French Affaires Update ~ French Kings and Queens Wednesday, Jun 1 2016 

Bonjour France friends! It’s been a very full spring at French Affaires which has meant a slight pause in sending out our French Affaires Weekly newsletters. We thank you for your patience and look forward to sharing a great line-up of new French cultural and travel features in the weeks to come. In today’s post, we thought we’d highlight the latest news including photos from recent group trips to France, our newly designed website which will debut very soon and also the big news that my husband and I are now living in France. Yes, we’ve got a real French house complete with a real French wine cellar and a real French puppy. More on all that below!

French Affaires kicked off the 2016 France travel season with our annual “Paris Antiques Trip” in March. Our great group of intrepid antiques lovers scored lots of fabulous finds all week. And our special decorative arts culture excursion featured a private guided visit to the exquisite Musée Nissim de Camondo, a gorgeous 19th century Parisian mansion filled with extraordinary furniture, art, sculpture, porcelain and more.

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Next up was our custom ”Springtime in Paris” trip for the darling ladies of the Dallas Garden Club. Our special week in and around Paris was filled with luscious gardens, flowers and châteaux. In particular, the ladies received a royal welcome at the gardens and château of Chantilly from Frederic Nancel, Director of Special Events, as well as a unique opportunity to tour with Chantilly’s head gardener.  The trip even included a private perfume workshop where we learned all about various floral elements and created our personal scent to take home. Talk about the ultimate Paris springtime treat!

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Then we kicked off our two-week “Provence Language and Culture Immersion” in historic and lively Aix-en-Provence. Our fun and enthusiastic group savored French lessons, art and culture excursions, culinary delights and daily living in France. Below is a charming view of Arles from our ‘In the Steps of Van Gogh’ visit one afternoon. The inhabitants of this Arles house should win an award for always having the best flower boxes in town! On another day, our group enjoyed art and afternoon tea at the stunning new Aix museum known as the Hôtel Caumont. A former aristocratic mansion then music conservatory, the Hôtel Caumont now hosts wonderful temporary exhibitions – the current show is on Turner – and features restored period rooms and beautiful gardens.

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This spring, we’ve also been hard at work on French Affaires’ new website which will be launching very soon. For those of you who are Instagram fans, we’ve been posting great travel and culture tidbits on the photo sharing app. Here’s a recent posting from May Day in France where everyone gives muguet – lilies of the valley – to their loved ones. For photos that will transport you to France at a glance, come follow us on Instagram at ‘french_affaires’ .

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Last but not least, the move to France! As many of you know, I’ve been spending a good amount of time here each year hosting Americans on special France travels, all the while teaching, speaking and sharing the best of France back in the U.S. This spring, my husband and I moved to a small village near Fontainebleau, about an hour south of Paris. It is a beautiful corner of the world out in the French countryside – see our 17th century house below in spring – but with Paris right on our doorstep.  I will continue to create one-of-a-kind stays in France and also will be in the States regularly to speak and teach (come join me for a special seminar on “French Kings & Queens” on June 15th at SMU in Dallas). The best of both worlds!

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With the launch of the new French Affaires website, I’ll have many stories and cultural happenings to share from life over here in la belle France. There will be some great features on our small village of Courances – population about 350! – and on our new neighbor, the stunning Château de Courances. In the meantime, we have just found out that our village is going to be on French TV on June 7th. It’s one of 13 French towns up for the “Le Village Préféré des Français 2016″ award on channel ‘France 2.’ Hosted by Stéphane Bern, the show began five years ago and each year, the charming candidates are presented via spectacular footage. Before the show airs, the French vote on their favorite and the winner is announced at the end of the show. Click here to see a short preview of the Courances segment (you might be able to see the entire show later on the French channel TV5 Monde if you subscribe to it in the U.S.). And YOU can vote too – please click here to vote for our village of Courances by June 3rd. Merci beaucoup!

