Learn French Blog Achives
August 2007

Current 200 Words a Day! Language Learners Blog | French Learning Blog

20 August, 2007

able, as in capable is habile in French

My dad often used the word 'able' to describe someone of great ability and skill. I hasten to add it was not necessarily a reflection of his view of the described person's ethics. Someone could be very able, but not necessarily very ethical!

Someone who is very able, or very capable is habile in French. It is easy to remember because the 'h' is silent, so it sounds like able too.

she is very skilful at doing that...
elle est très habile á faire ça

he is very good with his hands in French is...

il est très habile avec les doigts ou,
il est très habile avec les mains.

habilement is the adjective meaning ably, skilfully, or cleverly. It is a synonym of intelligemment or adroitement.

14 July, 2007
Today is Bastille Day, le Jour de Bastille, the day the French Revolutionaries stormed the Bastille Jail.
30 June, 2007

Do the French EAT the English - les Anglais...??

The Word in French for slice, as in slices of meat is onglet.

Recently in Liège, in the French-speaking part of Belgium I had les Onglets de Boeuf.

slice, medallion

le boeuf
...is the French word for beef, and is where English word beef came from...

To read a bit more about the origins of the word beef click here...

(Un) onglet is an easy word to remember because it sounds just like anglais, (which needs no translating... even to anyone who has not studied French...) and it means slices, like slices of meat, beef medallions. Meaty slices, rather than thin slices like a ham slice. More like chunks of meat...

When you read it on a menu for example, there will be no problem seeing the difference in spelling of onglet versus anglais...

.....but if you simply hear it quand le garçon vous offre le 'plat du jour' (when the waiter offers you the 'plate of the day' [special dish of the day set at a lower price]), you might think he is offering you English of Beef!, or even English Beef, rather than medallions of beef.

It was served à la française, meaning that it came just with une salade, drowned in l'huile d'olives.

So if you are about to dine in a francophone place, and you hear les Onglets de Boeuf or something similar, you will know what to expect.

14 June 2007

Received last week ...

"Hi 200 Words a Day! I love the course.

I was using the French in Action video w/ the workbooks and audio and I finished the first half and realized that I was making good progress but I had a tiny vocabulary. I made flashcards as I went along but I never got around to reviewing them.

So I put that on hold to learn some vocabulary...I found that I liked electronic flashcads better than the paper...but still I wasn't acquiring a large vocabulary. That is when you sent me your wonderful program.

I have completed the first 35 lessons and tests w/ maybe 27 weekly tests finished as well...so I am about a third of the way through. I recently picked up an easy reader book and found that I could read at that very basic level. A lot of the words I understood ONLY because of your program. Sometimes I'd repeat the "mental hook" that the program had given me and then the meaning pops into my head. For other words the mental hook has faded but the meaning remains.

There are days when time only permits me to do just a few lessons or tests but sometimes I can do up to 8 in a day.

I have caught a few errors in the program. The one that comes to mind is on one of the tests it asks for the meaning of "what?" twice..the lesson had given 2 different answers "quoi?" and "qu'est-ce que?" but on the test it didn't give a clue as to whether it was asking for the adv. or pronoun. (1)

But other than that I find this program to be outstanding. It is leaps and bounds ahead of anything commercial and I think the reason is that it was created by people who care about what they do are passionate about linguistics and have seriously thought about how best to create a learning device.

The controls are intuitive and easy to use, the cartoons are fantastic...there must be some very creative minds working for you gals/guys. Oh and thank you for NOT being so sanatized that you don't use all the available mental hooks we think of when we hear certain phrases. I'll always remember that "outside is where the whores are - dehors". And I have no problem remembering poussiere now...thank you very much. I confess I've falling in love with the female voices (no I'm not a perv I have a very healthy relationship w/ a wonderful girl). I appreciate the vareity of voice inflection in the male voices. I still remember certain words based on the tone and how emphatic the voice was.

I appreciate the "My Worst Words" lesson. I do that one sometimes. I haven't created my own lessons yet though. I really love the notes often included with the words. I always stop to read them when doing a lesson. It reminds me of other forms and uses of the word or phrase. It is great that you have included them...

I do think that the classical music helps relax my mind while I do the program. You've sold me on that one. I'm not crazy about the breathing one though. I usually ignore it when it is used in a lesson review. (2)

I'm sorry I can't give a complete review yet...these are just a few of my thoughts. I will continue to use it to great advantage. I now understand that when I have 2000 or so words learned that my ear will be free to pick up on other aspects of the conversations I hear. In other words there will be a lot more familiar to me when I read and converse leaving me free to focus on words or grammer points I am not familiar with.

Thank you again ... I'll recommend your program to everyone I know ...."

M.M. AZ, U.S.A.


Thanks very much Michael, for your honest and constructive appraisal.

Regarding points:

(1) To avoid confusion in the testing, the word description (ie. noun, adverb, adjective, etc) does, in fact, appear below the picture as a reference.

(2) Additional features such as Kinethestic Mode; Background Music; Excel-breathing may be switched on or off at any time during lessons and tests, according to individual learning styles and preferences.

We are constantly revising and upgrading the courses where possible based on feedback received as above. In addition we are working hard to build additional sentence, grammar and other courses in other languages ...

We look forward to hearing from you!

The 200 Words a Day! team.

06 June 2007

Learn the word ... learn to use it!

Just released, our new


... to complement our 200 Words a Day! vocabulary courses.

