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Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

Learning A Language on Your Own

Can You Really Learn French Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn French or any language without traditional classroom instruction: FrenchPod101 has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is FrenchPod101 specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning French or any language alone.

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3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learning Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn French alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn French alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study French and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning French Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with FrenchPod101

Learning with FrenchPod101

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of French Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual French conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. FrenchPod101 has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by real French instructors and every lesson is presented by professional French actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with French Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although FrenchPod101 has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, FrenchPod101 has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and French learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, FrenchPod101 has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
  • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
  • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
  • French Dictionary with Pronunciation
  • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
  • And Much More!

Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn French alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn French on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

FrenchPod101 is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, FrenchPod101 makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.

And the best part is: With FrenchPod101, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now and get a FREE ebook to help “kickstart” your dream of learning a language on your own below!

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La Chandeleur: How to Celebrate Candlemas in France

Learning about French holidays is an excellent way to gaze at the country’s culture from a viewpoint you otherwise wouldn’t. La Chandeleur is no different, providing you with a lot of great history to study and ponder.

La Chandeleur or “Candlemas” is a French religious holiday, known for the delicious crepes the French make to celebrate. In fact, it’s often called Crêpe Day!

As with many holidays in France and worldwide, La Chandeleur lost its religious meaning over time. Originally a day to worship the god Pan, and later Jesus Christ, most French today use Candlemas as a day of fun and good French food.

While the religious meaning is pretty much looked over today, many Candlemas traditions in France remain.

Find out more about Candlemas Day, from Candlemas traditions to information on its shifting meaning over the years.

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1. What is Candlemas in France?

La Chandeleur, or Candlemas in France, was once an important religious holiday to the French people. It began as a day dedicated to worshipping the god Pan, as this was a custom Roman tradition. However, this Candlemas tradition came to an end in 472 when Pope Gelasius I decided to Christianize the holiday. Religious people would worship Jesus instead by lighting candles. Chandeleur comes from the word chandelle meaning “candle,” hence the holiday’s name.

Like most holidays, La Chandeleur eventually lost most of its religious meaning. But that doesn’t mean Candlemas traditions ended! Certainly not. This French holiday proves to remain largely celebrated and is held close to the French people’s heart.

2. When is Candlemas Day?

Clock

The French celebrate Candlemas on February 2 each year, which is forty days after Christmas. This explains the similarities in the two holidays’ names.

3. How is it Celebrated?

Candle

1- French Candlemas Traditions: Crepes

Candlemas is a holiday that French people celebrate with their family if they have young children, or with their friends. And this is France we’re talking about, so of course Candlemas celebrations are going to involve crepes and crepe-making! But why do French people make crêpes on this day in particular?

Well, at this time of the year, winter planting would begin. Peasants would use their excess flour to make crêpes. Also, with their round shape and golden color, they reminded people of the sun.

In France, making the crepes is just as much fun as eating them! The French have a fascinating Candlemas tradition: If you use a “frying pan,” or poêle à frire, you need to flip the crêpe without letting it fall! If it falls, it brings bad luck. In French, “good luck” is called Bonne Chance and “bad luck” is called Malchance.

In the past, an ancient coin was used while flipping your crêpe. Someone would hold the Louis coin in their hand, and if the crêpe fell properly they would be rich and have prosperity all year long. Nowadays no one does this, but you could still try it with your own currency if you want!

2- Religious Traditions

For those who still hold La Chandeuleur’s religious meaning close to heart, there are several religious traditions that take place.

This day is also called by some as the day of “the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple” (présentation de Jésus au temple) or the day of “the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (purification de la vierge Marie). This is due to the fact that in times past, it was customary for a woman to present herself for purification about a month after a boy’s circumcision; in the Book of Luke, this occurs with Jesus.

On Chandeleur in France, many people attend church with candles and have them blessed. It’s believed that the candles serve as a representation of Jesus’ claim to be Light.

Further, many French people light their homes with candles and put away Christmas decorations.

4. Additional Information

A few weeks before the day, French people will start seeing advertisements for crêpe batter in magazines or on television. There are two types of batter. One is made with wheat for sweet fillings, and the other is made with buckwheat for savory fillings.

Now, crepes are a kind of really thin, soft, pastry dough made with milk, eggs, flour, and a bit of butter to make it better. You put them in a pan, flip them, and fill them with whatever you like. Usually, it’s sweet with sugar, jam, or chocolate.

Crepes called Crêpes Suzette are a great classic of French cuisine invented by Auguste Escoffier. They’re made with melted butter mixed with sugar, Grand Marnier, orange, and lemon. They can be flambéed with Grand Marnier.

Crêpes from Brittany are also popular throughout France. If you go to Brittany, you simply must try this culinary specialty!

5. Must-know Vocab

Vocabulary

Here’s some vocab you should know to celebrate Candlemas Day:

  • soleil — “sun”
  • farine — “flour”
  • hiver — “winter”
  • minuit — “midnight”
  • crêpe — “crepe”
  • chandelle — “candle”
  • lumière — “light”
  • présentation de Jésus au temple — “presentation of Jesus at the temple
  • fête religieuse chrétienne — “Christian religious festival”
  • prospérité — “prosperity”
  • proverbe — “proverb”
  • purification de la vierge Marie — “purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

If you want to hear each of these words with its pronunciation, be sure to check out our French Candlemas Day vocabulary list. Here, you can read each word while listening to an audio pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know a little more about France’s La Chandeleur. What do you think about this holiday? Do you celebrate Candlemas or a similar holiday in your home country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about French culture, be sure to visit us at FrenchPod101.com. We offer several blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even host an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow students. And if you prefer a one-on-one approach to learning, be sure to download our MyTeacher app so you can learn French with your own personal teacher.