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UPCOMING FRENCH EVENT IN DALLAS, TEXAS:

If you need a French fix soon, I’ll be in Dallas for various events and talks including the rich seminar “French Kings & Queens: A History of the Monarchy of France” that I am teaching on Wednesday, June 15th, for the SMU Continuing Studies program. See the lecture details below:

“French Kings & Queens”: Come join us for this exciting overview of French royalty throughout the centuries! Discover the essence of French history with this special course focused on the monarchy of France. Through illustrated lecture, Dr. Elizabeth Seitz will trace the French royal dynasties through the centuries such as the Valois and the Bourbons. We’ll learn about the lives of known and lesser known French kings and queens as well as the castles and monuments they built. Remarkable stories and intrigues of the French court will add color to the rich content of this class. You’ll also receive travel tips on how to experience French royal history in France as well as a reading and film list for further exploration. Advance registration is required through SMU. Please click here for more details.

 

Be at Home in Provence This May! Tuesday, Jan 19 2016 

Dear friends - For a little winter pick-me-up, today we are spotlighting our upcoming Provence immersion trip this May. Provence is possibly the most beautiful and rewarding region in all of France. It is known for stunning countryside, amazing weather, picturesque villages, flavorful cuisine, wonderful wines, colorful markets, fragrant gardens, charming locals and relaxed culture. Please join us for this extra-special France language and culture immersion experience where you will have the chance to really ‘live in Provence’ for a glorious two weeks in May of 2016. 

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We’ve arranged everything for a perfect, easy stay – private accommodations in modern, fully furnished apartments in the center of Aix-en-Provence, French lessons for your level at Aix’s premier language school, superb cultural excursions in and around Aix organized especially for our group, excellent guides and hosts, wonderful dinners and lunches featuring Provence cuisine with wine, visits to colorful outdoor markets, time on the Mediterranean coast, chances to meet and interact with Aix locals, and more. You’ll love soaking in the ambiance of Provence during this unique immersion into the best of southern France.

I will lead our Aix-en-Provence immersion experience and connect you personally with French culture, the language and the people. This trip is ideal for individuals, couples, friends, and even families traveling together. After our Provence adventure, you’ll be speaking French like never before – and you’ll have a lifetime of memories of your time in Aix! A bientôt, Elizabeth 

P.S. I also call this our ’semester abroad for busy adults’ trip – so if you ever wanted to really be at home in France, this is an ideal way to do it!

Highlights of Our Provence Immersion Trip – May 6 to 21, 2016

Fourteen nights in your bright, modern, centrally located Aix apartment

French classes according to your level at Aix’s premier language institute

Gourmet Provence dinners & lunches with wine

Aperitifs at a private Aix home

Special tastings of local wines, cheeses, calissons

Excursions to Marseille & Cassis on the Mediterranean

Avignon’s amazing Palais des Papes, the Popes’ 14th century home

Roman Aqueduct of Pont du Gard still in amazing condition

Special Tasting at the Vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Visit to the wonderful Provence town of Arles & Van Gogh sites

Guided tour of Cézanne’s Provence by artist & Aix resident Jill Steenhuis

Colorful Provence outdoor markets

Experiencing ’strawberry season’ in May in France

Meeting Aix locals & residents

Living for two fantastic weeks in Provence & so much more!

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 Arles, the lovely Provence town where Van Gogh lived & painted

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 Our private tour of the stunning Roman Aqueduct the Pont du Gard includes a walk on the aqueduct itself!

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 Provence’s outdoor markets are always a feast for the senses

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Aix’s incredible new museum – a 17th century restored mansion in the heart of Aix

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We’ll get a great private tour of the 14th century Popes’ Palace in Avignon

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 Provence’s always delicious ’salade niçoise’ – perfect with a nice glass of rosé!

Your Provence Trip Host Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz

A native Texan, Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz is a specialist in French and founder of French Affaires, a company celebrating French travel, culture, language, and l’art de vivre. She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and with Vanderbilt-in-France in Aix-en-Provence. She has lived, studied, worked and traveled extensively in France since 1983. Her specialty is making France personal and special to everyone through her trips, classes and lectures. She still loves to teach the French language and is regularly asked to speak to groups, organizations and businesses in the U.S.

