Speaking French

Catharine Higginson's picture

Come and share your tips for learning French or ask a question if you are getting stuck!

Véronique Langlands's picture

Get a book eg 201 French verbs or the like, irregular verbs need to be learnt but once you know them you will be OK, regular verbs follow patterns so if in doubt, ie if you don't know whether a verb is regular or not just stick a regular ending on it, it won't be 'right' but it will probably be comprehensible and your interlocutor will correct you so you will know next time. Just have a go at speaking French, put any amour-propre in your pocket & go for it - we don't care if people make a hash as long as they have a bash. (natty slogan, there - better if it scanned, obviously)

Robert Scotton's picture

Hmmm...interesting....I have the same problem and will look over your shoulder on this one if I may....

Jane Williamson's picture

Thanks a lot. It would be very useful and I will pass it on to my friend who has another group in the Maconnais
Véronique Langlands's picture

I'm so pleased, Jane! :-) I'll keep looking to see if there are any other publishers that might have more titles for you!

Jane Williamson's picture

Hi Veronique, I have ordered five second-hand copies that we can use and annotate.

This is an amazing find for our little group, so many thanks.

Jane Williamson's picture

Veronique, this is just what we wanted, thanks. I will order a couple of copies of Julian Barnes, Letters from London.

Véronique Langlands's picture

http://www.folio-lesite.fr/Folio/collection.action?idCollection=431  this link gives you the whole list of bilingual books, obviously not all of them are in English/French there are all the other languages they do as well.

Jane Williamson's picture

Thanks everyone for replying, but we have seen the Penguin Parallel text books and they are not modern books. I will look at the folio Gallimard and go into the bookshop in Cluny.
Véronique Langlands's picture

Ian - en dépit de la date, j'ai répondu ;-)

Ian Gillis's picture

Veronique - thank you for explaining the difference between "malgré" and "en dépit de".J'ai reçu une réponse en dépit de l'attente d'une année!

Angela Ruth McLaughlin's picture

Oh, should have said, that's an answer to the question from Ron Fox about books with both French and English texts. 

Angela Ruth McLaughlin's picture

Penguin Parallel Text, ISBN 0 -14 -003414 - 5

Nouvelles Francaises, Edited by Simon Lee.

Véronique Langlands's picture

Ian - en dépit de isn't quite the same as malgré because there can be an element of judgment (we say en dépit du bon sens but not malgré le bon sens, for example) but they overlap a lot. Malgré is more neutral, I hope this makes sense to you! eg malgré la pluie... (Ok it was raining, no big deal) En dépit de la pluie (it was hurling it down and STILL...)

Véronique Langlands's picture

There's a collection Folio (Gallimard) of bilingual books and probably others as well - if you go to a good bookshop they will probably have them in the bit for educational purposes rather than with their other paperbacks. Ask them to give you a catalogue of all the publishers who do them & then you can choose.

Ron Fox's picture


I have seen books in English on the left hand page and French on the right hand page; they were being sold in a bookstore on Blvd. Montparnasse So, they exist.

Jane Williamson's picture

Can anyone tell me if they have come across bilingual books for adults and if so, where they found them?

We are a group of English and French ladies who meet every Monday morning in the Clunysois to improve our language skills.

We can find the classics, but would like books which use more up to date language.

Help please.

Ian Gillis's picture

I just encountered "en dépit de" used in place of "malgré", meaning "despite" or "in spite of": could a native francophone tell me if the two are synonymous?

Terry Williams's picture

Emma, look at the Useful Links page http://www.survivefrance.com/page/useful-links . There's a section on education which has a lot of suggestions about how to learn French. You may find what you need there.

Emma Sweeney's picture


I have been living in France for the last four years. My spoken French gets me by and I work in our local shop. However, I come very unstuck when it comes to grammar and written French. I am looking to do a French course with a recognised qualification. I have GCSE French. Does anyone have any recommendations, I live in the 25.

Ian Gillis's picture

Those anxiously waiting for the warm weather so they can "cast a clout when May be out" might like the following, in the same vein:

En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un filEn mai, fais ce qui te plaîtEn juin, tu te vêtiras d'un rien

Pamela ten Broek's picture

Hi, just joined this group and thought I'd pass on what I've learnt about learning the language here. When we first arrived with our 'Parisian' French, we didn't know what hit us! The southern accent combined with Occitan and Catalan....

We have found that listening to French radio, watching French tv (with subtitles in French) really helps. Also, try talking with older people in the village - they often speak more slowly and have time to talk with you and appreciate your efforts to speak in French. Most importantly, don't give up as when you learn you go through surges of learning and then plateau - it's normal. We also have neighbours who are patient with us and give us time to reply in our own way, which has now much improved since we arrived.

Greg Harvey's picture

I see lots of people asking for French lessons in their area - I take lessons on Skype with this guy, I find him very good, a Frenchman living in Philadelphia in the US! http://www.linkedin.com/in/jlbmyfrenchtutor

Thought some people might consider the online option. It worked for me.

Tim Morgan's picture

Hello all, just joined and looking for any members around the 53 area. My French is bog basic and I am doing a Rosetta Stone course at home.

Joanna Wallez's picture

are there any french lessons / teachers in the 86 area close to Villemort (Saint Savin) I am one of those people that need structured lessons rather than self directed learning !

Wendy Wise's picture

Hi John,

I will find you a French tutor/classes if you'd like me to.  I've sent a friend request and then I can ask you more about your needs by private message.

John Mahon's picture

Anyone know where we can get some french lessons near Macon in south burgundy?

Catherine Wales's picture

Would like to let anyone living near Maubourget (dept 65) know that each and every Wednesday evening there is a free group of french & english speakers. We meet to get to know each other better and to exchange and share language and culture.  Meetings are held at the Maison des Associations across from the Tresor Publique - if you'd like to know a little more just email me :) 

Hilary Newhall's picture

Thanks Ruth - PTS instead of PTSD changes everything! ;-)

Ruth Deborah Rey's picture


Trouble de Stress Post-Traumatique, syndrome de stress post-traumatique, SSPT, or état de stress post-traumatique, ESPT.

Being the 'lucky' owner of a PTSD, I use all these here in France. By the way, did you know that in the US theynow dropped the D and only refer to it as PTS?

Nicer, for sure. The D for Disorder makes one feel rather ... disorderly?

Terry Williams's picture

Or even "J'irai au marché demain" ;-) On the subject of past tenses, wait till you come across the wonderful "J'ai eu fait..." which refers to something you have done in the past but not recently. "J'ai eu fait du vélo" means something like "I used to ride a bike but I haven't done it for a while."