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The Riviera’s Gardens and Parks: Best Botanical Sites on the Mediterranean Coast

Source/Credit: Justin Postlethwaite for FRANCE TODAY

Menton has a rich variety of flora. Photo: Fotolia

The French Riviera is a garden-lover’s paradise, a sun-soaked horticultural heaven lined on its southern edge by the twinkling Mediterranean. From Antibes to Cagnes-sur-Mer, Gourdon to Grasse and Nice to Beaulieu there are some 80 gardens and parks open to the public, with enough diversity in styles and floral content to satisfy the most exacting nature-lover.

Many gardens are inextricably linked to their location’s heritage – and put them on the map in some cases – or showcase certain species, such as mimosas in Mandelieu and sun-sapping succulents in Èze’s vertiginous, cliff-top botanical garden. Others, such as the jaw-droppingly beautiful Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild go one step further and present an array of garden styles in one dazzling location. Wander around this Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat marvel, and one minute you’ll be immersed in Provençal lavender fields, the next achieving Zen-like calm in the Japanese garden. There are nine unique gardens here, each of them authentic in form, all immaculately planned and tended. Especially enchanting is the rose garden at the upper tip of the grounds – a feast for all the senses provided by 100 varieties of scented blooms. And the views out onto the yacht-dotted bay are simply stunning.

Plenty of the Côte d’Azur’s gardens provide the chance to explore adjoining historic private houses. Ephrussi is an obvious one, while other unmissables include Renoir’s former home and studio in Cagnes-sur-Mer – the painter fell under the spell of the olive trees of the Domaine des Collettes and moved there in 1907 – and the garden of Château de la Napoule, an often unheralded gem that clings to the shore in Mandelieu. Bought in 1918 by the American Henry Clews, its garden alternates English and French styles, with a soupçon of Venetian, Roman and even Moorish influence thrown in for good measure.

Villa Ephrussi’s stunning garden. Photo: Camille Moirenc/ CRT Cote d’Azur

Villages in Bloom

Other places, meanwhile, can lead you nicely up the garden path to a fully rounded village visit, such as in Gourdon, perched 500m above the Gorges du Loup a few miles from Grasse. It was André Le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s gardener, who prepared the imposing château’s initial jardin designs, before the lord of the castle, wealthy Grasse lawyer Louis Le Lombard, oversaw further aesthetic flourishes. Spot box and ancient limes plus Judas trees adorning the main terrace, set off beautifully by pools, before strolling around the medicinal garden and Italian terrace to complete the noblesse experience. (Eagle-eyed film fans may recognise the perched village from afar – early in Hitchcock’s 1955 classic To Catch a Thief, the police are seen heading towards it before Cary Grant’s John Robie gives them the slip.)

Val Rahmeh
Val Rahmeh. Photo: Daderot

In and around Menton, the characterful coastal town reputed for its flowered-up outlook (there are bloom-bedecked edifices everywhere, plus an annual lemon homage that sees the streets come alive with all manner of citrus-centric wonders), there is an array of great private gardens to see, including Val Rahmeh. This tiered, exotic botanical beauty was created by Lord Percy Radcliffe, former Governor of Malta in 1905, and now under the care of the French Museum of Natural History. It features 700 species of plants and trees, including kiwi and banana trees, Japanese and South American varieties – and you might also spy the rare sacred tree of Easter Island, Sophora Toromiro…

Serre de la Madone. Photo: Justin Postlethwaite

Perhaps more mesmerising, however, is the Serre de la Madone, a ‘greenhouse garden’ created around an extended farmhouse in the Gorbio Valley by Paris-born American plantsman Lawrence Johnston. He boasted serious form – he also designed the garden at Hidcote Manor in England, where he lived as a naturalised Briton with his mother – before spending the 30 years until 1954 acclimatising exotic plants to the Riviera climate. The shaded, maze-like trail around the garden follows the contour of the landscape and is organized in themed terraces punctuated with statues and fountains. On a sweltering Riviera day, the cool trickles punctuate the still silence to tranquil effect.

Serre de la Madone
Serre de la Madone. Photo: Daderot

Finally, while it’s not strictly just a home but also a place of calling (monks have been here since 1645), the Gardens of the Monastery of Cimiez in Nice are a treat for a spiritual saunter. Restored to their former monastic glory in the 1920s by Auguste-Louis Giuglaris and sited near the ever-popular Matisse Museum, there’s a wide path dividing a broad esplanade, bordered by a bower of rambling roses.

