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French All Around Us

French is a language that has been popular throughout the United States for years. To prove this point pull out a tube of any lipstick and read the label. French can be found in Birmingham too. The following photos are examples of French in our community.

The Language Links sections provides links to wonderful resources that will help teachers hear and learn the basics of French.

Users Guide in French

This is an example of instrumental reading.

Shampoo Bottle with French on the front

This is an example of instrumental reading

Pyrex bakeware with French writing on the box

This is an example of instrumental reading


Sewing kit with French list of contents

This is an example of instrumental writing


French Magazine

This is an example of recreational reading

Language Links: French

The following websites are wonderful links to audio and videos that will assist teachers in learning basic French language skills and survival terminology. The greatest thing is they are all free.


Overview of the French Language

In addition to being the official language of France, French is also the official language of Haiti, Luxembourg, and more than fifteen countries in Africa. The French language is one of the official languages in Canada, Belgium, and Switzerland, plus it is considered an unofficial second language in many countries such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. French is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations. In all, approximately 75 million people speak French as their native language. In addition, many people around the world learn French in school.

The French language that exists today is the result of a long and complex evolution. Ancient France was invaded by different ethnic and linguistic groups: Celts, Greeks, Romans, Franks and other Germanic tribes, and Arabs. The name "France" actually comes from the name of the Germanic tribe, the Franks, who entered France during late antiquity and gradually became the dominant people. They adopted the late form of Latin that was spoken in the country at the time, but added many of their own words and changed some of the Latin forms to resemble their own more closely.

French Vocabulary

People who speak French today can not understand the early forms of French spoken before the 12th century or so without specialized study. Over the years, as different peoples entered the country, the words and grammatical structures evolved to fit the needs and patterns of the developing French language. Two examples: the Latin for "farmer" was "agricola"; the French is now agriculteur. The Latin for "(they) are" was "sunt"; the conjugated French verb has become sont.

French vocabulary has contributed many words and phrases to the English language. For example, hors d'oeuvre, en route, rendezvous, and R.S.V.P. all come from French.

As you are learning French, you may find it comforting to recognize some French words. However, although French and English share many words and expressions, don't assume that a French vocabulary word always means what you expect it to mean in English. For example, the French word comment doesn't mean "comment." It means "how." And demander doesn't mean "to demand." It means "to ask." A person who is sympathique is not sympathetic-- he's nice.


To learn more about the French Language, click here.