Learn French In 7 Days!: The Ultimate Crash Course to Learning The Basics of the French Language In No Time (2015)
Preview Of “French For Tourists - The Most Essential French Guide to Travel Abroad, Meet People & Find Your Way Around - All While Speaking Perfect French!"
Prepare Yourself, We're About to Depart!
Aren't you excited? Travelling in France is an absolutely amazing experience as witnessed by the many foreigners who find their way to France every year. The French Government reported 83 millions of international tourists in 2012... No need to tell you that most of them do not speak French!
Would you like to hear an interesting fact about the French? They don't like intrusive tourists who "invade" their life and can't even greet them in French. You will quickly notice that the French are getting tired of the tourists in France and they will hardly make any effort to talk to you in English – which is “if they actually can speak English”! At school, the students can study so many other languages that some of them drop English or they don't try that hard. If you meet French people who are used to travel abroad, then you'll get a chance to use your English... People might also respond to you in English if they want to sell you something!
The point is that you should definitely learn some basic French before heading there. It will make your experience much easier and –above everything else– more enjoyable. The French are always nicer when you talk to them in their own language. They will take the time to chat about their country and their culture. They might even show you around or take you to the best – but remote – restaurants, hidden places, and so on...
Take a shot at this conversation book and you'll rapidly realize that it is not so hard to speak French!
Will You Speak French Within a Couple of... HOURS?
The short answer? Yes. The long answer? It will be easy, but you have to do your part too. First of all, this book will give you the keys to understand the French and their culture. You will learn how to behave with appropriate manners and how to address someone French.
Secondly, we gathered the most common and simple words and expressions to make your learning sessions EASY!
Also, you can always carry around this book as a guide throughout your travel. You'll find very handy to have right in your bag the words and phrases you will need in real situations.
Last (but certainly not least), as an English speaker you are extremely LUCKY: you already know some 15,000 French words! English has been shaped by many other languages, such as French, Latin and German. You can start practising RIGHT AWAY...
What's left is to wish you to ENJOY your language journey before ACHIEVING your REAL TRIP to France!
Getting Around French on a Few Bites
What you're about to learn:
· An overall approach of French culture
· The traditions and practices of the people in France
· How to reach an understandable pronounciation
· How to build a correct sentence
A Bite of French Civilization
Countries where French is spoken
Useful facts: French is spoken as a native language on 5 continents and it is the official or one of the official languages in 33 countries. This number is second to English, which is officially spoken in 45 countries.
French language (“le français” [lu frensai]) is the official language of France and its overseas territories (French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, La Réunion, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Saint Barts, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna) as well as 14 other countries: Bénin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Luxembourg, Mali, Monaco, Niger, Sénégal, Togo. French is also one of the official languages in the following countries: Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey), Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial, Guinea, Haiti (the other official language is French Creole), Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Switzerland, Vanuatu.
Speaking French in English
The Normans brought French into the English language which resulted in more than 30% of French words currently being used by English natives. Many of the words of French origin used in English find their roots in Latin and/or Greek. As an example, “beef” from French “boeuf” [burf] is meat from a cow (from old English “cu”) which is a type of “bovine” from Latin “bovinus” via French “bovin” [bovun].
The French influence on English dates back to the Norman invasion of England in 1066. William the Conqueror brought Norman French which became the language of the court, the government and the upper class for the next three centuries. During the Norman occupation, around 10,000 French words were adopted into English, of which about 75% are still used today. More than 30% of all English words are derived directly or indirectly from French.
French is the official language in France but there are several regional languages still spoken nowadays. Among the main ones, there are “Breton”, “Occitan”, “Basque”, “Alsacien”, “Flamand”, “Catalan”.
Flemish (“Flamand”) is spoken in the northeast. Basque is spoken along the Spanish border. Catalan dialects are spoken in the French Pyrenees. The Celtic language (“Breton”) is spoken in the northwest close to the British coast. Alsatian (“Alsacien”) is spoken by the French who live near the German border. Also, over 7 millions of people (some 12% of the population of France) speak “Occitan” in the South of France.
Although these regional languages have no official status in France, they are recognized by the Government and are being taught in school as second language.
A Bite of French Culture
The French national identity has been shaped by geographic evolution, historical events and upheavals, as well as international influences. Despite a very strong and distinctive identity, French culture is caracterized by a mix of regional specificities with local customs defining a unique national identity. Today's France is a nation of numerous indigenous and foreign languages, of multiple ethnicities and religions, and of regional diversity including French citizens in Corsica (“la Corse” [kors]), Guadeloupe (“la Guadeloupe” [gooaduloop]), Martinique (“la Martinique” [marteeneek]) and elsewhere around the globe. French multiculturalism is marked by social classes and by important regional differences in culture (regional cuisine, dialects and accents, local traditions) placed under the protection of the public authorities to preserve regional identities.
Popular traditions and practices
Easter Sunday in France is a time for many Christians to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection. People may attend special church services, eat a festive meal and search for Easter eggs. It is also the occasion to buy a special treat : “les chocolats de Pâques” (Easter chocolates).
“Le 1er mai” [lu prumeeay mai]
Labour day is May Day in France. May, 1st is a public holiday dedicated to campaign for and celebrate workers' right. It is also the occasion to present lily-of-the-valley or dog flowers to loved ones.