The Jardin Exotique d'Èze
The Jardin Exotique d’Èze was recently awarded with TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Photo: Justin Postlethwaite

The Art of Gardening

Some of the region’s many prestigious museums offer a handy excuse to enjoy a lovely garden experience, like a bonus cultural aside. The garden at Fernand Léger Museum in Biot was designed and laid out by Henri Fish, in close collaboration with the architect André Svetchine. Set in an expansive, rolling meadow, it’s sprinkled with cypress trees and framed by olive trees, providing ample viewpoints from which to admire the multi-coloured mosaics adorning the building’s façades.

Art, garden and building (the latter being the work of Spanish architect Josep Lluís Sert) have been combined equally harmoniously at Fondation Maeght, set high on Colline des Gardettes in the celebrated artist magnet of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Ponder the contemporary sculptures dotted around the green hideaway by the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Fabrice Hybert, as well as a remarkable garden-labyrinth with ceramics and sculptures by Joan Miró.

Jardin du monastère de Cimiez
Jardin du monastère de Cimiez. Photo: Édouard Hue

Finally, for a museum garden with specifications given by the very artist whose name is above the door, head back to the elegant suburb of Cimiez in Nice. It was Fish again who heeded Marc Chagall’s creative input to fashion a fine outdoor space. Visitors on 7 July, the artist’s birthday, are guaranteed flowering agapanthuses, while picnic fans can take their place any day on the lawn and admire the pool that reflects one of artist’s vibrant mosaics.

It’s not just private gardens that will appeal to plant lovers on the Côte d’Azur. Local authorities take immense pride in their public spaces and treat their parks as havens for residents and visitors alike. In Nice, for example, the 12-hectare breathing space Promenade du Paillon, conceived by Michel Péna and inaugurated in 2013, has brought both beauty and function to the former site of the aesthetically challenging bus station. Among the 128 jet fountains and adeptly created beds, locals can enjoy a picnic or snooze at lunchtime or, as the name implies, promenade with friends and family away from the bustle of nearby Vieux Nice or Place Masséna.

Villa Ephrussi
Villa Ephrussi. Photo: Justin Postlethwaite

Elsewhere, in Menton, a gentle stroll around town with tour guide and plant expert Christophe Canlers reveals some wonderful sights, notably the splendid banana trees framing the entrance to the mairie (do pop in to see the Cocteau Salle des Mariages). They perfectly complement the palm trees – so prominent and joy-giving all over the region – in the square in front. “Everything grows in Menton” says Christophe joyfully as he gleefully points out an aloe vera plant here or cactus plants there. There’s also a ‘killer plant’ that destroys all around it – be afraid!

There are countless other Riviera strolls in public places that offer horticultural rewards with a unique ambience. Hugging the lapping shore of Théoule-sur-Mer (on the westernmost side of the Côte d’Azur, where the Corniche d’Or begins), Promenade Pradayrol is a botanic discovery walk that snakes for 750 metres. As well as the 39 species on show, it also happens to be the only way to get to the Plage d’Aiguille, a stunning secluded beach with a brilliant little restaurant nestling nearby.

Théoule-sur-Mer
The winding path of Promenade Pradayrol in Théoule-sur-Mer. Photo: Justin Postlethwaite

A Fest of the Best 

The good news for visitors to the region in 2017 is that the inaugural Côte d’Azur Gardens Festival begins – and it also invites a cross-border sojourn to Italy. Taking place throughout April, Jardival is being led by the Alpes-Maritimes department and aims to create “high-profile initiatives designed to improve tourist facilities, boost innovation and protect the environment in an illustration of the deep, long-standing ties that exist between France and Italy”.

Villa Rothschild in Cannes, Menton’s Villa Maria Serena, Grasse’s Jardin des Plantes, as well as San Remo’s Villa Ormond and the very grandly titled Province of Imperia’s Villa Grock, have all undergone renovation and improvements in time for the festival.

Among the highlights will be ten pop-up gardens 20m2 in size (with a prestigious ‘best in show’ prize on offer) and five photo-ready locations – Antibes, Cannes, Grasse, Menton and Nice – getting involved with flower arranging workshops, gardening technique advice, tasting sessions, culinary events, professional stands and plant markets. In Nice, the Promenade de Paillon will be transformed by the addition of a new 1,400m2 garden.

It’s about time the region’s magnificent gardening heritage was celebrated in such public fashion. If you love flowers and plants, and you’re keen for a hit of spring sunshine, there’s nowhere like it.