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About Aix-en-Provence in southern France

Aix-en-Provence is a gorgeous, vibrant city in the heart of Provence. With a rich history and a welcoming southern French culture, Aix provides a superb base for your immersion stay in France. Aix is known for its majestic monuments and architecture, beautiful old town full of winding medieval streets, centuries old fountains, fascinating museums and cultural institutions, popular universities and schools, lively arts and music scene, and impressive boulevard the Cours Mirabeau, noted by many to be the prettiest main street in all of Europe. There is nothing better than to immerse oneself in French daily life – and Aix is the perfect place to do it. So come relax, learn, enjoy and experience that magical French ‘joie de vivre’!

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The two-week Provence Language & Culture Immersion trip cost is $4950 (double occupancy) & includes 14 nights accommodation in modern apartments in the center of Aix, 10 mornings of French language & culture lessons at Aix’s premier language institute, multiple special cultural excursions, daily breakfasts, many lunches & dinners with wine, various tastings, aperitifs, transfers to & from the Marseille airport, interaction with Aix locals, a personal introduction & connection to Aix by Dr. Seitz throughout the trip, & more. For the detailed trip description & to reserve your space, please email us at french.culture (at) frenchaffaires.com. You can also reach us at 214-232-5344 – we’d be happy to discuss the trip details with you!

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One of our previous Provence groups taking in the wonders of the Pont du Gard

Bonne annee ~ The Year in Pictures at French Affaires Thursday, Jan 7 2016 

Bonne année à toutes et à tous! Happy New Year to all!

As 2016 begins, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a ‘très belle année 2016’ and thank you warmly for your support, readership and participation in French Affaires’ classes, cultural events and trips to France this past year. It has been a fantastic time of sharing the best of French language, culture, travel and l’art de vivre – and it has been our most wonderful year ever, thanks to you. Still, as France is endlessly rich in culture, history, travel and more, I can promise that there will be some terrific new surprises coming shortly in 2016 as well as a continuation of great language, culture and travel offerings. But before we get to some of the 2016 French goodies, I’d like to share a few highlights of French Affaires 2015 in photos. Join us for this virtual year in pictures below - and maybe get inspired to come away with us to France this coming year!

Highlights of French Affaires’ annual “Paris Antiques Trip this past March were the big Paris flea market at St. Ouen/ Clignancourt and the bi-annual foire à la brocante at Chatou just west of Paris. St. Ouen is the world’s largest marché aux puces, or flea market, with everything from bric-a-brac to museum quality pieces. We could have spent several days there alone as there are many different sub-markets spread out over the sprawling, easy-to-get-lost-in complex. On the other hand, Chatou is one of my favorite Paris markets perhaps because it doesn’t happen all the time. Running for about ten days each spring and fall, the fair showcases several hundred antiques vendors from all over France. It is a collector’s dream - café au lait bowls, confiture jars, regular silver, hotel silver, pottery, china, pewter, paintings, portraits, chairs, tables, chests…it is all there. And bargaining is a definite must at this market. Our antiquing group this past year found loads of fabulous finds at these markets and more during our treasure-hunting week in Paris. For info about our 2016 Paris Antiques Trip, please email us at French.culture@frenchaffaires.com.

While hosting the Paris antiques trip, I tasted several versions of one of my favorite French comfort foods – les oeufs mayonnaise. Afterwards, I posted an article on “Eggs in France” which hit home with many French Affaires’ readers. You can click here to read (or reread!) some of the great ways eggs are done in France.

Spring was a riot of flowers and gardens on our French Affaires’ trip designed especially for the Dallas Garden Club this past year. The Dallas ladies came to France in May for the “Great Gardens of Paris & the Loire Valley – a nine day joyous extravaganza of everything gardens and châteaux. Our lovely French hosts gave us a warm welcome everywhere, and nature cooperated by gracing all our destinations with exquisite flowers, plants and landscapes. Quel bonheur!

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In late May and in September 2015, we spent lovely light and color filled weeks in the south of France for the “Provence Painting & Culture Workshops” co-hosted with wonderful artist Jill Steenhuis. From color mixing tutorials to composition discussions to painting en plein air to following in the steps of artists Van Gogh and Cezanne to enjoying the gorgeous scenery to sharing wonderful French meals with wine, our painting groups’ creativity and enthusiasm knew no bounds.

