Archive for the 'Language' Category


Mot de Passe

a little humor for our French-speaking readers, with a hat tip to Charlie Sputnik

Free French Classes in Paris

The Paris Mayor’s Office has added a “Learning French” page to its website with tips on who can take classes and where. Staying in Paris awhile? Check your with your local mayor’s office (each arrondissement has one) for information on free municipal classes. No restrictions on nationality or residence status, but students must be must […]

Don’t Get Too Literal

To have long teeth, in French parlance, does not equate being long in the tooth. Having long teeth means someone is (idiomatically) ambitious, not old. “Eating on the thumb” and “breaking people’s feet” are two (literally translated) French expressions you will hear more frequently (if not daily) in France. Here’s a handy list of many […]

They Parle

Who knew? Among the celebrities who speak French are Angela Davis, Viggo Mortensen, Tommy Lee Jones, Angelina Jolie, Brooke Shields and Bradley Cooper!

The French “Manana”

My least favorite word in the French language was and may still be the word normalement. Normalement basically means “if all goes according to plan”. When you add normalement to a response, it means the thing should happen. For example: Question: « Le magasin est ouvert demain ?» / “The store is open tomorrow?” Response: […]

The Little Jew?!

I just whacked my funny bone and oww did it hurt. I realized I didn’t know how to say “funny bone” in French. None of us are actually Franco-French in my house, and I can’t say it would normally come up in a conversation. So I looked it up on WordReference (which by the way […]

‘Tu’ or ‘Vous’ Made Easy

The Los Angeles Times, a paper whose coverage of France is typically lame, has redeemed itself with this handy and hysterical chart on whom to tutoyer and whom to vouvoyer. Thanks to Polly Vous Francais for spotting!

Be an Argot-naut!

French instructor Sabrina Haouzi and I came up with a list of the most commonly heard argot in Paris. Learn the following, and you’re well on your way to breaking free from the constraints of your classroom French. Chiant – as in “c’est chiant”, meaning “that’s sh*tty” Un mec – a guy Une nana – […]

Learning French Free

There are lots of free ways to learn or improve your French language skills. My favorite is by listening to the radio. Tuning into the news on RFI, France Culture or France Info, all of which stream on the Internet, swells my vocabulary, seemingly by osmosis. It also familiarizes me with different accents and varying […]

Why Do the French Like Easter?

Because it’s a bonne idée.

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