French Word of the Day

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

le sirop d’érable

maple syrup

Le sirop d’érable est produit au Québec de la sève des érables canadiens.
Maple syrup is produced in Quebec from the sap of Canadian maple trees.

If you visit Quebec, you will find sirop d’érable available in practically every store that caters to tourists. It is one of the signature products of the region.

With summer fading into the distance for many of us, we’re thinking about the tastes of fall — les goûts d’automne.

Vocabulary Section: Food and Drink, Word of the Day
Friday, September 28, 2012

s’engager sur l’autoroute

to take the highway

Je m’engage sur l’autoroute vers Marseille.
I’m taking the highway (motorway) to Marseille.

This expression could be used with any road:

  • Je m’engage sur la 101. (I take the 101.)
  • Je m’engage sur la route N79. (I take the N79.)
  • Engagez-vous sur la route à péage. (Take the toll road.)

When you learn the word for car, la voiture, in French class, the vocabulary sometimes doesn’t go too far beyond that. But there is, of course, so much vocabulary related to cars and driving. Today, we’ll help you get past la voiture to a practical phrase that will keep you moving.

Vocabulary Section: Cars, Expressions, Word of the Day
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

si ça vous chante

if it suits you
(literal, unused translation: if it sings to you)

On va au magasin cet après-midi, si ça vous chante.
We’ll go to the store this afternoon, if you like.

One of the most difficult things about becoming fluent in French is learning to recognize all of the many idiom expressions — those phrases that mean something different than their literal meanings suggest. In English, think of the phrase It’s raining cats and dogs. Today’s phrase, originally suggested by Bill Scoble, a friend of our site, is a similar example. Add phrases like this to your vocabulary, and you’ll sound like a native speaker in no time.

Vocabulary Section: Idiom Expressions, Word of the Day
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

fermier(s), fermière(s)

farm (as an adjective)

On va apprendre des mots pour les animaux fermiers.
We’re going to learn words for farm animals.

We’re learning the vocabulary of the farm, or la ferme.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

un professeur

teacher, professor

Madame DuChamps est professeur de français.
Mrs. DuChamps is a French teacher.

TIP: The gender of the word professeur is masculine whether it refers to a man or woman.

Saturday, September 22, 2012



Il voulait bouger la grande pierre, mais elle était trop lourde.
He wanted to move the big stone, but it was too heavy.

Vocabulary Section: Adjectives, Word of the Day
Friday, September 21, 2012

un frigo

a fridge, refrigerator

Mets le lait au frigo, s’il te plaît.
Put the milk in the fridge, please.

Vocabulary Section: Around the House, Word of the Day
Thursday, September 20, 2012


up there

Regarde l’oiseau là-haut.
Look at the bird up there.

Oh là là
One of the things you might notice when you visit a French-speaking country is that the word — there — comes up a lot. Inevitably, there seems to be some pointing involved as someone describes to you where something is located. Moreover, is often combined with other adverbs of place to emphasize the direction of something. Today’s word is one example of how works with another adverb.

Vocabulary Section: Adverbs, Word of the Day
Monday, September 17, 2012

un étudiant, une étudiante

a student

Jean est étudiant. Mireille est étudiante aussi.
Jean is a student; Mireille is also a student.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

un réveil par téléphone

a wake-up call

Voulez-vous un réveil par téléphone?
Do you want a wake-up call?

Our vocabulary topic is the hotel. If you’re planning a trip to France or another French-speaking country now or just someday in the future, words like today’s will help you take care of the very essential task of reserving a room and navigating the hotel once you’re there. Bon voyage!

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