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French in Action

Anyone familiar with this program from the 80s for learning French? I remember it being on TV as a child in the late 80s early 90s, around the time I started being really curious about languages. Found it years later and the word is that it is one of the best programs for learning French.

I'm currently making my way through it now, not super strictly, just casually watching an episode a day to see how I go. I definitely can see that if you rewatch the episodes a number of times you should get at least a good passive understanding. I'm surprised by how much I get as it is, considering they speak at a natural speed.

The tone of it is very funny too, like silly, but purposefully, and not so much that it becomes cringeworthy like a lot of language programs. I'm finding it endearing, to be honest. Only up to episode 12, so we'll see how we go. Valérie Allain is seriously beautiful too, and I'm not even into women.

by Anonymousreply 126October 16, 2021 12:07 AM

What was Robert's deal? He always seemed so depressed.

by Anonymousreply 1October 8, 2021 12:15 PM

Pauvre Robert! Fils unique, parents divorcés, mère remariée... Il va peut-être avoir des complexes.

by Anonymousreply 2October 8, 2021 12:23 PM

Interesting post OP. yOu certainly know that but 30% of english language has French origin. And the Americans add new words every pretty often, even if they sometimes use them very badly. There is a long list to the french words American use:

cul-de-sac, courage, résumé, rendez-vous, je-ne-sais-quoi, déjà vu, femme fatale, exposé, fiancé, touché, c'est la vie, amuse-bouche, vinaigrette, bon appétit, café, bon vivant, avant-agarde, billet doux, brunette, ménage à trois, chic, beaux-arts, sauté, voilà, petite, cliché, pot-pourri etc...

A few days ago, on the DL, an army of crazy bitches attacked me because I dared to correct the OP for using the word "coup", as most Americans do, when the real words for someone taking the power by force is "coup d'état" The word coup in French has another meaning. For saying that, I was insulted as if i insulted their moms.

by Anonymousreply 3October 8, 2021 12:31 PM

Coup is definitely an interesting word R3, it has a lot of uses from what I see in French, a lot idiomatic.

My French is pretty poor, but it definitely helps that there is so much that has entered the English language (and that I speak Italian somewhat). Listening skills are harder in other languages I've studied though, because they really smoosh all the words together!

My little Assimil French book says that "ça ne fait rien" also entered English in the interwar years among certain British people (brought back from the war by soldiers), as "san fairy ann".

by Anonymousreply 4October 8, 2021 12:38 PM

^Excuse me, I meant, listening skills are harder here THAN in other languages I've studied before.

by Anonymousreply 5October 8, 2021 12:39 PM

If you think they speak at a natural speed they have slowed it down considerably for English speakers. French people speak faster than the speed of light and don't pronounce their consonants and are constantly using idioms. Watching any contemporary French film without subtitles will demonstrate that. If you want to speak the language at a merely competent level as an adult live in France for a few years while at the same time taking language courses several times a week without speaking English to anyone.

Coup in English means coup d'etat in French. That is self evident. You weren't insulting their mother you were wrongly insulting them. I assume you are not a native English speaker though you are fluent.

by Anonymousreply 6October 8, 2021 12:40 PM

R6 The word coup in French means to receive a blow. Like when someone hits you. Coup d'état is when someone takes power by force. I'm sorry, but the word coup is French, not English, and every time the French hear American saying "coup" to mean an insurrection or someone trying to attack democracy, they're laughing at the Americans. Correcting people is not insulting them. Oh and i lived in France for years, i know exactly what i'm talking about, thanks.

by Anonymousreply 7October 8, 2021 12:49 PM

Oh and "état" means the state. That's why French say "coup d'état" and not coup.

by Anonymousreply 8October 8, 2021 12:53 PM

This is the program my French class used and it's great! Some very funny bits and I ended up buying the entire program on dvd.

by Anonymousreply 9October 8, 2021 1:22 PM

Mireille and Robert were such a cute couple and très chic.

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by Anonymousreply 10October 8, 2021 1:32 PM

"Coup" is literally blow or strike, yes?

So "coup d'etat" is a strike against the state.

January 6th, par exemple.

by Anonymousreply 11October 8, 2021 1:38 PM

Since the crazed French pedant has immediately taken over this thread, I'll say what I said on the other thread that they took over: I'll stop abbreviating "coup d'état" to "coup" when the French stop abbreviating "parking garage" to "parking."