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Since we’re on the topic of Provence, as readers of our French Affaires’ newsletter know, we can’t get enough of this region of France. So this coming May we’ll be doing our “Provence Language & Culture Immersion” trip again from May 6 to 21, 2016. It is a fabulous and laid-back opportunity to “live” in France and really experience the people, the landscapes and the culture – including the art. It’s also a great chance to take tons of incredible photos since everywhere you look is just Provence picture perfect! For full trip details, please email us at French.culture@frenchaffaires.com.

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This past fall, a wonderful group of French Affaires’ trip-goers immersed themselves in the riches of Southwest France. We spent many glorious days in the cool, crisp weather of the Dordogne, the Lot and Bordeaux. The distinctive history, architecture, landscapes, culture, food, wines and people made this a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Our pictures of this harder-to-get-to French region tell it all…

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And of course, faithful to my French professor roots, I was able to share all manner of lovely things about France in illustrated culture courses through SMU’s Continuing Studies program and in French Affaires’ language offerings. We covered the incredible chateaux near Paris in January – perfect for planning day excursions from the French capital. In late spring, I designed a course on “French Kings & Queens: A History of the Monarchy in France” which was an amazing journey through French time and royalty. “Gourmet Paris: A Culinary Tour of the French Capital” was also on our culture course list – and our annual “French for Travelers” reached a sell-out crowd for the eighth year in a row. If you’re planning some travel to France soon or just want to get acquainted with French attitudes, etiquette and basic conversation, you might want to join us for this year’s edition of “French for Travelers” which runs from February 16 to 18, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. Please click here for more details and registration information with SMU’s Continuing Studies program. And more French language and culture classes will be coming in 2016 so stay tuned to this space.

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We do want to pause to remember the terrible events in Paris in November and January of last year. For a short article on our thoughts and support for the French, please click here. The French are strong – and Paris will always be Paris!

Last but not least, our special “French Cookbook Club” and “French Cuisine & Culture Workshops” immersed us in French culinary delights all year long. The hands-on “Spotlight on French Vinaigrettes” was a festival of French tastes and flavors – with nary a bottled salad dressing in sight. And the “French Cookbook Club” – now in its fifth amazing year! – has been an extraordinary coming together of great French Affaires’ friends, great cookbooks and great cooking. We are looking forward to this year’s final celebration dinner and weekend in France – and I’ll be on the hunt for next year’s special new theme.

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So, again, je vous remercie de votre fidelité et je vous souhaite une extraordinaire année 2016. I look forward to sharing more of wonderful France with you this year. Come have some fun French style…A très bientôt!

First French Words ~ Upcoming French Classes & Events Friday, Dec 5 2014 

The first French words I remember learning were la fleur. ‘The flower.’ Our Montessori school teacher held up flashcards with colorful images and instructed us to repeat the French names after her. I was five years old and with those few phrases in our kindergarten curriculum, something French in me must have clicked.

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After a sprinkling of Spanish in elementary school, I started taking French in earnest in sixth grade and never stopped. Monsieur Ross taught us the building blocks of the French language in seventh and eighth grades. In high school, Mademoiselle Steensen reinforced grammar with the command, “Scamper to the blackboard, Mademoiselle Nouvelle, and conjugate your French verbs!” (My maiden name was “New” so I earned the name Mademoiselle Nouvelle or Nouveau depending on my teacher’s mood.) She had an eagle eye for mistakes so you definitely had to keep up on les verbes.

We graduated from French verbs to French literature by the end of my high school years. And then I continued my French language adventure in college, really taking the plunge by spending my sophomore spring in Aix-en-Provence. I still remember our vivacious and energetic Provence culture professor who kept us spellbound for hours with tales and legends of southern France–all in French, of course.

By this time, I was hooked on the language and the culture of la belle France, and it was only a matter of time before I ended up in graduate school getting a doctorate in the subject, going to the Sorbonne in Paris and finally becoming a professor of French myself. Even though I now do a variety of ‘French things’ in addition to teaching the language, I still love to work with people to help them learn their ‘first French words’ and more.