Now you can learn the word, then click on the picture to see and hear the word in a practice sentence.

Great for more vocabulary, more useful phrases, grammar, intonation ... extra listening, reading and spelling practice!

Check out French Sentences.

3 May, 2007

PONDER as you LAY an egg..

The French for lay as in 'to lay eggs' is pondre.

To remember this a good Memory Trigger ™ is to imagine a hen PONDERS as she LAYS her eggs by a POND.

Les tortues pondent leurs oeufs dans le sable sur la plage.
The turtles lay their eggs in the sand on the beach.

To read a bit more about this with some French sentences about egg laying and hatching, click on this link...

Pondre also means to produce or 'churn out' writings, articles, poems, musings and such like.

Stuff that you have to PONDER about before getting it out of your brain...

Ce matin j'ai pondu un poème.
This morning I wrote a poem.

PONDER on these for a while...

2 May, 2007

How do French cats 'croak'

You know that when you have a croaky voice, we say that you have a frog in your throat.

Sounds reasonable - croaky voice means that you have swallowed a frog...

Yeah, well, the French would say that you have a cat in your throat...

tu as un chat dans la gorge...

Maybe because French people eat cooked frogs (grenouille) which can longer croak... but I didn't think that cats could croak...Anyway let's leave it there...

C'est curieux alors!

30 April, 2007

An interesting use of the French word for curious...curieux

The word for curious in French is curieux...

But the French also use the word in a slightly different, and curious way...

It is commonly used to mean interesting.

When in English when commenting that something is interesting, meaning it is interesting a strange kind way, the French will commonly use the word curieux or curieuse for an interesting thing that was feminine.

"C'est curieux!"

That's interesting!

21 April, 2007

French word for astounding, astonishing, amazing... wow!

A word the French use a great deal is étonné.
As in astonished, or astounded.

J'étais étonné de savoir ...
I was astonished to know...

Also étonnant.
A useful French word for astonishing, astounding, amazing, striking.

This is a good word to have in your repertoire.

9 April, 2007

French comic books and cartoons

I have always loved cartoons, and the French and Belgians have some of the best bandes desinées in the world.

When I was the Internat du Sacré Couer school in New Caledonia I would eagerly await my weekly copy of Spirou which I would devour from cover to cover.

Cartoons are terrific for helping your French learning.

Other favourites are the Asterix series, Tintin, Lucky Luke.

Why not get a subscription of something like Spirou sent to your doorstep. A web search for these titles will uncover some great treasures. Try www.spirou.spirou.com. (By the way I get no recompense for recommending them...)

14 November, 2006

Why would Nelson fill a hole with COMBS

Check out this Memory Trigger to help you remember a great little French word. I have used COMM-odore Nelson, (we changed his rank a bit to help) and he is filling a hole with COMBS. Click for the French word for fill.

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22 October, 2006

Learn some French EGG words

I am currently in Luxembourg, a picturesque, and wealthy French-speaking country. This morning I needed to order FRIED EGGS, hence it is a good time to look at some EGGSAMPLES of some useful egg words...

...a fried egg is oeuf sur le plat, literally 'an egg on the plate'.

a boiled egg is oeuf à la coque, literally an 'egg in the shell'
oeuf dur, literally a 'hard egg'.

scrambled eggs are oeufs brouillés, or literally 'eggs scrambled', the verb brouiller meaning to mix up, or scramble.

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14 October, 2006

BLINK as you CLEAN YA eyes...

Here's a great little Memory Trigger© to remember the French word for 'to blink, which is...


The word sounds a bit like 'KLEENYAY', the 'gne' sound in French being a bit like 'ny'.

To remember this just imagine that you BLINK as you CLEAN YA eyes with soap!!

Other related words and useful phrases.

cligner des yeux to blink one's eyes.
cligner de l'oeil which means to wink.
le clin d'oeil is a wink.

le clignotant which is the French word for an automobile indicator.

Sounds a bit like you CLEAN YOUR TONGUE on the indicator. To remind us it is masculine we just add a Gender Trigger© we add a male character to remind us the word is masculine. Gene Simmons from the 1970's and 1980's rock band KISS had one helluva long tongue.

So imagine the crazy scene of Gene Simmons who says, "You should CLEAN YOUR TONGUE on a car indicator!" This will remind you that it is a masculine word.

Add in a picture and voilà- an unforgettable Memory Trigger for the word le clignotant, French for automobile indicator (or blinker)!

clignoter is the verb to twinkle like stars, or to flicker like a light. To remember this one imagine that as you CLEAN YA TEETH they twinkle like stars.

Being a verb, it does not need a Gender Trigger©, but if can associate the action with a famous person, or celebrity it will make the whole thing more memorable. Or make up your own appropriate character.

Maybe Twinkletoes - a fairy or dancer. Add to it the music of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' to further reinforce the Memory Trigger© and Gender Trigger©.

The more you add to the Triggers, and the more senses involved, the deeper memory embeds and the easier the later recall.

Learning vocabulary and French language concepts is made much easier by adding Memory Triggers© like these, and it adds to your ability to remember and recall words. You can make up these little quips,images and visualisations yourself... or regularly return to this page for more.

The Memory and Gender Triggers do not just remind you of gender, they are often the initial 'hook' that leads you back to the appropriate word.

Triggers are great tools, until the word is embedded in your subconscious through use in conversation, writing, repetition or the memory of the trigger itself.

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Learn French Blog Archive - August 2007.
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