Anglais pour les petits !

Bonjour à tous ! Comme vous êtes très nombreux à me demander des informations sur les cours pour vos enfants, je vais commencer à faire des petits vidéos qui leur sont destinés.

Si vos enfants sont petits, je vous conseil de les regarder ensemble, afin d’en profiter pleinement.

Aussi, comme je n’ai pas encore fait un grand nombre de vidéos, je serai ravie d’avoir vos retours sur ce qui peut être amélioré !

Okay, donc voici le premier : c’est un jeu de devinette où vous devez trouver l’animal que je décris.

Vocabulaire à connaître dans ce segment:

  • leg – jambe
  • 1, 2, 3, 4 (one, two, three, four)
  • wool – la laine
  • stripes – des rayures
  • trunk – tronc
  • horse – cheval
  • ear – oreille

Book of the week: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Book of the week: find out what book our team recommends this week! 
Envie de lire en anglais mais vous ne savez pas par où commencer ? Suivez-nous pour notre "Book of the week" !

Punctuation can often be a source of discord among writers, editors, teachers, students, and just about anybody else. It’s important to learn, but difficult to teach. It’s often overlooked, and generally perceived as boring. So why would you want to read a book about punctuation? Because this one’s funny.

Lynne Truss has written a very readable guide for punctuation. Her style is laid back yet informational, and while it’s not exactly a page-turner, it does keep you interested enough to want to keep going. Of course, I will freely admit that I’m a bit of a nerd and that this type of book is actually right up my alley. However, it’s really very accessible and highly recommended.

Pros

  • Easy to read.
  • You actually learn quite a bit, some of it even sticks!

Cons

  • It could use an index to make it easier to find information again without having to skim the entire chapter.

Have you read it? What did you think of it?

Links to author and stores

Why it’s a good idea to have a French teacher

I like learning on my own. In fact, I love learning on my own; but there are some things in French that just need explaining by a specialist!

By now, I’ve been in France for over 13 years. I speak well, and I have no problems understanding what people say to me, watching TV, or listening to the radio. However, when it comes to drafting articles, emails or letters in French, I’m never 100% sure of my grammar. I need to double check if I haven’t left out an extra « e » somewhere, or if, perhaps, I haven’t added one in where it doesn’t belong.

Currently, I’m thinking about taking a French test. I took an online « pre » TCF test and received a score of B2. This upset me because I know my level is higher than that. But, my knowledge of grammar is a little rusty, hence the need for a real teacher.

Here are the advantages of a teacher over an online app:

  • Teachers can answer your questions! Okay, this seems obvious, but it’s actually very important when learning a language. Sometimes, the grammar rules simply seem outrageous. Without someone there to help you practice and give you lots of examples, you may not get it quite right.
  • Teachers can correct your pronunciation. I’m not talking about accents here, I’m talking about getting the right intonation, making the right sound, and figuring out what to do with your mouth. An app can’t adequately help you with this.
  • Teachers are real people, and if you want to learn how to speak with real people, then you need to communicate with them.
  • Finally, they will train you and keep you motivated. I don’t know many people who have enough discipline to keep learning even when there are more interesting things to do. Maybe you’re that type of person, but you’re really not part of a crowd. If you’re paying a teacher, and you have appointments to keep, you will make sure you show up, and if you show up, then you’ll progress. Of course, there are those who will go ahead and waste their money and not show up, but for most people, spending money on a course will mean showing up for that course.

Now that you’ve been reminded about why having a teacher is a good idea, here are a few tips about different types of courses:

