samedi 19 septembre 2009

Shopping and food stores words in French - word list

This table is created by me! Please do not reproduce without my permission and linking back here.

le bar-tabac
coffee shop/cigarette shop combined
la boucherie-charcuterie
general butcher's

la boucherie
general butcher's (does not sell pork or horsemeat)
la boucherie chevaline
horse meat butcher's

la boulangerie

la brasserie
la brulerie
coffee café
le café
les commerces de vins/le marchand de vin
wine store
la confiserie
sweets/candy/chocolates store
la chocolaterie
chocolate store
la crémerie
eggs/dairy store
la crêperie
crepe store
la charcuterie
pork/horsemeat butcher's and delicatessen
le dépôt de pain
small grocery store

la fromagerie
cheese store
le glacier
ice cream/sorbet maker's
le grand magasin
department store
le magasin libre-service
self-service shop
le marchand de fruits
produce market
la pâtisserie
cake shop
la poissonnerie/le marchands de poissons
fish store
le primeur
fruit/vegetable store (greengrocer's)
la restaurant
la rotissierie
spit roast meats
le salon de thé
la supérette
la supérette de proximité
convenience mini market
le supermarché
Non-food stores

pet store
la bijouterie
jewel(le)ry store
la blanchisserie
la boutique
small clothing store
la boutique d'animaux
pet store
la boutique cadeaux
gift shop
la boutique de coiffeur/le salon de coiffure
hairdressing salon
la boutique de souvenirs
souvenir shop
la boutique de surf
surf store
le centre commercial
shopping mall
la chapellerie
hat store
la chemiserie
gentlemen's outfitters'
la coutellerie
cutlery store
la fleuriste
flower shop
la ganterie
gloves store
le grand magasin
department store
watchmaker's store
l'institut de beauté
le kiosque (a journaux)
la librairie
le magasin d'ameublement
furniture store
le magasin de chaussures / la cordonnerie
shoe store
le magasin de jouets
le magasin de sport
sports store
le magasin populaire
dime/discount store
le magasin succursaliste
le marché
open air market
le marché aux fleurs
flower market
la maroquinerie
leather goods store
le maxidiscompte
hard-discount store
la mercerie
dressmaking supplies/haberdashery/fabric store
la papeterie
paper/stationery supplies store
la parfumerie
perfume store
le peaussier
leather dealer
la pharmacie
le pressing
dry-cleaning store/laundry
la quincaillerie/la droguerie
hardware store
le (bureau de) tabac
cigarette shop (also sells stamps and lottery tickets)
la teinturerie
dry-cleaning store

French FSI Barron's courses

I can tell that Pimsleur is going to end sooner than I thought and it's going to be like saying good bye to an old friend and soon I won't have either Michel Thomas or Pimsleur to guide me (boohoo). And audio-courses are so easy as you can take them anywhere and do them almost anywhere. I'm really going to miss it.

I've been looking at other courses and I'm finding that most of the beginner ones are now too easy and the others are too difficult, so I'm sort of stuck in the middle.

I knew about the FSI ones but I found them rather boring... but I might try it for a big longer. You can get it for free here. It's apparently used by the US government to teach diplomats, and Barron's have also appropriated and sell it through Amazon and the like.

It's fairly long. 24 units and each unit has separate parts:

1 - 6 parts
2 - 6 parts
3 - 6 parts
4 - 7 parts
5 - 7 parts
6 - 3 parts
7 - 11 parts
8 - 10 parts
9 - 11 parts
10 - 9 parts
11 - 9 parts
12 - 4 parts
13 - 8 parts
14 - 9 parts
15 - 10 parts
16 - 9 parts
17 - 11 parts
18 - 7 parts
19 - 9 parts
20 - 8 parts
21 - 8 parts
22 - 7 parts
23 - 8 parts
24 - 6 parts

for a total of 189 parts! Woah. And each part is approximately 20-30 minutes long so it's fairly intensive and drills you a lot. I just did the first 3 parts (1.1, 1.2 and 1.3). I'm not sure if I can stick it out but we'll see...

vendredi 18 septembre 2009

French magazines

I am a huge fan of magazines and have to stop myself from buying every single one relating to my topics of interest. My local bookstore stocks magazines from overseas and has a few French ones, one of which is Marie Claire. It's something I'd read normally so it makes it more 'fun' to try and read the French version. Of course it took me forever to read even one article and I understood only about 10% of it. Haha. Well, you've got to start somewhere! I'm quite pleased with my little find.. and even though it's imported, it doesn't cost any more than a local magazine. In fact, it costs less than some! (that's because magazines and books are hideously expensive in Australia, but that's another story).

