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Jan 31

The French University System

In honour of the start of a new semester, I thought it might be useful to introduce readers to the French university system and, later, to French vocabulary used often in the academic setting. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up using this new vocabulary while registering for classes in France!

In France, degrees are divided up into License, Master, and Doctorat levels. The License level is equivalent to a Bachelor’s program, although it typically takes three years of study instead of the four in the United States. The Master level is a two-year graduate program.

However, students still get credit for passing just the first year of courses in many cases (which is called un Master 1).

The Doctorat level (equivalent to a doctorate degree) is an additional three years of—typically, largely independent—study (and terminating with a work of original research, or dissertation, known as une thèse).

French Uni

Most universities in France are public. These schools are referred to informally as la fac. Prices for these schools are typically heavily subsidised by the French government and students typically pay only several hundred euros in fees per year. Private schools are more expensive, of course.

Then, there are also les grandes écoles. These schools are highly competitive and elite; typically students can only be accepted into these schools if they pass rigorous entrance exams. Although there is no real equivalent of these schools in the UK or the United States, they might be compared to ivy league schools. Les grandes écoles are also typically more expensive than la fac. 

The French university schedule is very similar to other universities across Europe and the US. However, universities typically start a bit later in France than in the United States, with fall semesters beginning often in late September or early October and spring semesters extending until July.

University students have many advantages in France, from access to cheap movie tickets, subway and train tickets, museum passes, and even special restaurants that cater to university students and only cost several euros for full meals. Students in big cities like Paris also have access to student housing for discounted rates.

International students who are interested in studying in France can check out the government website at Campus France for more information about applying for student visas and universities.

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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Jan 31

Buying A Glass In French

Buying A Glass In French – Oh, Don’t Forget The Drink!

Firstly - Don’t be afraid of making mistakes when you speak French!

Not knowing how to say simple words like mattress or shorts have put me in some strange situations, but if I had been too afraid to speak, I would never have learned les nouveaux mots (the new words) at all!

Between looking at someone dans les yeux (in the eyes) and learning the importance of l’eau (water), I’ve learned a lot au café. 

Another fun experience learning new words au café happened when I was out with mon ami (my friend) and wanted to buy them a drink as a friendly gesture. I wasn’t sûr à cent percent (one hundred percent sure) and ended up thinking in English as I smiled at mon ami...

Buying a Glass in French 

Je t’achète un verre ! 

D’accord… pourquoi ? 

Tu es mon ami, donc je veux t’acheter un verre ! 

Pourquoi pas ! 

I’ll buy you a glass! 

Okay… why? 

You are my friend, so I want to buy you a glass! 

Why not! 

Mon ami was nice enough to play along even if he didn’t really understand what I wanted to say. When le barman (the bartender) came over and I placed an order, mon ami immediately understood what I originally tried to say. 

Aaah ! Tu voulais dire que tu veux me payer un verre ! 

Aaah! You wanted to say that you want to buy me a glass! 

It was my turn to be confused because it sounded like he pretty much said exactly the same thing, only using the word payer (to pay) instead of acheter (to buy). 

Alors, c’est quoi la différence entre ce que tu viens de dire et ce que j’ai dit ? 

Si tu dis que tu vas m’acheter un verre, ça veut dire que tu vas vraiment m’acheter un verre et pas la boisson ! 

So, what’s the difference between what you just said and what I said? 

If you say that you’re buying me a glass, that means you are going to really buy me a glass and not the drink! 

I quickly understood my mistake and realised how funny my original statement must have sounded to mon ami.

The difference between payer un verre and acheter un verre has since stuck with me, but that wasn’t the last time a small error made my French sound strange.

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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Jan 31

Breakfast in France in French

A Little French Breakfast Vocabulary To Start The Day

Le petit déjeuner (breakfast) is the first meal of the day and while la cuisine (the food) and the time may vary from place to place, everywhere in the world has some kind of breakfast.

It may take a while for some people to wake up, but everyone has une routine du matin (a morning routine) that involves things like l’entaientment matinal (morning exercise), se brosser les dents (brushing your teeth), and of course, le petit déjeuner.

Interestingly, even though it may not look like it, the French petit déjeuner has a similar origin to the English word:

Petit déjeuner - Breakfast 

The word derives from jeuner meaning to fast (as in to not eat for a period of time) and adding the dé- prefix gives it the opposite meaning. That gives déjeuner the definition of ending the fast or breaking the fast, similar to the English term, break-fast. It’s also important to remember that without the petit, the word becomes lunch.

Déjeuner - Lunch

En France, le petit déjeuner features pastries like le croissant, le beignet, la crêpe and of course le pain au chocolat (without getting into the big debate over la chocolatine) and is usually accompanied by un café, but some people prefer du thé (tea), une infusion (herbal tea), or du jus (juice) instead.

No matter what you eat, la routine du matin that goes along with le petit déjeuner can set the mood for the entire day. To get in the French learning mood, try to start saying what you ate for breakfast en français, even if it’s not a French breakfast and you’re a little far from une boulangerie française (a French bakery)...

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Voici un vocabulaire du petit déjeuner :

Breakfast – Le petit déjeuner

Lunch – Le déjeuner

Dinner – Le dîner

Milk – Le lait

Cereal – Les céréales

Coffee – Le café

Tea – Le thé

Herbal Tea – L’infusion

Orange Juice – Le jus d’orange

Bread – Le pain

Toast – Le pain grillé

Jam – La confiture

Pancake – Le pancake

Waffle – La gaufre

Syrup – Le sirop

Bacon – Le bacon

Eggs – Les œufs

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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Jan 31

What Does a Dog Say in French?

