29 February 2012

Les Couleurs...

Colors are always easy to learn and teach as you can practice this new vocabulary with a limitless number of other activities. Dressing? ask your child for what is bleu? (blue) or rouge (red).  Eating? point to the food that is jaune (yellow), and so forth.  Here are the colors for this lesson (a video follows so you can practice along):

(blon)--the /c/ at the end is not pronounced

("vair", the /t/ at the end is not pronounced
Remember the /r/ is a French /r/ and guttural.

 (/r(h)uzh (with the end /zh/ sound pronounced like the /s/ in "measure"

(gree, with the French /r/), the /s/ at the end is not pronounced.
**I find as a French language learner that the /r/ in blends such as /gr/ is one of the harder sounds to master. Practice makes perfect.

 (/zh/on). First sound like the /s/ in measure.
The vowel is a cross between a short /u/ and a short /o/.

 (mah-r(h)on). French /r/ in the middle.
**do NOT use brown when describing hair (brunette).
To describe hair, use "châtain". Some also teach to use "brun" to describe hair, which means "dark".

(with that same o/u vowel in the middle)

 (oh-ran/zh/. French /r/ in the middle.  last sound like /s/ in measure)

 (/rose/ with the French /r/)



And now lets hear them and practice saying them (video by travellinguist)...

Enchanted learning offers a French colours printable PDF booklet if you are a subscriber (click HERE to preview).

I also like to use the Let's Learn French coloring book with my kids so that while they are learning a new vocabulary word we can practice saying the colors.

Au Revoir,

22 February 2012

Numbers 11-20

Eleven -Onze(pronounced ohnz)

Twelve - Douze (pronounced dues)

Thirteen - Treize (pronounced tr(h)ez)

Fourteen - Quatorze (pronounced ka-torze)

Fifteen - quinze (pronounced liks cans)

Sixteen - Seize (pronounced like says)

Seventeen - Dix-Sept (pronounced  dee-zet)

Eighteen - Dix Huit (pronounced deez-wheet)

Nineteen - Dix-Neuf (pronounced deez-nuf

Twenty - Vingt (pronounced ven, with the /n/ in the nose; the /g/ & /t/are silent)

Now let's practive saying them...

and now lets review the numbers we have learned so far, 1-20:

 **If you are homeschooling...A great website to consider purchasing full access to is www.enchantedlearning.com $20 purchases full access to the website for a year and they offer activities, free pdf printables (worksheets and booklets) and more in every subject, including FRENCH and several other languages. Here is the sample of the French Numbers booklet that is available to members .

Au Revoir,

20 February 2012

Visiting Versailles...

                                          Photo Credit: KLC/The Palace at Versailles

If you go to Paris, a day trip to Versailles, by most people's opinions--including mine, is a must. You can do a 1/2 day or full day trip and they are easily scheduled from your hotel once you get there. Most hotels are happy to set up the arrangements for you  and most day trip companies will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel.

It is a pleasant ride (approx 30 minutes) and our driver was very versed in the history of Versailles. The day I went I shared my trasport with two other couples, a Russian couple in Paris on holiday and a lovely American couple from Texas who were in France, on their way to Italy, to visit a daughter who was studying abroad. They graciously offered to take some pictures for me.

                                   Photo Credit: KLC/Me standing outside the entrance of Versailles

For me, a 1/2 day trip was just enough to see the main palace and walk the gardens, though I have heard others say the 1/2 day trip left them feeling rushed. If you are a meanderer, or have a proclivity for gardens or palaces, then consider the full day trip. If you wish to see the Estate of Marie Antoinette, then the full day is necessary, as it can only be visited by walking and is, I am told, about a 45 min walk each way. If you want extra time to browse the multiple gift shops, read, or revisit any sections before leaving, again, the full day trip is probably for you. If you are only in Paris for a short trip, then, the first time anyway, just do the 1/2 day tour, in order to be able to maximize your sight seeing time.

