A few days ago, we were talking with John (USA)…
[Free B2 content] La Liberté d’expression en France
Today: session about freedom of speech in France with Eirini (Greece) and Ronald (Netherlands)!
What is the specific definition of freedom of speech in France?
What is the story behind?
Why is press freedom so important?
When is it important to protect or to put some limits on freedom of speech?
This issue is a good opportunity to publish our unique content as a free ressource for:
- advanced students
- Teachers of French looking for fresh ideas
“Ignorance and fear are my enemies but knowledge is my shield”
5 French Weird Expressions
1) emprunter les wc
= someone asks you permission to use the restroom
Est-ce que je peux vous emprunter vos toilettes, s’il vous plaît ?borrow = emprunter
Imagine a situation where you make a delivery at a company, they don’t expect you to stay for more than that but you need to go to the restroom. You can definitely use this sentence to ask permission!
PS: the extreme politeness of this request makes it really hard to get you a “no”
2) vous appeler quelqu’un
= call someone for you
Ne bougez pas, je vous appelle mon collègue.⛔
Don’t move, I call you “my coworker”
Imagine someone comes to you and you realize you can’t answer his questions but someone else in your team can so by using this sentence, you ask him to wait and you go call your coworker.
3) mettre quelqu’un bien
= do eveything you can to help someone feel comfortable and enjoy
Fais-moi confiance, je vais te mettre bien !
Imagine a friend is having a bad day so you decide to plan something special for him / her. Using that sentence means that he / she can leave everything to you.
4) remettre le bonjour
= say hello to someone for someone else
Vous remettrez le bonjour à votre femme !
Imagine you meet someone you haven’t met in a while (maybe you used to be neighbours for example)…
You talk about family, news, etc. and at the end, you ask him to say hello to his wife for you. It will be considered as small kindness.
PS: remember that if someone uses this sentence, you will probably hear “vous r’mettrez l’bonjour à vot’ femme”
5) être au taquet
= be at the limit of brackets (something that helps holding a door or a shelf)
Il est au taquet, lui ! Ça se voit qu’il veut réussir.
Imagine someone who is really motivated and does whatever it takes to succeed!
People around can say this as a compliment but depending on the context, it can also sound ironic or even mocking as an attempt to hide one’s jealousy…
Are there such weird expressions in your language? Share with us below!
Discover 10 French Original Tales
How about improving your listening skills in French?
Feel free to take a look at this collection of homemade french stories* (B1 and above): “Raconte-moi une histoire en attendant le Ramadhan” (“Tell me a story before Ramadhan comes”)
*Yes, as an aunt and a teacher of French, I could not escape my fate: write tales!
- L’éléphant qui broutait l’herbe des océans
- Les Wimés et les Géants
- Au pays du roi Souleymane
- Le jardin sur lequel il y a la maison de Mamie Bouture (dedicated to Coexister)
- Elyes et les bulles
- Le Hadj gentil
- Emna, princesse-sourire
- Une histoire tatastrophique !
- Patapouf, chien-gardien de moutons
- Une trottinette électrique pour l’aïd (dedicated to R2S)
Download the Ebook (epub format) – 5,00€
Any question? Contact Samyra
Why You Shouldn’t Read Le Petit Prince
“Everyone should read Le Petit Prince when he learns french”
Ok, tell me who started all this? Who?
It is not that I have something against that beautiful book — it is not my favourite french classic and certainly not the best! — and if you absolutely want to read it, go on, give it a try.
(You can start off by listening to this playlist)
Here is the truth:
First, many French people didn’t read Le Petit Prince — or other classics by the way — even if they praise it and would fight tooth and nail for it!
Most of the time, they just studied some extracts at school. Only two categories of people would read the entire books:
- the motivated ones
- those interested by literary studies.
Second, you have to know that even natives may have difficulties to understand Le Petit Prince because it is complex since it is about imagination and poetry!
Thus it is absolutely normal if you face the same difficulties. One has to be really advanced in the language to understand the implicit, etc.
Also, thinking about it, french literature is not set in stone: there are so much treasures to discover and promote…
For example, did you know that Simone de Saint-Exupéry, Antoine’ sister, was also a writer? She was older than him and when he started to be famous, he didn’t want another writer in the family (!). Despite that, she was a dedicated sister since she protected her brother’s work until the end of her life in 1978.
Their descendants, reporting they didn’t know why she didn’t do it herself, published her uncompleted but interesting childhood memories book, Cinq enfants dans un parc, to commemorate the centenary of the birth of her brother in 2000.