Come Learn the Animal Sounds!

Dogs, turkeys, and lions are all over the world, and they all make the same sounds.

These sounds, though, are portrayed differently in our spoken languages.

Recently I went on a cruise with my friend and her family. At some point, my friend and her brother were teasing their Russian stepmother over something she’d said in the past about what roosters say. She took it in stride and said the Russian animal noise again: кукареку (kukareku). As a French speaker, I know French roosters in the provincial countryside scream "cocorico" in the mornings, so to me it wasn’t so odd.

I later had a (very adult looking) conversation with a French friend discussing a few animal noises and verbs I wasn’t familiar with. Our bleating, screeching, and mooing have produced the following list. Memorise them and take yourself to the nearest French zoo for a fun, animalistic conversation...

Animal Sounds with Cle France

Le chien – dog

Que fait le chien ? Le chien fait ouaf ouaf ! (What does the dog say? The dog says woof woof!)

Verbs for dog sounds: aboyer (bark), grogner (growl), hurler (howl), and japper (yips).

Le chat – cat

Que fait le chat ? Le chat fait miaou ! (What does the cat say? The cat meows!)

Verbs for cat sounds: miauler (meow) and ronronner (purr).

La poule – chicken

Que fait la poule ? La poule fait cotcotcodet ! (The chicken goes bock bock bock!)

Chicks (les poussins) in French say piou-piou.

Verbs for chicken sounds: caqueter (cluck).

Le coq – rooster

Que fait le coq ? Le coq fait cocorico ! (What does a rooster say? The rooster says cock-a-doodle-do!)

Verbs for rooster sounds: chanter (here, to crow)

Le corbeau – crow

Que fait le corbeau ? Le corbeau fait crôa crôa ! (What does the crow say? Caw caw!)

Verbs for crow sounds: croasser (to crow)

Le pigeon – pigeon

Que fait le pigeon ? Le pigeon fait rou rou ! (What doe the pigeon say? Coo coo!)

Verbs for pigeon sounds: roucouler (to coo)

L’oiseau – bird

Que dit l’oiseau ? L’oiseau fait cui cui ! (What does a bird say? Chirp chirp!)

Verbs for bird sounds: gazouiller (to chirp)

This is for birds in general.

Le dindon – turkey

Que fait le dindon ? Le dindon fait glou glou ! (What does a turkey say? Gobble gobble!)

Verbs for turkey sounds: glouglouter (to gobble)

Le canard – duck

Que fait le canard ? Le canard fait coin coin ! (What does the duck say? Quack quack!)

Verbs for duck sounds: cancaner (here, to quack)

Le cochon – pig

Que fait le cochon ? Le cochon fait groin groin ! (What does the pig say? Oink oink!)

Verbs for pig sounds: grogner (here, to oink)

La vache – cow

Que fait la vache ? La vache fait meuh ! (What does a cow say? Moo!)

Verbs for cow sounds: mugir (here, to moo)

Le cheval – horse

Que fait le cheval ? Le cheval fait hiiii ! (What does the horse say? Neigh!)

Verbs for horse sounds: hennir (to neigh, winny)

L’âne – donkey

Que fait l’âne ? L’âne fait hi-han ! (What does the donkey say? Hee-haw!)

Verbs for donkey sounds: braire (to bray)

Fun French tip: Have trouble remembering the order of both y and en in a sentence? Remember what the donkey says: y en !

Le lion – lion

Que fait le lion ? Le lion fait raoh ! (What does a lion say? Roar!)

Verbs for lion sounds: rugir (to roar)

La grenouiller – frog

Que fait la grenouille ? La grenouille fait croac croac ! (What does the frog say? Ribbit ribbit!)

Verbs for frog sounds: coasser (here, to ribbit)

So there we have it! You can now speak with animals.

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

Add CommentViews: 124
Jan 1

Bonne année! Happy New Year!

French Question: Why is it “Le Novel An” and not “Le Nouveau An”?

We wish all of our readers a happy and healthy 2018.

Talking about the new year in French can be especially difficult. This is because there are two words that mean “year”–an (m) and année (f), and because both of these words start with a vowel, which can change the word that comes before it.

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What’s the difference between an and année?  Besides the fact that an is masculine and année is feminine, an describes a particular moment during the year while année describes a span of time (this is similar to the pairs soir and soirée).

Thus, you would say: C’est le jour du nouvel an (It’s New Year’s Day) using an instead of année because you are referencing a particular moment of time during the year (New Year’s Day).

If, however, you would like to wish someone a happy new year, this is over a span of time, which lasts for the entire year. That’s why you use année in the expression “Happy New Year” or bonne année.

But there’s another trick when referencing the new year, or le nouvel an, in French. Because an is masculine, the adjective typically used with it should be nouveau. However, in French, an adjective cannot end with a vowel if the following noun also begins with a vowel (for reason of pronunciation or liaison).

Thus, there is always a masculine form of a word that can be used only in front of masculine nouns that start with vowels. In this case, that would be nouvel. Nouvel is pronounced just like the feminine form nouvelle, so don’t get confused if you hear someone say le nouvel an–this doesn’t mean that an is feminine. (You can also think about the difference between the demonstrative adjectives ce (masculine), cette (feminine), and cet (masculine before a masculine noun that begins with a vowel).

Alors, je vous souhaite tous une bonne année et j’espère que vous avez passé un bon nouvel an avec votre famille!

Bonne année! Happy New Year!

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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