Paris: Most affordable City for Youth

From this article, Paris was named the most affordable city for youths.

Several reasons for that:

– High minimum wage at $12.84 per hour, compared to London at $8.63 per hour
– 3rd in affordability to go to cinema
– 6th in rental charge
– 4th in transportation charge
– 2nd in Burger and conert price behind Berlin
– 3rd in flight prices

However Paris is 22nd out of 25 in the level of tax.

So if you’re looking to improve your language, why not go live in Paris.

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Lire en Francais

I have found out from my students that as an adult learning French, finding books to read that are not too childish are hard to obtain.

So it was with great pleasure when I saw the books from CLE International. They have a wide range of books for all levels, from beginner to more advanced. I have found the beginner’s book at a very good level, with simple words and a good story. When a word or a phrase is assumed not to be known by the editor, there is are some description at the bottom of each page.¬†At a more advanced level, they have a shortened version of French classics such as Madame Bovary (picture above) or Les Miserables.

There are also exercises after each chapter to make sure that you’ve understood what you’ve read. It’s a great way to improve your French !

Duolingo

One of the best apps that I have encountered to learn languages in general is Duolingo (https://www.duolingo.com). You can use it online or on any smartphone. The exercises are fun, very much like a game as you are progressing through various levels, earning experience points after you have passed each exercises.

There are various kind of exercises:

– Writing after listening a phrase being read

– Translation in both ways English to French and French to English

– Reading a sentence in a microphone (which you can avoid, if you’re too embarrassed to speak to the phone in a foreign language during commute).

No more than 3 mistakes can be done, otherwise you’ll have to do the exercise again.

You are also able to skip levels by taking the required test if you feel that the first few levels are too easy for you.

I find it a good complement if you have a few minutes to spare during the day.

Alex

Art de vivre

I’ve come across this good article on the BBC about the French art de vivre and its decline in France. Worth a read. I particularly like this quote, which I find somehow a bit true:

“The old French art de vivre is still there. It’s an ideal. It’s a bit like the ideal of an English gentleman. You don’t often find an English gentleman, but the ideal is there and it informs society as a whole,” he says.

“It is the same with our art de vivre. Of course times have changed, but it still survives. It is that feeling you get in France that in human relations we need to do more than just conduct business. We have a duty to entertain, to converse. And in France – thanks to our education system – we still have that ability to converse in a general, universalist way that has been lost elsewhere.

“That is the art de vivre. It is about taking your time. And wine is part of it, because with wine you have to take your time.

“After all, that is one of the great things about wine. You can’t swig it.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21929287

Practice

Ok, you’ve probably heard this before and you know that you have to do it but you are either too scared to be embarrassed or too shy. But I cannot stressed out how important it is for you to practice French or any language whenever you can. Speaking to people is the best way to remember your vocabulary, grammar, phrase structure etc.

By being embarrassed, scared, you will find out that you will remember the language more easily.This is because you will attach to those phrases, that you will use, an emotion, an experience, a memory of the moment when you have used those sentences. You will be able to put a face to those sentences. For example, if you ask directions in Paris, once back from holiday, you will tell your friends : “Hey I was able to ask directions in French to this person on the street, and I could understand what he said”. Thos conversations with other people will stick in your brain.

I admit, it’s not easy to go and talk to strangers while your language skills are not up to par. But by trying, even not perfectly, it will be very useful. One exercise, that you could do, is if you have someone who is French or also learning French then you could do some role play with real acting. And those will help you to build your confidence when you have to talk in French to strangers in a French speaking country.

So Go and Practice !

Prononciation

A lot of students at the beginning tends to put lots of focus on how they pronounce the words. French language should be spoken with a flow, without stoppage. But in order to do that, it’s important to know the various pronunciation. If any sounds you would like to know how to pronounce, comment below.