  • Private lessons. These can be useful, however, you won’t get the kind of interaction as you would in a group. Private lessons are good for people who are very shy, or for those who need help in a specific area. If you’re preparing a test, for example. Though even for specific tests, it may be a good idea to practice in groups.
  • In person group lessons. These are obviously great, but, you need to choose your school wisely. In person group lessons will often be expensive as they’re probably given by an accredited and well-known school, such as the Alliance Française. This well known school is good, however, much will depend on the people you study with and how often you have classes. It will also depend on the division of levels, you should always go for schools which divide their students into seperate levels. You should be with other people of roughly the same level as you, obviously. Make sure you follow this up! Another important thing to remember here is that you need to be wary of falling into the expat trap: keep speaking French even if the other people in your group speak English! This is really important because if you don’t practice, you won’t improve.
  • Group lessons at a university. For me, this was a stellar way to learn, but I think it’s best suited to younger people who want to take part in university life. My experience at the university of Avignon was wonderful in part because I was able to make friends and in turn, practice my French.
  • Group lessons online. I’m a little biased because these are the types of lessons that my school predominantly offers. But here are some tips anyway! Online group lessons are convenient because you can more easily fit them into your schedule and you don’t have to go anywhere. This is useful for anyone who lives outside of a major town. Make sure that when you sign up for these, your group isn’t too big; you’re not looking for a lecture, you’re looking for an opportunity to practice what you’re learning. You should sign up for lessons where you get a maximum time to speak. Grammar lessons are important, but they need to be paired with real practice.
  • This last point brings me to my last tip: look for lessons that take place several times a week, particularly if you’re someone who needs motivation. If you only have lessons once a week and you don’t spend much time studying outside of that, you won’t get anywhere and you’ll have wasted your money. Learning takes practice, and it’s the same for language learning as it is for learning to play a musical instrument or cooking. You need to practice regularly and you need to practice deliberately in order to progress. It’s better to spend a little more money on frequent classes than to draw them out over a year and miss out on rapid improvement.

So there you are. In my opinion, if you really want to learn to speak well, you won’t be able to get around paying for a course. Deciding on the type of course that’s right for you is important, and speaking with potential schools and teachers to see what they can offer you is primordial. Learning apps can be fun, and they can be very useful, in the end, however, in order to improve, you’ll need a coach. Everyone needs a coach (read teacher) to push and help them get better.

If you really want to improve significantly, you need a teacher/language coach.

Disagree with me? I’d love to hear your opinion and open a discussion. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Interested in finding an online French or English course? Drop me a line, I can walk you through our offers and you can see if we’re the right fit for you! Click here to read more about our offers.

L’anglais dans le milieu professionnel

De nombreuses entreprises ont aujourd’hui l’anglais comme langue de communication. Il existe différentes raisons à cela, mais bien souvent, c’est dû à un rachat par une entreprise étrangère dans laquelle l’anglais est déjà utilisée.

L’idée de communiquer entièrement en anglais au travail peut être déstabilisante, mais avec un peu de motivation, quelques astuces et un bon soutien au sein de votre communauté professionnelle, cela n’a pas besoin d’être insurmontable.

Beaucoup de professionnels ont déjà un niveau d’anglais tout à fait convenable, mais il leurs manque de la pratique.

Aujourd’hui, je vais vous donner quelques astuces pour réussir vos communications de bases en anglais au sein de votre entreprise.

L’email

Comment s’adresser à une personne par mail ? Tout dépend de votre relation avec la personne en question, mais en générale, l’anglais est assez décontracté. Nous passons très vite aux prénoms et les échanges ont tendance à être peu formels. Néanmoins, il existe quelques phrases clefs à connaître.

Au sein de l’entreprise, vous connaissez les personnes avec lesquelles vous communiquez. Alors, il est tout à fait acceptable de commencer un mail par: « Dear Jeremy, ou Hi Jeremy, ou alors Hello Jeremy » par exemple, même si c’est la première fois que vous contactez cette personne. Bien-sûr, si vous vous adressez à un directeur dans l’entreprise avec lequel vous n’avez jamais communiqué, il serait convenable d’utiliser son nom de famille, avec « Ms. » pour une femme et « Mr. » pour un homme, plutôt que son prénom. Evitez l’utilisation de « Mrs. » pour les femmes, qui est assez démodé dans le monde moderne. Cependant, s’il s’agit d’une entreprise américaine, canadienne, ou bien anglophone en générale, vous passerez probablement très vite aux prénoms, même avec votre directeur. Rappelez-vous aussi, que le « vous » n’existe pas en anglais, il est donc tout à fait normal de dire « you ».