A propos, I am often asked what advice I would have for making learning French easier and not so intimidating. Here are a few astuces (tips) for saving time, learning more quickly and sounding more French fast:

- Have a positive attitude. Learning French IS possible.

- Decide why you want to learn the language. Do you want to get around on an upcoming trip to France? Do you want to come across as a ‘nice American’? Or do you think French is poetic and you’ve ‘always wanted to learn it’? Or?? Once you identify your motivation, you can choose a French course or program that best meets your needs.

- Learn the language ‘in chunks.’ In other words, don’t try to overanalyze and figure out what every little word or syllable is doing in the French sentence. That can come later if you spend more time in the language. At the beginning, it’s fatiguing and prevents one from communicating–which is the point of language in the first place. So just practice ‘je vous en prie’ and simply equate it with ‘you’re welcome.’

- Make French part of your ‘muscle memory’ with lots of practice and drills. It sounds boring but it really works. Only after a lot of tennis practice can one walk on the court and serve an ace. It’s the same with language – you have to drill the same words and structures over and over to serve up that just right French expression with that just right accent in the moment.

- Find a part of the language that really motivates you and start from there. If you adore French food and cooking, then build your communication skills and vocabulary around this topic. Maybe your love is gardens, or art, or history, or Paris. Whatever it is, make that your French language learning focus. You’ll be more motivated and much more successful.

- Get tons of French ‘input.’ The more you’re exposed to French language and culture, the quicker you’ll be able to speak and communicate. Read French magazines and newspapers (online or paper), watch French TV and movies (see if your cable company offers TV5 Monde), attend French events, dine at French restaurants, cook French food, and of course, spend time traveling in France. Your confidence will go way up – and you’ll find you can say things you didn’t even know you knew!

- Recognize that the French value good pronunciation more than good grammar or good vocabulary. It pays to make an effort to shed that American accent and ’sound more French.’ So be sure to take a French course that includes pronunciation as part of its curriculum. Or take a very focused French pronunciation or phonetics class at some point in your language journey.

Speaking of journeys, a final thought is that learning another language and another culture is always a process. It doesn’t happen overnight (too bad!), and I am not sure it’s ever possible to say one has ‘arrived’ as a language is wonderfully rich and the kaleidoscope of a culture is always changing. But with a little focus and effort, anyone can learn some French…and have wonderful cultural experiences along the way.

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Paris fleurs

A previous version of this article was published in November, 2011.

French Take-Out ~ La France à emporter

The next round of French Affaires’ language classes will begin in January, 2015. If you have been thinking about learning your first French words or want to exercise your French conversation skills, then check out our upcoming offerings. We’ll also have our special “French for Travelers” class at SMU to make your next visit to France easy and rewarding. For more details, please click on the course titles below:

Beginning French Part 1

Advanced French Conversation

French for Travelers

Our culture seminars this spring include “Magnificent Châteaux Near Paris: Day Excursions in the Ile de France” and “French Kings & Queens: A History of the Monarchy of France.” And there are always ongoing cultural events – the French Cookbook Club, French Cuisine & Culture Workshops and more – designed to bring even more of France to the U.S.! Check out the Events page at www.frenchaffaires.com for details and updates.

NB: If you’d like to see one of these classes or events offered in your city, please contact us for more details at info.french@frenchaffaires.com.

First French Words Wednesday, Nov 30 2011 

The first French words I remember learning were la fleur. “The flower.” Our Montessori school teacher held up flashcards with colorful images and instructed us to repeat the French names after her. I was five years old and with those few phrases in our kindergarten curriculum, something French in me must have clicked.

flower

After a sprinkling of Spanish in elementary school, I started taking French in earnest in sixth grade and never stopped. Monsieur Ross taught us the building blocks of the French language in seventh and eighth grades. In high school, Mademoiselle Steensen reinforced grammar with the command, “Scamper to the blackboard, Mademoiselle Nouvelle, and conjugate your French verbs!” (My maiden name was “New” so I earned the name Mademoiselle Nouvelle or Nouveau depending on my teacher’s mood.) She had an eagle eye for mistakes so you definitely had to keep up on les verbes.

