September 30, 2011

Simplified information about French Linguistics translation service

I have revised the main page of the French Linguistics translation service, hopefully cutting away much of the clutter and moving some secondary information to other pages.

The automatic translation quotation tool is still available but has been moved to its own page. You may still of course address inquiries about translations directly to me at

Do you know a good educational app? Suggest it for review!

As you may be aware, the French Linguistics site's first foray into the world of iPhone/iPad apps began a few days ago with the launch of a new vocabulary learning app.

However, perhaps you know of another educational app (either for French or another subject) that you think other teachers/learners should know about? In preparation for a new section of the site dedicated to reviews of educational apps, I am inviting people to suggest their favourite educational apps for review.

It doesn't matter whether you are the author (or affiliated with the author) of the app or whether you're simply a user who recommends it: please send in your suggestions!

September 29, 2011

When is a past tense not a past tense...?

An interesting comment I had into the site today concerned the final example on the site's page about how to say 'would' in French.

This last example deals with the (perhaps least common) case of 'would' in English being used as a historic future: "The king would die in 1457". The equivalent of this usage in French is generally to use the future tense: Le roi mourra.... Rather than being a misformed past historic (the PH of mourir would of course be mourut), this is a genuine future tense-- just with a past or future-in-the-past interpretation. If I had a euro for every time I'd seen phrases such as "The king will die in 1457" in French museums, I'd have enough money for at least one SNCF baguette.

Now, the comment received appeared to be assuming that I had mistakenly written mourra instead of mourut, whereas in fact I genuinely intended the future form. But this got me on to the question I wanted to pose to readers: is there any genuine source of confusion here? I thought it was clear enough, but do I need to add an extra note to highlight that this really isn't a future tense? Comments welcome!

September 28, 2011

French Vocab Games app: please don't forget to leave feedback!

This is just a quick plea: for those who have already installed the French Vocab Games app on their iPhone or iPad, please don't forget to leave any relevant feedback (via the feedback button on the app's front screen, or indeed via the App Store feedback system if you prefer).

More details of planned updates will be announced shortly, but in the near future are likely to include more topics and audio.

September 26, 2011

Update to 'basic French words' page of French phrases section

I have made a small amendment has been made to the Basic French words page of the French phrases section of the web site after receiving some feedback that not all of the audio was working.

Indeed, not all of the vocab sections on this page had the audio enabled and I have now made the relevant change. I have taken advantage to order the words a little more intuitively.

As with the French phrases pages generally, the pronunciations are produced by an (albeit realistic) text-to-speech system. Such systems are primarily designed to read whole paragraphs of text and one or two of the pronunciations could ideally be tweaked a little more. So I will also be looking at the possibility of recording these words and phrases with a French speaker, as has already been done with the 200 or so pronunciations included in the site's French dictionary.

September 21, 2011

Flash cards printer

I'm making a few updates to the French vocabulary flash cards pages. If anybody has any suggestions for new topics, then feel free to let me know!

September 17, 2011

Information for reviewers of French Vocab Games app

I have put up some information for reviewers, educationalists etc wishing to review the French Vocab Games app released the other day, including information for receiving a promo code to get a free review copy of the app.

September 15, 2011

New French Vocab Games app on sale

The new French Vocab Games app for iPhone/iPad finally goes on sale in app stores today. For more details, I encourage you to check out the App store description as well as the brief announcement that I put up on the French Language Forum a short while ago.

The app is designed for students who are beginners through to around GCSE level (i.e. the first few years of a typical school French course). The vocabulary, divided into around 20 topics, is chosen to coincide with UK GCSE syllabuses, but with some adaptations to suit US learners. For a list of some of the topics, please see the App store description above.

As I'm planning regular updates for the app, I am eager to hear people's feedback. For that reason, as well as the usual App store facility to review the app, the program contains a "feedback" button where you can leave your comments/suggestions.

September 2, 2011

Imminent retirement of French mobile games

Once upon a time, when the likes of the iPhone was not even a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye, I wrote some extremely primitive French vocabulary games for Java-enabled phones. Although they had a small vocabulary update and bug fix in 2005, they were basically written around 1999 and well, to put it bluntly... it shows.

So, these games will shortly be retired in the wake of a new French vocabulary games application for iPhone to be launched on the site in the next week or two. If you are still using an old-school Java-enabled (Java Microedition) phone, now is your last your chance to grab a copy of the Java phone games before their imminent retirement.

The first version of the iPhone app, simply entitled "French Vocab Games", is currently pending review. When available, it will be announced on this blog and on the main French Linguistics web site.

If you have not already done so, you can also subscribe to my Twitter feed @BitterCoffey where updates about this app and other news relating to the site will be announced.