samedi 17 octobre 2009

Spelling and French verb conjugations

I'm a stickler for correct spelling. I've always been good at spelling ever since I started going to school. I know that in French many words sound the same when you say them, but are spelt totally differently.

I could never figure out or remember if the 'je' form of a word ended with an 's' or not but I have finally figured out the pattern! I am surprised I have never read this anywhere before.

If the 'tu' (second person singular) form of the conjugated word ends in 's' and the 'il' (third person singular) form ends in 't' or 'd', then the 'je' (first person singular)' follows the 'tu' form and also ends in an 's'.

Another way to look at it is, if the 'il' (third person singular) form of the word ends in an 'e', then the 'je' form follows the 'il' form and also ends in an 'e' and not an 's'.


j'aime - tu aimes - il aime
je mange - tu manges - il mange
j'achète - tu achètes - il achète
je joue - tu joues - il joue
je cherche - tu cherches - il cherche
je donne - tu donnes - il donne

je comprends - tu comprends - il comprend
j'attends - tu attends - il attend

je vois - tu vois - il voit
je dois - tu dois - il doit
je sais - tu sais - il sait
je fais - tu fais - il fait

I consulted my Bescherelle Complete Guide to Conjugating 12000 French Verbs and this seems to be right for all the verbs (apart from the irregular ones such as avoir, être, etc). I am not sure if I've missed some exceptions so feel free to tell me if this is the case!

The world according to the Parisiens

I just found this hilarious map from the blog "Strange Maps" (click on it to see it larger). It's a map of the world according to Parisiens.

Je viens de trouver ce plan drôle du blog "Strange Maps" (pour le voir plus grand cliquez sur l'image). C'est un plan du monde selon les parisiens.

I also found this map which is funny too: Paris by the Parisiens.

J'ai aussi trouvé ce plan qui est assez drôle : Paris selon les parisiens.

French bureaucracy and paperwork

I'm actually getting a bit scared now.. I'm sure it's not just a stereotype when I've read about this so many times from so many sources by so many people. This blog post by David Leibovitz had me in stitches!

It's actually terrifying for me because I detest bureaucracy and red tape. The last time I had to go through extreme measures was during university which was quite a few years ago now, so I've practically forgotten... I am just trying to stay positive, fingers crossed and all that that I won't have to tear my hair out over dealings with the French consulate or government.

I'm going to try and do my blog posts in French now as well... I know there will be mistakes, so be warned. I have no idea if what I'm writing is gramatically correct or not.

J'ai de plus en plus peur... Je suis sûr que ce n'est pas un stéréotype quand j'ai avant entendu de ce problème de beaucoup de temps par beaucoup de sources et beaucoup de monde. Cet article du blog "David Leibovitz" que je me suis fendu la pêche!

C'est terrifiant pour moi ca je déteste la bureaucratie et la paperasserie. La dernière fois que je devais pousser les choses à l'extrême était pendant mes études à l'université, qui était il y a quelques années. Alors, j'ai presque oublié... Je vais essayer de rester positive... croise les doigts et tout ça que je ne serai pas en colère aux les relations avec le consulat ou le gouvernement français.

That took so long I think I'll only do the translation when I could be bothered, or if my post is really really short! ;)

Btw I got the expressions from that book I told you about before 101 French Idioms with MP3 Disk: Enrich your French conversation with colorful everyday sayings

jeudi 15 octobre 2009

15 weeks of learning French

15 weeks... finished Pimsleur (sob sob). I think the online chats are really helping. I've been told by many people that they can't believe I've only been learning for 3 months. I don't necessarily think I'm 'smarter' but I do think I am very dedicated and passionate about learning French and becoming fluent as soon as possible.

So far I have:
  • Done up to the end of Pimsleur French - Level III Lesson 30 (90 of 90 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of Coffee Break French - Lesson 35 (of 67 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of Assimil - Lesson 68 (of 113 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of Live Mocha - Lesson 23 (of 50 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of French in Action - Lesson 14 (of 52 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of FSI - Lesson 33 (tape 5.4) (of 189 lessons)
  • Done up to the end of FSI French Phonology - Lesson 3 (tape 2.1) (of 20 lessons) (none this week)
  • 1:1 online chats: 19

mercredi 14 octobre 2009

French expat interviews

I found this great site featuring lots of interviews with expats.