I even managed to find a Swiss magazine that's in both English and French, which helps greatly as I can compare, contrast, and translate between the two languages.

jeudi 17 septembre 2009

11 weeks of learning French

11 weeks! Did a lot of Pimsleur but not much of the others...

So far I have:

  • Done up to the end of Pimsleur French - Level III Lesson 3 (63 of 90 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of Coffee Break French - Lesson 29 (of 66 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of Assimil - Lesson 25 (of 113 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of French in Action - Lesson 8 (of 52 lessons)

* Updated the Progress bar (Progrès d'études) in my sidebar.

* Turned all the dates, links, etc on my blog into French! (so now the only thing in English are my posts and third-party English widgets/gadgets).

L'élégance du hérisson (The elegance of the hedgehog)

L'élégance du hérisson (The elegance of the hedgehog) - Muriel Barberry

I wrote about this book vaguely before and around that time I also discovered a film of the same name had just come out. I found these extracts on YouTube and have been going back to watch them every now and then. Now, I think I can understand about 3/4 of what they are saying (although it's still too fast for me). I think this would be a great movie to learn French from as the vocabulary is fairly simple. Extract 2 is useful for French learners because one of the main characters is doing an introduction on herself. I can't wait till I can get to see this movie in full. It looks so good. I will also get around to reading the book too!

Extract 2
Extract 3
Extract 4
Extract 5

mercredi 16 septembre 2009

Julie & Julia

This book seemed intriguing to me although I was a bit turned off by the negative reviews on Amazon. However, just then, I was browsing YouTube and randomly clicked on things and ended up watching Julie & Julia - the film - official trailer. Wow. What a coincidence that I found it!

Turns out the film is coming out right about now.. and will be in Australia on October 8. I watched the trailer and it seemed pretty entertaining to me. I don't know if it's better or worse than the book, though. I guess it would be a good feel-good romantic comedy sort of movie... although I am not sure about the romantic part since she already has a long-term partner.

This is Amazon's review/summary:

Julie & Julia is the story of Julie Powell's attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, in a period of 365 days. The result is a masterful medley of Bridget Jones' Diary meets Like Water for Chocolate, mixed with a healthy dose of original wit, warmth, and inspiration that sets this memoir apart from most tales of personal redemption.

When we first meet Julie, she's a frustrated temp-to-perm secretary who slaves away at a thankless job, only to return to an equally demoralizing apartment in the outer boroughs of Manhattan each evening. At the urging of Eric, her devoted and slightly geeky husband, she decides to start a blog that will chronicle what she dubs the "Julie/Julia Project." What follows is a year of butter-drenched meals that will both necessitate the wearing of an unbearably uncomfortable girdle on the hottest night of the year, as well as the realization that life is what you make of it and joy is not as impossible a quest as it may seem, even when it's -10 degrees out and your pipes are frozen.

The problem I have with all these "chick lit" autobiographical/memoir or semi-autobiographical/semi-memoir books is that they seem so... planned. Like these women go to Paris or do something for the sole purpose of 1) blogging about it and/or 2) writing a book about it, and 3) hopefully turning it into a movie about it. It feels a bit inauthentic to me. This excludes "Almost French" of course since her book was written about 10 years ago before the time when these semi-autobiographical/memoir travel books became ubiquitous.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

Amazon Link

I just heard about a book called "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" (by Kathleen Flinn). Yeah I know I'm only 2 years late but better late than never. It fits into the genre of books I'm looking for which is single women in their late 20s to late 30s looking for a change of life and job and moving to Paris.

There's a free audio extract sample here and you can also download the author's recipes too! On that site it also says, "Fans of Julie & Julia, Almost French, and Eat, Pray, Love will be amused, inspired, and richly rewarded by this seductive tale of romance, Paris, and French food." Now, I loved both "Almost French" and Eat, Pray, Love" but I'd never heard of "Julie & Julia" so I went to find out more... (in next post).

This looks like an interesting book. I am not that interested or talented enough to go to Cordon Bleu but I think it would be fascinating to read about what goes on behind the scenes at such a famed culinary school.

