How to Remember Vocabulary Better

– Ebbinghaus 

How can I remember French words more easily? Why do I keep forgetting all these verbs and important vocabulary? I've been studying neuroscience for the past few years and have stumbled upon some information that can certainly help ameliorate these problems. But first, it's story time!

In the early 1900's a researcher by the name of Ebbinghaus sought to find out how long he could retain a list compiled of thousands of nonsense syllables. In the first hour he saw a huge decline in stored information. It only took him 20 minutes to forget 40% of what he studied. Two days later that number increased to 70%. By time day 31 arrived he could still recall around 20% of the syllables, so he lost 80% of the initial material. Ebbinghaus' little experiment showed us that forgetting follows a non-linear pattern and despite you losing more information as time passes, you don't lose everything. His findings have been replicated and repeated over the years.

That's great John, but how is this useful for my French vocabulary?

Through deep encoding.


Shallow versus Deep Memory Encoding
Cognitive psychologists propose that we store information in a continuum which spans from a shallow to a more deep understanding. What does shallow encoding feel like? You'll find out right now.

Try Learning French on FluentU!

Are you learning French? Readers of FrenchCrazy now have the special opportunity to learn French for free online. FluentU is running an open Beta and you're invited to participate! Not sure what FluentU is? Check out this video and then keep on reading.

FluentU uses a selection of hand-picked video to help teach you French. But how is this different from just searching for any French Youtube video? Well, the program subtitles your videos, so any words that you don't understand are translated below! Next off, videos can be sorted through depending on your understanding of French. There are videos for the raw beginner as well as more advanced users.

After watching a video you'll get tested on the material. It's a win-win situation really, you're learning French and being exposed to the same videos a French person would watch.

If you're interested in giving FluentU French a try, all we need is your email address. All comments to my website are moderated by me before going public, so any comments to this post with an email address will simply be referred to Alan, the creator of FluentU. So far several people have sent me their emails.
Once I submit your email then you should receive instructions on how to begin the Beta.

Good luck and have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Tell the Weather in French

Telling the Weather in French
Do you know how to ask about the weather in French? Talking about the weather isn't just important for small talk, it's an aspect of everyday life! The weather dictates how you dress outside, what you can do, and even where you can go. Today we'll go over some introductory phrases every French learner should know.

How to Talk about the Weather in French?

La Météo (lah maytayo) - The Weather Forecast

Quel temps fait-il? (Kel temp fay teel) - How is the weather? What's the weather like?

Il fait chaud (eel fay sho) - It's warm.
Il fait froid (eel fay fwa) - It's cold.
Il fait beau (eel fay boh) - It's nice out.
Il fait du soleil (eel fay do solay) - It's sunny
Il fait mauvais (eel fay moevay) - It's bad outside, it's nasty outside.
Il fait gris (eel fay gree) - It's gray outside, it's dreary
Il fait du vent (eel fay do ven) - It's windy
Il fait nuageux (eel fay noajee-euh) - It's cloudy outside
Il fait # degrés (eel fay [#] deh-gray) - It's ___ degrees outside.
The degrees are assumed to be in celsius unless otherwise stated.

Il pleut (eel pluh) - It's raining
Il neige (eel nejuh) - It's snowing

Top 100 French Songs You Must Hear

Have you wanted to listen to French music but never knew where to start? Well The Top 100 French Songs You Must Hear complies a vast array of music in one place for your listening convenience. This huge list spans several genres and the music is sung by a myriad of artists. Every song is worth a listen.

Please keep in mind:
  • Everybody has different tastes of music. I tried to get a good mix of pop, hip hop/rap, rock, and acoustic/folk music. If you find a song you like then take note of the artist and search for more songs by them.
  • Besides time of release, the songs are ordered in a random fashion, so the first song is not necessarily better than song number fifty-eight.
  • This post is broken up into two articles with 50 songs on each page otherwise it would take forever to load. More contemporary songs are here while songs dating before the 1980's are on Page 2.
  • Not all the singers are French, but the music is nonetheless in French and recognized by Francophones.
Here is a playlist containing all of the youtube videos.

