Sunday, 25 August 2013

Carambar - c'est du sérieux!

Carambar are French sweets, or if you're from across the pond, candy.

Each carambar wrapper contains a terrible joke in French.

For example:
Pourquoi n'y a-t-il plus de mammouths ?

Car il n'y a plus de papouths !

I told you they were terrible.

Terrible, but a great way to introduce real French to your students and to get them to try to understand and explain them.

And they are available in the UK from a company called frenchclick so you really have no excuse not to try them.

You don't need to buy carambar as many of the jokes are on website, on these dedicated pages.

Imagine my horror, then, when I saw this video:


Fortunately, it turned out to be a very elaborate blague.

It was a Poisson d'avril and thousands of French people fell for it.

Some of their comments are in this clip:

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Translated film titles - a languages game.

As the title suggests, here is another game to play with 6th form or really good KS4 students.

When English language films are translated into other languages, they are often given strange titles.

For example:

The Bruce Willis film, "The sixth sense" in China was called, "He's a ghost!" which, if you've seen the film, kind of spoils the plot and if you haven't seen it, then I've just ruined it for you.

The game is this: find some titles of English language films and their French, German, Spanish version titles. The more bizarre the better.

A good place to look for this is wikipedia. On the left hand side of wikipedia pages are the links of foreign language versions of each article.

Here are some examples:

Les dents de la mer = Jaws

Maman, j'ai raté l'avion = Home Alone

Ein Zwilling kommt selten allein = The Parent Trap

Die unglaubliche Reise in einem verrückten Flugzeug = Airplane

A todo gas = Fast and Furious

Gru, mi villano favorito = Despicable Me

R3sacón = The Hangover: Part 3

You could play this as a matching activity, multiple choice activity, or just get the students to try to work out what the original title was. Some students could even find their own titles to test their classmates.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Néologismes & anglicismes et l'Academie Française

This week I've been looking up "anglicismes".

This came about after Terri Dunne posted a link on Facebook to an article from snappily entitled 11 mots merveilleux recently added to the French dictionary

Are you still following this? 


The article gives examples of new French words added to the 2014 edition of the Petit Robert.

I am always fascinated by "new" words so I decided to see if I could find some more.

Quite by accident, I found some more new words on the BBC's 7 day quiz page.   

These words are: 
  • beuverie express - binge drinking
  • mot-diese - hashtag
  • tablette - Ipad (or any tablet device, I suppose)
This, of course, is the work of our old friends at L'Academie Française.

For those of you who are not aware of L'Academie Française, it is the French body responsible for all matters to do with the French language.

The members of L'Academie Française are referred to as the immortels, which probably says a lot about their opinion of themselves. I digress... 

Its role is only advisory, but it will persist in telling the French what they should and should not say, particularly when it comes to borrowing words from other languages.

L'Academie Française has a regularly updated blog (or as they would have it, "cybercarnet") to which correct French versions of adopted phrases appear, with examples.

The blog is called:
and is an invaluable resource for any teacher or higher level student of French.

I like it best of all because it gives me examples of phrases used by the French which foreigners would never get to hear as the French media tends to follow the rules of the Academie.

For example, I had never heard the term Speedez-vous as a replacement for Dépêchez-vous but apparently it is used a lot.

So if you want to learn how to speak French like a real French person, the place to go to find the "bad words" is the place dedicated to keeping the language pure. 

How ironic!