Chateau de la Napoule
Chateau de la Napoule. Photo: Fotolia

PLANNING YOUR GARDEN VISITS

We’ve only mentioned a small selection of the wonderful gardens and parks available to visitors on the Riviera – for a map, plus details of flower and fruit festivals, visit www.cotedazur-tourisme.com/a-voir/parcs-et-jardins-06_1737.html. Here you’ll also find details of the Jardival events and contacts. For short-break planning, head to www.cotedazur-sejours.com.

château de La Napoule
Château de La Napoule. Photo: Justin Postlethwaite

CONTACTS

Menton Tourist Office: www.tourisme-menton.fr

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Tourist Officce: www.saintjeancapferrattourisme.fr

Nice Convention and Visitors Bureau: en.nicetourisme.com

Èze Tourist Office: www.eze-tourisme.com/en

Théoule-sur-Mer Tourist Office: www.theoule-sur-mer.org

Biot Tourist Office: www.visit-biot.com

Saint-Paul de Vence Tourist Office: www.saint-pauldevence.com

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild:  www.villa-ephrussi.com/en/home

Château de la Napoule: www.chateau-lanapoule.com/en

Jardin Serre de la Madone: www.serredelamadone.com

From France Today magazine

Cimiez monastery
Cimiez monastery. Photo: CRT Cote d’Azur
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The health benefits of a bilingual brain

 

bilingual-brain

 

There are many good reasons to learn a second language, whatever your age. If you are young, studying more than one language can create job opportunities in an increasingly globalised world; if you are older and move abroad, then speaking the local tongue will enhance your experience on a social and cultural level. But there is also one added benefit that more and more studies are highlighting: speaking more than one language can stave off the effects of dementia. The brain is a complex organ and the causes of dementia are still not fully understood, but there is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that polyglots will develop the disease later in life than those who only speak one language. “Being bilingual has certain cognitive benefits and boosts the performance of the brain, especially one of the most important areas known as the executive control system,” explained Ellen Bialystok, a psychologist at York University in Toronto. “We know that this system deteriorates with age but we have found that at every stage of life it functions better in bilinguals. They perform at a higher level. It won’t stop them getting Alzheimer’s disease, but they can cope with the disease for longer.”

In her research, which was originally published the journal Neurology, Bialystok looked at 211 people with probable Alzheimer’s disease, 102 of whom were bilingual and 109 monolingual. She noted the age at which the patients’ cognitive impairment had started and her results showed that bilingual patients had been diagnosed an average of 4.3 years later and had reported the onset of symptoms 5.1 years later than monolingual patients. Whilst even school level language showed some benefits, the effect was greatest for people who had to use the language every day and continually choose between two sets of words. “It works best for people who speak two languages every day, like immigrants moving to a new country who speak their own language at home… but every little bit helps.” The scientist believes that the act of switching between different languages and inhibiting those that are not needed, stimulates the brain, creating a cognitive reserve. “It is rather like a reserve tank in a car. When you run out of fuel, you can keep going for longer because there is a bit more in the safety tank.” This last analogy is crucial, as repeated studies have shown that keeping your brain active is not a silver bullet against dementia, it will simply allow you to cope with the disease for longer, something that has been highlighted by a subsequent study by Bialystok of the brains of dementia sufferers.

A group of monolingual and bilingual dementia patients, who were the same age and functioned at the same cognitive level, were scanned using a CT machine. The results showed that the physical effects of the disease were more advanced in the bilinguals’ brains, even though their mental ability was approximately the same. “Apparently, the bilinguals’ brains are somehow compensating,” explained Bialystok. “Even though the ‘machine’ is more broken, they can function at the same level as a monolingual with less disease.” It is not just later in life that the benefits of speaking multiple languages manifest themselves. It has long been known that bilingual children will outperform their monolingual peers in certain tasks controlled by the executive control system, such as editing out irrelevant information, focusing on important details and prioritising. “We would probably refer to most of these cognitive advantages as multi-tasking,” explained Judith Kroll, a psychologist at Penn State University in the US. “Bilinguals seem to be better at this type of perspective-taking.” It had previously been assumed that speaking multiple languages “confused” the brain, but the opposite has now been shown to be the case. “The received wisdom was that bilingualism created confusion, especially in children. The belief was that people who could speak two or more languages had difficulty using either. The bottom line is that bilingualism is good for you.”

