La bise 101

 

Most people know or have heard of “la bise” as a French form of greeting. But what is “la bise” exactly and most importantly, how does it work? If you are one of the many people left discombobulated by the mysterious Gallic custom, read ahead!

First things first, who on earth came up with such a silly idea?

Well, apparently, it is all the Romans’ fault as they would be the ones who started this curious business! They used to have three different types of kisses: the romantic kiss (saevium), the religious or friendly kiss (osculum) and finally the greeting kiss (basium – word at the origin of the French word “bise”) which they would use in a very similar manner the French do today.

And though kissing was actually banned in France during the Plague for obvious health and safety reasons, the “bise” resurfaced during WW1 to never leave again!

These days, “faire la bise” is pretty much a social convention.

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Le retour des bons points !!!

Ah les bons points, que de bons souvenirs….

C’était le siècle dernier (eh oui, cela ne nous rajeunit pas), mais comme je les attendais avec impatience ces bons points quand j’étais à  l’école primaire. Même s’il est vrai que je passais plus de temps sous le bureau de la maîtresse qu’à trier ma collection de points, je me souviens encore du bonheur procuré par ces petites images sans prétention ! Une simple vache dans un pré ou un chaton coquin, aucun texte, mais la fierté de l’obtenir n’avait aucun équivalent!

Et je me rends compte en enseignant le français à des élèves de l’école primaire, que la carotte, mes amis, ça fonctionne toujours! J’aime pouvoir récompenser et encourager mes élèves et surtout je préfère célébrer les réussites plutôt que de sanctionner les erreurs. Et le côté ludique des bons points me semble convenir parfaitement à l’âge des apprenants.

Et plutôt que d’essayer de trouver un fournisseur local (eh oui, je suis en Australie!!), j’ai découvert qu’il était possible de tout simplement créer ses propres bons points. Tout ce dont vous avez besoin est d’un ordinateur, d’Internet, de Word, d’une imprimante et si possible d’une plastifieuse!

Et pour vous faciliter encore plus la tâche, il y a de nombreux modèles prêts à l’emploi en ligne.

Vous trouverez ci-dessous mes préférés: Continue reading

40 useful French text message abbreviations

Texting

Call me old(-fashioned) but I just cannot get into abbreviating what I type! So, yes, it takes me for-e-ver….

When I see my kids’ texts, I am just amazed at this whole new language they seem to be using with such ease!

And I feel very very old(-fashioned)…

So here is a list of common French text abbreviations you (and I) might find useful:

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11 useful websites to learn/teach French!

 

Learn French

Whether you are learning French or teaching the “langue de Molière”, you probably have found yourself in the situation of trying to find some cool and useful websites to assist you with your French.
And if you indeed have, then you probably know how frustrating this process can be!! So many places to look, so little time, right?

So in order to save you some precious time, I have put together a list of some of my favourite sites, for all levels.

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2015 French new words – Les nouveaux mots français 2015

Le Petit Larousse et Le Petit Robert sont deux des dictionnaires français les plus populaires.
The Petit Larousse and Petit Robert are two of the most popular French dictionaries.

PetitRobert

Le Petit Robert 2016

Larousse2016

Le Petit Larousse 2016

 

Comme chaque année, ces dictionnaires ont accueilli des centaines de nouveaux mots et nouvelles expressions.
Like every other year, these dictionaries have welcomed hundreds of new words and expressions.

Et comme les néologismes font partie de mes marottes, c’est avec grand plaisir que je partage avec vous la liste de mes néologismes préférés de l’année 2015!
And as I love neologisms,  I am delighted to share with you a list of my favourite latest year 2015 French neologisms!

Adulescent : nom masculin ; jeunes adultes dont le comportement rappelle celui des adolescents. Contraction de “adulte” et “adolescent”. Continue reading

Understanding the ASSIMIL method – Comprendre la méthode ASSIMIL

Did you know that the first ever ASSIMIL method was published in 1929, a mere 86 years ago?

My tailor is rich

ASSIMIL is a French company that was founded by Alphonse Chérel in 1929. The company creates and published many language courses.
With its first “sans peine” collection, the ASSIMIL method became successful thanks to its funny everyday life type dialogues using intuitive learning.
First, the learner focuses on oral comprehension and listens to dialogues that are translated and repeated. This phase is known as the passive phase.
The active phase consists in intuitively reproducing what has been learnt “passively”. The key of its success being repetition and the use of authentic and quality humorous dialogues.
A good old teaching method that is working!

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The 11th November in France: le jour du souvenir

In France, the 11th of November is a major national day and a remembrance day.

This public holiday actually commemorates the Fête de la victoire which is when the Armistice was signed on the 11th of November 1918. And though it was originally a day to honour those who had served during the First World War, it has become a day to remember and honour all who served to defend France during wars.

The commemoration is observed by all municipalities, with a blue, white and red wreath being placed on each war memorial.

11novemberwreathThe Bleuet de France (cornflower) is the flower that was chosen by the French to commemorate that day as this is the flower which was on the battlefields and as it is the same colour as the soldiers’ (les poilus) uniform.

At 11 o’clock, of the 11th day of the 11th month, the country also stopped for two minutes silence. The first minute is dedicated to all the soldiers who died and the second minute, to the living left behind.

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