The French language and its tricky parts

1. How do you say “yes” in French?

No need to read twice, I really mean my question:). If you really are fluent in French, you will know that there are many ways to agree. And by using the word “si” instead of “oui” properly it will make you sound like a true French! (Oui ! Oui !), as not all languages have this synonym in response to a negative question.

Of course, there are plenty of alternatives to say yes, but “si” is used when there is a negative in the original question.
Example: Tu ne pars pas maintenant? (You are not leaving now, are you?)

Answering “si” means you agree with the person and yes, it is correct that you are leaving.

2. The French pronunciation

Nasal vowels – Thanks to this pronunciation difficulty, I had a lot of good times with my foreign friends speaking to me in French 🙂 It’s really hard indeed to use nasal vowels when you are not used to it. It sounds like the speaker’s nose is stuffed up: just listen, practice and you will avoid misunderstanding.

Liaisons and silent letters – Many French words end with consonants that are usually silent*, unless the following word begins with a vowel, so that consonants are pronounced at the beginning of the next word**, unless (again!) the next word starts with an “h aspiré”, in which case there will be no liaison***. (So obvious, right?)

* beaucoup
** chez elle
*** un méchant héros

3. The English and French “rendez-vous”…

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…or the modification of English words by the French language: this will be a big drawback for English-speakers since they will have to learn a new “frenchified” version of the English word. This section concerned only the French from France and not the one used by our dear friends from Canada of course:)
It’s really confusing for French people when using these words in English as they will assume it is completely the same as in English. Here are some examples:

French English
Un smoking A tuxedo
Un lifting A facelift
Un play-back A lip-synching
Des baskets Sneakers
Un brushing A blow-dry
Un relooking A makeover
Un pressing A dry-cleaner
Un barman/Une barmaid A bartender

Created with the HTML Table Generator

A lot of websites or magazines are using this type of vocabulary because they are targeting young people and want to seem cool and trendy!


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Do you use also these cool incorrect English words in your own language? Share it with us!


Did you know that offers also a blog in French only? Feel free to practice your French by reading our posts about travelling, language learning, the French language and its culture! Have fun!


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