Be sure to create your account soon to learn French efficiently, and have fun while doing it!

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Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational French well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real French conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple French greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational French as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak French faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real French people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more French conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational French. In fact, with just a couple hundred French words you could have a very basic French conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in French, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

FrenchPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational French

Learning French

For more than 10 years, FrenchPod101 has been helping students learn to speak French by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational French fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real French Instructors: FrenchPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you French vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak French and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common French Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational French. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real French conversations or lessons is all it really takes. FrenchPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak French and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like French. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn French in just a few short months! FrenchPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master French or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways FrenchPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

FrenchPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master French in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by FrenchPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, FrenchPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of French.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of French. So every single day, FrenchPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering French? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn French during your daily commute. At FrenchPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, FrenchPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, FrenchPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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How to Say “Hello” in French: Break the Ice Like a Pro!

How to Say Hello in French

We all know the importance of first impressions, but do you know how long it really takes for a person to make a judgement and put you in a mental box from which you might never get out? According to psychologists and communication experts, it’s around five seconds, just enough time to walk down the hall and say “Hello” or “Good morning.” Hence, choosing the proper greeting is the best way to make you sound fun and engaging to your friends, or professional and trustworthy to your business partners.

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It’s even more important with French, as we can be pretty intense about manners and social “etiquette.” No wonder, we even invented the word. So, if you want to learn how to say hello in French as naturally as native speakers would and learn everything about greetings in French, buckle up and follow this French greetings guide!

1. “Bonjour” and “Salut,” Your French Bread-and-Butter

Wish there was a magic word to get you through 95% of your social encounters when it comes to saying “hello” or “good morning” in French? You’re in luck, there are two generic ways of how French greet!

  • Bonjour (“Hello”) is as fail-proof as it gets. Literally, “Good day” (Bon jour), it can be used all morning and afternoon, with anybody, in any kind of situation. The beauty of Bonjour is that it’s neither too formal nor too relaxed; you cannot go wrong with it.
  • Salut (“Hi”) is the casual bonjour that you use with friends and peers. It’s short, cheerful, easy to pronounce, and you can use it all day long. And the best part? You can also use it to say “Bye!”

French Greetings

2. Greeting Like a Boss!

Now that you have the basics, let’s get to the juicy part and learn some specific greetings.

  • Coucou (“Hey”) is an odd bird, quite literally. Coming from the “cuckoo” bird sound, it’s a way to attract attention in a naïve and childish manner. One cannot get less formal than using Coucou, and it’s common in use between romantic partners or with close friends or family. If you want to sound cute or playful, Coucou is right for you and is an excellent French greetings for between friends.

1- Time-dependent Greetings:

  • Bonsoir (“Good evening”) takes over when it’s too late to say Bonjour. Literally “Good evening” (Bon soir), you can use this French greeting after sundown. Don’t worry, nobody will ever get offended if you get you bonjour and bonsoir mixed up!
  • How to say “Good morning” in French? We don’t! Unless you’re in Quebec, where French speakers use Bon matin. Better not use it in France, though, as it may sound quite awkward to an unprepared French audience.

/!\ Bonne matinée, Bonne journée, and Bonne soirée (Literally: “Good morning,” “Good day,” and “Good evening”) may sound like greetings, but they are only used to say goodbye!

2- Phone and Online Greetings:

  • Allo? (“Hello?”) is only used for answering the phone in French, as a question, to make sure your interlocutor can hear you. Use it either at the start of the conversation or if you suspect the call might have dropped.

    If someone ever greets you in the street with a Allo, check your GPS: you’re most likely in Quebec where Allo is used for Bonjour while Bonjour? starts a phone conversation. Yeah, it’s slightly confusing.

  • Cc, yop, and plop (“Hi”) can be used in online games and chat. Cc is short for Coucou (“Hey”), while yop and plop are just sounds.

3- The Magic of “Nice to Meet You”

Once you’ve met someone for the first time, you might want to add a polite or charming “Nice to meet you.” It can take many forms, but the most common and simple is:

  • Enchanté (“Delighted”), which can be used for anybody, anytime, anywhere.

If you want to sound fancier or display your French knowledge, you can choose to use one of these:

  • Ravi de vous rencontrer or Heureux de vous rencontrer. (“Happy to meet you.”)
  • C’est un plaisir de faire votre connaissance. (“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”)
  • C’est un plaisir de vous rencontrer. (“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”)
    It can be cut down to Un plaisir de vous rencontrer (“Pleased to meet you”) or even Un plaisir (“A pleasure”). Sprinkle it with a charming smile and it can take you a long way!

3. How to Say “How are You?” in French

Now that you’ve said “Hello,” it’s time to break the ice and give some honey to whoever you’re talking to. With a simple “How are you doing?” or “What’s up?” you can be polite, show your interest, or even spark a conversation.