Either demand is ridiculous.

by Anonymousreply 12October 8, 2021 1:42 PM

R11 Exactly

by Anonymousreply 13October 8, 2021 2:38 PM

R7 you are just plain wrong. In English coup has always meant overthrow of the state or government. It doesn't matter that it means a blow or strike in French. You're being a prissy French teacher who is tetu.

by Anonymousreply 14October 8, 2021 2:58 PM


by Anonymousreply 15October 8, 2021 3:01 PM

We watched this and read Allons-Y! magazine. And then watched My Father’s Glory and My Mother’s Castle.

I barely remember a word of French.

by Anonymousreply 16October 8, 2021 3:03 PM

R14 When will you get that coup is not an english word?? There is no "in english", because coup is french not english. The only meaning coup has is in French! Jesus! Also you can't say "it has always meant overthrow of the state or government " since the word coup was taken by Americans from the French people, in a very recent history. Unbelievable how dumb some people are.

by Anonymousreply 17October 8, 2021 3:54 PM

Miss R17 has just offered a good example of her own last sentence.

by Anonymousreply 18October 8, 2021 5:17 PM

Hey OP, you'll know you're good when you can understand Québécois French!

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by Anonymousreply 19October 8, 2021 5:44 PM

R18 I am a HIM, not a her. Sorry. Only people with an inferiority complex or who are totally immature get offended because they discover that they are using a foreign word iin the wrong way. Anywhere else, real adults intelligent and curious enough would have laughed about it or found it interesting.

by Anonymousreply 20October 8, 2021 6:21 PM

I took French in junior high, and we used to watch an instructional TV show called [italic]Les aventures de Samba et Bouboune,[/italic] about two young globetrotting French-African journalists with gigantic 1970s Afros. I had a huge crush on Samba.

by Anonymousreply 21October 8, 2021 6:40 PM

R19, at the moment I'm just proud of myself that I can even identify when someone is from Canada, not France. There is a song called "Poussière" and when I heard it I thought: "She's Canadian" and was way too proud of myself for being able to identify that, haha. Basically I just listen for how they pronounce the "ère" ending, as "aaahr". Any more than that is awhile down the track I imagine haha.

I do think it's interesting how their swear words are all things like "tabernacle" and "cross" and "host" etc.

by Anonymousreply 22October 8, 2021 8:34 PM

Oh, and I have to say, I nearly choked when the Professor in these videos was trying to show how the name "Robert" n'est pas facile à prononcer and gets the students to say it badly, and deliberately gets the Asian woman to pronounce it "Lobad".

by Anonymousreply 23October 8, 2021 8:37 PM

I liked that “French in Action” incorporated a lot of clips from French films in order to acclimate the learner’s ear to variations in the French accent.

However, I wish that the series featured a wider vocabulary in the more advanced episodes. Vocabulary is everything when learning a foreign language.

by Anonymousreply 24October 8, 2021 11:38 PM

Yeah that's a good point R24. I know my passive understanding of French is pretty good, but my production is awful, because I don't have enough vocabulary, I don't think.

In the episode I just watched, the old lady drops her groceries and says: "saloperie de sac!" Is "saloperie" an offensive word? I only ask because Mireille says "merde" in another episode. I know these aren't really strong words, but I kinda liked that this kind of language was included in the episodes.

I'm about to start on episode 13 and all I've read so far is people saying this is the most difficult lesson due to one of the characters and the way he speaks. Will be interesting to see. If it's the one I've already met briefly, he does speak in a way that's hard to understand. He was just saying things like "Il fait beau" but it sounded like "ilfbo" if that haha.

by Anonymousreply 25October 8, 2021 11:43 PM

Why is a man in a black coat and hat creeping around? I thought I was watching a giallo for a moment.

by Anonymousreply 26October 9, 2021 1:35 AM

Op I agree, the actress who played Mireille was so beautiful & had the best hair ever! I still remember this blouse/skirt combo she wore with that chic ponytail!

by Anonymousreply 27October 9, 2021 1:45 AM

Oh yeah, she's wearing that combo at the part I'm currently watching, red skirt, white blouse. She also plays the moquesue well. I kinda like too how they go for the natural approach with the relationship between the sisters (especially Mireille and Marie-Laure), rather than something sappy you might normally see.

by Anonymousreply 28October 9, 2021 1:54 AM

How relevant are the audio tapes and workbooks to completing this course. I only have the videos on YouTube and the textbook that contains a version of the dialogues and some questions in it. I don't expect to become fluent using one thing (I plan to use Assimil a bit later on, and then *gulp* try it out with real conversation partners), but because so many people say how good this program is, I'm wondering how I'll get by with just the videos basically.

by Anonymousreply 29October 9, 2021 2:20 AM

Franck de la Personne, who played Mireille's snobby red-head friend Hubert, was in the film Le Ciel Sur La Tete and is very funny in it. I recognized him even though he got really fat.

