Saturday 24 May 2014

New French words


This is a link about some of the new French words in the dictionary this year with a guest who participates in making the dictionary. Go to 27 minutes 37 seconds for the start of this discussion.

New words (which they will mention in the programme; this is a good listening practice by the way):
vapoter: to smoke an e-cigarette
Psychoter (prononcez le 'p') = ruminer en boucle = to keep thinking about something negative or the definition I extracted from the dictionary:
'Angoisser de façon excessive, irrationnelle, imaginer un scénario catastrophique, laisser sa pensée tourner en boucle dans un sens systématiquement empirique' [psychologique].
'Arrête de psychoter': stop thinking about it (something negative).
la zénitude: being zen
C'est une tuerie (from 'tuer': to kill): it's amazing

For another listening practice: this is last Saturday's programme talking about the Cannes festival which was coming up and other things that happened during that week, with different journalists, some of them from the Elle magazine, but it's quite intellectual, being French.

Et pour finir, une interview de Julianne Moore (en français) qui vient de gagner le prix d'interprétation féminine au festival de Cannes:

About the radio programme links, either listen to a few minutes repeating it many times to catch the words, or/and listen to (depending on your level), 10/20/30 minutes of it and repeat or carry on till the end.

Let me know how you get on. Bonne chance!

Wednesday 14 May 2014

A funny language video with Jim Chapman


I loved this video where Jim and Zoe read each other sentences in different languages and try to guess the meaning. A great fun video!

Sunday 11 May 2014

French GCSE tips and useful phrases

Here are some tips inspired by my GCSE students’ mistakes in the last 2 weeks.

stutents studying


 Dans le matin, dans le soir, dans le weekend

Write: Le matin, le soir, le weekend (In the morning/In the evening/At the weekend)

Aussi, je vais à la patinoire   Je vais aussi à la patinoire.

‘Aussi’ is an adverb, and all adverbs should be placed after your verb or between the auxiliary and past participle for tenses such as perfect, pluperfect, future and condional perfect.

Aussi, j’ai visité la Russie et le Japon  J’ai aussi visité la Russie et le Japon. (perfect tense) .

‘Très’ doesn’t work with the adjectives below, replace it by ‘vraiment’ if you want to insist:

très nul = vraiment nul

très génial = vraiment génial

très délicieux = vraiment délicieux

What is the difference between ‘j’allais’ and ‘je suis allé’?

J’allais (imperfect): I used to go/I was going

Use ‘j’allais’ for things you used to do in the past, when you were younger for example, or if an action was interrupted by another:

J’allais chez le docteur quand mon amie m’appelée: I was going to the doctor’s when my friend called.

Je suis allé (perfect): I went (one-off event)

Hier, je suis allé au journal pour présenter mon article. Yesterday, I went to the newspaper to present my article.


JE VAIS = I’m going/I go (present)


propre: own (ma propre chambre: my own room)

or clean (la maison est propre)

sale: dirty (not to confuse with ‘salle’: room, although it’s the same sound)

About hobbies/activities and why you like them:

Cela me donne de l’énergie: it gives me energy

Cela me met de bonne humeur: it puts me in a good mood

Use new words, don’t just stick to ‘bon, bien, super, génial’, that everybody uses, be different and stand out.

For food:

succulent = délicieux

For subjects, films, holidays, day out

passionnant = fascinant = très intéressant

palpitant: exciting

By the way, they are adjectives

Some essentials:

La plupart du temps: most of the time

Tout le temps: all the time

Bien que: although

J’ai  l’intention…d’aller/d’étudier/de partir = I plan…to go/to study/to leave

J’ai l’intention de + infinitive

Je voudrais: I’d like to

Je voulais: I wanted

ne…que: only

se soucier de = to care/to worry

Useful irregular futures:

J’aurai: I will have / je ferai: I will do/make /j’irai: I’ll go /je verrai: I’ll see


A lot of my students say ‘je jouais’ to say ‘je joue’ or j’étudiais’ when they mean ‘j’étudie’. The ‘e’ is silent. So if you pronounce the verb the wrong way, like above, you’re saying ‘I used to play/I was playing’ instead of ‘I play/I’m playing’ or ‘I used to study/I was studying’ instead of ‘I study/I’m studying’.