For those of us who were not lucky enough to have picked up a second language at school, there are still plenty of health benefits to learning another tongue later in life… and it is never too late to try. “Being bilingual is one way to keep your brain active – it’s part of the cognitive-reserve approach to brain fitness. The more the better and every little bit helps!” Bialystok concludes. So next time you set yourself health goals – be they losing weight, getting fit, or cutting down on your alcohol consumption – why not add a few hours of French study into the equation… it’s a lot less tiring than jogging.

Article Source/Credit: The Bugle, Sept 2016

Technology Vocab: 50+ French Words You Need to Know if You Own a Smartphone or Use the Internet

Are you way more into snail mail than email?

Or are you a techie till the end, your heart racing and your palms sweaty when you find yourself without a solid Wi-Fi connection?

Regardless of which camp you’re in, technology is here to stay.

But hey, in many cases it makes life—French-learning life included—simpler.

So can you talk about all of this technology en français?

Whether you love it or hate it, now is the time to update your French vocabulary for life in the 21st century. We live in the ère numérique (digital age), so to express opinions about new technology, you’re definitely going to need some tech-related vocab.

Why Learn Technology-related French Vocabulary?

Even the l’Académie française (The French Academy, a national institution which is the authority on things related to the French language) has been forced to accept the fact that haute technologie (high technology) isn’t going away anytime soon.

In response to an onslaught of neologisms and anglicisms, l’Académie française has adapted, allowing for the French language to keep up with the times. By learning technology vocabulary, you’ll not only come acrossa fair amount of English loan words, you’ll also come across quintessentially French ones as well.

The building blocks of the French language are grammar and vocabulary. This means that even if your grammar game is on point, you’ll need a broad vocabulary to be able to communicate effectively about a wide range of subjects. Once you’ve got the basics down, you should move on to more domain-specific vocabulary.

The tech domain, like the business world, is a subculture with its own lingo. No need to be intimidated, though! Learn the lingo and you’ll find that your reading and listening comprehension will also improve. Besides that, you’ll wow native speakers as you wax poetic on Wi-Fi.

Get Geeky: French Resources for Technology Lovers

Reading blogs and listening to podcasts is a great way to see and hear French technology vocabulary in action. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Begeek. Begeek is the one-stop shop for you gadget lovers out there. Begeek contains a variety of articles pertaining to the tech world, product reviews and promotional codes.
  • Presse-Citron. Think of Presse-Citron, founded by Eric Dupin, as an online lifestyle magazine for the startup-launching set. On this site you’ll find posts on subjects ranging from e-books and environmentalism to smartphones and startups.
  • Soft Power: Le magazine des InternetsThis one-hour France Culture podcast hosted by Frédéric Martel revolves around the creative industry, with a special emphasis on mass media and the Internet. Each week Martel interviews journalists and researchers who discuss the stakes of living in “The Information Age.”
  • Ubergizmo. Ubergizmo is a frequently updated website containing no-nonsense reviews of “the electronics you love and the ones that you love to hate.”

50+ French Technology Vocab Words to Navigate Life in the 21st Century

Basic French Technology Vocabulary

Here are some French vocabulary words for computer hardware and some terms that harken back to Web 1.0.

Nouns

Arobase (f, although the gender hasn’t quite been settled yet) — @.

This is the name for the commercial “at” symbol: @.  Since the advent of the Internet, countries have come up with different names for this curious character. According to some, the French term arobaseapproved by l’Académie française—is a derivative of a rond bas (a surrounded [letter] “a”). Neat, right? So instead of saying “at” when you’re telling someone your email address, you say arobase (at).

Mon adresse courriel est Frenchy arobase mail point com.[Frenchy@mail.com] (My email is Frenchy at mail dot com.)

Base de données (f) — Database.

La base de données aide la société à trouver les meilleurs clients.
(The database helps the company find the best clients.)

Bureau (m) — [Computer] desktop.

In the non-tech world, bureau refers to either a desk or an office.

Il y a trop de fichiers sur mon bureau.
(There are too many files on my desktop.)

Clavier (m) — Keyboard.

Computers made in the United States have QWERTY keyboards (QWERTY being the first six letters on the top left letter row of the keyboard), but did you know computers made in France have AZERTY ones?

Les ordinateurs fabriqués en France ont des claviers AZERTY.
(Computers made in France have AZERTY keyboards.)

Clé USB (f) — USB stick.

USB stands for “Universal Serial Bus,” which in French translates to Bus universel en série. Because the Anglophone world seems to dictate tech-lingo, we say clé USB (USB stick) instead of the “more French” clé BUS.

