Crêpes - French Cuisine

A crêpe is a wonderfully pancake-like French dish that's conveinent for anytime of day! I personally prefer crêpes in the morning; yet, they can be stuffed with virtually anything and eaten at anytime. I know several popular crêperies that typically open for lunch time, serving any type of crêpe you can imagine! Miam

This article will take a closer look into this classic French dish, then provide a recipe for your very own crêpes! 

Crêpes are a very light cake formed from a batter. Many people like to relate crêpes to pancakes (although I do not like to degrade crêpes to such a level, you may call them whatever you want). What makes crêpes so amazing is it's versatility: they can be stuffed, topped, or folded to your liking. 

Common Crêpe Toppings/Fillings?
Obviously I will only be naming a few, however you can share you favorite crêpe pairings in the comment section.

Sweet "Dessert" Crêpes
Nutella
Jams
Chocolate
Fresh Fruits
Butter and Sugar
Whipped Cream

Savory "Meal" Crêpes
A variety of French cheeses can be used
Sliced Meats
Ham and Cheese Crêpes
Variety of Sauces
Sautéed Vegetables
Egg-filled


Basic Crêpe Recipe
So, are you inspired to make your very own crêpes chez vous? Below is a basic recipe for crêpes that I've used once or twice. You can change up the batter however you'd like, add a dash of brown sugar, add some vanilla, make it your own! 

Ingredients: 
2 eggs
1 cup of skim milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of butter
1 pinch salt

Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until smooth (you may also use a blender). It would be ideal to let the batter sit in the refrigerator for an hour, but this step is not necessary. 

Heat up and grease your skillet (preferably with a cooking spray). The ideal temperature is when an additional teaspoon of butter begins to bubble.

Photo Credit
Crêpes should be AS THIN as possible to differentiate them from pancakes. If the batter isn't at the right consistency, then you may need to add a little more milk (or flour). I typically like to pour the battle onto the skillet with a laddle, try a nice circular motion and let the batter spread thin. Flip when the top looks to be setting. The first crêpe will most likely be a mess-up, so plan on eating it... 

Add whatever you'd like to the Crêpes et bonne appetit!


To return to our food section, click HERE. 

Mon Meilleur Ami English Translation - Yelle

Mon Meilleur Ami Lyrics in English
Reviewed/ Translated by: John Elkhoury
COMPREHENSION DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM
Like all my music reviews, I start with the French to English translation then critique the lyrics and style.

Elle Panique English Translation - Olivia Ruiz

Elle Panic Lyrics in English
Reviewed/ Translated by John Elkhoury
Like all my music reviews, I start with a French to English translation then critique the lyrics and style below.
COMPREHENSION DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM

Nutella

Nutella - A chocolate hazelnut spread
Do French people eat Nutella? Of course they do! Although Nutella is technically an Italian spread (my girlfriend from Italy won't let me live this point down) so many people pair this hazelnut chocolate spread with delectably delicious Nutella crêpes or croissants.

During the 1940's, Nutella was created in Italy by Pietro Ferrero because chocolate was rather scarce. Ferrero used decided to use mainly hazelnuts in the spread due to it's abundance.  Over 70 years later, Nutella has gone worldwide due to it's versatility and wonderful taste...  you can see the 50 different ways to eat Nutella below. Obviously there are many more!

Le Meilleur du Hier

Le Meilleur du Hier is a culturally relevant show that discusses interesting news, cultural, or celebrity topics. It's featured on Canal Plus, a well-known French Television channel, and this particular show "The best of yesterday" makes my top recommended list several reasons.

  1. First, the show lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes... 
  2. The show typically always has a part where you'll end up laughing (if you can understand them).
  3. It's culturally relevant
  4. It's updated DAILY because it's "the best of yesterday"
The only negative comment I can make about these videos is that there's usually a short commercial at the start. The good thing is that the advertisement is French, so you can't really complain there (more to practice listening to). I often say that the best way to increase your French conversational ability is to listen to natives! By watching this show everyday, you'll be on your way to great pronunciation and speaking. Of course, these videos are suited for natives, so you may not understand much with an intermediate fluency level

To check out Le Meilleur du Hier on Canal+, click HERE
To return to our online resources menu, click HERE.