Photo Credit: KLC/ One view of the gardens; during particular times of the year, night tours, and water shows set to music highlight the beauty of the gardens.

Here's a few pointers:

The park and the gardens are open every day, but the palace and estate of Marie Antoinette are closed on Mondays and holidays.

Depending on if you are going for a 1/2 or full day tour, price can run approx. 23,00(Euro) to 56,00 (Euro), per person. If you book through an agency affiliated with your hotel, your cost will include transportation to/from and your entry into the palace and/or gardens.

For first time visitors, I recommend getting there early (the lines to see inside the Palace can be quite long--up to two hours during high season), but the palace is definitely worth the wait). I was there during off season and got there when it opened; my wait was approximately 15 minutes. 

If you get there early, right when it opens, remember, a whole bunch of other people did too. This can cause some bottlenecks at the beginning of the tour in the main palace area. Be patient. They ease up and you can always meander back to an area you felt rushed or crowded through.

I recommend  either a guided tour (which has to be set up in advance) or the self guided audio tour,especially if you are a history buff like me.

The tour can be divided into three main areas: The Palace, the Gardens and the Estate of Marie Antoinette. My trip to Versailles was an early morning day trip in the late fall. The weather was brisk  and windy, but clear, and the gardens, though not in full bloom, were breathtaking none the less. If you go during cooler weather, remember that a good half your tour will be outside and dress appropriately.

Don't forget your camera!

Both the Palace and the Gardens are deserving of their own multiple posts, and I will be sharing more of my own photos from my trip there in future posts, but for today...

Take an online Tour  of the palace....

 or take a tour of the Gardens at Versailles...

Au Revoir,

19 February 2012

Pronouncing a French R

As a speech language pathologist, the sound that children typically have the most difficulty with, and the one most difficult to remediate is the phoneme /R/.  One of the later developing sounds, it is not considered late unless a child does not have it by age 7. It can also be a challenging sound for a second language learner to master as many different languages pronounce /R/ differently, but to sound truly fluent, we must master this phoneme.

Let's talk about /R/ for a minute...

/R/ is considered a rhotic consonant and there are 4 types**:

1. Alveolar or Retroflex Approximant (our typical American r)
2. Trilled (often called rolled) and found in no less than ten languages (my favorite being the
     Scottish). I am currently learning the trilled /R/ for my Italian class. It is slow going...
3. Tap or flap (the word /pero/ in Spanish would use the tap/flap, while the word /perro/ would use
    the trilled; one is much faster/quicker than the other.
4. Uvular, velar or glottal  approximate or fricative (our French /R/)

The French /R/

If you had been born in France, or exposed to the French language during your initial language acquisition period  you would have a beautiful French /r/ naturally. Infants are naturally wired to be able to make any and every sound. What happens is, we tune into the ones we hear  and the rest, fall to the wayside. Just like other skills and talents, learning these now "foreign" sounds comes more easily to some language learners than others.

How is the French /R/ different from an American/English /R/ sound

The French /r/ is produced in the back and with a guttural or --for lack of a better word-- "phlegmmy" quality.  It is made in the back of the mouth, where /g/ is made, with the back of the tongue elevating to make the /r/ sound (as it does in English). The difference is, while a retroflexive American /r/ is clean sounding /errrrrr/, the French /r/ is throaty, like an /h/ has been thrown on top of it.  That is not a terribly technical description (the internet is already full of those) but that should give you an idea of how it is differing from the /R/ you are used to producing. It is this Guttural /R/  sound in my opinion that is one of the reasons the French language is so beautiful to listen to.

If you are having trouble making a good French /r/, try to "overshoot" it. Really over emphasize it in order to learn the production. You can tame it down once you have learned the mechanics of it. This is how I learned and I remember telling my professor, that doing this made me sound like the Chef from the Little Mermaid, but it was a great way to train my tongue what to do. Remember, that just like our American /r/, the French /r/ is easier to make when it is proceeded or followed by certain vowels. 