J’ai toujours une clé USB sur moi.
(I always have a USB stick with me.)

Courriel (m) — Email.

The word courriel is an abbreviation of courrier éléctronique (literally: electronic mail). (Courrier refers to a piece of mail delivered by post.) The anglicism un e-mail (an email) is often used, but courriel is preferred byl’Académie française. In Quebec, the term courriel is more popular than it is in Europe.

Un mél (an email) is another term for email. Think of it as a Frenchified version of the anglicism. The Académie française accepts Mél. as an abbreviation for message éléctronique (electronic message), much likeTél. is used as an abbreviation for (numéro de) téléphone (telephone [number]).

J’ai envoyé un courriel à Charlotte.
(I sent an email to Charlotte.)

Curseur (m) — Cursor.

Je déplace le curseur avec la souris.
(I move the cursor with the mouse.)

Disque dur (m) — Hard drive.

If you want to be more specific you can refer to either un disque dur interne (internal hard drive) or un disque dur externe (external hard drive).

Mon disque dur externe a beaucoup de stockage.
(My external hard drive has a lot of space.)

Donnée (f) — [A point of] data.

You will most often see this in its plural form, données.

Les données sont sur le serveur.
(The data is on the server.)

Dossier (m) — Folder.

J’ai créé un dossier pour chaque matière sur mon ordinateur.
(I made a folder for each subject on my computer.)

Écran (m) — Screen.

L’écran est sale.
(The screen is dirty.)

Fichier (m) — File or document.

Toutes les informations sont dans ce fichier.
(All of the information is in this file.)

Internet (m) — The Internet. (You guessed it!)

The definite article le (the) is rarely used before the word Internet in French. It’s treated like a proper noun, hence its capitalization. La toile (the web) and le net (the ‘Net) are two other French terms for the Internet.

Elle passe beaucoup de temps sur Internet.
(She spends a lot of time on the Internet.)

Logiciel (m) — Computer program.

J’utilise trois logiciels au quotidien.
(I use three programs on a daily basis.)

Mémoire (f) — Memory.

Combien de mémoire a ton ordinateur ?
(How much memory does your computer have?)

Mot de passe (m) — Password.

J’ai oublié mon mot de passe.
(I forgot my password.)

Moteur de recherche (m) — Search engine.

Le moteur de recherche a remplacé l’encyclopédie.
(The search engine has replaced the encyclopedia.)

Ordinateur (m) — Computer.

In colloquial spoken French you’ll often hear the shortened ordiCute, right? The French for “laptop” is ordinateur portable, which translates literally to “carry-able computer.” You’re more likely to hear a person refer to their portable (laptop), which, incidentally, is also the word for cell phone. Context usually clues you in regarding the item in question.

L’ordinateur de Sarah a un grand écran.
(Sarah’s computer has a big screen.)

Site web (m) — Web site.

Easy peasy! It’s common for French speakers to refer to un site (a site), tout simplement (quite simply).

La société a un nouveau site web.
(The company has a new website.)

Souris (f) — Mouse.

Je navigue sur le site à l’aide de la souris.
(I explore the site with help of the mouse.)

Traitement de texte (m) — Word processing.

J’utilise un logiciel de traitement de texte pour prendre des notes.
(I use a word processing program to take notes.)

Verbs

Enregistrer To save.

In other contexts, enregistrer can also mean “to record.”

J’enregistre le fichier tout de suite.
(I am saving the file right away.)

Saisir  To enter or to input.

In other contexts, the verb saisir can also mean “to grasp,” both literally and figuratively, as in “to understand (a concept or idea).”

Je saisis les informations dans la base de données.
(I’m entering the information into the database.)

Sauvegarder — To backup.

Je sauvegarde mon travail toutes les deux heures.
(I backup my work every two hours.)

Supprimer — To delete.

J’ai supprimé quelques fichiers.
(I deleted some files.)

Web 2.0 and Beyond: French Vocabulary for the Digital Age

Although definitions may vary, the Web 2.0 generally is characterized by user-generated content and social media. Gone are the days where we passively consume information on websites. As modern-day internautes (Internet users—the noun can be either masculine or feminine depending on who it refers to), we actively engage with it, going so far as to create it.

Like I said earlier, with new technology comes new vocabulary. You’ll notice that many terms are loan words borrowed from the English. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Nouns

Abonné(e) (m or f) — Subscriber.