Google France

What? Google!? You may be scratching your head at this one. Google Français is a good online resource because it's the same google that all the French people use!

You could use google to help proofread your sentences.

Everyday French Fashion - Vii, 19 ans

Video not working? Watch it on youtube.


To answer the question of "What do French people wear everyday?" Street Style is a featured portion of Madmoizelle that showcases a different French person each day! The entire video is in French, but I encourage beginners to still watch it and see what you can understand.


Everyday French Fashion
Today's Street Style focuses on Vii, a 19-year old from Quebec... although, she doesn't have a Quebecois accent! She is a young artist working on an album with Universal Studios, the album releases in 2012. You can follow her on facebook.

We see That Vii has a nice raspberry-patterned skirt, she bought one year ago in Montreal. She's keeping in style with a Col Claudine blouse (which just happens to be in the Top 25 fall/winter trends). She's also never separated from the large rings her boyfriend gave her. After shuffling through her bag, we find that she has some cool sunglasses from Urban Outfitters (we have those stores here! Pretty chic eh?). All of it is topped off with her "Hello Kitty" cell phone case. Besides the blouse, Vii just uses everyday things and gets a little creative! What do other French people think?
Je crois que je suis tombée amoureuse de cette fille ! Elle est trop cool, trop bien fringuée, rigolote, super belle, j'adooore sa jupe, et elle aime Hello Kitty.
"I believe I fell in love with this girl! She is so cool, so well-dressed, funny, super beautiful, I love her skirt, and she likes Hello Kitty."

Well, that's all there is to know about Vii for today! Check back soon for more Street Styles. Any comments can be posted below.

To return to our French fashion section, click HERE.

My Fashion Expertise

In all reality, my Fashion expertise doesn't go beyond matching my socks. So, how can I provide you with great French fashion tips and insider trends, when I''m not French (or fashion savvy)? It's simple, I'm only translating the advice from Fashion experts into English... think of it as your way to get the same fashion information the French are getting, without having to know French!

Currently, outside sources include (Madmoizelle).

I actually enjoy translating these articles from French to English because I not only gain some nice vocabulary, but I get to see the fashion tips also! A French Vocabulary List: Fashion Words, will be provided soon.

NOTE that some sentences were translated to flow better in English. Although not word for word, they keep the same meaning. If you can read the French, then good for you! Also remember that clicking on the images will enlarge them.


To return to our list of Fashion articles, click HERE.

French Fashion: Fall/Winter 2011, 2012

Les must-have mode de l'autonme-hiver 2011 2012

Here is a short list of what's still hot... the must have fashion for the upcoming fall and winter... Below, I have both the pictures and the fashion-driven French descriptions. The French is followed by my English translation. NOTE that some sentences were translated to flow better in English. If you can read the French, then good for you! Also remember that clicking on the images will enlarge them. The first few styles have short descriptions, but they do get more in depth down the list.


1. Le Tartan
L’imprimé écossais sera de toutes les déclinaisons: robes pantalons, manteaux, écharpes. Si vous aimez, vous allez être servie !
Plaid designs will be on the decline: dresses, pants, coats, and scarves are losing flavor. However for this season, if you want to go plaid... you'll be in service! 


6. La Robe 40's à Motifs
Épaules légèrement bouffantes, taille cintrée et jupette évasée. Le tout dans des couleurs rétro et des imprimés naïfs d’hirondelles, de fleurs ou de pois, la petite robe d’après-guerre est remise au goût du jour. On l’assorira très bien avec des salomés, un sac cartable et un béret par exemple.
Shoulders lightly rounded, an arched figure, and an evasive short shirt. Wear all retro colors with naïve little flower patterns or polka-dots. These small post-war dresses take back a modern taste. For example, adding a satchel or a beret would be a great addition.




McDonalds in France: The American Plague

Je mange toujours les salades comme un lapin. 
The infamous McDonalds and Americanization has hit France hard. My philosophy with traveling is that I don't want to eat food I can easily find in the United States... However,

French McDonalds trumps it's U.S counterpart.

