Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

11 signs you've cracked the French language

Share this article

11 signs you've cracked the French language
Photo: Jason DeVaun/Flickr
17:08 CET+01:00
How do you know when you've really mastered the French language? If you can tick off most of the signs on this list, then you'll be well on your way.

(Photo: Didriks/Flickr)
 
When you know the abbreviated French words, (officially known as apocopes), it's a sign you're on your way. Do you know all of the above?
 
Champ – Champagne, Apero – aperitif, aprem – apres midi, expo – exposition (exhibition) and comme d'hab – comme d'habitude (as usual). There's many, many more to learn.
 

(Photo: AFP)
 
Instinctively reacting with a French word means your brain is automatically thinking in French even when experiencing shock and a near death experience. It's a good sign. Here's some more info on what the French do and don't say when they are angry.
  

(Photo: Mr_Renart/Flickr)
 
Having an ingrained knowledge of all those pesky false friends or "faux amis" is real step in the right direction, not least because you'll stop embarrassing yourself when you finally know that "excité" can mean "aroused", "sensible" means "sensitive" and the word "s'introduire" means "to penetrate". Here's a list of the most two-faced false friends in French.
 

(Photo: Jason DeVaun/Flickr)
 
Yep, if you can say 73 as "sixty thirteen" (soixante treize) and 99 as "four twenty ten nine" (quatre-vingt dix-neuf) then you've overcome a major obstacle to not just learning French, but settling down and being happy in your adopted country.
 

(Photo: Arlo Bates/Flickr)
 
The words "du coup", which roughly mean "as a result" or "so that means" are incredibly "a la mode" these days, with French people peppering their conversations with the term. If you know when to use it, then abuse it. 
 

(Photo: Andrew Toskin/Flickr)
 
The French language is home to thousands of idioms and if you can use them instead of trying to translate ones from your own language, then you're doing well. Here's a list of French expressions they don't teach you in school.
 

(Photo: WikiCommons)
 
Indeed using any example of "verlan", a slang where the syllables of words are pronounced backwards, is an important step when mastering French and speaking like a native.
 
Extra points if you knew that the word verlan itself is an example of verlan... it comes from the word "l'envers", meaning "the reverse". Extra points again if you noticed the word "verlan" in the picture above is an ambigram - and looks the same upside-down.
 

(The Basilique Saint-Remi de Reims. Photo: CpaKmoi/Flickr)
 
Yep, French is full of difficult, even impossible words to pronounce. Some French learners have been known to spend their whole lives trying to say "serrurerie" and never quite get there - as this video shows.
 

(Photo: IntelFreePress/Flickr)
 
Yep, when it comes to texting French morphs into a different language. So "je suis mort de rire, merci, je t'aime beaucoup, a demain" often look something like the computer code above. Here's a list of 15 handy terms from French texting lingo.
 

(Photo: Johan/Flickr)
 
French is not as bad as German for its confusing word order but it can be troublesome. Trying to say "I miss my family" (ma famille me manque) or "my family misses me" (je manque à ma famille) is particularly tricky.
 

(Photo: Gioa De Antoniis/Flickr)
 
Anyone who has mastered the subjunctive deserves a legion d'honneur award and the right to call themselves bilingual.
 
For those who've never heard of it (lucky you), the subjunctive is described as more of a mood than a tense, and is used to describe opinions or feelings. 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement

From our sponsors

The Swedish university where students tackle real-world problems

Ranked among the world's best young universities in the QS Top 50 Under 50, Linköping University (LiU) uses innovative learning techniques that prepare its students to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement