Bonjour, mes amis! French is by far my weakest language, though I use it every day for my work! I’m able to do that because in my job I never have to speak French, and I only rarely have to write it. When I do write it, I don’t have to write long, complex passages of prose, but rather short phrases and sentences.
That said, I do read French pretty well as long as the topic is something common enough and not too full of specialized jargon. My short time of formal French study combined with my strong Spanish skills and a decent amount of independent study have made French enjoyable enough for me that I do want to continue learning more.
Even before I had studied French at all, I could read a little of it simply because it’s a Romance language and I had already studied Spanish for years. For the same reason, I can understand a decent amount of Italian, and often Portuguese sounds to me like speaking Spanish with a marble in one’s mouth. So if you’ve studied one Romance language, it will be much easier to pick up another!
I came across a couple of sites recently that I found interesting. The first is a website and app for French learners, TV5MONDE. They have content divided up by difficulty level, with videos, transcripts, and quizzes about the content. I downloaded their app to my iPhone and the app also has a lot of useful contents, and it’s free!
The second site is one about false cognates. Do you know what a cognate is? Cognates are words in different languages that come from the same original source, and therefore have a similar meaning in both languages. Cognates are an extremely useful tool in building vocabulary; however, there are also false cognates out there to trip you up!
For example, you might think the Spanish word actualmente means “actually.” Unfortunately, actually, *ahem!* it means “currently.”
This link is a list of false cognates, or false friends, between French and German, English, and Spanish. The page is written in French, so it may be a bit of a challenge if your French isn’t so strong, but still fun to look at.
Bonne lecture! Now, don’t get tripped up by the false cognate lecture! Lecture means “reading,” so I wished you some happy reading! The French word for “lecture” is conférence or cours, which I’d say are (imperfect) cognates themselves, right? You’d probably hear lectures in a conference or course. Of course, many cognates aren’t perfect cognates with the exact same meaning in both languages, but they’re still immensely helpful for building vocabulary.
Thomas Typo · February 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm
When I was with Lee in Paris last year, she seemed to speak French pretty well! Of course, any language ability seems like black magic *when you know absolutely nothing yourself* about the language. At the very least, there was no problem communicating basic things to French people, just like Lee had no problem communicating basic things to Italians when we were in Italy.
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