Tag Archives: English Language

Use of French Words and Phrases in the English language

The English language has a great influence of French on its vocabulary, and there are many words from the French origin that are used daily while speaking English. Many of the words might have the same meaning but have been modified in the spelling, but it cannot be denied that they share French roots. It is estimated that near about 28% of the English vocabulary consists of words that have been included from the French language. Like, force, machine, publicity, etc. are of French origin, but presently are used and pronounced as per the English orthography.

French orthography includes nasal vowels that are entire absent from the English language. There are a lot of phrases and words that are being used in the English language without realising that they have been adopted from the French language. Let us study a few of the words and phrases that have transformed English in its modern sense as we study it today.

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Bijou

It is proper French word that has been adopted by the English language. In French, this word means a small gem. However, in the English language, the same word has been adopted but with entirely different meaning and use. From a small jewel in French Bijou was converted to anything stylish with a small size. It might sound funny but is a reality that how the same word has two different meanings. If a person speaking English uses Bijou in any aspect other than jewels in front of a French speaking person, then he might get puzzled and do not understand the reason for using it.

For example, in English one would write, And this was not some tiny bijou hotel foyer. This means that the hotel was not small. The French would use bijou as Je vais vous achater un bijou! It means that I will buy you a jewel.

Femme fatale

This phrase is used as it is in the English vocabulary carrying the same meaning as it has in the French language. The meaning of this phrase means a deadly and seductive woman. It is generally used to describe a woman who is quite dangerous. In English and French it carries the same meaning, but while using this phrase, no one would have ever wondered that it is not an English phrase rather it has been adopted from French. A slight difference is that when this phrase in English is has a very subtle meaning that is a dangerous woman, but in contrast, when the same is used in French it feels to be more sassy in the meaning.

Panache

 In its real sense, the panache is a French word that means a feather or ornament worn above the hat as a decorative item. However, the word found a change in its definition when Henri IV showed courage and bravery. Thus is became a synonym of flamboyance since then. Even though the word is used in English with the same spelling and meaning, but it has less use here. It is majorly used in the French. However, there are still cases where panache is used in daily English conversations.

Je ne sais quoi

When a French person sees something that is very attractive but cannot be expressed in words, he will use the phrases Je ne sais quoi. This phrase has been adopted in the English language but with a reduced intensity of expressions. In English, it would imply a person does not have words to describe anything. However, it can be in positive as well negative sense, but in French has a more of a positive inclination. Thus, one can say that the French expression of the phrase is much more effective than its adopted English version.

Exposé

In the beginning, the word expose was used as a noun meaning telling the reason behind any decision or logic used to solve any problem. Over the years it evolved to be used for unveiling the secret behind any scandal. It came to be associated with a single meaning and bringing in light the faces or facts that have been involved in a fraud. This word means exactly the same in French also. However, in English, it has been modified in the way it is written i.e. expose. Except this, there is no other difference in the meaning or use of this French word.

Eau de toilette

This phrase might sound a little familiar to you. You have read this phrase every time you would have read the contents of a perfume bottle. In earlier times the literal meaning of this phrase is toilet water. Do not get shocked! The times have gone and also the use of the phrase being used for toilet water. However, the meaning of Eau de toilette has now transformed to being a light perfume both in English and French. Hence, you can be relaxed about buying a perfume, but try to notice the phrase printed on you bottle and resist laughing.

Gauche

Talking of French people the word literally means left to them, but the English modification of the word is a little different. In English vocabulary, the word Gauche means something awkward. There is a lot of difference in both the meanings. However, it is assumed that the modification has been adopted because it becomes awkward for the left-handers to live in a place where there is a maximum number of right-handers. Thus, when used in French, it might convey a different meaning.

Here one can see the similarities as well as the differences in the words and phrases that have been adopted in English vocabulary from the French language. There are some adoptions that find a more elaborative meaning in English while others make more sense when used in French.

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Whatever be the case it is difficult to deny that English language’s many words have French origin which is unknown to many. Thus, next time you use any English word try to find out the history of its existence and from where it came to be used in English. It is interesting to know that how two entirely different languages have so much in common to share.