Beautiful Italian and French song: Je vis pour elle

This is one of the most beautiful song I've ever heard in my life...

Andrea Boccelli & Hélène Ségara - Je vis pour elle (I live for her)

Vivo per lei da quando sai
La prima volta l'ho incontrata
Non mi ricordo come ma
Mi é entrata dentro e c'é restata
Vivo per lei perché mi fa
Vibrare forte l'anima
Vivo per lei e non è un peso

Je vis pour elle depuis toujours
Qu'elle me déchire ou qu'elle soit tendre
Elle nous dessine après l'amour
Un arc-en-ciel dans notre chambre
Elle est musique et certains jours
Quand notre cœur se fait trop lourd
Elle est la seule à pouvoir nous porter secours

E' una musa che ci invita
Elle vivra toujours en moi
Attraverso un pianoforte la morte è
Lontana io vivo per lei

Je vis pour elle jour après jour
Quand ses accords en moi se fondent
C'est ma plus belle histoire d'amour

E un pugno che non fa mai male

Vivo per lei lo so mi fa
Girare di città in città
Soffrire un po ma almeno io vivo

Je serais perdue sans elle
Vivo per lei dentro gli hotels
Je suis triste et je l'appelle
Vivo per lei nel vortice
Attraverso la mia voce
Si espande e amore produce

Vivo per lei nient'altro ho
E quanti altri incontrerò
Che come me hanno scritto in viso
Io vivo per lei
Io vivo per lei

Sopra un palco o contro ad un muro
Elle nous ressemble encore tu vois
Anche in un domani duro
J'existe encore je sais pourquoi
Ogni giorno una conquista
La protagonista sarà sempre lei
Oh, Oh, Oh

Vivo per lei perchè oramai
Io non ha altra via d'uscita
Perche la musica lo sai
Davvero non l'ho mai tradita

Elle est musique, elle a des ailes
Elle m'a donné la clef du ciel
Qui m'ouvre enfin les portes du soleil
J'existe par elle

Vivo per lei la musica
J'existe pour elle
Vivo per lei è unica lo vivo
Elle est toi et moi
Io vivo per lei
Io vivo per lei

LiveMocha rocks

So I've been a member of Live Mocha for a while now... Admittedly, I don't think their lessons are that great. I believe they are based on the method of teaching that Rosetta stone uses (and for me, I don't find it that effective at all) but it's great having native-speakers correct your work (written and oral). I like learning from my mistakes and seeing where I'm going wrong. I still make quite a few mistakes when I am writing even very simple sentences but I am pleased to say I am now getting 5 stars for my reading/pronunciation. Woohoo!

I also 'teach' quite a bit on LiveMocha. By teach I mean correct other people's English. I've learnt a few languages and what I notice is that people tend to read/pronounce letters/words exactly the same as in their own language, when they shouldn't. I think you have to 'forget' everything you ever learnt in your own language when learning a new one. If you get stuck and hung up on it, you'll never learn the new pronunciations. Also it's interesting that for a native speaker, they know how to pronounce words but they don't always know how to spell them (and have to guess a lot of the time) but for an ESL learner, it's the other way around. Usually they know how to spell the word but they don't have a clue how to read/pronounce it, and have to guess.

I notice that non-native English speakers have a lot of trouble with the schwa sound which exists in almost every single world. They also have trouble with stress on certain syllables but can you blame them? English is really hard to read when you think about it as there doesn't seem to be any rules. The same letter is pronounced differently almost all the time! I also noticed the same mistakes come up time and time again like 'woman' and 'women' being pronounced exactly the same.

I guess for me, I'm obsessed with having accurate pronunciation so I listen to French all the time. Of course I listen to Pimsleur and other learning devices regularly, but also French radio, pop songs, random clips I find on YouTube, etc. However, I only prefer to listen to native speakers where possible. I pay attention to the sounds that don't exist in English so I practise those more. The French 'r' really isn't that difficult for me anymore and I don't have to think so much when I read. I am VERY thankful French does not have the rolling r like in Spanish or Italian (or many other languages such as Russian, Indian, Middle-Eastern and African languages) because I have been trying to do that for so long and I don't think it's possible for me :(

lundi 14 septembre 2009

Films set in Paris

A few weeks ago I went through my DVD collection to try and find the films which have something, anything to do with Paris.