Le bulletin éléctronique a 2 000 abonnés.
(The newsletter has 2,000 subscribers.)

Application (f) — Application.

It’s not uncommon to hear appli (appl) for short.

L’application dictionnaire me facilite la vie.
(The dictionary application makes my life easier.)

Blog (or blogue) (m) — Blog.

Michel tient un blog de musique.
(Michel runs a music blog.)

Commentaire (m) — Comment.

J’ai laissé un commentaire sur le blog de Michel.
(I left a comment on Michel’s blog.)

Compte (m) — Account.

J’ai un compte Facebook.
(I have a Facebook account.)

Écran tactile (m) — Touch screen.

Mon téléphone portable a un écran tactile.
(My cell phone has a touch screen.)

Fil d’actualité (m) — Newsfeed.

Mon fil d’actualité contient des articles intéressants.
(My newsfeed contains interesting articles.)

Lecteur (m) — Reader.

Lectrice (reader) is the feminine form.

Le blog de Michel a beaucoup de lecteurs.
(Michel’s blog has a lot of readers.)

Like (m) — A (Facebook) like.

Alternatively (and more French-ly), you can say une mention j’aime (literally translates to an “I like” distinction).

La photo de Caroline a reçu beaucoup de likes.
(Caroline’s picture got a lot of likes.)

Mise à jour (f) — Update.

J’ai effectué une mise à jour de logiciel sur mon ordinateur.
(I did a program update on my computer.)

Mot-dièse (m) — Hashtag.

Dièse refers to what (American) English speakers know as the pound sign (#). It’s worth noting that un hashtag is much more commonly used than mot-dièse (hashtag).

Sur Twitter, les sujets de discussion sont classés grâce à des mots-dièse.
(On Twitter, discussion topics are organized by hashtags.)

Nom d’utilisateur (m) — Username.

J’ai choisi un nom d’utilisateur très simple.
(I chose a very simple username.)

Page d’accueil (f) — Home page.

La page d’accueil est très simple.
(The home page is very simple.)

Photo de profil (f) — Profile picture.

Marie change souvent sa photo de profil.
(Marie changes her profile picture often.)

Piratage (m) — (Illegal) downloading or hacking.

Le piratage des films est interdit.
([Illegally] downloading movies is forbidden.)

Profil (m) — Profile.

Le profil de Sarah est très détaillé.
(Sarah’s profile is very detailed.)

Réseau social (m) — Social network.

Les adolescents passent beaucoup de temps sur les réseaux sociaux.
(Teenagers spend a lot of time on social networks.)

Selfie (m, although the gender hasn’t been entirely settled yet) — Selfie.

Selfie is short for self-portrait, which is autoportrait (self-portrait) in non-virtual French.

Carole prend beaucoup de selfies.
(Carole takes a lot of selfies.)

Tweet (m) — A tweet.

Les tweets de Rémy sont drôles.
(Rémy’s tweets are funny.)

Utilisateur (m)  User.

Ce réseau social a beaucoup d’utilisateurs.
(This social network has a lot of users.)

Verbs

Bloquer  To block.

Sandrine a bloqué son ex sur Facebook.
(Sandrine blocked her ex on Facebook.)

Mettre à jour  To update.

J’ai mis à jour mon profil.
(I updated my profile.)

Partager — To share.

Carine a partagé un article intéressant sur Facebook.
(Carine shared an interesting article on Facebook.)

Publier — To publish.

Michel a publié un article intéressant sur son blog.
(Michel published an interesting article on his blog.)

S’abonner — To subscribe.

Je m’abonne au blog de Michel.
(I subscribe to Michel’s blog.)

Se connecter — To log in.

Je me connecte sur Facebook tous les jours.
(I log on to Facebook every day.)

S’inscrire — To register or to sign up.

Alexandre ne veut pas s’inscrire sur Facebook.
(Alexandre does not want to sign up for Facebook.)

Signaler  To report.

J’ai signalé le contenu offensant du site.
(I reported the site’s offensive content.)

Suivre — To follow.

Je suis Leonardo DiCaprio sur Tweeter.
(I follow Leonardo DiCaprio on Twitter.)

Surfer  To surf (the Internet).

Antoine surfe sur Internet pendant son cours d’anglais.
(Antoine surfs the Internet during his English class.)

Taguer — To tag, as in to identify someone in a picture.

Marc m’a tagué(e) dans une photo.
(Marc tagged me in a picture.)

Télécharger — To download/upload.