Alors, quelques phrases pour commencer un mail:

  • I’m writing about…
  • I was given your details by… (the name of the person who referred you)
  • I wanted to see if you are still interested in…
  • I’m writing/calling regarding the email/letter I sent you…
  • Thanks for responding so quickly…
  • I am writing to confirm…
  • Concerning our telephone conversation earlier in the day/yesterday…
  • I am writing in response to…

N’oubliez pas que vous pouvez aussi, au début du mail, ajouter un « how are you? » ou alors « I hope you’re well. » si c’est une personne avec qui vous êtes déjà en contacte.

Alors, je vous laisse pour aujourd’hui, n’oubliez pas de suivre notre page pour plus d’astuces sur la communication en anglais, ainsi que pour rester au courant de nouvelles offres sur nos formations professionnels en anglais et en français langue étrangère.

Oatmeal cookie recipe!

Hi everyone! 

So, today we’re going to make oatmeal cookies. Yum! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • flour (1 ½ cups)
  • baking powder (half a sachet)
  • salt (half a teaspoon)
  • 2 eggs
  • butter (half a cup) softened
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of oats

You will also need utensils: 

  • 2 big bowls and a little bowl
  • a whisk
  • a spatula 
  • a fork and a bowl to crush the banana
  • a baking pan and baking sheet

So what’s the process?

  1. First, mix the softened butter, vanilla extract and sugar until it has the consistency of wet sand.
  2. Add the crushed banana and mix together.
  3. Add the eggs and mix.
  4. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour mixture, bit by bit, to the sugar and butter mixture and blend. 
  6. Add the chocolate chips.
  7. Add the oats.
  8. Let it rest in the fridge for two hours.
  9. Place little balls of dough on the baking sheet about an inch apart and bake until the edges begin to take on a golden-brown color.
  10. Set aside to cool.

And there you go, a batch of delicious oatmeal cookies! 

Groupetude Newsletter: week 19

Weekly English Fix

Rain, rain, go away!

By Klaudyna Piatek May 10th, 2021

Oh what to do on a rainy day? On a rainy week? 

How about card games! We’ve recently rediscovered some great card games to play with friends. Board games and card games are super popular in France, and many people have got a nice collection for every occasion. 

Lately, we’ve been playing Smile Life and Mini Ville. They’re lots of fun, even if there are only two players. If you’re learning French, this is a great way to practice without feeling like you’re studying, and the language in the games will really help you with everyday vocabulary. 

Learning English? Why not try scrabble online. If you’ve got someone to practice with at home, then you could even order the English version of the game. 

Don’t forget to join our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/groupetudecommunity

THIS WEEK’S

TOP STORIES

Spring and painting and Normandy, interview with David Hockney:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/may/10/david-hockney-on-joy-longing-and-spring-light-im-teaching-the-french-how-to-paint-normandy

The colors of spring, beautiful paintings, Normandy, and an interview with David Hockney, why not?! 

The myths you shouldn’t believe about the rights of Brits in France after Brexit

https://www.thelocal.fr/20210423/the-myths-you-shouldnt-believe-about-brits-rights-in-france-after-brexit/

It’s always good to keep afloat of important info concerning your status. The Local dispels a few myths for you in this article. 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

As I already mentioned above, play some games! They’re really lots of fun, and will help so much with ease and fluency. Try Smile Life, really, it’s fun! If you play once a week with your partner, in French or in English (depending on what you’re trying to improve) I promise you will improve your vocabulary and confidence! 

Vocabulary

Learning French: confused about whether a word is feminine or masculine? Check the dictionary or type it into Google, it’s a quick and easy way to get it right! 

Learning English: Have you been following our Word of the Day? If not, do so! Every Tuesday and Thursday on the blog, on Facebook and on Instagram! 

Grammar Spot

Learning French: it’s sometimes possible to determine the gender of a word depending on its ending. Here’s a website which helps you with that! https://wwwling.arts.kuleuven.be/alfagram/nom/desc/genre/inanim/fter.htm#:~:text=noms%20masculins%3A%20%2Dage%2C%20ai,%2C%20%2Disme%2C…

Learning English: follow the next few weeks’ posts about grammar where we explain the rules surrounding modal verbs. You’ll find them on the blog every Monday! 


