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How to Speak French?

2. 1865 How to Speak French

French is a Romance language spoken by approximately 80 million native speakers with a total of around 354 million people around the world speaking it. It is used as an official language or a main second language in 55 countries worldwide. With more and more people opting to take up a foreign language learning course, French is one of the most demanded languages. For students who aim to pursue higher studies abroad, especially in French-speaking countries, having French language knowledge is essential apart from good grades. It gives them an added advantage when applying to foreign universities.

French lessons are easy to learn if you know other European languages such as – Italian and Spanish! Some words are quite similar, and so is the french grammar. But when it comes to speaking the language, learning the french pronunciation will take some effort and time as most of the French words need special attention. Most of them are not similar to Spanish or Italian. Spanish and Italian are quite identical in terms of dialects but not French.

How to write in French?

If you are a beginner, learning a new language is exciting but not difficult to learn, given how the grammar rules work. The nouns are either feminine or masculine, just like in Spanish and Italian. Even the ‘a’s and ”s occur differently for a feminine and a masculine noun word.

For example, for “the man” it is, “un Homme” and for “the woman,” it is “Une femme.” Similarly, for ‘the’ it is “the man= l’homme” and for “the woman= la femme.”

Old French

The words that are mostly used in French have been obtained from Vulgar Latin and are known for having Greek or even Latin origins. Stated here are certain adjectives and native nouns that people tend to use:

Words like brother are pronounced as frère or fraternal that have been derived from the Latin word frater, also known as fraternalis. Finger in French is known as doigt / digital which has been derived from the Latin word digitus, also known as digitalis. Another adjective that one may come across is faith which in French is known as foi or even fidèle that has been taken from the Latin word fides or Fidelis. If you want to say the word eye in French, you pronounce it as œil or oculaire which comes from the Latin phrase oculus, also known as ocularis.

However, a historical reference to Latin roots can be identified, whereas English falls towards more of direct incorporation of the Latin:

· rayonnement / radiation from Latin radiatio

· éteindre / extinguish from Latin exstinguere

· noyau / nucleus from Latin nucleus

· ensoleillement / insolation from Latin insolatio

There are also noun-noun and adjective-adjective pairs:

· thing/cause: chose / cause from Latin causa

· cold: froid / frigide from Latin frigidum

French Vocabulary:

Since French has evolved from Vulgar Latin, it is quite difficult to identify- the Latin source of native words, the syllables that are unstressed were reduced severely, the consonants and vowels that remained had to undergo significant modification.

In recent times, the linguistic policy that exists in the French language and is used in the academies of Quebec and France is provided with French equivalents for words that have been imported mainly from English. As an English speaker, you’ll find it easier to understand the French words since modern French is heavily influenced by English. This is done by either using the vocabulary that already exists, by simply extending their meaning or developing a new word with the help of the rules of French morphology. Two or even more co-existing terms that are used to describe a similar phenomenon are the results that have been derived. Words like “le shopping” or “unparking” or “le hard-discount” are now so well established in modern French that many native French speakers do not even realise that they are borrowed from English. Given here is a list of root languages of loanwords.

  English (25.10%)

  Italian (16.83%)

  Germanic languages (13.10%)

  Arabic (5.12%)

  German (3.91%)

  Celtic languages (3.81%)

  Spanish (3.81%)

  Dutch (3.64%)

  Persian and Sanskrit (2.67%)

  Native American languages (2.41%)

  Various Asian languages (2.12%)

  Afro-Asiatic languages (1.33%)

  Slavic and Baltic languages (1.31%)

  Basque (0.24%)

  Other languages (3.43%)

· mercatique / marketing

· finance fantôme / shadow banking

· bloc-notes / notepad

· ailière / wingsuit

· tiers-lieu / coworking

The counting system in French is referred to as “vigesimal” or even “vingt,” which means twenty. This word is also used as a base for the number that starts from70 and ends at 99. The word in French for the number 80 is “quatre-vingts,” which means “four twenties.” This word, used for pronouncing the number 75 is “soixante-quinze,” which means sixty and fifteen. This formation had risen after the French Revolution to unify the system of counting. This system can be compared to the archaic used for a score for English as “fourscore and seven” for the number 87 and “threescore ten for the number 70.

All numbers in old French that range from 30 to 99 can be pronounced either in base ten or base twenty. For example, ‘vint et doze’, translates to twenty twelve and is used for saying the number 32; ‘douz vinz et diz’, also translates to two twenties and ten, and is used for describing the number 50; ‘uitante’, is used for the number 80 and ‘nonante’ is used for the number 90.

Different forms of French include- Belgian French, Swiss French and the language of French that is used for conversation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda. The French language is used for communication in these places uses the word ‘septante’ to describe the number 70 and ‘nonante’ for the number 90.

According to French dialect used in Switzerland, 80 is pronounced as ‘quatre-vingts’ or as ‘Geneva’, ‘Jura’, or as ‘Neuchâtel’. In the earlier times, ‘octante’ was used in Switzerland for describing the number 80, but now it is considered as archaic. In Belgium and colonies of former Africa, the word ‘quatre-vingts’, was used universally.

Like any other language in the European continent, French also uses space to separate the thousands. The comma that is used in the numbers in French as a decimal point, i.e. “2,5″ instead of “2.5.”

How to Pronounce?

For a French language learner, the difference between a, à, and â as well as e, é, è, and ê can get really frustrating at times. The letters that look familiar to English can sound entirely different in French. But the truth is, it’s not actually that complicated at all.

The pronunciations are the main deal in learning French. There are different ways to help yourself learn this language.

  1. There are tons of language apps available on google like Duolingo, Rype, Busuu, Memrise, Babble, etc. to help you determine the language with ease. These apps can be downloaded in your android phone, laptop or even desktop.

  2. You can also join a french learning institute to help yourself with the language. These french courses will work on your grammar, pronunciation as well as your hearing. These classes are always engaging and fun to make learning easy. Conversational French with an expert, flashcards etc., are some of the methods to used to teach.

  3. If you are interested in learning at home than, apart from using the apps buy some french learning books as handy. You can even watch a french movie with English subtitles to get a grip over the language faster.

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