However, he had some trouble in his acting career after supporting the Front National.

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by Anonymousreply 30October 9, 2021 2:55 AM

^ I forgot to mention he plays a gay guy in Le Ciel Sur La Tete.

by Anonymousreply 31October 9, 2021 2:56 AM

Mireille and Robert reunited at a French In Action conference at Yale about a decade ago.

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by Anonymousreply 32October 9, 2021 2:58 AM

I had a big crush on Robert back in the day.

by Anonymousreply 33October 9, 2021 3:32 AM

Mireille and Robert are truly beautiful looking people. It makes me imagine what a series made today would be like, and it would be that plastic, overdone "beauty" I am sure.

I just saw a couple of videos on YouTube of "beautiful" gay couples - guys in their 20s who have had cheekbone lifts, etc. While I do believe you have the right to do what you want with your body, I find it so sad how so much natural beauty is not seen on our screens these days. I have a friend who we've all tried telling him is beautiful as is, but he won't stop fucking his face up because he doesn't look like everyone else.

by Anonymousreply 34October 9, 2021 3:41 AM

That was a cute improv skit they did at the Yale reunion, r32. My attempt at a synopsis:

Robert & Mireille meet by chance in New Haven after 25 years without having had any contact since their summer in Paris. Robert teaches French at Yale and developed a teaching framework based on that summer’s events. Mireille is at Yale as a guest lecturer at the drama school(?). After their magical summer in Paris 25 years ago, the R&M lost contact. Robert got involved with a violently jealous Argentine woman. Mireille’s acting career took off and Robert followed her from afar, too shy to try to reconnect. They agree to meet for dinner at 5:35.

by Anonymousreply 35October 9, 2021 3:42 AM

I'm kind of obsessed with that creepy puppet that holds the FIN sign at the end. Why do they zoom in on it like that? Haha.

I just finished the dreaded lesson 13 on le dragueur. I found it ok once the professor started walking us through it in the second half. I did kind of understand what was happening, just that there was so much new vocabulary in that part. I thought I understood more than expected which was nice.

There was something almost endearing about le dragueur, despite the fact he was a pest. I think it is because he was (a) hopeless and (b) his "trucs" were all pretty dated now. Who needs to pretend to fall over in front of a pretty girl, or fake a reconnection with them these days? He'd just be swiping on Tinder and showing cock pics now.

by Anonymousreply 36October 9, 2021 4:11 AM

[quote] When will you get that coup is not an english word?? There is no "in english", because coup is french not english. The only meaning coup has is in French! Jesus! Also you can't say "it has always meant overthrow of the state or government " since the word coup was taken by Americans from the French people, in a very recent history.

Let me make it easy for you.

When a foreign word enters English usage, it becomes subject to the English language structure. Word formation in English hapens to be really flexible and economical (nouns can easily be used as verbs or adjectives without any morphological changes).

So, when the French expression 'coup d'etat' got adopted into English, with use it got contracted to 'coup' to make it more 'English' - there's no d+apostrophe type words in English. At no point in this process does it matter that the word 'coup' separately exists in French. This is called 'divergence".

At some point the contracted 'coup' developed a secondary - and positive - meaning of 'successful move'. This is how word usage evolves, and that has nothing to do with what the same word may mean in the source language.

by Anonymousreply 37October 9, 2021 4:18 AM

For R25: the word “saloperie” is very stronge, yes. The related noun “salope” means “dirty woman” or “dirty whore” by extension.

I never realized that FIA videos included such strong language, although it’s important to recognize it. As a whole, I think Yale University invested their money well. It was Yale that paid for it, right?

by Anonymousreply 38October 9, 2021 4:25 AM

Yes, I think it was Yale. The company is Annenberg, yes? I think they also are responsible for the Destinos series that taught Spanish. I'll have to check that one out sometime too. I'm not sure if Yale was behind that as well?

I really like that the series uses language like that, it's more realistic. Plus language students always like learning that side of things, may as well be up front about it.

Will keep watching to see if "putain" turns up haha.

by Anonymousreply 39October 9, 2021 4:28 AM

… and Marie-Laure never married and grew up to become a private detective.

by Anonymousreply 40October 9, 2021 12:25 PM

I wonder if Marie-Laure stayed thin, with the amount of bonbons she's been shoving into her gob so far, and it's only up to episode 13.

