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5 Tips To Learning French In Montreal

By Pamela Pierre

Canada is the second largest country in the world with coast to coast oceans, a diverse population with two official languages.

In addition to hundreds of lakes, national parks, poutines it is home to the vibrant city of Montreal. This year Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, #Canada150 and the city of Montreal its 375th year. Now more than ever, is the ideal time visit the second best country in the world.

Head to your favourite cheap ticket site, book your ticket and join us for #Canada150 starting with the city of Montreal. The city of Montreal is situated in the distinct francophone province of Quebec. The cobblestones in Vieux Port and the busy fashion district of Saint Catherine are symbols of the cities diversity, guarantee to impress the most experienced traveler.   

While the cultural richness will impress you, it is the exquisite culinary experience that will leave you in love with the city. The mixture of French Canadian, European influenced and Latin American fusions will tickle your appetite and may even encourage you to parle le français! France isn’t the only place to learn how to say, “Je t’aime” and “J’adore”.

Allow Les Québécois to provide you with a French immersion experience. So whether you are just passing by to sip on a warm and full body merlot for the summer or planting new roots here are 5 easy tips on learning French in Montreal:

  1. Make French friends

One of the easiest ways to get started in learning french in the city is to hang around people who speak french. Not only will they be able to teach you some quick words and sentences to get around. They will also provide you with a support system in your french immersion experience.

2. Take a class

Enrolling in a language class or language program is the traditional and most common way to learn a language. Let’s be honest, it’s expensive, time-consuming and emotionally challenging.  It requires you to be in a room with many students with one instructor with little to no individual tutoring time. While some people prefer this method, many are discouraged by the time consumption and lack of personalized training. This is not the only solution but certainly a good option depending on your language goals and learning style. 

3. Binge watch your favourite shows en Française

For our Netflix fans and binge-watchers, this is actually an option. One of the best ways to learn French is to watch your favourite shows en Français. This way you can follow the content and understand the episode in French You’ll learn new words, phrases and maybe even jokes! What’s sexier than telling jokes in French? Not much! Continue #NetflixandChill while learning French! 

4. Go out and explore

Get out of the apartment, walk around in one of the several boroughs of Montreal and explore the city! Montreal is the perfect city to learn french while walking around and you know why? Because all the signs are written in French! From the second you walk out, you’ll be exposed to French and the dominant Francophone culture. Everything from street names and store fronts is written in French, so by immersing yourself and engaging in the French culture of Montreal is a good measure in living the French immersion experience.

5. Find your learning style

In the end, everyone has a different learning style. Find what works best for you. It might be one of the tips mentioned above, a combination of them or something completely different. Adapt2me offers an innovative online language learning platform and mobile app with individual tutoring. Book a session with one of our expert tutors to help you craft witty French jokes, land your dream job in Montreal or in Europe and add an additional skill to your LinkedIn account. 

No Comments | 14 April, 2017

French/ ENGLISH COGNATES

Have you ever heard of a Cognate?  Chances are you already know them without realizing they had a name.  

These are words that share the same origin and have the same meaning across different languages.  The dictionary defines Cognates as: “allied or similar in nature or quality”.  When learning a new language and come across a cognate; this can help point to similarity, of meaning and help you better understand the word’s meaning.  

readme Sometimes there are slight variances between languages, but the variances can be minimal or so different that the similarity can be missed if you are not vigilant. — Hey! that’s an English/French cognate, “vigilant”.  Most languages that share the same root as in Latin or Greek will share the same words which can be spelt differently, but you’d have a hard time not connecting them.  Even languages that do not share the same roots can have cognates because of conquest, trade partnership or colonialism.

Cognate French/English glossary

Here are a few terms to increase your familiarity with French/English cognates.