Everything from the customized French look to the "Quality" ingredients. French McDo launches commercials which boast that their potatoes are chosen from Belgium and France. They offer garden fresh salads and a myriad of delicious wraps (I tried one!). The French "Happy Meal" actually comes in the cool red boxes that us Americans always see, but never get. My petit cousin got a happy meal and it even included a drinkable yogurt! If you go to the offical McDonalds France website (and can read French), then you'll see how McDonalds evolved its restaurants to handle any French criticisms against sanity, quality, or regulations. 

Our ground beef is 100% beef, 52% from French cattle. At all steps of creating the hamburgers, strict hygienic regulations were followed. All of our slaughter houses conform to regulation, a veterinarian also supervises and controls the sanitary state of our chickens

I also noticed that McDonalds uses national pride as a selling point, "hmmm all these ingredients are from France, I should buy it to support us!" or, "France makes quality ingredients, so the food must be good!"


YOP - Drinkable Yogurt

So my cousin from France stopped by Carrefour and purchased a YOP. This drinkable yogurt by Yoplait was amazing. As I slurped down some of my cousin's yogurt, I only imagined all of the cool smoothies and cold drinks I could create with the variety of flavors provided. The strawberry flavor actually tasted like REAL strawberries, and there wasn't any sort of repugnant smell associated with the drink (for some reason, I expected one).

Fluenz French Review: French Language Learning Software

Is Fluenz French the best language software out there? With a price tag of several hundred dollars, people in this economy are often hesitant about purchasing a language program which may not provide them with quality instruction. Throughout this review, I will discuss Fluenz French (Lessons 1-5), explain the advantages and disadvantages of the program, then give my own two cents. I recommend reading this article, then checking out Why Fluenz French is better than Rosetta Stone.

How Long Does it take to Become Fluent in French?


Bonjour (ou bonsoir), and welcome to one of my most popular articles which does a thorough analysis on how long it takes to become fluent in French. This article has received thousands of hits because it evaluates one of the most common & complex questions many people have about learning French outside of "How can I improve my French pronunciation?" and "How do I get over my anxiety speaking French?". 

Before tackling how long it takes to become fluent, we'll first establish what fluency is, and talk about how difficult the journey may be ahead of you. Don't fear though, one of my biggest beliefs about language learning is that it can be fun and that anybody can become fluent in French! I hope you're ready to read, because this is a thorough article on the subject matter (if you're too lazy to read, simply scroll down to the heading "How Long to Be Fluent in French").

FrenchCrazy Fluency Scale:
Come visit me in Paris!
This proficiency scale is simply a condensed list of items based upon the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFRL). These standards are widely accepted across Europe. The framework was designed for those who need to certify their proficiency in a language, allowing others to recognize the range of your skills easily. The proficiency levels are not requirements to become a certain level, but rather language skills that people in a certain level are able to perform.

Beginner (A1): a.k.a Tourist Class 
A beginner is limited with vocabulary and grammar. Beginners may know simple greetings and phrases (Hello, how are you? what's your name? how old are you? etc...). They also know numbers, can usually tell time, and talk about the weather. Beginners can ask simple questions about other people (small talk), and express a sense of like and dislike. They may be able to talk to natives with extreme difficulty, and often with aides such as a pocket dictionary or memorization of phrases. Understanding natives is also difficult for beginners in an everyday environment. If spoken to slowly and directly (with conscious effort from a native), a beginner may fare well. Beginners can typically read "everyday signs" such as "no parking", "no smoking", "keep left", etc... However, reading or writing long texts is difficult. An immersion situation would be difficult for a beginner, but can be done.

Intermediate (A2-B1): Survivor
An intermediate language learner can construct phrases and statements. They can utilize phrases that deal with time, weather, location, desires, and dislikes with little to no difficulty. Intermediate speakers can use the present, past, and future tenses, however they still make errors. They can understand native speakers on certain topics, when spoken to directly. Intermediate learners can have simple transactions in shops, can order something to eat, and can use public transportation. They have sufficient vocabulary to deal with day to day topics, and can describe themselves (hobbies, backgrounds, personal experiences). These speakers can read familiar topics and get the gist about what occurs in a television show or film. Intermediate learners can survive in an immersion situation; however, they may still have difficulty understanding natives (and sometimes are hesitant to interact).