Personally, I think French /r/ in isolation, followed by /r/ at the end of the word is easier to produce than at the beginning of the word, so I imporved my French  by practicing those words with emphasis on the /r/ when I would run across them in vocabulary, then the /r/ at the beginning seemed easier to produce.

Here is a great video that describes nicely the mechanics of making a French /r/.

With most vowels, I have finally reached a really lovely French /r/--and no longer sound like our Disney Chef friend. There are still a few vowel/R combinations, and especially words with multiple /r/ sounds that give me trouble, but my practice is definitely paying off. My Italian /r/ is another story...practice makes perfect, so I will keep at it, as I hope you do as well.

Want more information? Check out these online articles that offer more tips to making an authentic French /R/. I highly recommend watching the videos to hear how an accurate French /r/ sounds.

http://www.wikihow.com/Pronounce-the-letter-R-in-French (nice accompaning video)

Au Revoir,

17 February 2012

Espresso and grad school


I don't EVEN know where the days since my last post have gone. I am so sorry about that!

Yes I do...

Grad school.

The goal of this blog is to be an outstanding resource for those wanting to learn French language or learn about French culture. It is also my personal journey of Fluency which at this time includes university coursework.

This semester finds me taking a Graduate level History seminar that should have said in its description in the catalog "incredibly interesting, but highly doubtful you will survive the workload" , continuing French (enjoyable as always), and taking Italian for the first time with a professor who is, well, let's just say... 

We're all scared to death of him.

To a point, I didn't actually mind that I had to miss class last week because I was sick.

It's been a crazy two weeks. and if you're wondering about the taking two foreign languages at the same time?  I don't recommend it. My brain hurts. My husband (God love him) who has no idea how language acquisition works because he is an accountant, will say things like "How's Italian coming along? You fluent yet?" To which I respond stuff like "not quite"  but what I'm thinking is "shut up". Unless drinking espresso counts...

Anyway, I'm back in my blogging groove and have several posts lined up for this week, alot of posts, . If you haven't joined our facebook page yet, in our first month, we have grown from 0 to 122 fans friends.

We have amazing sponsors here at Katie's Language Cafe, be sure you visit them!
I have added a blog amour list to the sidebar. If you like to cook, be sure and go visit Cannelle et Vanille. It is a really gorgeous food blog, and the recipes are also all gluten-free.

Until tomorrow,

08 February 2012

French Numbers 1-10

                                                               Un (One) Eiffel Tower...

There are so many things to learn when you begin learning a foreign language.  Most everyone starts with greetings and moves from common phrases to there, but if you are teaching a child,  besides hi/bye, you need some working vocabulary to get started. Common ones to begin with are colors, numbers, and familiar household vocabulary (names of toys, favorite foods etc). So for our 3rd lesson, lets learn the numbers 1-10.

One - Un (pronounced uh)
Two - Deux (pronounced dhur)
Three - Trois (pronounced twa)
Four - Quatre (pronounced katr)
Five - Cinq (pronounced sank)
Six - Six (pronounced sees)
Seven - Sept (pronounced sept)
Eight - Huit (pronounced wheet)
Nine - Neuf (pronounced nurf
Ten - Dix (pronounced dees)

Now let's practice saying them...

**If you are homeschooling...A great website to consider purchasing full access to  is www.enchantedlearning.com  $20 purchases full access to the website for a year and they offer activities, free pdf printables (worksheets and booklets) and more in every subject, including FRENCH and several other languages. Here is the sample of the French Numbers booklet that is available to members .

Au Revoir!

05 February 2012

The City of Love


The City of Love...

Valentine's Day is coming....

Shall it be Chocolates...

                                                                  Paris Chocolate Shop

Or perhaps Flowers...

Flower Shop, 16th Arrondissement

Or maybe jewels?

Cartier Jewelers,  Champs-Élysees

 or just a love song?

Street performer, 4th Arrondissement

Thank you for being patient this past week while I was putting the finishing touches on a paper for a class. I have some great posts planned for you this month, and some wonderful resources to share!

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