Provençal.

Although modern French inherited several hundred words of Celtic origin and several hundred more of Germanic origin, it owes its structure and the greater part of its vocabulary to Latin.

Want to learn more about the history of the French language?
Check out this FREE lesson: History of The French Language and Top 5 Reasons to Learn French

5 Ways To Improve Your French Speaking Skills

5 Ways To Improve Your French Speaking Skills

Speaking is usually the #1 weakness for all French learners. This is a common issue among language learners everywhere. The reason for this is obvious: When language learners first start learning a language, they usually start with reading. They read online articles, books, information on apps and so on. If they take a class, they spend 20% of their time repeating words, and 80% of the time reading the textbook, doing homework or just listening to a teacher. So, if you spend most of your time reading instead of speaking, you might get better at reading but your speaking skills never grow. You get better at what you focus on.

So if you want to improve you speaking skills, you need to spend more of your study time on speaking. Here are five tips to help you get started:

1. Read out loud
If you’re listening to a lesson and reading along, read out loud. Then re-read and speed up your tempo. Do this again and again until you can speak faster. Try your best to pronounce the words correctly, but don’t obsess about it. Read swiftly, emote and put some inflection on the sentences. Reading aloud helps to train the muscles of your mouth and diaphragm to produce unfamiliar words and sounds.

Read out loud!

2. Prepare things to say ahead of time.
As you may know from experience, most learners run out of things to say. But, if you prepare lines ahead of time, you won’t be at a loss for words in conversations. This will help you not only to learn how to say the words, but how to say them in the right context. A good way to prepare yourself before conversations is with our Top 25 Questions Series, which teaches you how to ask the most common conversational questions, and how to answer them, in French:

Click here to learn the top 25 French questions you need to know.

3. Use shadowing (repeat the dialogues as you hear them).
Shadowing is an extremely useful tool for increasing fluency as well as improving your accent and ability to be understood. Shadowing helps create all the neural connections in your brain to produce those words and sentences quickly and accurately without having to think about it. Also, as mentioned in tip #1, shadowing helps develop the muscle memory in all the physical parts responsible for the production of those sounds. Depending on what your primary and target languages are, it’s quite likely that there are a lot of sounds your mouth just isn’t used to producing. Shadowing can be done, for example, when watching TV shows or movies or listening to music.

Each one of our lessons begins with a dialogue. Try to shadow the conversation line by line, and you’ll be mastering it in no time.

Click here to for a FREE taste of our Absolute Beginner series!

4. Review again and again.
This is the key to perfection, and we can’t emphasize it enough. Most learners don’t review! If you review and repeat lines again and again, you’ll be speaking better, faster and with more confidence.

Review again and again

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES!
You’d be surprised by how many people try to avoid talking! The more you speak, the faster you learn – and that is why you’re learning French. Practice speaking every chance you get: whether it’s ordering coffee, shopping or asking for directions.

Sneak Peek: Review More French with This Feature, Badges & Your 26% OFF

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Hello Listener,

You’ll want to know about these 2 new French learning tools and features. They’re great for reviewing, motivation and progress. One is an unofficial sneak peek.

So what are they? The brand new Achievement Badges and the Word Bank! And… if you want to master French, unlock our proven learning system at 26% OFF and get a Bonus 6.5-hour Audiobook!

In this month’s newsletter:

  1. 72 Hours Left! Click here to get 26% OFF + FREE 6.5-Hour Audiobook
  2. New Feature! Achievement Badges Now Available for Premium PLUS
  3. Sneak Peek: Save & Review Vocab with this Study Tool



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2. NEW Feature! Learn and Stay Motivated with NEW Achievement Badges
Learning French? You deserve recognition and motivation. So, if you’re a Premium PLUS member… you can now unlock new badges as your French improves. Your Premium PLUS teacher will give out badges as you complete weekly assignments. The result? You master more French, unlock badges for your progress, and stay motivated to keep going.

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3. Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Newly Redesigned Word Bank!
We haven’t fully announced this yet… but here’s a sneak peek! The Word Bank – your personal collection of words and phrases – is better than ever. What’s new? First, a shiny new design. You can sort and manage your vocab and phrases with custom labels. And feel free to print out your entries as physical study material or export them as files! Not a Premium member? Take advantage of the 26% discount by Friday.

Premium Users: Click here to access the New Word Bank!
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To your fluency,
Team FrenchPod101

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No school or textbooks necessary to learn French! In fact, you get a FREE Audiobook when you get 26% OFF any 1- or 2-year plan. Master French in LESS time with this 2-for-1 deal! Unlock our learning system – over 150 hours of audio and video lesson by real teachers and more! Just $2.96/month and up to $62.40 OFF. Hurry! Ends Friday, 8/28/2015!

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