Advanced (B2-C1): Considered Fluent
An advanced learner can understand normal forms of media (TV, films, radio, newspapers, music) with little trouble. They can maintain conversation with natives and even be a part of conversations within noisy environments (i.e, more than one speaker or literal background noise). These learners can construct many sentences correctly, and change with a conversation. They can use the present, past, future, conditional mood, and imperfect as tools to advance a conversation. Fluent-Advanced learners may still have some trouble with the subjunctive, but can recognize its use. They can use phrases like "that's difficult to answer" to buy time and formulate what to say.

They can keep track of "favorite mistakes" and monitor them from time to time, or correct themselves when a Native doesn't fully understand. Advanced learners can handle reading long, constructed French articles, books, directions, etc. with little difficulty. For example, read this C1-level passage by Flaubert out loud and really test how much you know: Madame Bovary [extrait]. Don't expect to know every word, but try to understand it.

Advanced French learners could create short, clear narratives or compositions. They have a knack for picking up vocabulary within context, and know some specialized vocabulary for familiar topics. Advanced learners are confident with at least some aspects of their language, and can survive in an immersion situation with little to no difficulty. These speakers have the ability to communicate with Natives really well.

Highly Advanced (C2): Fluent
A fluent learner can understand all forms of media, converse with natives, be understood, and figure out context with little to no difficulty. They can talk in vibrant situations and can express themselves. They don't necessarily have to have a perfect French accent. These people understand everyday language used by other speakers. Fluent individuals are capable of reading long texts and can express themselves in writing. A fluent speaker thrives in an immersion setting, because they essentially have the tools to communicate with those around them on a daily basis.

Native: Mother Tongue 
The language is either your first, or you've been speaking it for the majority of your life. You understand vocabulary, you can make conversation effortlessly, read and write. Effortlessly does not mean you hesitate or you don't need to use a spell checker, it simply means you can carry on at a level that most other native speakers do so. You could still have an accent depending on where you learned the language. Nevertheless, this language is yours.

So what REALLY is French fluency?


Je n'aurais jamais cru que vous vouliez apprendre le français.
Now that you read those guidelines, how do you feel about where your level of French stands? Would it surprise you that according to those guidelines, it would take you 10,000 hours to become fluent?!? Don't panic, I'll refute that number below; keep reading.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately) fluency is a subjective term for everybody. Honestly by me writing out that fluency scale simply uses my opinion (and CEFRL standards) over someone else's definition of the same word. To some people, fluency is an end-all, mystical point which can never be achieved. To others, being fluent in French is simply communicating with people in everyday interactions. Additionally, there are a million different factors as to why someone becomes French fluent in 2 years as opposed to someone in 10; no two personal situations are equivalent.

You need to realize what values are most important for you and your French. If you want to be able to read great works by Hugo, Voltaire, or Flaubert then you’ll need to focus on improving your reading skills, French vocabulary, and grammar. If you simply want to be able to order a meal in France or buy tickets for something, you can pick up any type of phrase book and do this type of task within minutes. Fluency does not mean that you have to have perfect pronunciation, or you can never make mistakes. It does not mean that you do not hesitate or have a native pronunciation. It does not require fancy vocabulary on topics like engineering business, and politics, or hour long discussions in French. It means you can communicate with people and understand things which are important to everyday life in France. However, my version of French fluency places emphasis on all aspects of the language: reading, writing, speaking, and listening because I believe everybody should be well-rounded.

The problem about the French teaching culture in America is that nobody is ever good enough, and French people often dislike their language being mangled. Nonetheless, it’s your standards that really matter. If you want to learn a language in 3 months and call yourself fluent, by all means do so (there are popular language blogs claiming they can). If you realize that after you take two years of French, you may not be fluent, but you have plenty of tools at your disposal to go out and use the language, then more power to you.

How long to be French fluent?
The million dollar question, how long does it take to become Fluent in French? With French learning programs now named "Instant Immersion", "5-Minute French", and "French in 10-minutes a day", it's no wonder people misconceive how long it takes to become French fluent.