  • Comment allez-vous ? [Formal] / Comment vas-tu ? [Casual] (“How are you doing ?”)

Literally “How are you going?” this is the easiest way to inquire about someone’s well-being. Other popular casual forms are Comment ça va ? (“How is it going?”) or Tu vas bien ? (“Are you good?”).

The typical follow-up is Ça va (“It goes”), a foolproof noncommittal answer. But you can make it a bit more personal with Ça va bien (“It’s going well”) or with the world-famous Comme ci comme ça (“So-so”) which literally means “Like this, like that.”

  • Quoi de neuf ? [Casual] (“What’s new?”)

There are no standard follow-ups for this one, so you’ll have to come up with a genuine answer and curse your interlocutor for making your life so hard!

4. Tu or Vous: A Lesson in French Etiquette

Formal or casual? You have to choose it wisely, as French can be slightly more demanding with manners than in other aspects of the language.

1- Choose a “You”

The French have two distinct pronouns for “You”: Vous and Tu (formal and casual “You”), and each new encounter gets a bit trickier when you have to choose one. We can imagine how horrible it seems to English speakers, but it’s easier than it seems and even has some perks!

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  • Friends, peers, family, kids, or teens, someone younger than you, and animals: Tu
  • Anybody else: Vous (until decided otherwise by both parties)
  • Whenever in doubt: Vous

See? Not so much of a headache!

When you feel comfortable enough, you can use Tu with strangers in informal situations (in a bar, club, or hostel), and anyone using Tu with you allows you to do the same. It’s also an interesting way to gauge your level of intimacy with someone.

2- Choose a Title

If you go for a formal greeting, you can add a title, but it’s not mandatory. It might come as a shock after the previous section, but there’s nothing complicated about titles. Hurray!

  • Monsieur (“Mister”)
  • Madame (“Madam”)
  • Mademoiselle (“Miss”)

3- Formal and Casual Greetings

So, if we put everything together, what does it look like? Here are two examples of greeting conversations in French to help you figure it out:

[Formal] Julien meets Sebastien Laroche in a business meeting.

  • Julien: Bonjour Monsieur Laroche. (“Hello Mr Laroche.”)
  • Sebastien: Bonjour ! (“Hello!”)
  • Julien: Comment allez-vous ? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Sebastien: Ca va bien, merci. (“I’m good, thank you.”)

In this formal setting, Julien opens with the universal Bonjour, followed by the title Monsieur to show his respect. Then, he continues with a polite Vous. Maybe when they get comfortable enough, they will switch to the Tu.

[Casual] Julien meets his friend Cédric.

  • Julien: Salut ! (“Hi!”)
  • Cédric: Salut Julien ! (“Hi Julien!”)
  • Julien: Tu vas bien ? (“How are you doing?”)
  • Cédric: Ça va. (“All good.”)

Julien addresses his friend with a friendly Salut (“Hi”) and uses the casual Tu throughout the conversation.

5. Spice it Up with a Pinch of Slang!

Now that you know how to casually say “hello” in French, what about sounding even cooler with some slang? Here are some fun ways to say “hi” and impress your French friends with your laid-back fluency!

  • Yo! (“Hi”)
  • Wesh? (“Hi”)

This one comes from the Algerian Wesh rak (“How are you doing?”) and became increasingly popular in recent years, even though it’s frequently frowned upon.

  • Ça fait un bail ! (“Long time no see!”)
  • La forme ? (“How are you doing?”) — Literally “the shape?” from “Are you in good shape?”
  • Bien ? (“Are you doing well?”) — Literally “Good?”
  • Ça roule?, Ça gaze?, and Ça biche? are tough to explain, but all mean the same as Bien ?

Hugging

6. The Secret Art of French Kissing

No more vocabulary here, it’s time to get physical and learn about kissing. But despite this deceiving chapter’s name, there won’t be any tongue involved! French greetings body language is one of the most vital aspects of the language as a whole, so without further ado, let’s talk about the most typical, infamous, and confusing feature of French etiquette: La bise.

1- Shaking Hands

Hold on! Before the kissing part, let’s get the classic and manly handshakes out of the way. Yes, we shake hands in France. We do it vigorously, with a firm hand while looking straight into each other’s eyes. You can shake hands with your friends, your father-in-law, every day with your co-workers, your boss, a friendly bartender, or really anybody you meet for the first or hundredth time. Shaking hands is still the most popular French greeting, by far.

2- Do We Hug in France?

Not really. Some people do, but many also tend to become uncomfortable, stiff, and clumsy when hugging is involved. We actually don’t have a word for friendly hugging and it’s usually kept for close family and romantic partners.

3- Fake-kissing with “La Bise”

In French, the word Bise refers to a kiss on the cheek. Applied to our typical daily greeting, it can be a weird, confusing, or even stressful moment for unsuspecting foreigners. Any gender combination can practice La bise, no matter their age, beliefs, or sexual orientation: this is a friendly greeting. La bise isn’t really a kiss, it’s just a way to say “hello” in French.

Its origins are unclear, but it’s believed to have become prominent sometime after the Social Revolution and Moral Emancipations of May 1968, even though many similar greetings can be found throughout the country’s history. Nowadays, kids start doing and receiving la bise from a young age, and it’s practiced among all social circles. You may have seen photos of our Presidents voraciously kissing German Chancellors or First Ladies alike!