“Le 8 mai” [lu ew-wee mai]
May 8th is the Victory Day of World War II. This public holiday celebrates the end of WWII and the freedom of the French people. Is is the anniversary of the day Charles de Gaulle announced the end of this war in France (May 8, 1945).
“Le jeudi de l'Ascension” [lu jewdee du lasenseeon]
Ascension Day marks the day that Jesus ascended to heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection, according to Christian belief. It is the 40th day of Easter and ten days before Pentecost Sunday. This public holiday falls on a Thursday so many people take a day of their annual leave on Friday and enjoy this four-day weekend going on a short trip.
“Le lundi de Pentecôte” [lu lundee du pentukot]
Pentecost Monday is the day after Pentecost Sunday in France. Many people take the occasion to hold family gatherings or enjoy a day in the countryside. Public offices are closed but some businesses remain open on that day.
“Le 14 juillet” [lu katorzu jeweeyay]
July 14th is Bastille Day. On July 14, 1789 troops stormed the Bastille. This was a pivotal event at the beginning of the French Revolution. Many large-scale public events are held, including a military parade in Paris, as well as communal meals, dances, parties and fireworks.
On November 1st, many French honor the lives of their deceased relatives and all the saints (All Saints' Day). They visit special church services and place flowers on family graves.
“ Le 11 novembre” [lu onzu novenbru]
November 11th is Armistice Day. It is a public holiday to remember those who died or were injured in World War I and other wars. Special church services are held and military parades to war memorials and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris are organized. Public figures, including France's president, lay wreaths and flowers at war memorials.
“Le Réveillon de Noël” [lu rayvaiyon du noail]
Many people finish work early on Christmas Eve. They spend the rest of the afternoon and evening preparing a festive family meal and visiting a special church service.
“Le Jour de l'An” [lu joor du lan]
New Year's Day is a public holiday in France. Many people celebrate New Year's Eve and spend the following day resting or visiting their family and friends. It is the occasion to drink lots of champagne and to wish each other all the best for the coming year.
Public life is generally quiet in France on January 1. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may be closed.
A Bite of French Flavor
French cuisine is all about tasting regional products, recognizing the different flavors, learning how to mix them together... French Chefs have brought a whole new trend of exclusive cuisine reachable by anybody. Which means that you will get the opportunity to learn how to cook like a French... if you're willing to taste first!
Tasting like a French
Cheese, wine & bread are indeniable French delicacies appreciated by all the foreign visitors.
The French consume an average of 45 pounds of cheese (“le fromage” [lu fromaju]) per year and per person! There are some 400 different types of regional cheese in France. Needless to say that you will get the opportunity to taste a wide variety of cheeses... and it is so cheap!
Almost every region in France is known for its special cheese and its special wine (“le vin” [lu vun])! To be exact 17 regions out of 22 are wine producers. France is the number one producer and exporter of wine. On average, a French person consumes 1.3 glass of wine per day, which totals to over 50 liters per year. French people claim its benefits on health. There are many “wine tasting courses” available in most cities. Check it out if you're interested to become a fine connoisseur!
Bread (“le pain” [lu pun]) may be the most basic of all kinds of food but it is considered as an institution in France. It is that important that during the French Revolution every French man would consume three pounds of bread daily! French bread is only made of four basic ingredients (water, flour, yeast and salt), of which French bakers (“les boulangers français” [lay boolenjay frensai]) can create wide varieties of complex breads.
Cooking like a French
Many cooking techniques have been elaborated by the French. You might already know some of them :
“Flambé” [flenbay]: to cook or finish something by pouring alcohol over it and then lighting it on fire
“Sauté” [sotay]: cooking something in fat, over high heat
“Blondir” [blondeer]: to lightly brown food in a fat
“Chiffonade” [sheefonadu]: to cut in thin strips
“Confit” [konfee]: to cook meat or poultry that is prepared and stored in its own fat
“Gratiné” [gratun]: to cook in the oven usually topped with cheese
“Emulsion” [aymewlseeon]: to have a lot of fat distributed evenly through a mixture (ex.: mayonnaise)
“Purée” [pewray]: to obtain a smooth and creamy preparation by the use of a food processor, blender, or by pressing cooked food
A Bite of French Pronunciation
The French alphabet is similar with the English one with 6 vowels (“les voyelles” [lay vwayail]) and 20 consonants (“les consonnes” [lay konsonu]). The main difference is that there are various accents (“les accents” [lay axsen]) applied on vowels in French, which will change the pronounciation of the vowels.
A vowel is a sound that is pronounced through the mouth (or the nose for nasal vowels) with no obstruction of the lips, tongue, or throat.
There are a few general guidelines to keep in mind when pronouncing French vowels:
· Most French vowels are pronounced further forward in the mouth than their English counterparts.
· The tongue must remain tensed throughout the pronunciation of the vowel.
Many of the consonants are similar in French and in English so it is quite easy to learn how to pronounce each one of them.
For your reference, we provided you with a few pronounciation tips found as […] throughout the chapters. Make sure that you refer to this pronunciation guide whenever you want to pronounce a word. You can also complement your studies with online vocal guides.
Here are a few useful websites:
Simple letters (“les lettres simples”)
Complex sounds (“les sons complexes”)
Accents (“les accents”)