Different learning styles of English language

Learning is a very complex process, and everyone has their own way as all human beings in the world are different from one other. Learning style can be defined as a style in which the student is easily able to learn and grasp. The power of understanding and learning varies from person to person. Learning style is a way which helps the individual to assimilate, process and retain the information. Educators must understand the differences in the students and must adopt learning style accordingly. Every student has a different personality and preferences which are based on their background. The notion for adopting a learning style is very much depended upon the perception of the individual. It is also affected by the emotional, social, physiological and environmental factors of the individual.

There are different kinds of learning style which can be adopted. They are visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. Educators must analyze their students properly and should implement strategies which are best suited.

Visual Style

It includes pictures, images, diagrams, graphs, and charts. There are students who learn by visualizing images. They like to read instead of listening. These students will prefer that their teacher uses tools videos, presentations, posters, clips. They learn easily by demonstrations of lessons instead of lectures. By reading, they retain the information and have the ability to draw images in their minds. Visual learners are the front benchers and note takers. They do not want any distractions. These learners require attractive things through which they make images in mind, memorize the information and easily recall whenever need. These learners love to draw and scribble in their notebooks with different colors.  For visual learners, educators can also use various games like board games, picture games, and reading games.

Aural Style

Students who prefer listening to lectures are called as the auditory learners. These are the learners who can retain information through discussions. They connect themselves with different sounds that they hear and get attracted. They like to listen to the music, rhymes, and sounds for their learning. Aural learners summarize their notes and tape them down. Educators must read their text aloud as auditory learners learn by interpreting the tone, pitch, and speed. They have the ability to memorize the oral instructions and solve problems by just discussing. These learners like games that involve recitations, dictations.

Verbal Style

Verbal style of learning is closely related to auditory style. This style is adopted by learners who prefer using words to retain information. They learn best when they hear but are attracted to different types of words used. It can be said that these learners have a good vocabulary and a large number of words are fed in their dictionary of mind. They have no difficulty in expressing themselves, their problems and can communicate with large audiences. They take the help of words for memorizing and solving problems. Educators must try techniques that involve speaking and writing. Verbal learners like to study different languages as this will satisfy their linguistic need.

Physical (Kinesthetic) Style

Physical learners are the people who make use of body and senses to learn and retain information. These learners can sit at one place for long hours. They need short breaks in between to concentrate properly on their work. These learners use their gestures and body language to communicate to the physical world around them. They do not prefer just to read and look at diagrams or other images rather they involve themselves in the physical work. Physical learners are more into exercises, sports, dancing and other physical activities that involve the touch sense of the body. They memorize and learn things by touching the objects.

Logical (Mathematical) Style

Students who are good at logical reasoning and solving maths problems can be considered as people who adopt logical style for their learning. These learners do not rely on the gut feelings, and they want to know the reason behind the conclusion reached. Logical learners are considered to be more skilled than any type of learners as they use most of their brain. They like to involve themselves in complex calculations and can give correct answer within seconds. These learners mostly like to play puzzles, chess, and strategy games as they can easily make connections between different things.

Social (Interpersonal) Style

People who prefer to learn in groups can be said as social learners. Communication skill of social learners is very good. They have the ability to express and communicate their own ideas and thoughts. These learners can easily connect with other people and love to solve their issues and problems. These people are sensitive and are easily associated with the emotions and feelings of others. They love to spend their time in involving in various conversations and participate as much as possible in social activities. These learners mostly adopt fields of sales, counselling, human resources, and teaching. They like to play group games like cricket, basketball, cards, and hockey.

Solitary (intrapersonal) Style

People who do not like distractions and are happy when left alone are solitary learners. They are private and independent people who can concentrate more when they are not surrounded by people. These people are a reserve in nature and love diary writing. They secretly analysis themselves, their abilities and work accordingly. These learners do not like to involve in discussions with other people. Solitary people are well-managed learners who have their own goals and are aware of their own thinking. They prefer to work on their problems and issues privately rather than discussing with other people.

In the end, it can be concluded that it is very important for the educators to understand and analyze their students. Educators must be very clear about the suitable learning style of the student. This will improve their teaching and enhance the learning of the student. Schools can make their curriculum in such a way that it includes all different styles of learning. This will help them in connecting with all the students and adopting strategies which are best suited.