English French
absolutely absolument
abundance abondance
accentuate accentuer
accident accident
acrobatic acrobatique
activity activités
actor acteur
address adresse
allergic allergique
appetite appétit
arrogance arrogance
artist artiste
banana banane
battery batterie
bicycle bicyclette
brutal brutal
cabin cabine
cafeteria cafétéria
capitain capitaine
ceremony cérémonie
coast côte
color couleur
common commun
curious curieux
magnificent magnifique
medal médaille
memory mémoire
naturally naturellement
ordinary ordinaire
October octobre
photograph photographie
restaurant restaurant
rock roche
salary salire
solid solide
stomach estomac
testimony témoignage
totally totalement
urgent urgence
venomous venimeux

 

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are quite a few, and the above is just a brief glossary of the many cognates that exist between French and English.  Some of you will notice barely a difference between them, like “October” that becomes “octobre” in French, while others will need a discerning eye to see the similarities, like “January” that becomes “janvier”.  

out site Notice in both example that English capitalizes the first letter for a proper noun and French doesn’t. There are, of course, words that are exactly the same in both languages but do not remotely mean the same things – like “bras” in English that is a diminutive of “brassier” but “bras” in French means “arm”.

It can be fun to pick up literature in a Latin/Greek based language and try to pick out the cognates and try to decipher the meaning of the sentence.

Next time you are speaking to your tutor on the Adapt2me platform, challenge him/her to a cognate contest?

So let’s have some fun!  Below is a list of English and French cognates.  Why don’t you fill in the missing cognate in either language?  Type your answers in the comments section below.

 

décembre
diamant
dictionary
docteur
enormous
exactly
féroce
garden
history histoire
immigrant immigrant
island
lemon
lentille
January janvier

Challenge us by posting your own examples of cognates that will stump us.

No Comments | 29 June, 2016

Important Differences Between French & English

There are some differences between French and English that can be challenging to learn.

out site  The most obvious are English phonetic sounds that use different muscles than those used to speak French.  This is the case, even though those two languages share several grammatical features and cognates.

Phonology

There are sounds used by Anglophones that can cause a Francophone some anxiety and enunciation problems that can lead to a lack of understanding and spelling errors.  A typical pronunciation problem is the inability to correctly articulate the vowel sounds in minimal pairs such as; to/two//too, live/leave, prey/pray, ship/sheep, full/fool, there/their/they’re – these words are called ‘Homophones’.  Too often homophones and homonyms are confused depending on whom you ask.  

Then, there are the homographs, which are words that have the same spelling but mean totally different things and can have different pronunciation.  Lead the metal and lead the action of being in front is an example; bass the low sound and bass the fish is another.

Alphabet

Although both languages have 26 letters in their alphabet, the French language has some letters with diacritics (these are words with accents).  These accents are meant to point to the different enunciation of that vowel.  Another common mistake, which I often make, is to confuse J for G, and E for I when someone is spelling out a word.

Another typical problem for a Francophone, which is often used to imitate and mock a Francophone, is the inability to pronounce the H sound in some words – that’s because French speakers do not use their tongue in the same manner as English speakers so that ‘heard’ becomes ‘eard’ and ‘Harry’ becomes ‘arry’ and ‘the’ becomes ‘de’.

Grammar – Verb/Tense

French and English verb grammar have several areas of overlap. For example, both languages have auxiliaries, participles, active/passive voice, past/present/future tenses. However, there are some differences that can cause interference in the production of English.

A typical problem is the wrong choice of tense. Despite the external similarities of verb grammar, there are frequent occasions when French uses a different tense than English to convey a particular meaning.

Some common examples are the following faulty sentences:

  • I have played hockey yesterday.  [I played hockey yesterday]
  • I can’t play now. I do my homework.  [I can’t play now. I am doing my homework.]
  • I live in Montréal since last year.  [I have lived in Montreal since last year.]
  • I will tell you as soon as I will know.  [I will tell you as soon as I know.]

buy it Because French does not use the auxiliary ‘do’, learners may have problems in asking questions. For example, they may simply make a statement and use question intonation: He is handsome? Or they may invert subject and verb: How often see you her?

Grammar – Other

Although English and French share the same basic Subject-Verb-Object syntax, there are numerous variations in the word order of sentences that are more complicated than the simple ‘I bought a new car’ type.