Short time spans are feasible if you pack up your belongings and you are residing in a country where the target language is spoken, or you work with the language often. These situations are called Immersion more or less and not many people can deny its language learning power. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that French fluency can be achieved in 3 months (without immersion) because if you have these sort of expectations with your language learning endeavors, you’ll become discouraged when it takes longer. However, the type of fluency which many people ultimately want to achieve is a matter of years as opposed to months. Realistically, without being in an immersion environment, I stick with the number of 5 years, which involves talking good courses and supplementing your knowledge with native speakers or time abroad.

Estimates:
Proficient = A2, B1
Very Proficient/Fluent = B2, C1, C2

Proficient in French via immersion (3-6 months)
Proficient in French via college courses/non-immersion (1-2 years, depending)
Proficient in French via high school courses/non-immersion (3-4 years, depending)
Very proficient - fluent in French via immersion (~2 years)
Very proficient - fluent in French without immersion, through classes (4-6 years at least)
Very proficient using a combination of immersion and other learning methods (variable)

A study by Horwitz asked undergraduate students: "If someone spent one hour a day learning a language, how long would it take him/her to become fluent?". Forty percent of the students questioned believed it would take 1-2 years. Horwitz describes this as "unrealistic" and indicates that students "who anticipate fluency in two years are destined for severe disappointment and thus would seem likely candidates for dropping out." Keep in mind, this study was performed on University students in Texas, taking formal courses.

Word Reference

Word Reference is essentially an online dictionary, and it's and awesome resource for any language student. The site offers translations (for our purposes) from both English to French OR French to English. What's amazing is that you can search nouns, verbs, or even entire phrases! If you click on a word, it'll take you to that word's definition. And, most  (if not all) verbs are thoroughly conjugated.

French-English False Cognates

Faux Amis!
Learning French as an English speaker is great, because many words have similar meanings. However, the languages do provide some traps for students. False Cognates (sometimes referred to as faux amis), are words that look similar, but carry different meanings between the two languages.

For example, in French, the word pale is an oar, propeller, or paddle; not a light color or soft complexion. (In French, that word is pâle. For colors: pale green would translate to vert clair). Take another common false friend, actuellement which doesn't mean "actually" but rather "currently".

So, how can I prevent falling for these false friends?

The only way to avoid misunderstanding is to KNOW the false cognates or play off context clues. There are hundreds of them, but as you evolve through the language, you'll know a few off hand. Like the fact that you don't "attend" a party in French, but you "assist" it. J'ai assisté aux fêtes de l'indépendance.

If you want a large list of French cognates which are ordered alphabetically, you can go to one of my recommended online resources, French about.com.

For Laura's LARGE list of faux amis, click HERE.
To return to our French Language Learning section, please click HERE.

Anything else to add about these evil pitfalls? Please comment below!

Immersion in a Francophone Country

What is immersion? It's a specific way of learning a language, where the target language (language desired) isn't just a subject matter, but the teaching tool. Think of it as surrounding yourself with the language, and almost everything you do involves it. When I traveled to France for a month, I spoke nothing but French... As I neared the final week of my visit, I felt I was learning new words and constructions on a daily basis! Subliminally, you read a French advertisement and the sentence construction sticks, or you talk to somebody and they say a phrase a certain way... this is how learning by immersion works the best! It was only about 30 days and I saw results, so I'm certain that by immersing yourself for a year would show great results on your French.

Immersion programs are sometimes offered in certain French universities or language teaching schools. Otherwise, the easiest way to be immersed is to live abroad for a period of a few weeks to a few years. Obviously the shorter your stay, the more you would have to do with the language on a daily basis to get a similar experience. If you want to immerse yourself in France, there is no point in going with a group of English speakers (because, you'll find yourself speaking English with them)! The more time you speak French with everybody, the better.

Okay, so now that you know what immersion is, where can you go to be immersed? Currently, there are 29 countries that have announced France as it's official language. Below is the list of Francophone countries where you could possibly immerse yourself!

French Vocabulary List: Characteristics/Personality

This vocabulary list features (26) French vocabulary words that are useful to describe somebody's personality or current state. Obviously there are hundreds of adjectives that can describe a person! However, if you happen to think of any cool ones (or very important ones not listed), then please do so below, in the comments section.

