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Advanced French Vocabulary Lessons

Vocabulary lessons for advanced French students, including slang and specialized French.

Mot du Jour - French Word of the Day
Learn a new word intermediate- to advanced-level French word online every weekday.

5 French verbs you might be overusing
You probably learned the verbs conduire, écrire, and nager in French class, and have used them ever since to talk about driving, writing, and swimming. However, these are not necessarily the verbs that native French speakers use. Learn about five verbs that tend to be overused by French students, contrasted with their more typical synonyms.

12 French verbs you might be underusing
Even after nearly a decade of French classes and numerous visits to France, there were some verbs that I didn't use until I moved here and was immersed in the language and culture. Some I had never learned, while others just seemed unusual or unnecessary. In case you're in the same boat, here are a dozen French verbs that I find essential in...

French Acronyms + Abbreviations ~ Acronymes et sigles
VTT, TGV, DEUG... Lost in alphabet soup? Acronyms abound in the French language, especially in newspapers, on the news, and in political discussions. Get a good head start by memorizing this list of the most common ones.

Aphereses
An apheresis, or aphaeresis, is a word which is shortened by dropping one or more syllables at the beginning of the word, and sometimes adding an extra sound at the end. Aphereses are often informal and are less common in French than apocopes.

Apocopes / Abbreviations
It is very common in French for long words to be abbreviated by dropping one or more syllables at the end, and, in some instances, then adding an -o, such as dico, ordi, and métro. There are some apocopes which are so old that they are normal register, but most are informal or familiar, so use them with caution.

Baby Talk
French has quite a bit of "baby talk" or "kiddie speak" which is usually used by or when talking to children. This informal language is important to recognize, as baby talk can also be found in jokes and in conversations with good friends.

Bon - Learn some French synonyms for "good"
If you want to make your French sound more, well, French, one place to start is with your vocabulary. In French classes, you tend to learn the most common, basic terms. Bon is one such example, but there are numerous synonyms to choose between, in both normal and informal registers. Take a look at this lesson to learn some different ways to say...

Faux amis
Five new false cognates to watch out for every week, from your About.com guide.

French Gestures
In France or French movies, you'll see some familiar and unfamiliar gestures. It is as essential to understand this French "sign language" as it is any vocabulary. Here are definitions and instructions for 35 gestures, including register and photos.

Gratitude
There are many words and expressions related to gratitude in French, from simple thank yous to ultra-polite expressions of appreciation. Take a look at this lesson to learn the formulas.

Math Vocabulary
Whether you're teaching math operations in French class, planning to study math in a French school, or just interested in knowing French vocabulary from a new domain, this list of French math vocabulary will help you on your way.

French Crossword Puzzles - Mots fléchés
Mots fléchés are French crossword puzzles which provide clues within the puzzle itself, rather than in a list on the side. You can print out free mots fléchés to get a bit of challenging - and fun! - French practice every day.

Nouns with Two Genders
The gender of nouns tends to be a sticky grammar point for French students, and there are a number of French nouns which are identical in pronunciation (and often spelling as well) but which have different meanings depending on whether they are masculine or feminine.

Petit - French synonyms for small and short
The adjective petit is a very common French word that can be replaced by any number of synonyms. Take a look at this lesson to learn some different ways to say "small" and "short," and be sure to note the different nuances.

French Roman Numerals - Chiffres romains
Roman numerals are used quite often in French, as both cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. They are commonly used to express dates, time periods, events, and more.

All About Si
The French word si can be an adverb or a conjunction. Either way, si has several meanings and is used in numerous French constructions.

Slang ~ Argot
Learn dozens of French slang words and expressions, ranging from informal to vulgar, with definitions, sample sentences, and sound files.

Symbols
A quick reference guide to the names of French symbols and punctuation marks, including ! ? « » * & dozens more.

Synonyms for Très - Learn some different ways to say very in French
If you want to make your French sound more, well, French, one place to start is with your vocabulary. In French classes, you tend to learn the most common, basic terms. The adverb très is one example of a very common word that can be replaced by any of a number of synonyms, in both normal and informal registers. Take a look at this lesson to...

Verlan
Verlan is a form of French slang that consists of playing around with syllables, kind of along the same lines as pig Latin. Verlan is actively spoken in France - many words have become so commonplace that they are used in everyday French.

Vocabulary related to French and France
When talking about France, the French like to use a variety of terms rather than constantly repeating français and la France. Here are the most common synonyms for French and France as well as some related vocabulary that will come in handy when discussing France à la française.

Le français au micro
A weekly article on various topics in French language/linguistics, from Radio-Canada. French only.

Portraits pour traits
"Petits portraits de mots en vrac.... Un méli-mélo de photographies mises en mots."

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