4- How-to Faire la Bise

To do la bise (Faire la bise), you lean forward and touch cheeks with the other person while mimicking a kiss (with the sound and lips gesture). There’s no actual lips-to-cheek contact during the typical bise, just a slight brush of the cheeks. Then, switch cheeks and repeat the same process on the other side.

Pro-tips:

  • Some people tend to exaggerate the kissing sound, producing a loud “Mwuaah” on each side, but there’s a good chance you’d be made fun of, if you do so.
  • Make sure you don’t “air-kiss” by doing la bise without any cheek contact. Even though your lips are kissing the air, the cheeks should touch.

What Side? How Many?

Brace yourself and don’t panic. Although somewhat codified, la bise is a friendly greeting that shouldn’t be tainted with distress!

  • Should you start with the left or right side? Doesn’t matter! If you’re not sure, just follow the other person’s lead and go with the flow.
  • How many kisses? Well…it depends. Most French make two, southeasterners make three, while some regions are governed with the rule of four. If it escalates up to five or further, I’d get suspicious!

    Yeah, it can get confusing when you’re mentally prepared for two while the other person keeps going up to four, but nothing one cannot handle. Just adapt to whatever comes and always accept that more bises could be hiding around the corner!

You can even find some statistic maps for la bise, but don’t take them too seriously!

To Bise or not to Bise?

Now for the most important question: Should you do la bise or not?

Let us break it down for you:

  • If you’re a woman, you can do la bise with friends, family, or peers, no matter their gender, and vice-versa.
  • As a man, you can do la bise with female friends, family, or peers, or female strangers met in an informal context.
  • As a man, you can also do la bise with your male friends and family, but it usually takes a higher level of intimacy and some people just don’t do it.

It might seem easier for women, but it’s not! When joining a big group of male and female co-workers, for instance, men can just do la bise to women and shake hands with men. Women, on the other hand, are somehow expected to do la bise to everyone. In my experience, however, it’s perfectly fine to just wave or shake hands. If anybody gets offended, they’re just not worth your time.

When joining a group of friends, you may have to do la bise to every single one of them and repeat the same social ritual when you leave. It might sound tedious, but with practice you’ll become fluent with la bise and greet everyone in no time!

Oh, and never be pushy! If you go for la bise and the other person doesn’t mirror your leaning movement or give you their hand to shake, just pack up your bise and don’t get bitter! While in France, you can just let your French hosts take the initiative and follow their bise habits.

7. How FrenchPod101 Can Help You Learn More French

You’ve learned how to say “Hello” in French and to rival with native speakers using fancy greetings and cool slangs. Together, we’ve unraveled the mysteries of la bise and you’re now ready for any casual or formal French encounter at any time of the day!

Next time you bump into a French person, offer them your most graceful Salut ! or Bonjour and see what happens next. Or why not prepare short dialogues to practice, and get comfortable with the Tu and the Vous?

FrenchPod101 has many resources, such as vocabulary lists, to help you improve your French in no time. You can download them for free from our website! Check out our list of Common ways to say “Hello” with audio recordings to practice your accent.

Thank you and we hope that you enjoy learning French with us! Now take your knowledge from this French greetings guide, get out there, and make the most of your new French language skills!

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How to use the French verb Monter

How To Use The French Verb Monter

Table of Contents

  1. Definition of the verb ‘Monter’
  2. Which auxiliary verb to use with the verb ‘Monter’?
  3. ÊTRE and AVOIR Conjugation in Indicative
  4. When it has a Direct Object Complement (DOC), the verb Monter necessarily conjugates with the auxiliary AVOIR.
  5. When the subject is a person
  6. To talk about a level or a price
  7. The verb ‘Monter’ conjugated
  8. 10 French expressions with ‘Monter’
  9. When ‘Monter’ is a noun

Hi everyone, in this article I share with you How to use the verb Monter.

1. Definition of the Verb Monter

1- Move up

  • Example :
    • Nous montons au sommet de la montagne. ? We climb to the top of the mountain.

2- Increase, grow

  • Example :
    • Le niveau du fleuve a monté. ? The level of the river has risen.

3- Put yourself on an animal or in a vehicle

  • Example :
    • Il monte à cheval. ? He rides horseback.
    • Elle monte dans la voiture. ? She gets in the car.

Verb

2. Which auxiliary verb to use with the verb Monter ?

Depending on the context, the verb Monter is conjugated with

  • the auxiliary verb AVOIR
  • or

  • the auxiliary verb ÊTRE

Verb

3. ÊTRE and AVOIR conjugation in indicative

ÊTRE
Present tense Past tense
je suis j’étais
tu es tu étais
il est il était
nous sommes nous étions
vous êtes vous étiez
ils sont ils étaient

AVOIR
Present tense Past tense
j’ai j’avais
tu as tu avais
il a il avait
nous avons nous avions
vous avez vous aviez
ils ont ils avaient

4. When it has a Direct Object Complement (DOC), the verb Monter necessarily conjugates with the auxiliary AVOIR.

To find out if the sentence contains a DOC, we ask the question QUOI (WHAT) or QUI (WHO) after the verb.

The verb + QUOI (WHAT) ? / QUI (WHO) ?

