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FluentU French
FluentU brings French to life with real-world videos!
FluentU brings French to life with real-world videos!


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6 Solo and Group Games for Practicing the Masculine and Feminine in French

“But a table isn’t a girl!”

It’s easy to get frustrated with gendered nouns when you’re first starting to learn French.

In fact, even for advanced speakers, it can be tough to deduce whether a word is masculine or feminine in French without ever making any mistakes.

Even once your conditional is perfect and you’ve totally mastered the subjunctive, even then you, as a nearly-fluent speaker, could have a hard time guessing if a new word is masculine or feminine…or even remembering the genders of words you don’t as often as the rest.

That’s why it’s important to never stop practicing.


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Advanced Conversational French: 3 Epic Cult Films to Teach You the Talk

Argot (slang) is part of the lingo of Monsieur Tout-le-monde (the Average Joe). 

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to learn early on when studying French that “police” is policier in “correct” French, but flic in argot.

Verlan, which is taken from l’envers (meaning “reverse”) and entails switching up the syllables of words, is a bit trickier, but totally manageable (and pretty fun) once you get the hang of it.

Once your ears are attuned to verlan and other types of everyday speech, however, taking your French to the next level requires practice with real dialogue.

There’s no better way to do this than with French movies, but more specifically with French cult classics.

Hopefully, this already sounds intriguing, but let’s explore the reasons behind it before diving in.


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How to Pronounce the Terrifying French Vowel Sounds “Ou” and “U”

Are you in a world of hurt over pronouncing the French ou and u?

You’re not alone.

The distinction is a nightmare for most Anglos.

Il a rougi and il a rugi may sound exactly the same to English speakers.

But to a Francophone there’s no mistaking the first phrase (he blushed) for the second (he roared).

This problem is not really our fault.

Our hearing “tunes in” to distinguish only the sounds from the language we grew up with.

In fact, by the age of one you have already lost the ability to distinguish between certain sounds that aren’t present in the speech around you.

This is why, for example, Spanish speakers can have trouble with “b” and “v” in English, or Japanese speakers with “r” and “l.”

So you can blame the French-free environment your parents gave you as an infant for your failure to distinguish ou and u—but what else can you do about it?

In this post, we’ll look at ways to practice hearing the difference with minimal pairs (words that sound alike except for these two vowels), the exact position of the mouth for pronouncing them and ways to “approach” that very tricky u by moving from other vowels.

Finally, we’ll look at how to practice these vowels in context, and a few strategies for “cheating” when all else fails.


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Listen and Learn! 7 French Audio Resources That Are Pure Gold

Using audio to learn a foreign language such as French is pretty useful.

Hold on, I’ll take that a step further: Using audio to learn French is necessary and unavoidable.

A bold statement, right?

But also very true.

Let’s face it. Audio communication has become a medium of its own in this day and age.

The radio is playing everywhere: in the car, at work, in shopping centers. Even when we aren’t listening to the radio, our houses are full of speaker systems for CDs and iPods, and don’t get me started on the Internet.

For French alone, there are podcasts both for learning and for listening to native speakers, apps to help master the French language and a multitude of tips for listening to French radio.

Since audio is such a huge part of our society and our media, it only makes sense that it should be part of our French language learning conquest.


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8 Practically Genius Ideas for Teaching French Vocabulary Effectively

Sometimes, it seems like it would take a whole village to fill the spaces in your students’ French vocabulary.

Forget the numerous false cognates, complex pronunciations and spelling rules.

Just making sure they memorize a noun’s gender and plural form can be a frustrating affair.

But not to worry!

In this post, we have some incredible ideas to help you teach French vocab more effectively, while also having more fun.

So read on.

By the end, the process of teaching new words to your students will hold no mystery for you!

But first, here are a few widely applicable tips to start you off on the right foot.


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Question Everything: The Essential Guide to Asking Questions in French

A big part of learning any language is asking questions.

“What exactly is the whole deal with tu and vous?

“Where can I find some good, reliable French lessons online?”

“What’s my CEFR level, and why does it matter?”

That said, how do we ask those questions…in French?

It seems simple enough in English, but there are certain features in the French language that can make the process of asking questions complicated for learners.

But fear not!

Just read on to learn all the essentials of asking questions in French.

Before you know it, you’ll be questioning everything.


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The 6 Coolest French Visual Dictionaries for Brushing Up on Your Vocab

Okay, let’s admit it.

French dictionaries aren’t normally something you just browse for fun.

If you’re the type of person who does read dictionaries in their spare time, kudos to you, because you’re probably a vocab pro.

But for the rest of us, finding an interesting French vocabulary reference is no easy task.

This is where French visual dictionaries come in.

And no, they’re not just for kids!

Because it’s important not to rely too much on your native language when learning French, visual dictionaries are ideal for everyone from beginners to advanced learners.

There are all kinds of fun ways you can use a visual dictionary to learn with pictures!

But as with most resources, it can be a bit daunting to find the right fit for you.

Lucky for you, we’ve checked out, analyzed and reviewed six of the best French visual dictionaries, so you can easily select one and get started on beefing up your vocab!


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5 Groovy Activities to Jive Up Your High School French Class

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

No, we’re not back in the French Revolution.

I’m talking about high school.

With high schoolers, moods can change in an instant, so sometimes as French teachers it can feel difficult to reach them.

To jazz up the atmosphere in your classroom and get your students engaged no matter what type of day they’re having, grab their attention with interactive activities.

Here are five such activities that will create authentic interest, and even leave them hungry for more!


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7 Sharp Lesson Plan Templates to Streamline Your Foreign Language Classes

Quick question: How many lesson plan templates are there in the whole wide world?

Quick answer: As many as there are teachers.

Everybody’s online these days, posting and swapping ideas faster than ever before— it’s like one huge teacher meeting, where thousands of the world’s foreign language teachers have united to brainstorm, collaborate and share.

In this post, I’m gonna give you just seven. They’re incredibly effective templates that will turn any language class into learning central, and they’ll give you a great idea of what to expect from all the templates you’ll come across online.

But first, let me share with you four P’s that make for effective lesson plans.


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7 Strategies to Make Reading in a Foreign Language the Easiest Thing You Ever Learn

If you’re reading this, congratulations!

English is one of the most difficult languages to learn to read. From word to word, the same sounds in English are often spelled differently, or the same spellings are pronounced differently. Research has shown that English-speaking children take more than twice as long to learn to read as children who speak most other European languages.

But you’re not reading this article because you want to bask in the glory of being able to read English; you want to learn to read a whole other language!

The good news is that reading in whatever foreign language you’re interested in is probably easier than reading in English. The even better news is that reading in a foreign language can actually be the easiest thing you ever learn. With the right strategies, it’ll come much more naturally than getting down all that vocabulary or sharpening up your listening comprehension skills.

With the right techniques, language learning can usually be fun, but this is even more true of learning to read in a foreign language: basically all you have to do is read whatever you want, and you’ll get better at reading.

Of course, there are a few tricks you want to use along the way to make your “reading whatever you want” as efficient, effective and painless as possible. Here they are.


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