A Quick French Lesson from Anne: French Words You Already Know

by | Sep 15, 2014 | French Lessons

Learning French will seem easy to you once you realize that you realize all the French words you never knew you knew!

Learning French, especially at the beginning, can seem intimidating. But, once you see all of the French that you already know, picking up French vocabulary will be no problem! While teaching French classes in Naperville, I always encourage my students to look at patterns in the French language and look for words that are already around them in English. Seeing the origin of the word can reveal a hidden meaning.

It doesn’t take your first Naperville French lessons with me to get a few French words down. Words we use everyday provide a little French lesson- like restaurant, proposition, table, and television.

Aside from exact words, the English language takes many words that are originally French by simply changing up the ending. These are words like history, coming from histoire in French, and victory, which also drops the –oire ending and adds on a –ory. Similarly, vocabulaire, revolutionaire, secrétaire, nécessaire, ordinaire, and militaire are French words that have been used in English by dropping the –aire for –ary. Now you see the similarity, right?

Even professions often have a similar look and feel, something that my students taking French courses in Naperville greatly appreciate when learning vocational vocabulary. Acteur is French for actor. Docteur is French for doctor. Employeur? As the logic goes, that is for employer. Directeur means director; entrepreneur is just as it sounds in English!

The harder part of connecting French and English words is when words with the same meaning have a minimal look and feel. These tricks are less obvious to those who don’t know French, but those receiving my Naperville French tutoring in Illinois are quick to pick up the change. A large part of American words have French roots, although pronunciation and spelling has changed over the years. Raison is French for reason. Faible is French for weak; it may not seem similar, but when you realize that faible is like feeble, it all makes sense.

This quick French lesson goes to show you that you can learn French words easily, even before you start taking my Naperville French lessons! Now that you are seeing French words that you already know, keep looking around for what else you can find that originates from the French language. These new words will help you to better understand French and speed up your French classes in Naperville with me! Contact me for other ways you can learn French outside of the classroom.


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