(the actress herself is very charming for a child actress.)

by Anonymousreply 41October 9, 2021 12:33 PM

Occupe-toi de tes affaires, r41!

by Anonymousreply 42October 9, 2021 1:25 PM

Yes, I recall "French In Action", our local PBS station (Channel Thirteen) ran the series.

Began studying French in 6th grade so was very interested in the program.

What one liked is FIA was early adopter of "immersion" way of learning foreign language. That is near total absence of English which forces students to think in French.

This approach was nearly universal by time one reached college, but high school things varied by instructor. Regardless of language (French, Spanish, or German), some teachers in high school or below largely allowed students to speak in English.

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by Anonymousreply 43October 9, 2021 8:28 PM

Ce que tu peux être bête, Marie-Laure/R42!

by Anonymousreply 44October 9, 2021 8:32 PM

Charles Mayer (Robert) was actually French Canadian, not from France as many had assumed.

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by Anonymousreply 45October 9, 2021 8:35 PM

Mireille, ferme ta saloperie de bouche !

by Anonymousreply 46October 9, 2021 8:36 PM

French actress Valérie Allain had a pretty decent career after FIA.

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by Anonymousreply 47October 9, 2021 8:37 PM

Interesting about Robert... I wouldn't have picked he was Canadian from what I've heard, either he did a great French accent or my understanding of the Canadian accent still has some work to do.

by Anonymousreply 48October 9, 2021 8:53 PM

Cecile's husband is way too interested in his wife's 17 year old cousin at one point. And Mireille is just like: "I'm telling you, she's a bitch!" but not like: "Um, you're married to my sister?"

Hehe, I actually like these little touches. It makes the show feel like something different to the usual language program.

by Anonymousreply 49October 9, 2021 8:56 PM

[quote]  "san fairy ann"

"Jackie had some goo" = to each his own

by Anonymousreply 50October 9, 2021 9:00 PM

For some reason there are tons of French Canadians on UES of Manhattan, NYC. Their accent is no different to my ears than what one hears spoken in Paris or other large cities in France.

Then again Metropolitan French is quite similar to formal Quebecois French.

by Anonymousreply 51October 9, 2021 9:00 PM

I LOVED French in Action! I rave about it occasionally to friends, but no one ever knows what I'm talking about. It really was a good way to learn French in high school.

by Anonymousreply 52October 9, 2021 9:01 PM

Did anybody else use a textbook called [italic]Jeunes voix, jeunes visages[/italic]? It was from the late '60s/early '70s and very "hip" and "with it." There were all sorts of profiles of mod young people, including Christine the clotheshorse and a singing group called Les Puces.

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by Anonymousreply 53October 9, 2021 9:05 PM


FIA workbook and study guide can still be had new or used. FIA or rather The Capretz Method is still hugely popular enough that recently an updated version of one or both was released.

Never bothered with workbook or anything else, but then again was studying French at school so used the FIA broadcasts as part of my studies. For someone seeking to use FIA as primary means of learning French simply using audio might not be enough.

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by Anonymousreply 54October 9, 2021 9:09 PM

OMG R53 that looks hilarious.

By the time I got to language classes in the late 90s we had dodgy German rap songs to contend with, haha.

"Mein Name ist Jan / ich habe rot T-shirt an!"

by Anonymousreply 55October 9, 2021 9:10 PM

Also wanted to say try eBay, CL, thrift stores and other places as there is tons of used or even NOS FIA material going for very little money.

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by Anonymousreply 56October 9, 2021 9:11 PM

Yeah R54, I kinda wish I had access to the recordings you see students use in the first episode, you know, to drill on repetition and q&a type things. That would definitely help my pronunciation.

by Anonymousreply 57October 9, 2021 9:11 PM

One phrase that matters: BAISE-MOI !!!

by Anonymousreply 58October 9, 2021 9:13 PM

Et "je jouis!"

by Anonymousreply 59October 9, 2021 9:14 PM

M. Charles Mayer does also have an extensive C.V., it just seems no one has bothered creating a Wiki page.

Besides acting M. Mayer also teaches and is a drama coach.

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by Anonymousreply 60October 9, 2021 9:17 PM

French In Action came on my local PBS station very, very early in the morning I think at 4 a.m.. It was just after The Western Tradition with Eugen Weber and just before Destinos, the Spanish language version of FIA.

All were produced by the Annenberg/CPB project, a joint project of the Annenberg Family Foindation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I think they all included a title sponsor bumper which I’ve linked to below.