Examples :

  • J’ai mangé une pomme. ? I ate an apple.
  • J’ai mangé QUOI ? – une pomme. ? I ate WHAT ? – an apple.
  • Guillaume a attendu sa mère. ? Guillaume waited for his mother.
  • Guillaume a attendu QUI ? – Sa mère. ? Guillaume waited for WHO ? – his mother.
  • Julien a monté l’escalier rapidement. ? Julien climbed the stairs quickly.
  • Elle lui avait monté dans sa chambre quelques livres et un verre d’eau. ? She had brought him some books and a glass of water in his room.
  • J’ai même monté les valises dans sa chambre moi-même. ? I even bring the suitcases to his room myself.
  • Ses amis lui ont monté un bateau pour son anniversaire. ? His friends built him a boat for his birthday.

5. When the subject is a person

When the verb has no direct object complement, the two auxiliaries verbs (ÊTRE and AVOIR) are in competition. In fact, the auxiliary verb ÊTRE is used more often than the auxiliary verb AVOIR when the subject of the verb is a person. Note that AVOIR is sometimes possible in some contexts.

Examples :

ÊTRE

  • Simone n’est jamais montée dans un avion. ? Simone never got on a plane.
  • Harold est monté se reposer quelques minutes. ? Harold went up to rest a few minutes.
  • Jeanne est montée à cheval pour la première fois la semaine dernière. ? Jeanne rode for the first time last week.
  • Ils sont montés sur le toit pour enlever la neige. ? They climbed onto the roof to remove the snow.
  • Philippe est immédiatement monté sur ses grands chevaux. ? Philippe is immediately mounted on his big horses.

AVOIR

  • Sylvie a monté les valises dans sa chambre. ? Sylvie packed the suitcases in her room.

Price Level

6. To talk about a level or a price

When Monter is used when speaking of a level or a price, the auxiliary verb AVOIR is used more often than the auxiliary ÊTRE.

Examples :

  • Le thermomètre a monté à vingt-six degrés dans l’après-midi. ? The thermometer rose to twenty-six degrees in the afternoon. (or Le thermomètre est monté à vingt-six degrés).
  • Le prix de l’essence a monté en flèche hier. ? The price of gasoline skyrocketed yesterday.
  • L’eau du lac a monté encore aujourd’hui. ? The lake’s water has risen again today.
  • Les enchères ont monté particulièrement haut pour cet article. ? Auctions rose particularly high for this article.

7. The verb Monter conjugated

Indicative
With the auxiliary ÊTRE
The indicative mode is used wherever the real can be expressed.
The indicative is the time that makes it possible to grasp the facts, the acts, the opinions or the thoughts in their realization.
Present tense Past tense
je monte je suis monté(e)
tu montes tu es monté(e)
il monte il/elle est monté(e)
nous montons nous sommes monté(e)s
vous montez vous êtes monté(e)s
ils montent ils/elles sont monté(e)s
Present tense Past tense
je montais j’étais monté(e)
tu montais tu étais monté(e)
il montait il/elle était monté(e)
nous montions nous étions monté(e)s
vous montiez vous étiez monté(e)s
ils montaient ils/elles étaient monté(e)s
Future
je monterai
je monterai
tu monteras
il montera
nous monterons
vous monterez
ils monteront

Conditional
We use the conditional to mark:
Politeness
An advice
A suggestion
A reproach
Almost confirmed information
A wish
An imaginary fact
Present tense
je monterais
tu monterais
il monterait
nous monterions
vous monteriez
ils monteraient

Subjunctive
With the auxiliary ÊTRE
The subjunctive is the time of doubt, of uncertainty
Present tense Past tense
que je monte que je sois monté(e)
que tu montes que tu sois monté(e)
qu’il monte qu’il/elle soit monté(e)
que nous montions que nous soyons monté(e)s
que vous montiez que vous soyez monté(e)s
qu’ils montent qu’ils/elles soient monté(e)s

Imperative
The imperative is the mode to express an order to the positive form or a defense to the negative form
Present tense
monte
montons
montez

Indicative
With the auxiliary AVOIR
Present tense Past tense
je monte j’ai monté
tu montes tu as monté
il monte il a monté
nous montons nous avons monté
vous montez vous avez monté
ils montent ils ont monté
Present tense Past tense
je montais j’avais monté
tu montais tu avais monté
il montait il avait monté
nous montions nous avions monté
vous montiez vous aviez monté
ils montaient ils avaient monté
Future
je monterai
tu monteras
il montera
nous monterons
vous monterez
ils monteront

Subjunctive
With the auxiliary AVOIR
Presente Past
que je monte que j’aie monté
que tu montes que tu aies monté
qu’il monte qu’il ait monté
que nous montions que nous ayons monté
que vous montiez que vous ayez monté
qu’ils montent qu’ils aient monté

Translation

8. 10 French expressions with Monter

The French expression / the literal translation into English = what does it mean

  1. La génération qui monte / The rising generation = the generation that comes to adulthood
  2. Le ton monte / Tone up = a situation of tension is created between people. The tone is the way a person says or writes something
  3. La moutarde lui monte au nez / Mustard goes to his nose = he starts to get angry
  4. Monter à cheval / Ride a horse = to practice riding
  5. Monter le son / mount the sound (of a sound device) = to make the sound lower
  6. Monter une couleur = give it more intensity
  7. Monter la gamme = pass from the lowest sounds to the highest sounds
  8. Monter une pièce de théâtre = put a play on stage
  9. Monter au filet / Climb to the net = engage vigorously in an action
  10. Monter à la tête de quelqu’un = obsessed, troubled, stunned by something

Noun

9. When Monter is a noun

1 - Action to go up

  • Example :
    • Il est en train de faire une montée. ? He is doing a climb.