I am doing more research into how to get myself into France and keep coming up with hurdles. If I was under 30 everything would be so much easier (admittedly I am kicking myself I didn't come up with this idea to go to France earlier!) If I was under 30 I could go on the working holiday scheme, I could be a teaching assistant or an au pair. As it is, I am just over, so I don't qualify (boohoo). I am not a rich retiree and I don't have loads and loads of money saved up so the most feasible solution is for me to apply for a long stay student visa which will also allow me to work 20 hours per week (of course finding a job there is another hurdle since I'm not an EU citizen)... but life is full of challenges, right? Maybe in the future I will document my experiences with French bureaucracy in this blog... ;)

Admittedly, I've also recently been looking into cities other than Paris. The reasons for this are mainly:
* the lower cost of living
* fewer percentage of people that speak English, therefore increasing my chances of learning French
* I prefer warmer weather so am looking into the southern cities
* smaller towns - friendlier people

I know that if I don't end up going to Paris the title of my blog is somewhat incorrect but I'll cross that pont when I get to it ;)

lundi 12 octobre 2009

Reading comprehension

Something weird (but fantastic!) happened over the past few days. I suddenly felt like I could read (and understand) a lot more than before. I bought the French version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Cat in the Hat and when I first looked at them I thought it was 'too hard' but now they seem too easy, especially the former. I also bought a book (with CD) called French Idioms and picked it up last night and had no trouble understanding it! Sure there were a few words here and there I didn't understand but it didn't prevent me for getting the meaning of the short paragraphs.

It feels strange because whilst I realized I was picking up grammar, I didn't actually think I was picking up that much vocab. I mean, I don't even use flash cards! I don't write vocab lists and memorize them. I keep telling myself I should get around to making flash cards but I never do.. I have used a great website Quizlet before though, which are virtual flash cards I guess.

I even saw The easy French Reader (with CD ROM) in the bookshop the other day, a book I've been wanting to get for a while - and realized it was now too 'easy' for me! I think only the last third of the book would've been useful (when they started using past/future tenses) so I didn't buy it. I have read so many good things about it though.

So I estimate I must know almost 1000 words at the moment. Assimil claims to teach you between 2000-3000 words (vocab) so I think that is fairly accurate. I am starting to get the hang of past and future tenses (although knowing how to spell them all by heart is another matter to tackle). I still have to look up conjugation lists.

But I'll get there :)

dimanche 11 octobre 2009

The house warming

Last night I had fun at my friend's house warming party. I told one of my 'chattees' (ie one of the people I chat to online to practise my French) that I was going to this 'house warming' party and he asked me what that was, and after my explanation, then proceeded to tell me that it's called a pendaison de crémaillère in French. What a mouthful! The words literally mean to hang up a pot-hanging rack! According to Chocolate and zucchini "Une crémaillère is a trammel, the adjustable hook that was used to hang pots in the fireplace; a housewarming party was thrown on the day that this essential piece of equipment was added to a new house." and an interesting discussion here on Word Reference.


There were around 40 people at this party and my sister was there too. This particular friend of mine knows a lot of people to say the least. My friend that I mentioned here before was there too. I introduced him to my sister, both of whom are linguaphiles and know French, German, Chinese, and bits 'n' pieces of other languages, as well as English, of course.

Over the course of the evening the topic of rent prices kept coming up. As everyone knows, Paris is an expensive city to live in but being from Sydney, I can't say that Sydney is any cheaper. It's just that our prices are in Australian dollars, whereas Paris' are in Euros so after the exchange rate it works out more expensive. Not to mention the dwellings are smaller and older. So this friend of mine mentioned that he spent some time living in Berlin and for Germany or Europe, Berlin is dirt cheap. He and my sister also talked about the thing with the kitchens...! In one of the books I read about life in Paris (I can't even remember which one, they are all starting to blur together) I remember the author mentioning that 'unfurnished' apartments in Paris don't come with kitchens and that you have to buy/install your own! The only thing that comes with the apartment is a kitchen sink. So I guess Germany and France are totally the same in that regard. Also, they talked about how in Germany most people rent their whole lives... This is rather unheard of in Australia, at least amongst all the people I know. Everybody wants to buy their first home as soon as possible, and this housewarming was for my friend's very first house purchase, which would've been impossible without the help of her parents.

It was a rather multi-cultural bunch that was there... so many nationalities/backgrounds.. I had heaps of fun. I wonder how a typical Australian party (with barbeque) compares to a French pendaison de crémaillère?

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