Ok, do you have any questions? Drop me line, I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Groupetude SARL

21 AV Jean Giono

13090, Aix en Provence

Improve your French with a cook book!

A few years ago for his birthday, I got my husband a cook book, and it was a hit! He loved it, and as it turns out, I loved it too. Inside were the key recipes to learn for every region of France. Since we had embarked on an adventure to learn how to cook properly, cooking our way through French regions seemed like a great idea. Another reason we had for trying this method was the TV5 show Echappées Belles, which makes us salivate each and every time!

Since then, I’ve stopped eating meat, which has made this process somewhat more difficult, but with an adjustment here and there, it’s also possible.

So what’s another bonus of this? I learned so much more French vocabulary in the process! The nice thing about cook books is that they’re very clear, they don’t beat about the bush, and they’re authentic. These aren’t French as a foreign language (FLE, acronym in French) books, but real, French guides used by real French people.

An alternative is also watching a cooking show in French, though beyond Master Chef, I don’t have any good recommendations. Do you? I’d love to hear about any good cooking shows out there. I tend to go on You Tube to look for videos of simple recipes, particularly in terms of baking, so that I can really see what the chef is doing!

So, to summarize, here are some great reasons to cook in French:

  • It’s pretty useful in terms of learning all the different names for kitchen utensils.
  • You’ll be able to find alternative products for things you can’t find here, and learn their names!
  • Especially if you’re in the south, there are many vegetable varieties that we don’t necessarily have at home (I’m from Toronto, Canada, so the varieties here in the south are really wonderful).
  • It can be fun, and certainly a different way of learning.
  • France has really got some great regional dishes so you’ll have a wonderful meal for every day of the year!

Do you practice French while cooking? Let us know below!

And don’t forget, you can always join one of our cooking workshops on Thursday evenings!

S’informer en français? Facile!

Image Gratisography via Pexels

Pour améliorer ses compétences en compréhension orale et enrichir son lexique, notamment dans le cadre de la préparation aux épreuves du DELF, rien de mieux que l’écoute de documents authentiques

Aussi, je recommande à mes étudiants d’écouter la radio (ou les infos à la télé). Cependant, les apprenants rencontrent souvent des difficultés pour comprendre les émissions de radio et les journaux télévisés. Le débit de parole est trop rapide et il y a beaucoup de vocabulaire inconnu. 

Alors, pour rendre les actualités accessibles au plus grand nombre, la radio francophone internationale RFI propose du lundi au vendredi, un journal d’information quotidien en français facile. 

Chaque matin à 8 heures, en direct sur les ondes, ou bien, à toute heure en rediffusion (contenu numérique écoutable ou téléchargeable gratuitement), ce sont 10 minutes pour s’informer en français et comprendre l’actualité mondiale.

En plus, retrouvez sur le site, la transcription intégrale de chaque émission. Le script vous permet de revenir sur certains termes ou certaines tournures de phrases et vous aide à apprendre de nouveaux mots. 

Et pour compléter l’écoute, le site RFI Savoirs propose des quiz et des exercices à partir d’un extrait du Journal en français facile, le « Fait du jour ». 

Suivez ce lien pour écouter le journal en français facile.

Groupetude Newsletter! week 18

Weekly English Fix

May

By Klaudyna Piatek May 3rd, 2021

I always love the month of May. Doesn’t everyone? It’s spring, flowers are in bloom everywhere, and the warm weather becomes a more regular visitor. 

So what’s on the menu this month? 

We are going to be organising a series of Facebook Lives for all of you lovely people. Yes, you read that right, we’re giving away lots of learning tips. However, we need your help! Join our group, Groupetude Community, where the Lives will be hosted, and post your questions! There will be two threads, one for English and one for French learners. We will use these to organise the Lives and do our best to answer as well as possible. 