The project worked to produce and distribute educational programming of very high quality curated by preeminent professors in the US and was distributed to PBS member stations by WGBH in Boston.

I would see FIA after having watched The Western Tradition. I took Latin and Spanish in high school but found the stories interesting in FIA to follow along even if I didn’t understand much of what was said.

The Western Tradition was fantastic and included visuals of artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection to go with the lectures. I woke up every Tuesday morning at 3:30 to record the programs on VHS so I could watch them later. It’s on Yourube now but I still have those VHS tapes somewhere.

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by Anonymousreply 61October 9, 2021 9:23 PM

It was on really early in the morning here too, R61 (Australia). Not as early as that, but early still. I would see it before school. I agree, there was something about it that even made me at the time who didn't understand a word of French, still want to sit and watch it.

by Anonymousreply 62October 9, 2021 9:36 PM


Great minds think alike! Soon as one saw FIA thread was put in mind of another Annenberg funded project on PBS, "Western Civilization".

Our local PBS station also ran series early in morning and got up to tune in. Eugen Weber was an engaging lecturer, far better than most one had in high school or college.

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by Anonymousreply 63October 9, 2021 9:38 PM

One wonders why R43, R63 is averse to using the first-person singular pronoun. Has she been appointed spokeswoman for a group?

by Anonymousreply 64October 9, 2021 9:42 PM

Do educational programs of this calibre get made these days? I'd be curious. There seems like such an effort was made to provide a great service with these programs. I wonder if nowadays the money isn't there for it. Also people's attention spans. Crash Course is great, but it's not deep in any way. But it seems more like what people want these days. And most language programs in particular seem pretty shit.

by Anonymousreply 65October 9, 2021 9:44 PM

What's helpful is a number of the lines from this become fixed in your head, especially on rewatching some episodes, and you associate it with images and it really helps. Things like them saying: "voyons" or "si vous voulez" etc, in the way they do helps you use them in the right places too.

One random line sticking in my head at the moment is:

"Pas une vieille dame, pas une jeune femme, pas une petite fille, mais une jeune fille."

Then there's:

"Nous? On a l'air bizarre? Bizarre, bizarre..." hehe.

by Anonymousreply 66October 10, 2021 12:34 AM

R66, what your taking about is this.

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by Anonymousreply 67October 10, 2021 12:52 AM

Oh the whole memory palace idea! Thanks R67! I have heard of people utilising this, however it never really worked for me creating it as a literal palace (ie, go into this room in my mind and remember everything), but I see it's more than that. Tying it to imagery and sound really works for me. I almost view learning language as like learning lyrics for songs and learning in phrases rather than singular words really helps here.

I see language in colours and shapes too, so this might be why I do it the way I do.

by Anonymousreply 68October 10, 2021 12:58 AM

Is this the series with the young high school/college aged kids? One of the girls was blonde and always wore a ponytail, IIRC. I really like it at the time.

by Anonymousreply 69October 10, 2021 1:08 AM

I think they're most university ages and up, from what I've seen so far, R69. Mireille does wear a ponytail most of the time. There are a couple of younger characters like her sister Marie-Laure and cousin Yvonne.

by Anonymousreply 70October 10, 2021 1:10 AM

Did anyone else's teachers give them French names?

by Anonymousreply 71October 10, 2021 1:18 AM

Les Puces sounds awfully familiar, R53.

by Anonymousreply 72October 10, 2021 1:25 AM

I studied German at school, R71, but yes, we got German names. I was Jörg.

Mais, "Robert" R71, ce n'est pas facile à prononcer...

by Anonymousreply 73October 10, 2021 1:28 AM

R71, in Latin I was ‘Antony’ and in Spanish I was ‘Toño’.

I think the Tono was because my Spanish teacher was a college friend of my mother’s and also had a son named Tony so she made my Spanish name more familiar and loving.

by Anonymousreply 74October 10, 2021 2:15 AM

In my day, it was a Berlitz book or nothing.

by Anonymousreply 75October 10, 2021 2:21 AM

Est-ce que Charles Mayer a “un” OnlyFans ?

by Anonymousreply 76October 10, 2021 2:22 AM

I wish there was an Italian in Action type program.

I wonder why this model wasn't followed going forward? I suppose Destinos is similar? (I've never used it, but I assume so), but other than that, are there any similar programs? If it was so successful, why not? Just a matter of funding and time? It would've been a pretty expensive project, I imagine.