J’ai téléchargé le nouvel album de Christine and the Queens.
(I downloaded Christine and the Queens’ new album.)

Tweeter  To tweet.

Caroline tweete souvent.
(Caroline tweets often.)

Whew! I hope your memory’s not full! Once you pick a method that fits your fancy (I recommend the memory palace) and you learn these words, your journey through French cyberspace will be smooth sailing.

SOURCE/CREDIT:  Fluent U blog

 

5 Killer Language Learning Strategies Guaranteed to Help You Make Time

“Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’d love to learn a foreign language but I’m just too darn busy. If only I had more hours in the day…”?

I hear you.

Work life and home life are demanding, and those 24 hours a day won’t be getting any longer.

So when are we supposed to learn an entire other language?

I have good news for you. There are effective, surefire ways to make time for language learning. (Yes, even for those of you with the busiest of schedules!)

So sit tight and keep on reading, because here are my five best strategies to make time for language learning every day – and they actually work!”

Read more of this article:

5 Killer Language Learning Strategies Guaranteed to Help You Make Time.

Les Faux Amis / False Friends

15 French ‘false friends’ you need to watch out for

When struggling for the right word in French, it can be tempting just to use an English word said in a French accent. Unfortunately, French is littered with pesky “false friends” that have very different meanings. Here’s 15 to avoid.

Some of these false freinds  can be relatively harmless, if a little inconvenient.

Ask for the “librairie” in France and you’ll be directed to a bookshop rather than a library (bibliothèque), for example. But others can result in ridicule or embarrassment. Anyone who has been in France for any amount of time will be familiar with the most famous of these: “a préservatif” not being something you would add to food to make it keep longer (conservateur in French), but in fact a condom.

But there are plenty more of these false friends you’ll want to avoid so you don’t embarrass yourself or your French guests.

1. Excited / Excité

You want to tell your French friend you’re very excited to come visit them in Paris this summer. “Excité” sounds like the word you should use, right? Unfortunately not. You just told your friend you were “aroused”, probably not what you were going for. Enthusiaste is better.

2. Trainee / Traînée

A particular one to be aware of for anyone working in France. If you’re just starting a new job, don’t try introducing yourself as a “trainee” said in a French-sounding sort of way and hope your new colleagues understand, it sounds very similar to the French word “traînée”, which can mean a smear or trail or, much worse still, a woman  of an extremely promiscuous nature. “Stagiaire” is the right word.

3. Chat / Chatte

A pitfall for anyone who knows ‘ch’ in French is pronounced the way and English speaker would say ‘sh’, but is still lacking in vocabulary. The verb to chat – ie, have a light conversation with someone – in French is bavarder. But chat pronounced with an ‘sh’ sound in the beginning can mean ‘cat’ or, if you pronounce it with a hard T at the end, slang for a woman’s private parts (chatte in French).

4. Apology / Apologie

So you’ve accidentally let out a loud burp at a French dinner party. Cringing of embarrassment, you quickly let out an “apologie”. The only trouble is that in French, you’ve just told them that you “condone” or “justify” such table manners. “Pardon” and “excusez-moi” are both polite apologies to use.

5. Bless / Blesser

The verbs have quite opposite meaning. While a well-meaning English-speaker might feel the temptation to throw out a “blessez-vous” when someone sneezes, try not to. In French, the verb “blesser” translates into “injure”. The expression to use here is: “à vos souhaits”.

6. Chair/ Chair

Looking for a chair at a party? Use the term “chaise”. “Chair” in French means flesh and you might get some weird looks if you tell the party hosts that you’re looking for some.

7. Slip/ Slip

This one could easily get your knickers in a knot. Especially since “slip” in French translates into “men’s briefs”. If you’ve had a slip and you want to tell your French friends about it, better to use the verb “glisser”.

8. Pill/ piles

You have a brutal headache and you head to the local pharmacy in search for pills to cure you. To the French, it will sound as if you’re asking for “piles”, or batteries. To avoid confusion (and to make sure you get rid of your headache), better to ask for brands like Aspirine or Doliprane.

9. Air Con/ l’air con

No, no matter how much of a French accent you put on in pronouncing this one, it is a deceitful ‘false friend’ that could land you in hot water. It would be hard to offend a French person more than telling them they have “l’air con”. In the ears of a French person, you’ve just told him or her that they’re “stupid”.

10. Sensible/Sensible

Identical, right? Not so. “Sensible” means “sensitive” in French and it’s probably not the best word to use when describing yourself in a job interview. Try “raisonnable” instead.