FROM 2000 - 2014
1. Comme Des Enfants - Cœur De Pirate (2008)

2. Papaoutai - Stromae (2013)

3. Ma Direction - Sexion D'assault (2012)

4. Je Me Lâche - Christophe Mae (2010)

5. Elle Me Dit - Mika (2011)
Mika's song is very popular among anglophones.

6. Alors On Danse - Stromae (2010)

7. Nuits Fauves - Fauve (2013)

8. Je Suis Un Homme - Zazie (2006)

9. Je cours - KYO (2002)

10. Le Jour qui se Rêve - M. Pokora (2013)

11. Les Bâtisseurs de France - Toma (2011)
Youtube Video Link

How to be Successful in a Language Course

Do you want to get the most out of your language course while a good grade? Well here are some universal tips to help you become successful.

Attending Class and Studying is only HALF of the battle
Studying and going to class are the basis of getting a good grade in a language course, but if you truly want to be successful and learn the language then it this not enough.

Take for example my 5th-year high school French class of 25 students. Did all of us want A's? Yes. But how many of us still use French to this day? Probably 3-4 of us, in fact, some of the people in my class barely remember anything 4 years later.

Don't let that be you. If you're going to spend valuable time learning something then don't let it go to waste.

Keep in mind, there's more to French than a grade. A whole culture and history stands behind the language, so until you can appreciate that or want to experience it with others then your language class is fruitless.

"Make your language course mean more to you than a grade or a course needed to complete for high school."

Tell yourself that there are people out there in the world who wish somebody could teach them another language and you're taking it for granted. Trust me, I've encountered plenty of people who wanted me to teach them French, my mother being the first of them. It's truly an opportunity.

So don't just physically go to class, that isn't enough. Instead, go mentally prepared, meaning be ready to pay attention and follow the discussions, or else you might as well have stayed home. 

How to do it for the knowledge?
So playing off the "don't do it for the grade" ideology, how can you make your language course mean something to you? Well those who are motivated with internal goals (like the desire to learn new things) do better and learn more than those who are externally motivated (I want a good grade).

If you're not in a language course because you're interested in learning it, then lie to yourself!

Thousands of Free Videos in French

French YouTube Videos
Learning French should be fun; so why not kick back, relax, and expose yourself to more spoken French? Watching a video is an effective way to follow discourse and work on your speaking comprehension. So, this ongoing compilation of videos was conceived with you in mind; all the videos are in French or are about learning French.

The list is broken down into five video topics: comedic videos, documentaries (education/news), videos on learning French, beginner-friendly videos, and entertainment videos/movies. Please, if you have something this list is missing, don't hesitate to comment below; no special subscription is required. Also, don't forget to comment or like us on Facebook if you found the list useful :)

Youtube Channel: One direct source of multiple videos (usually indicated in parentheses)
Youtube Series: Multiple videos which are all the same but were posted by several users
Video: Single video or short clip
Movie: Cinematic movies which are usually over an hour long

I may follow the link with a quick description (in parentheses) of how many videos they have. Also, if the video contains subtitles or if it is in English then I shall indicate that [in brackets].

French Comedy Videos & Channels 
(videos are about 5-10 minutes long)
Youtube Channel: Cyprien (+50 videos in French)
Youtube Channel: Norman (+44 videos in French)
Youtube Channel: Natoo (~40 videos in French)
Youtube Channel: Remi Gaillard (+120 videos in French)
Youtube Channel: La Parole de Chat (+50 animal related videos in French with subtitles)
Youtube Channel: Stromae (Music artist with quirky videos in French)
Youtube Channel: Canal+ (cross-listed with entertainment videos)

Official Site: Les Guignols de l'info (satirical political comedy, updated daily)

Series: H (created by Canal+)
Series: Un Gars une Fille
Series: Bref (created by Canal+)
Series: Camping Paradis
Video: Dubstep Cat versus the Paper Army [French with English Subtitles]

Documentaries & Educational Videos in French
Youtube Channel: TV5 Monde (over 3,000 videos on news)
Youtube Channel: BFMTV (over 1,000 videos on news)
Youtube Channel: Réportages & Émissions (hour long video-documentaries in French)
Youtube Channel: ArtePlusSept
Youtube Channel: Amara (thousands of subtitled videos from youtube)
Series: 90 minutes enquêtes (1.5 hour long videos on crime)

Video: Au coeur de L'urgence (1.5 hours)
Video: CRS les combattants de l'ordre (about an hour)
Video: Le Dessous des Cartes - Démographie Française