2 - Place where we go up.

  • Example :
    • Prenez par la montée, c’est le chemin le plus court. ? Take the climb, it is the shortest way.

3 - A little slope in front of a building

  • Example :
    • La montée du Capitole, à Rome, est grande. ? The slope of the Capitol, in Rome, is great.

4 - All that goes up

  • Example :
    • La montée de la sève dans les plantes. ? The rise of sap in plants.

Thank you for reading this article. Hope you enjoyed it and leave a comment if you have any question.

Thomas Ricomard
Fast French Learning

Top 30 Useful French Phrases and Expressions You Must Know to Survive

Top 10 French Phrases

Learning a new language can be increasingly challenging—especially if you’re learning a language that dates all the way back to the Roman Empire and has multiple variations all over the world.

According to About-France.com, French is an official or second language in 55 countries worldwide and almost 300 million people speak French as their native or second language.

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My childhood friend’s grandfather was the French teacher at my high school, so instead of taking Spanish—which would have been a tad more useful in the United States—I chose French. (Not to mention my birthday is also Bastille Day, some would call it a sign.)

I started taking French when I was 14 years old. From there, I took French 1, French 2 and Honors French 3 in high school; I was French Club president my senior year of high school; and in college, I took Intensive Elementary French 121 and 221 (the difference is the courses counted for six credit hours instead of three, meaning two semesters were jammed into one).

I was very fortunate to get to travel to multiple European cities with my high school French teacher and some classmates the summer before my high school senior year, including Paris. And let me just say, without knowing some useful French phrases, I’m not sure how I would have made it.

Contrary to (the not-so) popular belief, showing up to Paris only knowing bonjour, merci, and oui will not get you very far à La Ville Lumière (“in the City of Lights”).

However, since not everyone has the ability to take three years of French before traveling to France, here are some tips to get you going with the French basics, or at least teach you some useful French phrases.

Table of Contents

  1. 4 Ways to Learn Useful French Phrases
  2. Top 30 Useful French Phrases and Expressions You Must Learn to Survive
  3. Bonus: Other Useful French Words

1. 4 Ways to Learn Useful French Phrases

Memorise

a. Create Flashcards on Memrise

One of the most traditional (and for many, most effective) studying tricks is creating flashcards. However, trying to create and organize hundreds of flashcards to help you learn a whole new language can be extremely frustrating. You have to subcategorize each word or phrase, make sure your handwriting is legible and also not break the bank with how many index cards you’ll need to buy.

This is why I recommend using Memrise. Memrise is a virtual flashcard website specifically designed to help you learn a new language! Just go to the website and select which language you want to learn!

For example, to help you learn useful French words or phrases, you would need to select “French” and then “Beginner.” From there it will let you either create a Memrise account or sign in through your Facebook or Google account, and you’re ready to start learning!

Instead of you deciding what useful French words and phrases you need to know, Memrise has already done that for you! This will save you a lot of time and effort, and will give you more time to study.

Online Lesson

b. Book a One-on-One Online Lesson

For those who need a little more help than what flashcards can offer, booking an interactive online lesson with a native-speaking teacher (or a teacher who is completely fluent) would prove to be extremely beneficial!

Especially with French, pronunciation is really important. Practicing the pronunciation of any useful French phrases you have memorized with someone completely fluent will serve as a stronger learning tool than you can imagine.

There are words in French that are pretty similar sounding if you don’t know the proper pronunciation, so you could spend all this time memorizing the phrase, but when you try saying it to a francophone (French-speaking) person they won’t have a clue what you’re trying to say.

While online translators (especially Google Translate) have stepped up their game in the past few years, they are certainly not as trustworthy as coaching from someone who is fluent in French.

Watching Movies

c. Watch French movies or television shows and listen to French music

Familiarizing yourself with French entertainment is another great way to help you master pronunciation. Plus with the amazing inventions of Netflix and Hulu, or Spotify and Pandora, this is even easier to do!

For films or television shows, I highly encourage watching with subtitles turned on. This way, you’re not only hearing the pronunciation but you could also pick up on even more helpful phrases!

Since the film industry was historically heavily influenced by France, the United States Netflix honors that with a subcategory called “French films.” If the idea of looking over an entire subcategory of French films overwhelms you, here is a list of the top 20 French films on Netflix.

Likewise, for music I would search for famous French musicians, look up their music and then look up the lyrics while listening. That way you can hear it as you read along!

Two of my favorite French musicians are Stromae, a Belgian-French singer-songwriter-composer; and Carla Bruni, a French-Italian singer-songwriter who also happens to be married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Especially if you’re as big into music as I am, being able to listen to music to help you learn a foreign language is way more exciting than textbooks!

Trip to France

d. Take a Trip to France

If your ultimate goal is to become fully fluent in French, I would highly suggest taking a trip to France! I know for me, one thing that really helped was asking for help from French natives while in Paris.

It’s important to acknowledge at first that you aren’t fluent in French. For example, I would start out any conversation with, Bonjour! Je ne sais pas beaucoup de français, mais… (“Hello! I don’t know a lot of French, but (…)”). Instead of just directly asking if the other person speaks English, I attempted to speak their language first, and if I failed miserably at least they knew why.