11. Blanket/Blanquette

Don’t be surprised if, after asking your neighbour to lend you a “blanquette”, he or she turns up on your doorstep with a ready-cooked meal. “Blanquette” is a much-loved veal stew ( Blanquette de veau) which has little to do with keeping you warm at night. But “une couverture” will help you cover up.

12. Terrible/Terrible

This is a tough one, because although the word can have the same meaning in French as it has in English, it is often used to express just the opposite, i.e. that something is “great”. And it all depends on your tone of voice. You safest bet to convey that something is terrible in the Anglo-saxon sense of the word is to use the word “horrible”.

13. Tongue/ Tong(s)

This false friend will hardly get you into any trouble, but it sure could cause some confusion with almost any French listener who might wonder where exactly this conversation is going. Tongue will most likely sound like “tongs” (pronounced with a silent s) which means thongs, or flip-flops. If you want to stick to discussing your tongue, say “langue”.

14. Introduce/ s’Introduire:

As if an introduction in France wasn’t a fraught experience already, one of the most two-faced of ‘false friends’ in French is the verb “s’introduire”. Naturally, you would think it means ‘to introduce’. It actually means to penetrate, insert or enter. So next time you meet a group of French people and you want to suggest you should all introduce each other”, the verb you’re looking for is “se présenter”.

15. Luxurious/luxurieux

This one is particularly nasty because even though “de luxe” means luxury, as you would imagine, if you want to say “luxurious” don’t try to say it with a French accent, because it will probably come out as “luxurieux” which means “lustful”. If you want to say “you went to a luxurious hotel at the weekend” your French guests might start thinking you spent the last few days in the company of DSK.

 

Source/Credit: The Local

In Support of Total Immersion

A French American Life

I grew up during the old-school era of second-language learning. We filled in the blanks, conjugated verbs, and memorized vocabulary lists. Entry level classes, and sometimes even intermediate and advanced classes, were taught in English. Speaking in the second language was a part of those classes, but not a huge part, and when we did speak, it was awkwardly and amidst classmates making fun of each other’s accents.

Today, language learning is (thankfully) progressing toward total immersion. In my college classes, and in the high school and junior high classes that I’ve observed, instructors use the target language to teach. Students are expected to participate by speaking, and by writing and reading in the foreign language. Oh, how far we’ve come! It seems so obvious that to learn a language, the best method is to be immersed in that language. After all, that’s how we learn our first language, right? Hearing it…

View original post 559 more words

Some French Idioms

Idiomatic expressions cannot be understood from the meanings of the separate words, but have a separate meaning of their own – a great way to sound more French in a conversation and most expressions are already familiar in their English meaning.  Bonne chance!

Un clou chasse l’autre.
Life goes on. (Literally: One nail chases the other.)

Avoir un faim du loup.
To be very hungry. (Literally: Hungry like a wolf.)

Tomber dans les pommes
To faint (Literally: To fall in the apples.)

Quand le chat n’est pas là les souris dansent 
When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Je ne suis pas dans mon assiette
I don’t feel up to it/well.

C’est dans les vieilles marmites qu’on fait les meilleurs soupes
Literally: With the best methods you get the best results.

Mettre les petits plats dans les grands. (making a special effort to please)

Long comme un jour sans pain. (Interminable)

Comme le petit Jesus en culotte de velours
Something that tastes delicious and smooth. (Literally: Smooth as little Jesus in Velvet shorts)

Pedaler dans la farine.
To get nowhere fast.

Trop de cuisiniers gatent la petite marmite.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Coup de faim.
A small hunger pang.

On ne fait pas d’un âne, un cheval de course même en taillant ses oreilles en pointes. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.  (Literally: You can’t transform a donkey into a race horse, even by trimming his ears.)

Metro, boulot, dodo.
Same thing everyday. (Literally: train, work, sleep)

Il pleut des cordes. 
It’s raining cats and dogs.  (Literally: It’s raining ropes.)

Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.
We all make our own bed to lie in. (Literally: Little by little, the bird makes its nest.)

Je pourrais manger un curé frotté d’ail
I could eat a horse. (Literally: I could eat a parish priest rubbed with garlic.)

Charbonnier est maître chez soi.
A man’s home is his castle. (Literally: The coal miner is the master of his house.)

L’arbre cache souvent la forêt. 
Can’t see the forest for the trees.

Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir. 
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Ce qui est fait est fait.
There is no use crying over spilt milk.

VOILA!!

 

 

 

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