We graduated from French verbs to French literature by the end of my high school years. And then I continued my French language adventure in college, really taking the plunge by spending my sophomore spring in Aix-en-Provence. I still remember our vivacious and energetic Provence culture professor who kept us spellbound for hours with tales and legends of southern France–all in French, of course.

 

By this time, I was hooked on the language and the culture of la belle France, and it was only a matter of time before I ended up in graduate school getting a doctorate in the subject, going to the Sorbonne in Paris and finally becoming a professor of French myself. Even though I now do a variety of ‘French things’ in addition to teaching the language, I still love to work with people to help them learn their “first French words” and more.

 

A propos, I am often asked what advice I would have for making learning French easier and not so intimidating. Here are a few astuces (tips) for saving time, learning more quickly and sounding more French fast:

  • Have a positive attitude. Learning French IS possible.
  • Decide why you want to learn the language. Do you want to get around better on an upcoming trip to France? Or do you think French is poetic and you’ve “always wanted to learn it”? Or??? Once you identify your motivation, you can choose a French course or program that really meets your needs.
  • Learn the language “in chunks.” In other words, don’t try to overanalyze and figure out what every little word or syllable is doing in the French sentence. That can come later if you spend more time in the language. At the beginning, it’s fatiguing and prevents one from communicating–which is the point of language in the first place.
  • Find a part of the language that really motivates you and start from there. If you adore French food and cooking, then build your communication skills and vocabulary around this topic. Maybe your love is gardens, or art, or history, or Paris. Whatever it is, make that your French language learning focus. You’ll be more motivated and much more successful.
  • Recognize that the French value good pronunciation more than good grammar or good vocabulary. It pays to make an effort to shed that American accent and “sound more French.” So be sure to take a French course that includes pronunciation as part of its curriculum. Or take a very focused French pronunciation or phonetics class at some point in your language journey.

Speaking of journeys, a final thought is that learning another language and another culture is always a process. It doesn’t happen overnight (too bad!), and I am not sure it’s ever possible to say one has “arrived” as a language is wonderfully rich and the kaleidoscope of a culture is always changing. But with a little focus and effort, anyone can learn some French…and have a wonderful cultural experience along the way.

 

 

Paris fleurs…

 

French Take-Out ~ La France à emporter

The next round of French Affaires’ language classes will begin in January of 2012. If you have been thinking about learning your first French words or want to exercise your French conversation skills, then check out our upcoming offerings. We’ll also have our special “Travel French” class to make your next visit to France easy and rewarding. For more details, click here or click on the course titles below:

 

- Beginning French

- French Conversation

- Travel French

 

Courses coming later in Spring 2012 include: “Intro to French Conversation” and “French Pronunciation Clinic.” And there are always our ongoing cultural events designed to bring a bit of France to the U.S.!

 

The Sounds of French Friday, Mar 25 2011 

To Anglo-Saxons, French people are well-known for their pride of place. They are very fiers (proud) of their country, its history and its culture. After all, France was the world’s trend setter in diplomacy, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, science, and more for centuries.

Many English speakers are also aware that the French hold their language in high esteem. Unfortunately, this awareness has not always come under the best of circumstances. It’s been widely noted that the French have not taken kindly to English-speaking travelers running about their country not knowing a lick of French. In fact, I would say that much of the legendary French rudeness has to do with the Anglo-Saxon unwillingness or inability to communicate in French.

But if you have been on the receiving end of a perceived French slight, it’s helpful to dig a little deeper and understand why speaking a little French when buying a baguette in a boulangerie (bakery) in France is a must. One of my favorite quotes about the French attitude towards their language comes from the book Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong (2003), a cultural study of France by Canadians Jean-Benoît Nadeau & Julie Barlow. They shed some further light on how the French feel about their native tongue:

“Language is a national complex in France. Anglo-Americans consider language a tool, but the French regard it as an accomplishment, even a work of art. They love and cherish their language in ways that are almost incomprehensible to English speakers. It’s their national monument.”