While it might sound scary to just pick up and head to a country where you aren’t fluent in the language, you don’t understand the culture and you don’t know anyone there, it’s a great way to make yourself vulnerable enough to adapt.

Of course, this isn’t always the easiest (or most financially painless) choice, but if the opportunity ever arises you should consider taking it!

2. Top 30 Useful French Phrases and Expressions You Must Learn to Survive

I mentioned earlier one phrase that definitely saved me while I was in France. Below is a list of 30 other useful French phrases I believe will help you out:

Traveling to France

1.Bonjour, ça va?
“Hello, how’s it going?” This is a friendly, informal way to greet someone. If you’re meeting this person for the first time, it might be helpful to include your name before asking “how’s it going?” Further, if someone says this to you, kindly respond with, Très bien, merci! (“Very well, thank you!”)

2. Comment allez-vous?
“How are you?” If you’re looking to be more formal with someone, you can simply ask them how they’re doing. You can also respond to this question with Très bien, merci! or Pas mal, merci. (“Not bad, thank you.”)

3. Je m’appelle (name).
“My name is (name).” This is extremely important to know when greeting someone for the first time. Especially if you’re asking someone for help, you should at least let them know who you are!

4. Comment t’appelles-tu ?
“What is your name?” If you happen to recall a name, but are not absolutely sure that name belongs to that person, you could even say, Tu es (name), n’est-ce pas? (“You are (name), aren’t you?”)

5. Enchanté(e)!
“Nice to meet you!” After asking someone who they are and what their name is, it is polite to let them know that it is nice to meet them! If you are a woman, it’s important to include that second “e,” or the feminine form.

6. Je vais bien.
“I am fine.” Here is another phrase you can use if someone has asked you how you are or how’s it going, but there are plenty of other situations where letting someone know you’re fine will prove to be important.

7. Très bien, merci. Et vous?
“Very well, thank you. And you?” As I demonstrated earlier, this is a happy, upbeat response when someone asks how you are. However, if someone else asks you first, make sure to always counter with how they are doing! Saying et vous is the easiest way to do that!

8. A bientôt/demain!
“See you soon/tomorrow!” This is a friendlier way to say goodbye to someone.

9. Au revoir!
“Goodbye!” Hello and goodbye are always core phrases someone should know. Instead of saying goodbye, one might even say, Bonne journée! (“Have a nice day!”) or even, Bonne chance! (“Good luck!”)

10. Quelle heure est-il?
“What time is it?” This phrase will always come in handy, especially because most businesses close for a couple hours during lunch time. If you know what the time is, you’ll know when a store will open back up, for example.

11. Est-ce que vous pourriez m’indiquer le chemin pour aller à (…)?
“Could you show me the way to (…)?” If you can at least say this, you can simply follow with the name of the street, business, tourist attraction or restaurant you are trying to get to. Knowing how to ask for directions is very important.

12. Je ne sais pas.
“I don’t know.” This is what I used in my previous example, saying “I don’t know a lot of French.” Below I’ve also included other negatives that could come in handy!

  • ne … pas du tout (“not at all”)
  • ne … pas encore (“not yet”)
  • ne … plus (“not anymore”)
  • ne … jamais (“never”)

13. Je ne crois pas que je connais l’adresse.
“I don’t believe I know the address.” In today’s world, we are a lot luckier and can plug addresses into our smartphones. One useful French phrase to know how to ask is what that address is!

14. Je ne sais pas quoi faire.
“I don’t know what to do.” If you’re just completely unsure about where you are, where you’re going or what you need to do, this could prove to be an incredibly useful French phrase.

15. Que voulez-vous dire?
“What do you mean?” This is a great French phrase to know when you’re trying to keep up with the dialogue but somewhere along the way got lost.

16. De quoi parlez-vous?
“What are you talking about?” This is another great French phrase to know if you’re finding yourself completely confused in a conversation!

17. Que fais-tu?
“What are you doing?” If you’re trying to have more of a friendly conversation with someone, or you see someone doing something you’ve never seen before, this is a useful phrase to ask someone!

18. Quel temps fait-il?
“How’s the weather?” If you’re about to go outside but you’re not sure what the weather currently is, or even how it’s going to be, this is a great phrase to know. Below I’ve also included how to say “It is (…)” in case someone asks you!

  • Il fait (…)
  • chaud (“hot”)
  • beau (“beautiful”)
  • doux (“mild”)
  • du soleil (“sunny”)
  • mauvais (“bad”)
  • Il + pleut (“raining”)
  • il y a du vent (“windy”)

There, of course, are other weather related responses out there, but these phrases are going to be the most useful for you to start with.

19. Où se trouve (…)?
“Where is (…) located?” There’s no better way to ask someone for directions than with this phrase. A person might even respond with, Voilà! which means “Here/There is/are” when pointing something out; they could also responds with (…) dans la rue (street name) (“(…) on (street name.)”)

20. Avez-vous de l’argent/l’eau?
“Do you have some money/water?” While I would hope you would never be in a situation where you need to ask somebody for money or water, I included this phrase just in case you have an emergency. Further, I included this phrase so you will know in case someone asks you.