So get ready, we’re starting the week of May 17th! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP STORIES

French Réunion: the postmen of the peaks

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/03/french-reunion-the-postmen-of-the-peaks

This is an island I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. Interested in La Réunion? Read about the postal workers who scale peaks to collect and deliver the mail. 

EXPLAINED: Do you have to pay duty if you bring furniture from the UK to France?

https://www.thelocal.fr/20210416/explained-do-you-have-to-pay-duty-if-you-bring-furniture-from-the-uk-to-france/

I’ve read a lot of questions concerning this issue on various expat forums, so check it out. The article breaks down the most popular questions, hopefully it’ll help you or someone you know! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

This one is going to seem so obvious, but, make a friend. It’s so much easier to learn when you’ve got someone to talk to. You get free practice and have a good time all the while. If it’s hard to figure out how to make a friend, join a club; anything you enjoy doing really, and you’ll meet people that way.

Vocabulary

Learning French: Here’s a site I found for French vocabulary. Let me know if you like it, it seems to be quite useful! https://www.transparent.com/word-of-the-day/today/french.html

Learning English: check out https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/ it’s fantastic because it’s a dictionary for English learners and gives you a new word each day, along with the level and pronunciation. 

Grammar Spot

Learning French: When I was learning French I had trouble remembering when to use the verb être in the past. Here’s the House of être, useful as a memory tool and the website has some explanations on it too. https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/french/french-i/french-i-the-passe-compose/the-passe-compose-with-etre

Learning English: if you want to compare two things that are the same, you can use “as”. For example, Mary is as tall as John. The melon is as big as my head. You can also do this for the negative, when two things aren’t the same: my tea is not as hot as yours. 


Ok, do you have any questions? Drop me line, I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

Don’t want the newsletter anymore? Just reply with the word “unsubscribe”.

Groupetude SARL

21 AV Jean Giono

13090, Aix en Provence

Groupetude Newsletter: week 17

Weekly English Fix

Back to school

Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

By Klaudyna Piatek April 26th, 2021

Vacation’s over kids! Time to go back to school, and back to a normal working week for mom and dad. It’s eerily quiet now in the flat, apart from the dog barking at random I-don’t-know-whats. 

As we steer towards the end of April, stay tuned to Groupetude to find out about our Facebook Lives throughout the month of May! We’re going all out, twice a week, with tips and tricks and more to help you learn. 

Also, don’t forget to join us on Thursday evenings for our Cooking Hour in French, where we cook and chat and are generally jolly! These workshops are absolutely free and provide precious practice. 

So don’t forget to book a spot, we’re limited to 10 people per workshop so that it doesn’t get too crowded and everyone ha a chance to speak! 


THIS WEEK’S

TOP STORIES

Bottoms up! Five things to know about proposing a toast in France

https://www.thelocal.fr/20210416/bottoms-up-five-things-to-know-about-proposing-a-toast-in-france/

If you want to fit into French society, you’ve got to frequent the apéro whenever you’re invited. Or, whenever you invite! And what’s important during an apéro? The toast! 

Oscars 2021: Full list of winners at the Academy Awards

https://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/oscars-2021-full-list-of-winners-at-the-academy-awards-1.6001854

Wondering what to watch this week? How about one of the winners? The list does seem to be at least a little bit more diverse this year. 


THIS WEEK’S

TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

Join a bookclub! I’ve just started one in Aix en Provence, where I live. We’ve come up with a list of books, now it’s time to choose one and set a date to meet! It’s hard getting started on a book in a foreign language, so one way to get around that is by teaming up with others. Go on, give it a shot! 

Vocabulary

Read the dictionary. Yeah, you read that right! Sometimes it’s fun, though I don’t mean from cover to cover! Looking up words in the target language itself is useful because you learn even more words through the definitions. Try it, it can’t hurt, right?

Grammar Spot

Write in your target language. Keep a diary, or write short notes or text messages to your friends. If you do it on the computer, you’ll get help from spell check! This totally helps me remember to add the extra “e” on a feminine French word. 


Ok, do you have any questions? Drop me line, I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

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Groupetude SARL

21 AV Jean Giono

13090, Aix en Provence