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French Learning

French Learning

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Published by: shahidtoor1 on Apr 12, 2009
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 1
French Learning
"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is sorich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget  yourself."
Henry MillerYou've decided to study a new language. Wonderful! It is one of the beautiful, rich treasuresthat Henry Miller talks about. Opening yourself up to new worlds, new people and newunderstanding is an awakening experience unlike any other. Cognitive scientists even say thatmastering verbal skills such as are required of language study keeps the aging brain youngerand sharper. But we must remember the advice in Henry Miller's stirring quote: "Forgetyourself."Most of the time, when you learn a language, you are a very young child. Actually, you startto learn a language when you a baby, even before you can speak yourself. (Some believe youeven start to learn the language of those around you while you are in the womb!) You areconstantly and gradually absorbing the sounds around you so that when your developmentreaches the right stage, you are able to start to imitate those sounds.And this is the way it needs to be, to a certain extent, to learn a language as an adult. Youhave to become childlike and observe and absorb. Think of a child learning a language. Doeshe worry that he mispronounces a word? Does he care if he doesn't quite get the "t" right intruck? Of course not; he just keeps plugging away until he gets it right and he even enjoysmaking everybody laugh with his funny attempts. And so must adults. If you are going tostand on ceremony and be afraid to make a mistake, you are going to have a difficult timelearning how to speak a language. Remember, people who don't make mistakes usually don'tmake anything. You need to do just what a child does. Get into the language. Immerseyourself in it. Constantly look for ways to incorporate it in your life. Let people know you arestudying a new language. They may speak it or be studying it too, but if the topic never cameup in a conversation, neither of you would know. Restaurants, art galleries, movies,magazines and newspapers may all be sources where you can immerse yourself, and if youare lucky enough to travel to a country where your new language is spoken, you can really goswimming!Luckily, it's easy to immerse yourself if you are learning to speak French. French is a verywidely spoken language and is spoken in over thirty countries. It is widely used in fashion, thearts, restaurants (and cooking!), and many other areas. As much as you possibly can, try toexpose yourself to anything from a French culture. That does not just mean France. Belgium,Switzerland and Canada all have strong French speaking cultures, as do many Caribbean,African and Asian nations. Newspapers such as Le Monde, Liberation, and Le Figaro,magazines such as Elle, Marie-Claire and Le Nouvel Observateur are available in most largecities, and French news programs are broadcast in some locales. Most movie DVDs can be setto many languages. Try to watch a movie you've already seen in French; since it is familiar,you will probably be able to figure a lot of it out. Seek out any and all ways you can exposeyourself to the beautiful French language you are about to learn.What Did We Learn?
 
 21.
 
Learning language skills keeps the aging brain younger and _____.2.
 
People who don't make mistakes don't make___________.3.
 
You can learn French in cooking, the arts and __________.4.
 
French is spoken in France, Belgium and____________.5.
 
Scientists think you may learn languages as early as in the _____.6.
 
Popular French publications are Le Nouvel Observateur, Elle and _____.7.
 
Important Newspapers in France are Le Liberation, Le Monde and _________.8.
 
You can watch any DVD movie in French by setting the language option to _____.9.
 
French is a __________ language.10.
 
To learn any language, you must let yourself __.
French Lessons
One of the first things you need to understand in order to learn a language is grammar.ARGH! Did you say the "G" word? Yes, but it won't be all that bad. The very basic grammaryou need is the same grammar that a child uses and understands even before he starts school.When a child has not quite mastered his native language, he may say "Me go there." Hedoesn't exactly have it right, but he does have a subject, verb and object. You will putsentences together in French the same way. We need a subject such as I (je), a verb such aswant (veux) and an object such as a banana (une banane). "Je veux une banane" means "Iwant a banana". (We're not going to worry about pronunciation just yet; we just want tounderstand how to put the words together.) Easy, right? Well, there are a few other things youneed to know about French in order to speak it.In English, the verb in a sentence changes depending on the subject. For instance, we say "Iwant" but "He wants". In French, the verb changes as well, and so you have "Je veux" and "Ilveut" for I want and he wants. However, in French, the verbs change a lot more. Compare theEnglish and French table of verbs:English FrenchI want We want Je veux Nous voulonsYou want You want Tu veux Vous voulezHe/she/it wants They want Il/elle/il veut Ils/Elles/ils veulentAs you can see, the verb changes more often in French than it does in English. But theendings stay pretty much the same, so it is not that difficult to remember which ending to puton which verb.In English the article "a" stays the same whether it is a banana, an apple or an orange. InFrench, the article changes too, depending on whether the noun (banana) is masculine,feminine or neuter. Banana is feminine, so it is "une banana", but if you wanted a sandwich,which is masculine, it would be "un sandwich". The other part of speech that changes inFrench but does not in English is the adjective. An adjective describes a noun, so femininenouns have feminine adjectives and masculine nouns have masculine adjectives. A whiteflower is "une fleur blanche", but a white dog is "un chien blanc". There are no real rulesabout which nouns will be masculine or feminine, so it is best to learn any new nouns withtheir article. We're not going to worry too much about all of this now, we just want tounderstand the concept.
 
 3Finally, there are "tenses" in French just as there are in English. The most commonly usedtenses in speech are the present tense, "I want", the future tense, "I will want", and the pasttense, "I wanted". The same thing happens in French; we say "je veux" for the present tense,"je voudrai" for the future tense and "j'ai voulu" for the past tense.Don't be overwhelmed by the differing genders and tenses. At this point, it is only importantto know that these changes take place both in English and in French and you will becomeaccustomed to the changes in French as you speak the language more and more.What Did We Learn?1.
 
A Sentence in French needs a subject, a verb and an ______.2.
 
In English, an article such as "a" stays the same. In French, it ______.3.
 
Articles change with the gender. We say une banana, but __ sandwich.4.
 
Adjectives also change. A white flower is "une fleur blanche", but a white dog is unchien ____.5.
 
Since there are no fixed rules about which nouns will be masculine or feminine, it isbest to learn any new nouns with their_______.6.
 
There are ______ in French just as there are in English.7.
 
The past tense in French for I wanted is _________.8.
 
Feminine nouns have ______ adjectives.9.
 
Verb ending in French stay pretty much the ____.10.
 
Changes in tense take place in both English and ______.
French Verb Tenses
We know that the English language uses "tenses" for verbs to indicate when an action takesplace, and the same is true for French. In the present tense, the action is taking place now, inthe future tense, it will take place and in the past tense, it already took place. In both Englishand French, there are many complicated tenses, many of which we don't even use in everydayspeech. So for these French lessons, we will only learn the most common tenses: the present,future and past. You don't even need to know the French names for theses tenses, you onlyneed to know at which time the action is taking place.French verbs have different endings to indicate the tense of the verb. Those endings dependon the "type" of verb. There are two types of verbs in French, regular and irregular verbs.Regular verbs always have the same endings, whereas irregular verbs have their own uniqueendings. Of the regular there are three kinds: "er" verbs, "ir" verbs and "re" verbs.ALL regular "
er
" verbs will have the same endings that the verb Parler (to speak) has.Present Tense Future Tense Past TenseJe parle Je parlerai J'ai parleTu parles Tu parleras Tu as parleIl/Elle parle Il/Elle parlera Il/Elle a parleNous parlons Nous parlerons Nous avons parleVous parlez Vous parlerez Vouz avez parleIls/Elles parlent Ils/Elles parleront Ils/Elles ont parle

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