Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rules are made to be broken...

If you spend a lot of time learning grammar rules, you may be doing yourself a disservice, as many grammar rules are now okay to break! The rules we learned in school all those years ago? Evolution has rendered them useless. English is a language whose speakers adapt and manipulate to fit the speaker, and not the other way around. In general, Anglophones don't derive their identity from their language as many other cultures- such as the French. Instead, English is nothing more than a tool to be used by its speakers; it's not a part of our cultural heritage. I found the following article on the subject of English rules to be very interesting (and funny):,0,4074825.story


Thursday, May 31, 2012

The largest French cities in the world are...

Quick - name the top five cities that house the most French citizens. Surely you guessed Paris as the largest, and that's correct. There are 2.3 million French citizens in the City of Lights. Next is Marseille with 859,000 followed by Lyon with 488,000. Next in line is Toulouse with 447,000 and rounding out the top five is Nice, with a French population of 344,000.

But you'll never guess number six.

Here's a hint - it isn't Nantes, Bordeaux or Alsace. Did that help? I didn't think so.

France's 6th largest city is...

Wait for it...


Yep, you read that right! According to the BBC and the French Consulate in London, there are between 300,000 and 400,000 French citizens living in the British capital!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bon appétit !

La France est le pays du bien manger ! Pas étonnant que certains villages portent un nom qui évoquant la nourriture ! En voici quelques-uns :
Des noms de fromage :

Camembert, dans l’Orne

Brie, en Ille-et-Vilaine

Gruyères, dans les Ardennes

Munster, dans le Haut-Rhin

Coulommiers, en Seine-et-Marne

Des noms de fruit :

Orange, dans le Vaucluse

Cassis, dans les Bouches-du-Rhône,

Mûres, en Haute-Savoie

Coings, dans l’Indre

Fraize, dans les Vosges (fraise pour la vraie orthographe du fruit)

Des noms de légumes :

Choux, dans le Jura

Lentilles, dans l’Aube

Ognon, dans l’Oise (oignon pour la vraie orthographe du légume)

Des noms de champignons :

Chanterelle, dans l’Yonne

Girolles, dans l’Yonne

Des sucreries :

Bombon, en Seine-et-Marne (bonbon pour la vraie orthographe de la sucrerie)

Compôte, en Savoie (Sans l’accent circonflexe pour celle qui se mange)

La madeleine, dans le Nord

Sorbets, dans le Gers

Et enfin, connaissant l’amour des Français pour le pain, le meilleur pour la fin (ou la faim J) : Painblanc en Côte-d’Or !

Bon appétit !

Friday, April 13, 2012

Are French people really that rude?

I was reading a report the other day that said that in a survey of over 1,200 people that guess which country was declared the rudest for visitors? Yep, the old stereotype of French people being rude reared its ugly head. I was angry and didn't know where to start! I completely agree with the article's author that Parisians seem to be just as rude to each other as they are to visitors! But the part of the survey that bothered me most were the criteria used to judge a destination's 'friendliness' or 'rudeness'. Are you ready? The two main criteria were (1) how much the locals *smile* and (2) where were the people particularly 'unfriendly' (no criteria given as to what exactly constitutes 'unfriendly').
Rudeness, a stereotype- much like this guy

Why are these bad criteria to use? Well, anyone who's read a book on French culture such as 'French or Foe' by Polly Platt or 'Culture Shock: France' can tell you that no one in France walks down the street with a perma-grin, unless they want to be perceived as the village idiot!

As an aside, both of these are excellent books to read before travelling to France- once you know the French 'code', you'll find that the French are never rude...well, almost never (but that's the case anywhere).

As for 'particularly unfriendly', I can only assume that this means that someone yelled in English at a Parisian who then refused to help them, even if they probably did understand. I'm not making this up- I've seen tourists walk up to people in Paris and begin speaking English without so much as an 'Excuse me' or 'Hello'. Can you imagine? You're trying to live your life, going to or from work, and a visitor to your country stops you to babble in a foreign language without even trying to speak your language? And then gets mad at you. How would you react the 10th or so time this happened? That's what I thought!

So am I way off base? Is this a survey we should take seriously or is it completely invalid due to its criteria not being culturally specific? What have your experiences been?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

this post brought to you by Azurlingua...

Have you heard of the Azurlingua Language School?

Azurlingua French Language School has partnered with Bien-dire magazine!  Ideally situated on the French Riviera, our school proposes quality French courses in all levels throughout the entire year.  Azurlingua is one of the first FLE schools to be awarded the quality FLE label in teaching, reception and administration.  We offer French courses for adults and French for teens as well as courses for teachers.  To complement your courses, we offer a program of cultural activities and tourism that will allow you to discover the charms of the French.
So don’t wait,  visit our website and come learn French in France!

Azurlingua culture and gastronomy                                                French courses in Nice at Azurlingua

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vive la crise !

La crise n’a pas que des mauvais côtés. Elle peut aussi être une source d’inspiration, à l’exemple de ce texte plein d’humour et très bien tourné. Parfait pour améliorer son français ! Malheureusement, l’auteur de ce texte n’était pas mentionné. Si vous le connaissez, n’hésitez pas à nous le faire savoir !

«  Avec cette crise, tout le monde souffre
- Les problèmes des boulangers sont croissants
Alors que les bouchers veulent défendre leur steak
- Les éleveurs de volaille se font plumer
Et en ont assez d’être les dindons de la farce
- Les éleveurs de chiens sont aux abois
Les pêcheurs haussent le ton
Et bien sûr, les éleveurs de porcs sont dans la merde
- Les céréaliculteurs sont sur la paille
Alors que les brasseurs sont sous pression
- Les viticulteurs trinquent
Heureusement, les électriciens résistent
Mais pour les couvreurs, c’est la tuile
Certains plombiers en ont ras-le-bol
Et les autres prennent la fuite
- Chez GM, les salariés débrayent
Et la direction fait marche arrière
- Les cheminots voulaient garder leur train de vie
Mais la crise est arrivée sans crier gare
- Les veilleurs de nuit vivent au jour le jour
Et les carillonneurs ont le bourdon
- Les ambulanciers ruent dans les brancards
Pendant que les pédicures travaillent d’arrache-pied
- Les croupiers jouent le tout pour le tout
Les cordonniers sont mis à pied
Les dessinateurs font grise mine
Les exterminateurs ont le cafard
Des militaires partent en retraite
Et les policiers se sont arrêtés
- Les imprimeurs dépriment
Les météorologues aussi sont en dépression
Les pendus sont sur la corde raide
Les prostituées se retrouvent sur le trottoir
C’est vraiment une mauvaise passe… »
- Auteur Inconnu

Voilà un excellent exercice pour les professeurs de français langue étrangère !