Before Americans get complexed about not speaking French in France as well as a French person, it is helpful to know that the internet and globalization have led to a much wider use of English in France. Nowadays, when your French taxi driver speaks English back to you, it’s not to show up your French—it’s to practice his English!

Still, when traveling in France, you need to know a little French, if only for good cultural relations. The trick is to focus on what will get you around the best—and also which part of the language the French care about most. There are three parts to this formula:

First, you need to put together a ‘French toolkit’ of key words and phrases. Second, you need to master the top cultural and etiquette rules to avoid those embarrassing “faux pas” (‘faux pas’ literally means ‘false step’ in French). And finally, you need to know which of the three components of their language the French care about the most—is it grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation? If you guessed pronunciation, vous avez raison (you are right).

I recently looked around my library from my French professor days, and as if to underscore this point, the number of titles having to do with French phonetics and pronunciation is considerable…

-       Exercices systématiques de prononciation française (Systematic exercises of French pronunication) 

-       Principes de phonétique française a l’usage des étudiants anglo-américains (Principles of French phonetics for Anglo-American Students) 

-       The Phonetics of French

-       Bien entendu! Introduction à la prononciation française (Introduction to French Pronunication) 

-       Les difficultés phonétiques du français (The Difficulties of French Phonetics) 

-       Outils: Le français par le dialogue (Tools: French By Dialogue)

-       A drillbook of French pronunication

-       Introduction à la phonétique corrective (Introduction to Corrective Phonetics)

-       D’Accord: La Prononciation du français international – acquisition et perfectionnement (The Pronunciation of International French)

-       Savoir dire – cours de phonétique et de prononication (To Know How to Say It in French: A Course in Phonetics and Pronunciation)

-       Outils: Façons de parler (Tools: Ways of Speaking French)

-       Exercises in French phonics

Despite the serious sounding works above, there are some specific–and fairly easy–ways for English speakers to put aside their American accent and quickly sound more French. Even if you were not a French major in college. And with a bit of time and attention to pronouncing the French language, you can pleasantly surprise many French people on your next visit to France.

So you are probably asking which French language book includes this (almost magic) three-part formula to getting around in French in France? I wish I could say that one exists—maybe I will have to put it together! But due to the numerous requests for this info that I have received over the years from American travelers, I did create a “Survival French” class which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. It’s practically a crash course in Beginning French with the key phrases, essential etiquette and pronunciation tips included. I’ll be teaching it starting next week at SMU in Dallas, and if you have a France trip coming up this spring or summer, you might want to come join us—your French savvy will help you have the trip of a lifetime.

French Take-Out ~ La France à emporter

The French Affaires ‘Survival French’ course is offered this spring through SMU’s Continuing Education program:

Survival French:  Keys for a Successful Travel Experience in France - March 28-30 (Mon, Tues, Wed nights) from 7 to 9pm, SMU Dallas campus – $79

“Making an effort with the language in France goes a long way, even though almost everyone speaks English these days. Learn five keys of French language and culture that will pave the way for a great trip to Paris or any other destination in “la belle France.” Cover essential phrases, “La French etiquette,” indispensable pronunciation tips, and more. This course complements regular French courses; however, no previous French study is required.”  Our class text: “Larousse French Phrasebook” (approx $5.95), available at the SMU Bookstore, Mockingbird & Airline, 214-768-2435. To register for the Survival French course, please click here.

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Last year’s class at SMU really got into it–here is some feedback from participants Beth and Don M.:

“Our group from your class just got back last night from our trip to Europe, most of which was in France. We had a ball and owe a lot of our success to your class. The French were great. They just light up when you greet them and bounce a ‘Bonjour’ back. It’s really an ice breaker. And sure enough, we always had to ask for the check which you taught us…Thanks again for all the tips on visiting France. It really helped.”

Also at SMU beginning tonight is the SMU French Film Festival for Spring 2011. You can hear the sounds of French through several contemporary French films with subtitles. Click here to see the film line-up and schedule.