(Please also reference How to Increase my French Vocabulary if you haven't already done so).

Français Facile

I am totally ecstatic about this website! Français Facile provides top notch French lessons, French vocabulary sheets, French dialouges, and tons of French Exercises created by the Frenchies themselves. The site claims they have 200,000 members (which isn't hard to believe... it's amazing). Français Facile provides a French learning site in both French (cliquez-ici), and English (click here).

With are over 7,000 interactive tests, what's not to love?

But wait.. there's more! I truly feel like I'm on an infomercial with these reviews. If you sign up to become a member, you can find a french pen pal, utilize the forums, get french definitions by double-clicking, and record all your marks for every exercise completed. They also provide French placement tests, so you can get an idea of how you're progressing through the language.

I can't really place any more emphasis on how useful the numerous exercises and lessons are. I could probably spend hours on this site (if I didn't have other things to do of course). I can only hope you're rushing over to the site as we speak!

Please, post any comments below... especially if you enjoyed a site I've recommended!

To return to our online resources menu, click HERE.

Loser English Translation - Plastiscines

Loser Lyrics in English
Reviewed/Translated by John Elkhoury
COMPREHENSION DIFFICULTY: EASY
Like all my music reviews, I start with a French to English translation then critique the lyrics and style below.

French Vocabulary List: Road Vocabulary

This vocabulary list features (74) French vocabulary words sorted into the following categories: modes of transportation, drivers, essentials, problems and solutions, and activities on the road.

(Please reference: How to Increase my French Vocabulary if you haven't already).

How to Read French Nutrition Labels

French Nutrition Label Vocabulary
So, you travel to France and you wanted to have a piece of chocolate... Mmmm Esprit Noir à la Menthe! You take a gander at Les Informations Nutritionnelles. No surprise, it's in French, and what does 2190KJ pour 100g mean? I will first discuss the vocabulary associated with food packaging, nutrition, and basic ingredients. Then I'll explain how to spot allergic information, and how the French portion food.


French Nutrition Vocabulary
Valeur énergétique: Calories (energetic value)
Protéines: Protein
Lipides: Fats
Lipides dont acids gras saturés: Saturated Fats
Glucides: Carbohydrates
Glucides dont sucre: Sugar
Fibres allimentaire: Dietary Fiber
Sodium: Salt
Poids Net: Total Weight
Un Portion: A serving
Contient: Contains
Conserver: Store
RNJ: Repères Nutritionnels Journaliers: Recommended Daily Allowance. 


Common French Ingredients:
Arôme: Flavoring (arôme pomme/cannelle means: cinnamon apple flavoring)
Avoine: Oats
Bicarbonate de soude: Baking soda
Blé (complète): Wheat (whole wheat)
Beurre (pâtissier): Butter (concentrated)
Colorant: Artificial coloring
Eau: Water
Farine (de blé complète): Flour (whole wheat flour)
Huile (d'olive, tournesol, végétale): Oil (olive oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil)
Lait (en poudre, écrémé): Milk (powdered milk, skimmed-milk)
Matière grasse (végétale): Fat, Lard (Vegetable fat)
Noix: Nuts
Oeuf: Egg
Sel: Salt
Sirop de glucose: Glucose syrup (corn syrup)
Vinaigre (balsamique, de vin rouge): Vinegar (balsamic..., red wine...)


Luckily some words resemble their English counterparts. Now, when I read the label of the chocolate, it says that 1 portion (10g) contains 220kJ (55kcal). If you paid attention during chemistry or physics, you would realize that roughly 4.4 kilojoules is equivalent to 1 kilocalorie. One kcal is equal to 1 Calorie. Thus, 55kcals is equal to 55 Calories!

Not bad for a sinful piece of chocolate
Usually the French packaging will include the nutritional information for one serving and for the entire packet. So when you notice that eating your morning cereal will add 1,995kcals to your belly, you're probably looking at the wrong side.

