Folium: Must-Know French Words For The “Facebookholique” via TransparentLanguage

Folium: Must-Know French Words For The "Facebookholique" via TransparentLanguage

Folium: Must-Know French Words For The “Facebookholique” via TransparentLanguage

Folium: Must-Know French Words For The “Facebookholique” via TransparentLanguage

I hope *tu aimes* (you *Like*!) this fresh learning idea!  What better way to immerse yourself in a new language than to become part of the massive global conversation taking place in the realm of social media.

Taking a class to learn a language isn’t enough.  For people who study a new language and travel to a foreign country, a class or textbook would leave them speechless when it comes to understanding the native slang, idioms and figures of speech.  For instance, foreign students learning English would be baffled by expressions such as “raining cats and dogs”, “quitting cold turkey”, or “right off the bat.”  Likewise, English-speaking students learning French, German or Italian would need to venture outside of the textbook to communicate effectively.  To this end, the Internet can serve as a great learning tool.

Start with the basics.  There are many social networking and media sites available on the Internet for language learning, language development and communication skills.  These sites provide a platform for interacting with people from different cultures and languages, as well as a variety of resources for understanding their way of life.

With 17 million subscribers, Facebook is currently the top site for social networking in France.  For many years, copains d’avant, France’s home-grown social network, held that spot.  Launched in 2001, copains d’avant had 10 million subscribers by 2008, representing one-third of all French internet users, or internautes.  The phrase “copains d’avant” means “friends from before” and refers to the site’s original raison d’être—to connect people who were once friends in school or college.  This explains why copains d’avant continues to have the highest membership (61%) in the 25-34 year-old group, while Facebook is more popular among 18 to 24 year-olds.

Attention! More than ever today, legions of parents and intellectuals in French-speaking countries, France, BelgiumCanadaSwitzerland, are sounding the alarm concerning the widespread effects of l’invasion culturelle et linguistique due to the Internet in general and the social networks in particular (Facebook being no exception, obviously), the same way people in Spain, Germany, and Arabic-speaking countries already did regarding their own language and culture: This post can also be extremely useful to native French people, especially the “expats” among them, who wish to switch to the French version of Facebook as a way to re-integrate French in the many facets of their vie quotidienne (daily life).

Change your Facebook language to French and offer your status updates en français; you may be surprised how many responses you get in French!  Other social media can be fun and provide immediate ways to immerse in a foreign language.  You can also connect with Le français et vous, or people from around the tweeting world, about any subject imaginable.  A quick ‘#French’ search will yield hundreds of connections.  If your hobby is politics, you can view French opinions about daily news.  If your hobby is food, receive restaurant reviews and new recipes in French.  As a bonus, many of these tweets will provide links and connections with Facebook pages, Instagram accounts and articles in French.

Incorporating foreign-language blogs, Facebook pages or Twitter accounts into your learning is an excellent way to discover how figures of speech are used in everyday life.  Find pages or blogs that are less formal.  Fashion blogs, shopping sites, community pages, and personal blogs and Twitter accounts are an excellent way to start picking up on commonly-used slang.

Christine Gill
LEAF Contributor


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