In my day we had Extr@ on TV in French, Spanish, English and German (only the English ran for 30 episodes, the rest 13). It's pretty cheesy and cringeworthy in parts, but not completely terrible.

by Anonymousreply 77October 10, 2021 2:23 AM

I recall a great television series: Russian Language and People.

by Anonymousreply 78October 10, 2021 2:33 AM

Was this the one, R78?

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by Anonymousreply 79October 10, 2021 2:42 AM

Yes - thanks!

by Anonymousreply 80October 10, 2021 2:50 AM

I enjoy how the Tania woman (I think her name is) is just creeping up behind people who are unaware just to say "Zdravstvuyte" hehe.

Edward Ochagavia isn't bad on the eye, hehe.

There's something nostalgic about that program, even though I've never seen it before. It came out the year before I was born, and just looks like the kind of thing I would see on TV as a kid. I even remember learning all the world facts around 6 years old, flags, countries, capitals etc, that would soon all be completely different.

by Anonymousreply 81October 10, 2021 2:55 AM

A comment under the Russian video above lists a number of other recommended programs, not that I've seen any of these, but it's good to have a list:

[quote]Too true - so many of these brilliant language series they did - Digame, Deutsche Direkt, Buongiorno Italia, A vous la France...

by Anonymousreply 82October 10, 2021 3:25 AM

R58, I watched an episode yesterday where they were talking about "baiser". The professor told a male student in the class to "donne une grande baise" to the girl next to him.

I was like, wow, that hasn't aged well!

by Anonymousreply 83October 11, 2021 7:27 AM

Non native French speakers are often well advised to stay away from "basier" (as in to kiss) until they've mastered language enough to be able to convey exactly how they are using the word.

Happily many French pick-up easily non-native speakers and are remarkably patient and or lenient to an extent. But that may vary, so again it is wise to stay clear of "basier" until totally comfortable using the word.

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by Anonymousreply 84October 11, 2021 8:06 AM

Interesting, R84, thanks for sharing. I didn't realise it could still mean 'kiss' in context. But yeah, think I'll avoid using that one. Unless I ever do find myself in the company of a hot french man haha.

by Anonymousreply 85October 11, 2021 8:47 AM

For male model pictured in R84 I'm up for it in any language.

by Anonymousreply 86October 11, 2021 9:16 AM

Well, they do say the best way to learn any language is in bed, R86... ;)

by Anonymousreply 87October 11, 2021 11:02 AM

Image was a stock photo, sadly they didn't list model credits.

by Anonymousreply 88October 11, 2021 11:11 AM

Some days I feel I do ok with this, others I feel I really suck at French. It's easier once you get to the section with the professor walking you through things again, but while I understand the gist of what's happening in the story at the beginning, I sometimes feel I understand very little of what they're actually saying.

While I do think I have a decent knowledge of French, it really is a lot more difficult for me than Italian was.

by Anonymousreply 89October 11, 2021 11:57 AM

Have found best way to improve French speaking and understanding skills is via total immersion. Find places where local French hang out and make friends. That or if in Europe go to France when possible and again immerse oneself in the language.

Other than this find various French courses that come with CDs, DVDs or any other sort of audio and listen, listen, and practice, practice.

There are a few French radio programs can get locally. I tune in and force myself to listen and try to follow conversation. It isn't important at first if you don't get every word. Just grasping what is being said is a good start

Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and YT have some great French programming as well.

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by Anonymousreply 90October 11, 2021 1:11 PM

Here in NYC area La grande librairie is broadcast on CUNY TV.

Conversation can be a bit heady at times for someone not reasonably fluent in French, but worth sticking with it even if cannot grasp every word being said.

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by Anonymousreply 91October 11, 2021 1:13 PM

r89, improving your oral comprehension in French is a lot more difficult than doing it in Spanish or Italian. It's the liaison and the way the sounds of words change in the context of a sentence that makes French so difficult. After having studied French several years, I started studying Spanish and after several months my oral comprehension was better in Spanish than in French.

I decided recently that I wanted to become totally fluent in French once and for all, so I started watching French TV every day. I downloaded an app called Molotov which allows me to watch 30 major French channels live (France 2, France 3, TF1, M6, etc.). It's free, but you can get more channels with a premium subscription. It's use is geographically restricted to France, so if you're in the United States like I am you need to use a VPN to access the channels (I use ExpressVPN). The easiest way to download the app is to download it on your computer. I downloaded it to my Firestick and watch it on my TV, but I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get Amazon to allow me to find and download it. It's fantastic. I watch nothing but French TV now, and my comprehension is good enough that when I watch game shows I can often answer questions before the contestants. My favorite game shows are SLAM and Questions Pour Un Champion.

