Are you ready to spend a few minutes or hours to learn or review some French? We hope you enjoy it and we thank you in advance for visiting our sponsors to help us improve and keep this website free for all. The history of the French language can trace its roots through the military and migratory history of all of Europe. The timeline begins at the dawn of recorded history and moves through time in a near-constant state of evolution and regionalization. Celts While populated long before Celtic-speaking tribes inhabited modern day France and the surrounding areas, the Celts brought the first formal languages to the region.
The language was oral in nature and written language relied upon the Greek alphabetlearned from Greeks who had inhabited the Western Mediterranean area. The language did not heavily influence the French language because the region inhabited by the Celts remained politically divided and lacked cohesion. This doubtlessly made their conquest easier. Romans achieved the use of Latin by ignoring the native languages and requiring sole use of Latin in all interactions. Gradually, classical Latin evolved into a more informal dialect known as Vulgar Latinalthough the use of classical Latin continued among the aristocracy, in writing, and in education.
Franks After the fall of the Roman Empire and subsequent invasions by Germanic tribes, the Franks controlled the region. Frankish language was the required language, yet Latin remained the chosen language for writing. Infrequent contact between the Franks and other Germanic tribes who controlled the surrounding regions allowed more regionalized dialect to evolve into what would become the Romance languages: French, Italian, and Spanish.
The new sovereign brought the vernacular language called French to the throne. Middle Ages During this period, social and political instability resulted in linguistic devolution as conventions of the French language loosened considerably, especially the written language. Renaissance The rebirth that was sweeping Europe came to France largely via the Italians. Languages had divided back into a regional dialect, and the Italians easily influenced native languages.
Enlightenment Between the yearsFrench was the accepted language for educated people. This created a bilingual environment as the language spread all over Europe and to the North American colonies. Regional dialects still dominated everyday life for the commoners and the church still used Latin. Revolution French nationalism and pride were at a fevered pitch during the French Revolution.
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This was the first time that it was deemed necessary to unite the country with a designated national language. Those in power believed this was essential to spread the ideas of the revolution to more middle and lower class citizens. This proved to be difficult, as the education system was not equipped to complete the task.
Aroundstandard French was established and encouraged throughout the nation because of improved communication.
An advance in roads, railways, and the newspaper made communication in one language easier and necessary. Contemporary Times The Twentieth century brought more evolution to the French language.
World War I brought large numbers of English-speaking members of the military to the country and with them came their language. Contemporary French has continued to evolve; phonetics are simpler in contemporary French and the vocabulary has increased exponentially.
Through a long rocky process of linguistic evolution, France is no longer at odds with itself. It is a nation linguistically united.French is a language that captures a rich culture and history. The French language can take you around the world, from Europe to Africa to North America and even to the islands of the Caribbean. The good news is you can rest assured that learning the French language is an effort worth undertaking. For an affordable monthly subscription, you can have access to hundreds of hours of interactive courses that get you speaking right from the first lesson.
We add new courses on a regular basis so the opportunities to learn and improve are always growing. And if you own a smartphone, the key to learning French and speaking it with confidence is already in your pocket. Learning any new tongue is a challenge that can open up your mind to new perspectives and help you connect with all types of people across boundaries of land and language.
When it comes to learning French, these reasons are especially true. To start, if you know the French language, you open yourself up to a whole world of speakers that span continental borders. There are slightly more than million people on Earth who speak French to some degree, making it the sixth most spoken language worldwide. You can find French speakers spread around the planet, not only in France but also in many other countries around the world, including throughout Africa, mostly a result of the French colonial and imperial legacy of the s and early s.
After German and Russian, French is the most widely spoken language in Europe; huge proportions of speakers can be found in Belgium, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, among plenty of other countries where French speakers have laid roots, including Poland, Greece, and the Czech Republic. French, a Romance language, is closely related to all of the other languages in the same family, like Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, to name a few.
They all derive from Vulgar Latin, the vernacular variety spoken by the common people of the Roman Empire.
That means these languages share a whole lot of cognates, or words that are spelled and sound the same and that have the same meaning across more than one language.
Though English is a Germanic language, more than a quarter of its words come from Latin, and roughly the same amount come from the French language so, indirectly from Latin. And there are thousands of Greek words that have made their way into both English and French, too. Picking up a new skill can help you express your creativity, stimulate your mind, and discover new sides of yourself along the way.
