December 15, 2014

New "graphemes" tab added to the Utter French! pronunciation guide

Users of the Utter French! pronunciation guide for iPhone can now download an update from the App Store. Along with a few minor improvements and corrections, the new version includes a brand new "Graphemes" tab. This new tab lists the various letter combinations used in French and explains which sounds they typically represent under particular circumstances. In each case, the explanation is of course accompanied by specific examples from the app's built-in bank of 1,200 native speaker recordings.

If you view Utter French! in the app store on your device, then you will also be able to view the 30 second preview video, showing the app's various features. The app preview video has also been showcased on the French Language Forum Facebook page.

October 16, 2014

Updates to the French verb conjugation tables

The French verb conjugations section of the web site is being updated with a clearer layout and menu system. Conjugation tables also now include the Past Historic and Past Anterior tenses. Example conjugations:

October 13, 2014

New navigation menus being added to the French grammar section

New drop-down menus have been added to the French grammar section of the site. These will allow easier navigation of the material on this section and will eventually allow the index page of this section to be less cluttered as some of the links are removed.

October 4, 2014

Vote for the new French Audio Quiz icon!

Readers of the French Linguistics site are invited to vote for the icon they would like to see used in the next update to the free French Audio Quiz app for iPhone. This second vote marks the final stage of the competition; many thanks to those who entered candidate icons.

The update, which is due to feature a new "French word of the day" alert, will be released later in October.

The complexity of simple synonyms: the case of "an" and "année" in French

A new article added to the grammar section of the French Linguistics web site looks at the question of when to use an and when to use année to translate the word "year" in French. To the English speaker (and indeed in some cases to native French speakers), the issue of which of these two synonyms to use can be surprisingly complex. The articles attempts to summarise this complexity by highlighting various conditions that tend to favour either an or année. For example, the use of an adjective or quantifier strongly favours année, whereas the use of a "normal" cardinal number strongly favours an. (For what happens when you have a number and an adjective, see the article!)

The article touches on an additional difficulty that advanced students may encounter with these words: their use has actually changed over time, including relatively recently. Therefore, readers of some of the French "classics" are liable to come across uses of the word an in particular which are now obsolete.

October 3, 2014

Update to Utter French! pronunciation guide

The "Sounds of French" tab in the Utter French!
pronunciation guide for iPhone. Today's fix means that all
three words in the list will be read out: even on
iOS 8!
An update to the Utter French! pronunciation guide was released to the app store today. This update fixes an issue caused by an apparent bug in iOS 8 that prevented the example words from the "Sounds" tab from playing back correctly. This tab contains a list of sample words as examples for each of the various sound classes or "phonemes" in French, and prior to the update, only the first word in each list would play back under iOS 8. (If you're thinking that this sounds like a slightly weird issue, programmers may like to check out the aforementioned article for the technical details of why this occurred!)

Apple is evidently busy with a large volume of updates to fix iOS 8 related issues given the number of updates that are being released to common apps every day and the extended time apparently required at the moment for app updates to be released.

As things settle down, look out for feature updates to Utter French! over the coming weeks. At present, the app focuses on audio and phonetic descriptions. An upcoming update will also include more information about how to read French words from the written form ("grapheme-phoneme correspondences" to use the spuriously posh-sounding linguistic term!).

September 23, 2014

Site down time 22-23 September 2014

The reasons why the dictionary and other parts of the site were down during some of the day 22 September 2014 and again in the early morning US of 23 September US time are currently being investigated.

Sincere apologies to all those affected.

September 17, 2014

Multilingual GCSE word search apps for iPad: save money with the new iOS 8 app bundle!

Well, it's finally here: iOS 8 was released to the public today. One of the new features it brings is app bundles, allowing users to purchase multiple related apps at a discounted price.

The French Word Search, Spanish Word Search and German Word Search apps are now available as an app bundle, effectively allowing you to download all three for half price.

The bundle will be ideal for GCSE language students (or basic to intermediate level students in the US and elsewhere) looking for an additional fun activity to reinforce their essential vocabulary in French, German or Spanish.

Click here to view more details about the language word searches bundle.

July 28, 2014

Version 3.0 of Utter French! Pronunciation app released today

The all-singing, all-dancing, spanking new version of Utter French! Pronunciation guide for iPhone is now available in the App Store!

The app has been re-written from the ground up and now includes

  • a brand new modern user interface, optimised for the iPhone 5 screen size
  • expanded pronunciation material, with more detailed guides on how to pronounce the sounds and words of French
  • a new series of diagrams and illustrations to help you achieve more accurate pronunciation
  • a new feature allowing you to record and compare your pronunciation with that of the native speaker

Whether you're a relative beginner or a degree level student, there'll be something in the app for you. Use the link above or search for "Utter French" in the App Store or iTunes to download the app and brush the cobwebs off your French pronunciation!