Here are a few common errors:

  • I play sometimes games.  [I sometimes play games.]
  • I have too much eat!  [I had too much to eat!]
  • Do you know what is the time?  [Do you know what time it is?]

The biggest difference is related to gender assignment to nouns that always stumps non-Francophones.  Whether a chair is feminine (la chaise) or masculine, and if feminine, then why is a couch masculine (le sofa)?  Or if a street is feminine (la rue), then why is the highway masculine (l’autoroute)?

Vocabulary

A large number of words in the two languages have the same Latin root and are mutually comprehensible – although this applies more to academic/technical words than to everyday vocabulary. The concomitant problem, however, is the significant number of false connections. Here are just a few examples. The French word is listed first, followed by the correct English equivalent: cave / cellar; sensible / sensitive; ignorer / not know.

Two excellent web sources for phonological information are:

  • Non-native pronunciations of English on Answers.com.
  • The Speech Accent Archive

Talk to your Adapt2me tutor about homophones and make it a game to come up with a list of your own.

No Comments | 29 June, 2016

Tips to Efficiently Learn French

Learning French, like learning any other language, involves a lot of memorization that is daunting for adults who no longer have the flexible minds of youth.  

However, here are a few tips that can help you accomplish your language learning goals a little faster.

Keep Away from Translating

As much as possible stay away from translating words unless you are completely stuck.  There are a number of reasons for this.  One, of course, is the sheer memorization acrobatics you will have to do to retain all that information.  But there are terms that are just not translatable.  For example, “I am” and “I have” when presented in this form are straightforward, but if you add an adjective at the end, it isn’t directly translatable.  

Try to say “I am hungry” which translated verbatim is je suis faim, instead of “J’ai faim.  The latter would translate to “I have hungry”.  We’ve all seen the nonsensical online translated texts.  The other reason, of course, is that using a dictionary instead will exponentially increase your vocabulary – chances are you will discover you already know another word that means the same thing.  Better to learn a word or phrase from within the structure of the language you are learning – especially when it comes to French.

Audio vs. Written

No doubt listening to a language spoken is very different from the written version, and there does seem to be a correlation between reading a text and simultaneously listening to the words spoken outloud that reinforces memory.  But the danger is that in French the conversational language sounds very different than the written version.  Take for instance the term “you’re welcome.”  When someone thanks you which in French, it is “il n’y a pas de quoi in the written vernacular; but this becomes “ya pad koa” in the spoken term.   In the case where the spoken and written forms are straightforward, seeing the words and listening to the enunciation of words, particularly where action, is involved, reinforces that word or sentence in your vocabulary.

Find your Learning Style

Everybody has a different learning style, some need to immerse themselves in the learning process by acting out and experimenting, while others can sit in front of a book and devour every syllable until they retain all the information they need.  Some have good auditory memory while others have good visual memory and some have active memory, where they need to do something related to the topic in order to retain new information.  Whatever your style, this is what you need to focus on to achieve desired success.

Sentences Rather Than Words

Try learning sentences rather than individual words.  This will increase the speed with which you learn because the majority of our communications happens at the sentence level.  A single word can seldom convey a message as well.  The sentence has context, associated with it that helps to form a visual or action image to help reinforce learning.  Naturally, it is the words within the sentence that your mind will focus upon and string a series of relatable or recognisable words into a sentence structure.

Immerse Yourself

Too often I see people who are trying to learn French or any other language fall back to their default language.  For instance, they will only make friends with people who speak the same language, watch TV in only their native tongue, shop only at stores they know will serve them in their native tongue, read books in their native language and so on.  French, in particular, is such a complex language that even Francophones who have been away from their language, need to immerse themselves back into the language to recapture all the spoken nuances that were lost while they were away from their native tongue.

Small Doses

We do not mean to imply in the previous paragraph for you to place all your available time into learning French.  Rather, small does everyday will produce better results than doing it all in one sitting.  Do try to read one article in a French newspaper; do try to listen to French radio on the drive to work or listen to the news in French on the television for one hour.  Try to engage in a French conversation with a sales clerk or cashier at your local market.  The more diverse the ways you use to integrate French into your daily activities, the easier this integration will get over the long run.