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by Anonymousreply 92October 11, 2021 2:17 PM

I wouldn't mind watching or listening to programs in French or Spanish, but I absolutely do not want to have any discussions of covid which I fear would be the primary focus of almost all of it right now.

by Anonymousreply 93October 11, 2021 6:40 PM

Thanks for all the links and suggestions, everyone! That is really helpful stuff!

I was going to say the thing that sucks is that I live at the opposite end of the world to France, so it's not that easy to get there, however thinking about it, there are plenty of Pacific countries that do speak French, so that could be an option in the future.

Yeah, R93, that is not a conversation I want to focus on either.

by Anonymousreply 94October 11, 2021 7:49 PM

So did Robert et Mireille ever sleep together?

by Anonymousreply 95October 11, 2021 8:15 PM

^I'd watch that video. Robert is kinda miserable, but he's cute too. Bet he has a cute cul.

by Anonymousreply 96October 11, 2021 8:22 PM

[quote] So did Robert et Mireille ever sleep together?

Occupe-toi de tes affaires, putain !

by Anonymousreply 97October 12, 2021 12:43 AM

I'll take that as a "oui," Mireille. Bien fait!

by Anonymousreply 98October 12, 2021 1:49 AM

This thread title did not live up to expectations. I was expecting to see Pierre and Jacques in “Parisians in Heat”.

by Anonymousreply 99October 12, 2021 2:10 AM

I'm only up to episode 15, but this is the kind of show I could imagine having the characters sleeping together, and us learning vocabulary about it.

I kinda think a language program with a section on fucking would be pretty cool actually, like legitimately useful. People want to travel and get their leg over, they'd learn this section pretty damn quickly, haha!

by Anonymousreply 100October 12, 2021 6:51 AM

About “biased”: in French 3 in college we had to design Valentine’s Day cards, as the holiday was upcoming. We were in groups of 3, & my team wanted to say something like: I knew I loved you from the first moment we kissed. So I snuck out my dictionary to get some synonyms for “kiss” & ran across baiser. We had to read the card aloud, & when we did the teacher gasped & said, you fell in love the first time you fucked?!?! I don’t think she said the full F word, but the whole class was laughing, & I was really embarrassed as I was the “star” of the class & teacher’s pet, but I royally goofed!

by Anonymousreply 101October 12, 2021 7:26 AM

“Baiser” not “biased,” damn autocorrect!

by Anonymousreply 102October 12, 2021 7:27 AM

Hehe, that's a fantastic story, R101! Everyone has one of those, so you may as well have a brilliant one!

by Anonymousreply 103October 12, 2021 7:28 AM

Mireille was always very badly in need of a bra......Loved FIA though..

by Anonymousreply 104October 12, 2021 7:41 AM

Je veux te donner un baiser - I want to give you a kiss.

Je veux te baiser - I want to fuck you..

Again baiser is not a word to be "fucked with" if you aren't sure of your French language skills.

Thing is understanding use of baiser as a noun or a verb. Thus "je veux te baiser" ='s I wish/want you fuck, or in proper English, I want to fuck you...

You have to use something like to "give" or "receive" a kiss to indicate you're using *basier* in that way.

Faire du baise-main - to kiss the hand.

by Anonymousreply 105October 12, 2021 8:00 AM

Baise m'encor, rebaise-moi et baise ;

Donne m'en un de tes plus savoureux,

Donne m'en un de tes plus amoureux :

Je t'en rendrai quatre plus chauds que braise.

by Anonymousreply 106October 12, 2021 8:01 AM

Hehe R104, I bet a lot of teenage boys were quite happy with that!

by Anonymousreply 107October 12, 2021 8:04 AM

You can also change your Waze into the French lady, complete with the street prononciations, and many of the the Netflix shows (the with strange exception of the Spanish shows) can be dubbed and subtitled in French (I’ve caught disparities between what is spoken and what is sub-titled). I have to give it up to the French voice-over actors- they really deliver on the emotion- my friend and I watched, “Freud” separately (she with American voice overs, mine in French), and she couldn’t get over the actors saying, “So do you want to get some…coCAINE?” In a hokey American accent.