How to become fluent in foreign languages

We often hear people say that ‘I’m linguistically inclined, I love learning different languages.’ Learning different languages is a very interesting hobby. Not just for hobby, many people want to learn a foreign language for a business purpose, for better job prospects or to communicate with relatives living in different country. Learning a foreign language can be quite a harrowing task because it’s not that easy to learn a language about which you know nothing. It’s diction, dialect, accent, correct pronunciation, and there are so many things that one has to keep in mind. More often than not people leave it in between just because they couldn’t cope up with it or they find it too challenging. Let’s just agree to this that every time we start learning a new language we feel like some illiterate person who knows nothing. We just gape at every word with awe, wonder and sometimes even become frustrated. So how can we become fluent in foreign languages without getting tired of it?

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The most basic thing to keep in mind is focus. You have to focus completely on the language you want to learn, the more focussed you are the less difficult it will be. Watch videos in that particular language, try to focus on the accent and pronunciation and repeat it. The more you practice, the better you become. The second thing is to have a calm and composed mind. You cannot learn a language if you lose temper every time you fail to understand anything. Nobody can become a master in one day, to have one correct pronunciation you’ll have to practice nth times and you’ll have to maintain your calm throughout.

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Your fluency also depends upon the amount of effort you put in. If you’re attending any foreign language class then it’s important that you practice the lessons at home. Try to frame sentence of your own. Start with the small sentences, focus on using correct grammar. Make strong efforts to improve and remember specific grammar rules. Rules of grammar for different languages are different. If possible download language app and check if the sentences you are making are correct or not. Talk to yourself in that language. To increase your vocabulary, find the translation of different English words in that language. But always avoid a literal translation of English sentences because the sentence structures of different languages are different. For the beginners’ literal translation seems easier because you try to relate the words and sentences of the language you do not know to the one you know. So when you become acquainted with the language, you should try and stop yourself from using your mother tongue every time. Think like a baby, how they start learning a language, what they do.

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Other than taking classes, you can also watch movies, listen to songs and watch videos in that language. It’ll be difficult in the beginning, but when you watch it, again and again, you’ll start catching some common phrases and words. Apart from that, you can also browse newspapers and magazines. Looking at the pictures can help you relate to the words. If you’re living in the foreign country, then observe the locals when they talk, their body language, facial expression even that can help you understand the language better. Focus on the pronunciation. The correct pronunciation is the key.

If you’re taking foreign language classes, then it is very important that you have a group of friends with whom you attend the class. In this way, you can try to communicate with each other and be fluent. Practicing what you’ve learned is very important. Apart from speaking, improving your writing skill in that language is also very important to become fluent. Write small essay like you used to do in school. Pick up small topics and start framing easier sentences. Get it checked by your teacher and check your mistakes. Write again and again until you get it all correct. After you have mastered the easy topics and small sentence go to the next level. Write on a bit difficult topic with little longer sentences. Get it corrected by your teacher, ask questions regarding your mistakes, correct it, learn from it. With conviction, you are sure to master the language one day.

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After you start writing essays and paragraphs start reading story books in that language. Start with easy one. The one used for kids. The more you read the better you become. Most languages, like French, writing and speaking is very different from each other. The French language is very accented, so it is important that you have grasp on the accent and diction. Then with proper accent and diction read the books. Read until and unless you feel confident about it. With time and dedication, you can be fluent in any language you want to.

Top 10 Books on English Language

Today English is the most commonly used, i.e. spoken, written and listened language, making it extremely popular all around the world. In many countries, it has become the second official language, as they have understood the importance of it in the modern context. This is the reason, why it is also termed as a ‘Universal language’. Considering this, numerous books have been published on the given language, teaching people how to use it in the most effective manner and gain optimum results out of it.

