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Learn French

Grammar Time
Learn basic French sentence structure Here's how you tell the time in French.
and more.

Common Phrases
Alphabet
Sentences that are most commonly
used, and even essential to getting The French ABC's or basic
arround. pronunciation guide.

Dictionaries
Common Nouns
English to French dictionaries online to
Words that are frequently used and translate words or phrases that you don't
should be a part of your vocabulary. find on this site.

Culture
Numbers
A great source of information about
Learn to count in French. French holidays, sports, art, music,
games, politics, customs, religious
beliefs, food, and dress.

French Alphabet
Letter Sound in French
a father
ai ay sound in pain
au o sound in taupe
b boy
c both k and s sounds like in English cow or ceiling
ç s facade
ch sh sound in champagne
d dog
e, eu eu sound in
é ay sound in fiancé
é eh sound in bet
eau o sound in bow
f frog
g go, but can also sound like zh in mirage
h silent
i ee sound in street
j zh sound in mirage
k kit -rarely used
l long
m monkey
n nose
o open
oi sounds like wah
ou oo sound in soup
p pan
ph f sound in phone
q k sound in kit, always followed by silent u
r softer sound almost an h
s, ti sing, and for example: attention would be pronounced ah-TEN-si-on
t, th time
u ou sound in you or too
ue weh sound in suede
ui wee sound in cuisine
v violin
w v sound, rarely used
x exit
y yellow
z zebra

Note: Do not pronouce d, s, t, or x when it is the last letter of the word. For example, the
word français (French) would sound like frahnSAY. Stress generally falls on the last
syllable of a word.

Numbers and Colors in French


Number in English Pronunciation in French
0 zéro
1 un
2 deux
3 trois
4 quatre
5 cinq
6 six
7 sept
8 huit
9 neuf
10 dix
11 onze
12 douze
13 treize
14 quatorze
15 quinze
16 seize
17 dix-sept
18 dix-huit
19 diix-neuf
20 vingt
30 trente
40 quarante
50 cinquante
60 soixante
70 soixante-dix
80 quatre-vingts
90 quatre-vingt-dix
100 cent
200 deux cents
500 quatre cents
1000 mille
2000 deux mille
5000 cinq mil
100,000 cent mil
1,000,000 un million

349 trois cent quarante-neuf


2007 deux mille-sept

Colors in English Pronunciation in French


black noir / noire
white blanc / blanche
gray gris / grise
brown marron
red rouge
orange orange
yellow jaune
green vert / verte
blue bleu / bleue
purple violet / violette

Telling Time in French


What time is it? => Quelle heure est-il?
As in most of the romantic languages, there are several ways to tell time. It seems that the
best method, across the board, is to simply state the hour and the time:

1:44 p.m. = (Il est) un heures quarante-quatre


2:30 p.m. = (Il est) deux heures trente OR trois heures et demie
8:06 a.m. = (Il est) huit heures six (du matin)
10:15 p.m. = (Il est) vingt-deux heures quinze (22h00) OR dix heures et quart (du soir)
at 6 (sharp) = (Il est) six heures
It's midnight = Il est minuit.
It's noon = Il est midi.

Note: a "rendez-vous" can refer to either romance or business, as in a reuniting or


meeting.
Use de l'aprés-midi for afternoon before 6 p.m. and du soir for evening. (a.m. and p.m.
are not used)

Also, use of the 24-hour clock is more common, so 4 p.m. would translate to 16 hours.
Instead of writing time as 16:00 the French write it as 16h00 (using an h for heure.

Days of the Week: Seasons:


Sunday => dimanche Spring => le printemps
Monday => lundi Summer => l'été
Tuesday => mardi Autumn/Fall => l'automne
Wednesday => mercredi Winter => l'hiver
Thursday => jeudi
Friday => vendredi Other:
Saturday => samedi day => le jour
today => aujourd'hui
Months of the Year: yesterday => hier
January => janvier tomorrow => demain
February => février week => la semaine
March => mars next => prochain / prochaine
April => avril last => dernier / dernière
May => mai month => le mois
June => juin year => l'an / l'année
July => juillet decade => la décennie
August => août century => le siècle
September => septembre
October => octobre
November => novembre
December => décembre

French Culture
Climate The northwest corner of France has a temperate climate. In the
southeast corner it has a Mediterranean climate. Inland, it is hot, with
stormy summers and cold winters. The mountainous areas (Alps) will
have snowcover for up to half of the year.

Events / Merry Christmas =>Joyeux Noël


Festivities / Happy New Year => Bonne Année
Holidays Happy Thanksgiving => Joyeux Thanksgiving, Bonne Action de gráces
(in Canada)
Happy Easter => Joyeuses Páques
Happy Halloween => Bonne fête d'Halloween
Happy Valentine's Day => Joyeuse Saint-Valentin
Happy Birthday => Bon Anniversaire
Happy Saint's Day => Bonne Fête

Sports / Soccer is the 'national' sport, though several other sports are enjoyed:
Music / Art basketball, biking (Tour de France), sailing, rugby, and tennis. It has
been said that Pétanque is the most popular sport.
There have been several famous painters and artists from the 18th
century and on, including Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso (though
originally from Spain), and Cézanne.
Paris is home to one of the most famous and largest art museums in the
world: the Louvre. Between the beaches, the Eiffel Tower, and great
skiing, France is the 1st most chosen destination for foreign visitors.

Politics Officially, France is the Republique française (French Republic), and


has been since 1870. But before that, since the 1st century, Kings or
Emperors (Napoleon Bonaparte) have ruled over France.
Now, education is provided by the state, including at the university
level. The legal drinking age is 18. Cars are driven on the right side of
the road. And the Euro has become the national currency.

Religion Freedom of religion has been around since 1789. Roman Catholicsim
was the state religion before then and France still maintains a fairly
conservative Catholic attitude.

Dress / Food If you're worried about looking fashionable while in France you might
wear out those high-heels. You should plan to wear comfortable cloths
when visiting France because walking is required if you're to see "all
the sights". The French are conscientious of their appearance, moreso
than most of us in the U.S.. The businessmen do not loosen ties in the
office and businesswomen are generally conservative (no flashy colors
or jewelry).
Plan on a range of dishes, both in restaurants and homes, far beyond
what anyone in the U.S.A. typically experiences. Wine that suits the
food is a standard drink with everyday meals.

As far as visiting Canada is concerned, you might check the online


weather forecasts before packing. (It's never a bad idea to check the
weather for any foreign destination, so you can take appropriate attire.)
Food in Canada is very different than food in France. In Canada, the
cuisine is not quite as high-end (generally speaking- there's no doubt,
you will find exceptions).

Localization In speech and writing it's almost like comparing English spoken by the
British versus English spoken by N. Americans. The pronunciation is
different, accents are different, and words have different meanings. For
example, in Canada the adjective plein can mean they are full of food
or drunk- where in France, it means they are pregnant. (Just like the
word "stuffed".) There are many idioms that differ, watch for them, and
excuse yourself for your ignorance and then ask them what the phrase
they used means. If you're polite, they won't mind the interruption.