But visiting all these magnificent places without the slightest knowledge of French can be dull. Wouldn’t it be great to get more from your visit to the Louvre for example if you could exchange in French a little with another tourist or a guide about a particular work of art ?
5 Minutes of French is a nice and short French lesson that can be done under 5 minutes. Its purpose is to make the French language learning fast and effective. The 5 minutes of French covers only the most useful and pragmatic vocabulary, grammar and everyday French expressions significant to any beginner of intermediate learner of French. Now you have no excuse not to learn French !
A l'université: demander des renseignements
– Bonjour. Excuse-moi. Je suis nouveau ici. Où se trouve la salle numéro 215 ?
If you want to study in France as an international student, you will need to know some specific words and expressions related to school, university and education in general.
You will find these useful whether you are on a study abroad French language program or just as a regular student at the French University or Grande Ecole. Here is the first part in the series related to studying in France.
Study in France Vocabulary
to enrol in a university
s'inscrire dans une université
a student card
une carte d'étudiant
un(e) étudiant(e) de premier cycle
a fresher / a freshman
un(e) étudiant(e) de première année
a postgraduate student
un(e) étudiant(e) de troisième cycle
the academic year
l'année universitaire (fem.)
a lecture hall
un amphitéâtre / un amphi (famlier)
a B.A. degree
une licence de lettres
Exercise 1: easy
This year I'm going to enrol to the French university.
The enrolment to the university has been closed.
Do you have a student card ?
I'm an undergraduate student.
Lots of freshmen students are of foreign origin.
The postgraduate students are few.
The academic year has just begun.
It was a really interesting lecture.
All lectures are held in the lecture hall F.
I have a B.A in Modern Literature.
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Here are some very common French words that are used in everyday speech and which you can express in a more formal way, giving a touch of “sophistication” to your language.
The truth is that you may become fed up with using the same words all the time. With these words you will bring your knowledge of French to the next level and surprise your French friends.
Even if you are a beginner, you will learn here some basic but essential French vocabulary that you will certainly find useful in everyday conversations. You come back later to learn their more advanced synonymes.
Here is a list of 10 French idiomatic expressions that you will probably hear most frequently while in France. The list is rather subjective, as I did not base myself on any official document proving the frequency (Does such such thing exist ?). The only explanation I have is that to my mind these idiomatic expressions are used more often than others. Of course, there are others but I thought these might be the most useful ones for the beginning and intermediate learners of French. Thus, upon your arrival to France you won't be surprised to hear what may at first appear as some strange sounding expressions you have no idea about their meaning.
"Why learn French idioms ?"
You may ask. If you want to get over the "speaking the very basic French" level, you need to get to know some idiomatic expressions. And this is true for any language. That's just the way people like to express ideas. Idioms make the language more vivid, more colorful and more expressive.It's one of the things that shows that you know the language well.
You may also check this website about The French Idioms (origin, explanations, translation).
The List of the 10 Popular Everyday French Idioms:
Prendre quelque chose au pied de la lettre: It is used to describe somebody who believes too seriously in everything he/she hears. Eg. On entend souvent dire que tous les parisiens sont grincheux mais il ne faut pas le prendre au pied de la lettre. C'est juste un cliché.
Il n'y a pas un chat: used to say that there are very few or no people in a particular place. There isn't a soul. Eg.Cet endroit est complètement désert ! Il n'y a pas un chat !
Il pleut des cordes: when it rains a lot and hard. It's raining cats and dogs. Eg. Tu as vu le temps qu'il fait dehors ? Il pleut des cordes ! Hors de question que je sorte !
Il n'y a pas le feu au lac / y'a pas le feu: when you are not in a hurry. There is no panic. Eg. Attends ! Pourquoi t'es si pressé ? Il n'y a pas le feu au lac !
Fumer comme un pompier: to smoke a lot of cigarettes. To smoke like a chimney. / To be a chain smoker. Eg. Ca pue la cloppe chez ton voisin ! C'est parce qu'il fume comme un pompier !
Maigre comme un clou: speaking about someone really thin, a skinny person. Thin as a rake. Eg. Il est maigre comme un clou ! Il ne doit pas peser plus de 50 kilos tout habillé !
Etre au taquet: when you are fully engaged in some activity. To be going flat out / to be going full throttle. Eg. Regarde le ! Il est complètement absorbé par son travail. Ouais, il est vraiment au taquet.
Etre nickel (chrome): when something is neatly / very well done. To be spotless. Eg.(En parlant de nettoyage d'une voiture par exemple) Vous avez fait du bon travail. C'est vraiment nickel ! / C'est nickel chrome !
En avoir marre: to have had enough of something. To be fed up with something. Eg. J'en ai marre de ton comportement stupide ! Je me casse d'ici !
S'en moquer / ficher / foutre: to be completely uninterested or indifferent to something / somebody. Not to give a damn / toss about something. Eg. Tu es au courant que fumer tue ? Oui, me je m'en fous !