Learning a new language like French is no exception! Here are just a few of the many ways you can make a positive impact on your life if you learn French. Today the world is more connected economically than ever before. The sweeping tides of globalization mean that companies and organizations today are operating across international borders and boundaries. Western Europe and the African continent are both emerging markets full of opportunity for businesses.
Learning the French language is a fantastic way to connect with colleagues in other countries, score new clients, build strong relationships with French-speaking partners and investors, and to show off the multicultural, international, and inclusive nature of your brand.
Learning any new skill is a surefire way to expand your intellectual horizons.Learn French online with lessons for beginners that help you stay the course learning French grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. French has a reputation as the language of lovebut there are many other reasons to fall in love with French.
With over million speakersFrench is regarded as a language that is useful not only for cuisine, fashion, and travel but also in a competitive, international job market where France has the fifth largest economy.
How you approach learning French depends on your objectives. Some language learners are just beginning their journey by picking up common words and phrases and trying to replicate the infamous French accent.
Other language learners may be coming back to French after some exposure to the language in the academic world. Whatever your goals are in learning French, you should carefully consider a language learning program built with you in mind. Rosetta Stone has over twenty-five years of experience in designing language learning programs that build confidence in speaking and understanding French. With an immersive approach that focuses on contextualizing learning, Rosetta Stone uses an award-winning mobile app and language learning software to deliver bite-sized lessons that help you learn French anytime and anywhere.
Instead of focusing on cramming as many French words as you can, learn just a few of the most commonly used words or phrases and dial into perfecting your French pronunciation instead. After all, the goal of language learning is not vocabulary acquisition.
There are some commonly used French words and conversational phrases that make up the backbone of the language and learning these will give you a solid foundation. To build towards fluency in French, you should begin your French lessons with the basics of common words and pronunciations and then scale naturally towards a more complex understanding of the language. One of the things the French language is famous for is its je ne sais quoian indefinable quality that makes the accent sound alluring and mysterious.
Some of the sounds in French can be tricky because they are decidedly more nasal than other languages, but practice makes perfect.
While the French alphabet has the same letters as the English alphabet, some of the sounds are pronounced differently. However, unlike English, French provides helpful accent marks to guide your pronunciation.
Perfecting your pronunciation is the key to having conversations with confidence in French. Rosetta Stone encourages language learners to begin practicing making French sounds out loud from the very first lesson with a patented speech recognition engine called TruAccent.
Embedded in every lesson, TruAccent compares your pronunciation to that of native French speaker and provides feedback, helping you hone in on understanding and being understood in French. Your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio. Here is a link to the audio instead. Knowing a few scattered words in French and trying to string them together can make for some very awkward conversations.
Instead, focus on learning common phrases up front, including often used greetings and questions. Keeping a French phrasebook on hand for quick reference can be a helpful tool not just in advancing your confidence to engage in impromptu conversations, but also to help you practice and study in stolen minutes throughout the day.
Rosetta Stone makes this easy for French language learners with quick-access Phrasebook built into the mobile app to help you learn and practice French on-the-go. We call words derived from the same mother tongue cognatesand French and English have the good fortune of sharing quite a few.
Words like carafe, finir to finishor fiasco are all cognates. Beware however of words that are spelled similarly but pronounced differently. These are semi-true cognates, and they take a little extra finesse in pronunciation to pull off. Learning the difference between formal and informal greetings and which ones are the correct phrases to use depending on the situation is especially crucial for French language learners.
For instance, there are three separate French greetings you might use to say hello, but the appropriateness of each depends on how well you know the person you are speaking to. Bonjour can be used in most situations, and salut is okay for casual settings, but you should only use coucou with very close friends or family.
The best way to practice French grammar is not to do pen and paper drills or exercises, but to learn how to conjugate verbs and get subject agreement in the context of actual French conversations.
French can be a tricky language in that when you conjugate verbsthey have to agree both in gender and number. French verbs are generally divided into three groups for conjugation: verbs ending in -er, verbs ending in -ir, and verbs ending in -re.
There are standard rules for conjugation that will apply depending on which group the verb fits into, as well as variations of conjugation depending on the subject and the verb tense. French may seem like a moody language, but if you can find comparable examples of these verb tenses in English, it can help you understand how to conjugate without being intimidated.Counting in French follows a reasonably obvious pattern This lesson will have you covered for everything between one and one million, and you'll learn how "ninety" in one French-speaking country doesn't necessarily equal ninety in another!