I really want to pay tribute here to unknown or lesser-known authors like Simone de Saint-Exupéry who was not just “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s sister”, but a person, a woman and a writer in her own right.
People like her make me reflect a lot on what is — or not — considered as major books and authors “you have to know”…
Anyway, there are so much great books to read out there so make your own way!
This being said, you will find below some reading advice if it can help:
1) Read books in french that you have already read in your language
Since you know the story, it will help you (and you can find bilingual versions if you want to start slowly).
2) Read french versions of “must-read” books from all over the world
For example, read again Anne Frank’s diary, Le Journal d’Ann Frank, in a french graphic version. You can also find french versions of short writing style books like Le manuel du Guerrier de la Lumière by Paulo Coehlo. If you feel ready for more, check the french versions of 1984 by George Orwell, La chambre solitaire by Shin Kyong-Suk (신경숙) or Les Délices de Tokyo by Durian Sukegawa.
3) Read books in french about topics you are interested in
If you like travel writing, go at Librairie Grangier downtown Dijon — it is the biggest bookshop around — and flick through the “récits de voyage” area! If you are more into crime novel, try Le Mystère de la Chambre jaune*, a classic by Gaston Leroux.
* Yes, it is a version for teenagers but who cares? You will find useful annotations
If you are a soccer fan, check out this book + CD: La fabuleuse aventure des Bleus (A2). It is about the french team who won the World Cup in 2018.
And for more suggestions depending on your level in french, check out this page!
4) Read classic (or not!) books in french
➨ Classics especially dedicated to learners of french (teenagers and adults): for example, Le Tour du monde en 80 jours + CD (A2) by Jules Verne
➨ Classics published in bilingual versions: check out this page
➨ Short texts: for exemple an engaged essay, Indignez-vous ! by Stéphane Hessel (30 pages), an outstanding french diplomat, resistant, writer and activist who addressed a beautiful message to the french people in 2010 (3 years before his death) about what they fought for in the past and shouldn’t forget. You also have La préférence nationale and other short stories, first book by Fatou Diome who shared her experience of immigration in France with a unique and brilliant style.
➨ Comics to relax (but also learn thanks to the images! ): you can find lots of classics adapted into comics and if you are a comics books fan, you have to know all about Franco-Belgian comics! Here is a selection that people from all ages love to read again and again: Le Petit Nicolas, by Sempé-Goscinny (also without images here), Cédric (Cauvin/Laudec/Dupuis), Boule et Bill (Roba Jean/Dupuis), Gaston Lagaffe (Franquin/Dupuis) ⇓, etc.
➨ For more, check out Sam’s Book Club
You have an opinion about a book from this list (or not!)? Share with us below!
Small towns around Dijon: the story behind “Thil” & “Tille”
If you come visit or move here, you will probably hear weird sounds to refer to some villages and small towns:
- Thil pronounced “ti-le” like in “hostile”, “subtil”, “volatile”, etc.
- Tille pronounced “ti-ye” like in “famille”, “gentille”, “myrtille”, “Camille”, etc.
Thil (= linden tree)
Around Dijon, 5 cities are named with “Thil”: Aisy-sous-Thil, Marcigny-sous-Thil, Nan-sous-Thil, Précy-sous-Thil, Vic-sous-Thil.
Meet Emiko, a Japanese in Dijon (with subs)
Recently, I was lucky enough to meet Emiko Shibata, Teacher of Japanese, who lives in Dijon since the 1980’s. Born in Kyoto, she came in France to graduate in Lettres Modernes and after teaching French in Japan, she came back here to teach Japanese!
We talked about her life, how she met dozens of french students yearning to learn japanese language and culture and of course her opinion about Dijon and French people.
Since she experienced both the way of life in Japan and in France, she knows how to take a step back on stereotypes so here is the big news: Japanese and French people have lots in common 😀
Check out the video
As an MFL Teacher, I like that sort of feedbacks.
First, because I would like to take after more experienced teachers than me and be able to teach French language and culture as parts of an infinity of languages and cultures. All precious and valuable.
Second, because we all tend to fall into this trap: “she is from there so she must be this“, “he wears this, it means that“. But the truth is that is exactly what taints the relationship with each other and prevents us to be open to anyone who is different.
Third, because it takes time to grow and get mature. If we don’t accept listening to others, it means we also refuse to learn more about ourselves. And that’s how you stagnate.
“As soon as people from different countries take part in something, it becomes greater”
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