experienced-english-copyOne such book is “Experiencing English” by Dean Curry in 1992. This text was prepared as a reading and speaking practice book for beginning level students of English as a Foreign Language. It is one of the leading texts that have helped both, the students to learn the language, as well as teachers to impart education to them on the same. Even though lesson plan and exercises mentioned in the book are to be presented verbally in a classroom, still the teachers have been given the liberty of giving such exercises to students in the form of assignments. The reading selections are to be considered as the principal information source. Illustrations mentioned in the book have a sole purpose of confirming or strengthening the information that has been presented in the form of text in the book. This book has been considered to be one of the best books to learn about the language and gain fluency in terms of reading, writing and speaking the language.
essential-guide-copyAnother such book was written by David Freeman and Yvonne Freeman in 2007, titled “English Language Learners: The Essential Guide”. Here the two authors on learning English language showed mainstream teachers a large number of settings and set ups that they can use to support growth and enhancement of the language in terms of content. In addition to it, they can also try to organize the curriculum around various kinds of themes, and be able to extract information on the basis of learners’ primary language and the culture they may belong to. Furthermore, teachers can also try to emphasize a lot on meaningful readings, writings and thus be able to develop English as secondary language among individuals. It is one of the best books for learning the language, not only because of reason that it is developed and written by two experts on the field, but also because it guides teachers on the best ways they can adopt to provide learning to students on the language and become proficient in it.
started-with-copyIn “Getting Started with English Language Learners” by Judie Haynes in 2007, the author attempts to inform readers about various practical resources that educators can use in order to impart or instill English language among the learner(s). By understanding ways in which students learn a second language on the basis of differentiated instructions that they might receive in order to review or even practically implement practical strategies. This way, the book states that teaching newcomers to the language can be taught with great ease and comfort and their control over English can be improved slowly and gradually. Through this book, the author tries to identify and recommend some ways through which new teachers to English as a second language can make their work proficient and also be able to provide effective and efficient learning to the students.
learning-copyAnother book was written by Jie Zhang in 2009, titled “Improving English Language Learners’ Oral and Written Language through Collaborative Discussions”. This book is considered to be one of the most effective ways to learn the language because it conducted a primary research on the topic, wherein 75 Hispanic students from fifth-grade classrooms were involved in the study. This allowed the author to present some live and raw examples related to the topic, as well as various problems that may have to be faced while delivering education to students on English language to make them proficient in all aspects of the language.
stefan-copyIn book “English as a Second Language and Naturalistic Learning” by Stefan Prahl in 2007, is a theoretical study of language acquisition. In the final chapter of the book, various approaches to teaching English as a second language have been described. It is specially very useful and effective for teachers in German schools as they would get thorough information on the ways they can teach English as a second language to their students.

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Similarly, authors Neil Mercer and Joan Swann in their book “Learning English: Development and Diversity” 1996, state that English is an international language which can be learned easily and comfortably in a wide variety of settings and lookouts. In this book, an analysis of different processes used in learning and acquiring English language has been discussed. In addition to it, meaning and understanding about what it feels like to learn the given language also has been discussed in the book. Furthermore, a special place has been given in the book to evaluate English as a part of formal education; as well as some issues that have surrounded the teaching of English.

kate-copyKate Menken in his book “English Learners Left Behind” in 2008 discusses about how high stakes tests that were made compulsory by ‘No Child Left Behind’ have emerged to become a prime policy in US’s education system, especially in that of the schools. The book provides an in-depth analysis of how these tests have contributed to development of school and other educational institutions’ curriculum and instructions; as well as the various ways in which these tests are affecting daily lives of learners of the English language along with teachers who provide the same.
literature-copyIn book “Literature based instructions with English language learners” 2002, the authors Nancy Hadaway, Sylvia Vardell and Terrell Young, use a literature-based approach to understand how children learn language and how it is taught in today’s diverse classrooms. The material is based on the belief that literature offers the most effective instructional approach for English language learners. Carol Chapelle in his book “English Language Learning and Technology” 2003 discusses about the impact of recent developments in technologies used in teaching English as a second language on applied linguistics. The book primarily focuses on English language learning, in addition to recognizing different areas of interconnection among both technologies used for teaching and the applied linguistics.
 motivation-copyYoshiyuki Nakata, in “Motivation and Experience in Foreign Language Learning” 2006 sheds light on the process of development of different motivations intrinsic in nature and the necessity of learning a foreign language to non-English-speaking individuals. Moreover, it also investigates the relationship between educational experiences of the learners and ways to develop motivation among such individuals in these kinds of situations. In the book, different sources of education psychology and philosophy also have been discussed. Additionally, the author also has shed light on findings of research studies that consisted of qualitative or interpretative and quantitative approaches. In such investigations, EFL students of Japanese universities were involved.