Find a Language Partner

Find someone who is a fluent Francophone and ask them to correct you everytime they hear you make a mistake. Make it a point to speak to that person as often as your schedule will allow.  Eventually, this person will ease the anxiety we all feel at looking foolish from the linguistic mistakes we are bound to make.  It is important that you see and hear a lot of material that demonstrates your level of learning, and this is where the feedback from your partner will pay dividends. Alternatively, sign up for the tutoring program at Adapt2me where you will be assigned a partner with whom you can schedule regular interactions in increments of 30 minutes each.

Don’t be Shy

Making mistakes will be part of the journey, and no one will fault you for getting things wrong –  even if you have been at this for years.  Timidity and fear will be your greatest adversaries. But if you persevere and keep at it, one day you will notice that you had a complete conversation that did not require fumbling for words or produce anxiety over whether you made yourself clear enough.

 

No Comments | 08 June, 2016

5 Tips To Learning A New Language

Learning a new language is challenging and can be very frustrating at times. Here are some tips to assist you along the way.

#1 Goals

goals

Before you start any language courses or private tutoring sessions, it is essential to set your own personal goals.

Be honest with yourself, you don’t have to be realistic. You can be as ambitious as you please. Either way, the goals you set for yourself will determine your learning path. The goal could be, the ability to hold a conversation in the new language. Or it could be more advanced as to study and or work in the new language. Whatever your goals are, it is essential to establish benchmarks for yourself. These benchmarks will provide checkpoints to measure your progress based on the goals you set. For good measure – have more than one goal. As soon as you complete the first goal, you’ll already be working towards the second goal. Remember…you can never have too many goals.

#2 Behaviour

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Be excited, eager, daring, playful and fearless in your desire and attempt(s) in learning a new language.

A child is unaware of the mistakes they will make, yet, they forge ahead with their curiosity and make them anyway. This is the same for learning a new language. Understand you will make mistakes. The more mistakes you make the more you improve in the language. Ask as many questions, act like a child, as you know nothing. You are starting your learning process all over again. Start with simple concepts, master them eloquently then gradually move onto the following concepts and modules. Remember it should always be fun and exciting!

#3 Coach

 cute-teacher

Staying motivated will get tricky, especially when “life” gets in the way.

You will most likely come across a difficult concept, activity, level or get stuck on a pronunciation. At this time, you will need someone to coach you through the challenges, the struggles and uphill climbs. The coach can either be a friend, paid tutor, professor or just anyone who is a native speaker of the language you are learning. This person must be aware of your language goals, strengths & weaknesses so they are better equipped to coach you to success. It is best to solely communicate with your coach in the language that you are learning. Remember: no one is an island.

#4 Lifestyle

friends

The best way to test your language progress is by making small to big lifestyle changes.

For example, change the settings on your phone/computer/tablet to the language you are learning. Your memory of the buttons and functions mixed with the new language will work as the perfect translation exercise. Other lifestyle changes can include speaking to friends online in your new language, watching movies in the language; listening to music, and attending cultural & entertainment centres. This method has proven to work in a language study conducted by Kaplan. They found that 82% of English foreign speakers learned English by watching American tv shows. 65% of people asked by Kaplan have travelled to English-speaking countries to learn English.

#5 Immersion

turkish-cuisine-1330117

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to the native country of the language you are learning, do so!

Not only will you gain a lifetime of personal experience from visiting another country, exchanging with people, and learning a new culture but it will intensify your language learning journey. Your linguistics abilities will be magnified! There are other solutions to foreign travel, especially for those who live in Canada- more specifically, Quebec. Quebec is a French-speaking province with many small towns where the use of English is limited or not spoken at all. Take a weekend or a week to immerse yourself in the local culture and your French will improve. Likewise, if you are learning English. Travel to an English area and immerse yourself in the local culture. Immersion can also take place by participating in cultural events and concerts. Either way, it is important to get out there and mix it up! As much as possible, surround yourself with as many native speakers of the language you are learning.

No Comments | 27 August, 2015