Reading French nutrition labels are also annoying if you're unfamiliar with the Metric System, so if you aren't American you should be fine! An easy way to estimate what makes a portion is to take the Poids Net, or total weight, and then divide that by the indicated portion size. So, if a box of cereal says a portion is 45 grams, and the whole box contains 500 grams, then you would have approx. 11 portions. Eye out one-eleventh of the container and enjoy your French food. You could also weigh your cereal on a scale, but who really does that?


I just have a little note for allergic people. A statement that identifies allergies would go something like this:
 Ce produit contient de la poudre de lait et est fabriqué sur une ligne de production utilisant différents types de noix. That long, daunting french sentence is essentially saying that the product contains powdered milk, and is made in a factory that uses different types of nut products. Reading these sentences become imperative if you are allergic to anything...

I hope this guide on How to Read French Nutrition Labels was helpful. Please comment below if you need anything, or want to add more vocabulary to my list above.


(P.S, have you ever wondered how the French could always eat this stuff and not get fat? Check out my article:
The French Paradox).

Un Jour Un Actu

Un jour un actu translates to "one day, one news article". This is probably one of my favorite sites to read because it's aimed at French children ages seven to thirteen. That allows for good French reading and the ability to easily use context clues when understanding is a little rough. Despite the target age group, the articles are very interesting and pose questions about everyday topics that even adults could use some insight to!

If you're a beginner or intermediate French Learner, this site is a bookmarking MUST.

The site features articles about: The world, culture, France, Science, Sports, and our environment. It's written by French people for French people (which is why it's so great). Every article features a mot du jour, or word of the day. The article also tests your individual comprehension by asking two or three multiple choice questions at the bottom. It's really a great way to check comprehension.

To check out 1jour1actu, click HERE.
To return to our online resources menu, click HERE.

How to Increase my French Vocabulary?

I think that the worst feeling about French, is when you know exactly what to say to a person and then forget that one specific word, or word gender. The uncertainty is a killer. Imagine if you wanted to ask your friend about his car, but you never learned the word!

First off, if you're ever stuck... try asking Comment-dit on _________ en français? In English, that translates to how do you say _______ in French?  The blank could either be replaced by you saying the English word (if the person speaks some English) or, it can be followed by rapid pointing towards the object! (If you decide to use the pointing method, replace the blank with ça). 

So, how can I increase my vocabulary?

I have three good methods to answer this question. Probably the best way, believe it or not, is reading. A lot of reading. Learning from context is one of the best ways to retain words, and if you end up reading the same construction over and over again, the words will make sense. A good thing about French is that many words look similar to their english counterparts (cognates). Here's the catch about reading... if you don't know a word, and can't assume by context, then it's imperative that you look it up! Within no time, your vocabulary will evolve.

My second method is probably my favorite. I call it: WORDS THROUGHOUT THE DAY. What you do is every time you interact with an object, you must say the FRENCH WORD in your head before you can use it. If you cannot do this, you must look up the word and repeat it five times. Another alternative is to place sticky notes on objects and when you use them come up with sentence with the object. At first, this may be very tedious, especially if you wanted to just use the computer quickly to find a word that slipped your mind. Yet, if you keep up with this method, you'll know a ton of French vocabulary around your home and workplace within a few days! Also, you're reinforcing your vocabulary every day, and every time you use the object. This is probably one of the easiest ways to gain French vocabulary fast.

My last method of gaining vocabulary: straight up memorization. This is probably the least effective way, but it is typically required for beginning french learners to gain a starting point. You should try to create flashcards, make word associations, and review your words often. Memrise is a good website which has a lot of picture-word associated Flashcards set up by users. I've used this method countless times and gained tons of vocabulary by flipping through flashcards on a daily basis. I also suggest that you look up words that relate to yourself. If you love soccer so much and play it in high school - you should know how to say "I'm a soccer player" or "scored a goal" in French, this way you can better communicate things about yourself to French speakers. If you learn words that relate to objects or activities you like, then those words will stick more easily than random vocabulary words.

You can scour the other online resources I provided to increase your vocabulary, this page provides links where you can ready French articles or watch French news broadcasts to better help your vocabulary and comprehension. 

Have any other cool methods of your own? I'd love to hear them below!
Bon courage avec vos études, à bientôt.