Thanks for all the suggestions- my reading comprehension is pretty good (maybe 70%), my aural comprehension is maybe at 50%, but my speaking abilities are at a dismal 25%.

by Anonymousreply 108October 12, 2021 10:22 AM

Again much like when that SATC episode where Carrie has to deal with Petrovsky's daughter Chloé (who at once sums up her father's gf is American with limited French language skills), most French will be accommodating (to a point) with errors in grammar or usage by non-native speakers.

How a Frenchman or Frenchwoman will go about the last bit ranges. Most will issue a correction in English either as a question or declarative statement. The attitude can (and often is) one "it's obvious you do not speak French well, so I'm going to help you out here..."

OTOH if you are on more familiar terms a more gentle correction will be issued more with genuine intent to assist sans attitude.

These sort of things are likely true in Paris and larger cities where many French also speak English. In smaller towns and other areas things can be different.

The French are well aware that certain words in their language are minefields for non native speakers, and or those not truly fluent. So again they will cut people some slack, especially when they detect French spoken with "charming" American accent.

Today of course with rise of email and texting, you'd be wise to avoid "baiser" unless are sure of what you're saying. And for God sakes don't trust Google or any other online translation to do the work either.

by Anonymousreply 109October 12, 2021 11:11 PM

So has baiser completely replaced foutre as the preferred verb?

by Anonymousreply 110October 12, 2021 11:16 PM

Fouture is very old, but still used in French slang bad words or expressions, but it has become rather tame.

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by Anonymousreply 111October 12, 2021 11:21 PM

I learned fous-toi! as middle finger

by Anonymousreply 112October 13, 2021 12:09 AM

Really r112? I've never heard it used like that. For that sense of the word, I usually hear "Va te faire foutre".

by Anonymousreply 113October 13, 2021 12:36 AM

People really do appreciate if you just TRY and speak their language. The worst thing to do is go places and assume you can do everything in English, just be speaking slower and shouting. When I was in France, I had no one be mean about me speaking really bad French. In one case I got a benefit in a restaurant that the American family sitting near me didn't, just because I tried to speak French and they didn't bother (the waitress could speak English perfectly too, so it was really just the fact I made the effort).

by Anonymousreply 114October 13, 2021 6:30 AM

The "professor" is Pierre Capretz, who developed the teaching approach and introduced decades of Yale students to Robert et Mireille.

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by Anonymousreply 115October 13, 2021 7:10 AM

He must've been so proud of what he achieved! It's quite a program.

by Anonymousreply 116October 13, 2021 8:12 AM

I loooved French in Action. Still have my text book and workbook.

So soothing to look at. I think the vibe was a precursor to "Before Sunrise." I wish I could find clothing like that now. Perfect 80s.

by Anonymousreply 117October 13, 2021 8:30 AM

Marie-Laure just fell in the water, reaching over to get her boat.

I understood that bit! Hehehe.

A great example in that episode of how hard you have to listen to understand when French people speak fast:

Robert était étudiant vs Mireille est étudiante. You can easily not hear the extra syllable there.

Yeah, R117, I find it soothing too, like nostalgic.

by Anonymousreply 118October 13, 2021 8:55 AM


I listen to an entire audio book featuring a character called Francoise. Unfortunately the narrator didn't know the difference so consistently said Francois throughout the entire story! Wasn't so much grating or irritating as completely disorienting for me!

by Anonymousreply 119October 13, 2021 10:54 AM

C'est mystère et boule de gomme!

by Anonymousreply 120October 14, 2021 7:38 PM

Was there a creepy mime or am I just remembering wrong? I too loved Mireille et Robert et bratty Marie-Laure

by Anonymousreply 121October 14, 2021 7:52 PM

There's a creepy mime for sure, R121. There's also a creepy man hovering around in the background all the time (I think played by the same actor - the credits talk about "L'homme en noir et le mime", apparently the actor is Marion Cotillard's father!)

by Anonymousreply 122October 14, 2021 7:57 PM

R121 In FIA, as in life, there is always a creep mime.

by Anonymousreply 123October 15, 2021 12:39 AM

Does anyone else think the main student (Michael) in the classroom sections is gay? You know, the one that seems to like getting a rise out of the other students, always asking that Mireille be called 'Ethel' etc.?

by Anonymousreply 124October 15, 2021 10:56 AM

Was Michael a Yalie? He should be easy to locate now—might be on the Supreme Court, for example, or occupying the governorship of one of the larger, moister southern states.

by Anonymousreply 125October 15, 2021 12:19 PM

"Dommage. Parce que moi, je préfère les brunes, j'aime les cheveux noirs, ou, alors, roux..."

by Anonymousreply 126October 16, 2021 12:07 AM
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