So far I've watched these and it's actually the first time I've watched them on DVD (I have quite a few and don't even get time to watch them all, but I've seen some of them before at the cinema)...

Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) (2001) - I don't think there's too many people who don't know and love this film. Je l'adore! There are so many reasons why I like it: The gorgeous light in the film and cinematography, the wonderful acting, being able to relate to the main character, the fun, frivolities and innocence... the twist at the end, and so much more. Ahhh... Definitely a 10 out of 10.

The Phantom of the Opera (2004) - Based on the musical, starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. I really enjoyed it. I loved the gorgeous costumes. Was a bit disappointed to find out it was filmed in England on a sound stage, and not in Paris though!

Moulin Rouge (2001) - Loved it the first time I saw it (and I didn't like Baz's previous films) and still loved it. The enduring star-crossed lovers theme, the singing and pop musical numbers, the amazing sets and costumes. Also not filmed in Paris, but my very own Sydney (in Fox Studios).

2 days in Paris (2007) - An independent film directed by and starring Julie Delpy. It is similar to 'Before Sunrise' and 'Before Sunset' in that it's about a couple, and seems to take place in real time, with very real sounding conversations. It is quite comical but also very realistic about what goes on in a relationship.

Ratatouille (2007) - The awesome Pixar film. I've never really been heavily into food but I think seeing this film was a turning point in my life, because for the first time, I appreciated how much effort went into cooking a good meal, and how to really appreciate food etc. Of course I love the cute characters and the 'moral' that your friends and family will always be there for you...

Le Divorce (2003) - Just finished watching this and I have to admit, I knew it was based on a book, but I didn't know anything really about it (which turned out to be great, as I had no preconceptions). I actually really really enjoyed the film, and was surprised to see such low ratings on imdb (currently 4.9/10). I guess the reason why I enjoyed it was because of the following reasons: 1) It's set in Paris (duh) and there are some wonderful shots of various places and inside restaurants which I loved. The food shots were totally droolworthy. 2) In the movie they speak French quite a bit and they are actually French actors (I hate when they get actors pretending to be a certain nationality) so they speak French with a French accent, and English with a French accent. Awesome! I could even catch a lot of what they were saying (but I admit I had subtitles turned on). 3) Being female and roughly the same age as the main characters (played by the gorgeous Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson) I guess I could relate to a lot of the issues they were going through and seeing as the movie was mostly about relationships, I enjoyed that aspect too.

I do remember vaguely reading on Amazon that the author was trying to highlight the differences between French and American/Anglo culture and this was quite evident in the film. At the time I never planned on reading her book because I don't like to read fiction. I did extensive searches for books about Paris written by women in their 20s or 30s, preferably single and childless, just so I could relate to it more... and I didn't plan on reading this but after having enjoyed the film so much I might go and read it now (if I ever find the time!)...

dimanche 13 septembre 2009

Un gars, une fille dans Disneyland

I found this French sitcom called "Un gars, une fille" (A guy, a girl) on YouTube. I really like it because it's short (the episodes are only 6 minutes long) and I can generally get the gist of it because of their body language. The topics they talk about are interesting too, and highlight the (often hilarious) differences between men and women!

This is not the best or funniest episode but is quite sweet, and filmed in Paris Disneyland or is it Euro Disney?

Test Podium proficiency tests

I just randomly Googled and found a proficiency test. I found one at Test Podium which seemed pretty good. 35 mins and 40 questions.

Here are my results:

Test type French test level 2

Date of test 13.09.2009

Test result 43.75 % correct

Grading according to section

Grammar 12.50%
Vocabulary 12.50%
Communication 81.25%
Listening comprehension 37.50%
Reading comprehension 75.00%

Level Intermediate level 2 (37.5/60 Points)

and their grading and corresponding CEFR levels:

Elementary 1 (00-10 points) A1
Elementary 2 (11-20 points) A2
Intermediate 1 (21-30 points) B1
Intermediate 2 (31-40 points) B2
Advanced 1 (41-50 points) C1
Advanced 2 (51-60 points) C2

So according to them, I'm at B2 level! So either I'm better than I thought I was, or the tests I'm taking are really easy. Hmm...

I also took the reading comprehension tests at (the 3 part story about Lucie) and scored 80%/80%/90%.

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