bonjour = hello (boñzhoor)
au revoir = goodbye (oh ruh-vwar)
oui = yes (wee)
non = no (noñ)
s’il vous plaît = please (seel voo play)
merci = thank you (mer-see)
excusez-moi = excuse me (exkoo-zay-mwah)
le matin = morning (matañ)
l’après-midi = afternoon (l’apreh-meedee)
le soir = evening (swar)
hier = yesterday (eeyehr)
aujourd’hui = today (oh-zhoor-dwee)
demain = tomorrow (duhmañ)
ici = here (ee-see)
là = there (lah)
How many of these words did you know? Are there other words you consider essential to know from your experiences in France or learning French? Tell us what you think. Now for a few facts about the French language…
French language Facts
- At the time of the French Revolution in 1793, 75% of French citizens did not speak French as a mother tongue. Each region had its own dialect and patois. Until the 19th century, French was spoken more widely in Holland and Germany than in some parts of France.
- French is still a working language of the UN, the EU, and dozens of international organizations including the International Red Cross committee, International Labor Organization, Amnesty International, and Doctors without Borders. Francophone countries form an important bloc in the UN, the EU, the African Union, and the Arab League.
- About a third to a half of basic English words come from French, including pedigree, surf, view, strive, challenge, pride, staunch and war.
- The French Academy, created in 1635, was the first body ever to rule over a language. Since then, most of the world’s main languages have had a similar type of institution and most countries of the world rule over proper language rules, including all Spanish-speaking, Scandinavian, German-speaking, Arabic-speaking countries. English-speaking countries are the only exception.
So there you go, a little bit about the French language. If you are interested in learning French, the Alliance Française of Sydney or Newcastle offer lessons and run French events. Local ‘Meet Up‘ groups often have French tuition or themed activities you can also join in. Abbey Bookstore has a huge range of French books to fuel your reading and learning.
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