21. J’ai un peu d’argent.
“I have a little money.” You just never know when this phrase will come in handy. Again, hopefully you’re never in a situation where you have to know this, but it’s one of those I find smart to hold onto.

22. Répondez à ma question!
“Answer my question!” You don’t have to say this in a yelling manner, it’s just how you’d phrase a command. You could follow the phrase with “please,” or s’il vous plait. Similarly, one might say Réponds-moi! (“Answer me!”)

23. Bien sûr!
“Of course!” This is also one of those staple phrases you should always have under your belt. It’s a more polite way to say “no problem,” which makes you look friendlier. If you wanted to show more excitement, you could even say Bien sûr que oui! (“Yes, of course!”)

24. C’est vrai/faux
“That is true/false.” You just never know when you’re going to need to know how to say this. C’est alone is how you would say “this/that is,” you’re welcome to follow with almost any useful French vocabulary word.

25. Je voudrais (…)
“I would like (…)” Use this French phrase when making a request. When ordering food, you can use this or you could simply say, Je veux (…) (“I want …”).

26. Oui, j’en veux.
“Yes, I’d like some.” Especially when it comes to restaurant etiquette, this is a very useful French phrase.

27. C’était dèlicieux!
“It was delicious!” While customers don’t leave tips for waiters and waitresses in most European countries, it is extremely polite to let the employee or chef know that what they prepared for you was delicious!

28. Restes-y.
“Stay there.” This is a useful phrase to say to someone if you’re asking for help with your group of friends. If you have to step away for a second, letting them know to stay will help not confuse the other person!

29. Combien est-ce que ça coûte?
“How much does it cost?” If you’re struggling to understand what the price of something is, and you only have a certain amount of money, this is a very useful French phrase to know!

30. Voulez-vous venir?
“Do you want to come?” Hopefully by using these useful French phrases you’ll be able to make a couple new French friends! Using this phrase could help expand the friendship by inviting them to hang out with you!

3. Bonus: Other Useful French Words

Similar to the useful French phrases, I have compiled a list of useful French words that everyone should know before traveling to France:

Useful French Words

1. Aujourd’hui - “Today.”

2. Maintenant - “Now.”

3. Régardez! - “Look (at)!”

4. Ceux-là! - “Those!”

5. Les langues (étrangères) - “(Foreign) languages.” From here, you might need to know how to say some of the languages in French:

  • Allemand(e): “German”
  • Anglais(e): “English”
  • Espagnol(e): “Spanish”

6. D’accord - “Okay!”

7. Il y a - “There is/are.”

8. C’est ça? - “Right, is that so?”

9. Alors - “So/Therefore.”

10. Quand - “When?”

11. Comment - “How?”

12. Combien de - “How much/many?”

13. Parce que. - “Because.”

14. Pourquoi? - “Why?”

15. Où est (…)? - “Where is (…)?”

16. Oui - “Yes.”

17. Non - “No.”

18. Pas mal - “Not bad.”

19. Francophone - “French-speaking.” (I mentioned this earlier but I wanted to reiterate.)

20. Américain(e) - “American.”

Inevitably, one of the best ways to start learning a foreign language is by learning useful phrases.

While it’s not necessarily learning the basics, learning useful French phrases allows you to learn some pronunciation, along with verb structure and sentence structure.

If you take the time to use these helpful tips, you’ll be ready for a trip to France in no time.

There you’ll find yourself surrounded in French culture, getting to see the country and experience their completely different lifestyle can also help you master the language!

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Now there’s an even more effective way…

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And that’s not all!

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Join the hundreds of thousands of people already learning French the 21st century way.

Bonne chance !

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in French

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in French!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. French Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can FrenchPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in French - Testing New Technology

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1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in French? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million French words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. funny - drôle
  2. joke - plaisanter
  3. surprise - surprendre
  4. sneaky - sournois
  5. prankster - farceur
  6. prank - farce
  7. lie - mentir
  8. humor - humour
  9. fool - idiot
  10. deceptive - trompeur
  11. April 1st - premier avril
  12. play a joke - faire une blague

2. French Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

French Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in French to prank your favorite French friend or colleague!

  1. I learned French in 1 month.
    • J’ai appris le français en un mois.
  2. All classes for today got canceled.
    • Tous les cours d’aujourd’hui ont été annulés.
  3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • Je suis désolé, mais je viens de casser votre paire de lunettes préférée.
  4. Someone has just hit your car.
    • Quelqu’un vient de heurter votre voiture.
  5. I’m getting married.
    • Je vais me marier.
  6. You won a free ticket.
    • Vous avez gagné un billet gratuit.
  7. I saw your car being towed.
    • J’ai vu votre voiture se faire remorquer.
  8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • Ils sont en train de donner des cartes-cadeaux gratuites devant l’immeuble.
  9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • Un beau mec vous attend dehors.
  10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • Une jolie femme m’a demandé de vous donner ce numéro de téléphone.
  11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • Pouvez-vous descendre? J’ai quelque chose de spécial pour vous.
  12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • Merci pour votre lettre d’amour de ce matin. Je n’aurais jamais deviné vos sentiments.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in French, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can FrenchPod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit France, or if you work for any French company, knowing the above French prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core French words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

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Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in French - bone up your French language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, FrenchPod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in French below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at FrenchPod101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in French - testing new technology

Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

  • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
  • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

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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 ‘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.