Question words are amongst the most important vocabulary you'll learn. Not only will they allow you to extract information from others, but you can hold whole conversations with these words alone! Ask any four year old!
The partitive article "some" or "any" is used a lot more in French than in English. It's a pretty simple one, and a good one to master if you'd prefer to have some cake, rather than the whole thing. If you have any aspirations of being able to catch a train, book an appointment, or keep a dinner date If you're planning a jaunt into French-speaking territory, you're bound to encounter communication problems at one point or other.
Knowing how to politely say "I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you're saying" can be pretty useful. How to turn a positive statement into a negative statement using ne This lesson will show you how to say that you do not like catsor that you do not want to dance.
French enjoys a few more of these words than we do in English, and there are some interesting rules for how to use them. If all those possessive adjectives in the previous lesson made you sad, you'll enjoy this lesson. It's a lot more straightforward. You'll learn how to talk about things that belong to specific people: E. Even if you're brand new to studying French, you probably know that the French like to put la and le in front of words, right?
These are the French words for "the", otherwise known as the definite article. Here's how you know which one to use!
Otherwise known as the best conversation starter, ever. Learn how to say "it's warm"and "it's raining"and you'll always have something to contribute to a conversation!
Simple, but pretty essential. Learn how to say the days of the week in French. And watch out for those capital letters! Vocabulary and phrases to help you talk about your nearest and dearest. Make sure you check out the lesson on possessive adjectives first Every language has an array of "filler" words that help grease the wheels of conversation.British Broadcasting Corporation Home.
Facts, essential phrases plus the French alphabet. For Welsh speakers Les Choix Video drama and games. The Lingo Show from CBeebies.
Watch Jonny Wilkinson training in French, try a quiz and pick up rugby terms in French. Crosswords with audio Expand your French vocabulary. Radio France Internationale Includes audio news with transcripts in simple French.
TV5: Apprendre. French Connection Interviews about French across the world. La Vie en Creuse Audio interviews in rural France. Share this page. Search term:. Read more. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience.
Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. A Guide to French Facts, essential phrases plus the French alphabet. French test Are you a complete beginner, quite fluent or somewhere in between?
Beyond beginners Ma France An interactive video course. Find a French class close to you. Holiday phrases Listen, read, print out and download. French slang Guide to streetwise French.
Settings Sign out.Site language: English. Start learning. The world's most popular way to learn French online Learn French in just 5 minutes a day with our game-like lessons. Personalized learning Duolingo lessons adapt to your learning style. Exercises are tailored to help you learn and review vocabulary effectively. Receive immediate grading Interactive exercises provide instant feedback to help you improve your French skills on the spot. Stay motivated with rewards Earn virtual coins, unlock new levels, and watch your fluency score rise as you master new words, phrases, and grammar.
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Thousands of teachers are already using it to enhance their lessons. About Us.On this page, you'll find everything you need to learn French from scratch.
You'll learn about the key features of the language and I'll share my best tips and recommended French resources with you. Words on the page can look so different from how they're spoken and pronouncing these strange words can feel like an impossible task.
But although it may not seem so at first, French is not a particularly difficult language for English speakers to learn. French is not as closely related to English as the Germanic languages but it still has a lot in common which can help you get started. French was the first foreign language I learned and since then I've gone on to successfully learn 7 more.
This article will give you all the information you need to know about this rich and beautiful language as well as how to start learning it.
If you want to skip ahead, just click the section that interests you. Because this post covers everything you need to know as a beginner, it's quite long! French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and one of the most rewarding to learn. Maybe you already have a clear idea of what motivates you to learn French, but here are a few more reasons learning this language could be a life changing experience:. If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. In this section, we'll look at the key linguistic features of French.
You're going to learn about:. French is a Romance language which means it is descended from Latin and is closely related to languages like Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
For anyone who learnt a little French at school, one of the first thing that probably comes to mind about the language is the concept of gender. In French, as with other related languages, all nouns have a gender, either masculine of feminine. When talking about people, this is easy. The grammatical gender is the same as the gender of the person:. However, other objects do not follow any logical pattern.
For example, buses and wine are masculine:. There are lots of little mental tricks you can use to help remember the genders of different words. And even if you do mix up the genders now and again, people will still be able to understand you. However, in French, there are other changes, depending on who carries out the action. This process is called conjugation.
Verbs are conjugated differently depending on who is doing an action and when the action is being done. French verb tenses differ somewhat from English, too, although this should pose no particular problem for learners of French.