Archive for July, 2015

The French Language and Property Terms

All languages have their roots, and for the French language, it was Gallic. The root started to change with the infiltration of other languages and the first was Latin brought in by the Romans. Next came a flurry of other languages, all of which had the effect of molding the original Gallic tongue into its present form and usage.

About 400 BC, a host of Celtic tribes made their way into Western Europe and occupied what are now France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and parts of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. These people spoke different Gallic dialects and no common language was ever developed for a standard form of communication between the tribes. As a result the tribes remained divided and were unable to resist the onslaught of the Roman armies when they invaded their lands.

Early influences

    • The Romans: The first significant change which started the evolution of the French language came when the Romans invaded and conquered Gaul from about 58BCE to 52 BCE. Their arrival caused the introduction of Latin into the Gallic language, which in future years actually usurped the Gallic root tongue and became the dominant element.

  • Other races: After the Romans came the Alemanni of Germany and northeastern France with their own language; then the Burgundians from the Rhone Valley regions introduced further refinements; the Franks of northern France further added words to existing ones and lastly, the Visigoths of Spain added their own contribution to an already evolving language – the French language. New words were added to the existing ones.

French in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, 3 man variants of the French language were evident. One was the Franco-Provencal type, common among the highland people and those of central and eastern France; the Langue d’oil, the language of people in the northern part of France and the Langue d’oc, a favorite of the people in southern France. The Breton speakers of England; the Vascon speakers of Iberia and speakers of the Viking language also contributed new words during trading expeditions and the building of settlements. And so the evolution of the French language continued until the emergence of what is now known as the modern French language.

Commonly used French terms

English – French

Hello – bonjour

Goodbye – au revoir

Good morning – bonjour

Good afternoon – bonjour

Good eveing – bonsoir

How are you? – Comment allez-vous?

Excuse me – excusez-moi

Yes – oui

No – non

Please – s’il vous plait

How much does it cost? – Combiera ca coûte

School – école

Doctor – docteur/doctoresse

Pharmacy – phamacie

Bank – banque

Hospital – hospital

Medical – medical

Center – centre

Clinic – Clinique

Business – enterprise/affaire

Company – entreprise

Building – construction/batiment

Office – bureau

Swimming pool – piscine

Garden – jardin

Bedroom – chamber

Kitchen – cuisine

Dining room -s alle a manger

Living room – sale

Patio – patio

Balcony – balcon

Guest room – camber d’amis

Real estate agent – agent immobilier

Reas estate – agence immobilier

Lawyer/attorney – avocet/avocet

Surveyor – expert

Accountan t- comptable

Architect – architecte

Builder/developer – entrepreneur/promoteur

Carpenter – charpentier

Electrician – électricien

Plumber – plombier

Gardener – jardinière

Mortgage – emprunt immobilier

Mortgage broker – courtier en prêts hypothécaires

Property manager – estionnaire de biens immobielliers

Removal company – société de déménagement

Condo – appartement en copropriété

Townhouse – maison de ville

Apartment – appartement

Apartment building – immeuble d’habitation

Detached building – maison individuelle

Farm – ferme

Village – village

Town – ville

City – ville

Beach – plage

Hill – colline

Valley – vallée

Mountain – montagne

Lake – lac

River – riviére

Ocean – ocean

Contract – contrat

License – licence

Permit – permis

Law – loi

Legal – legal

Title – acte de propriété

Ownership – propriété

Owner – propriétaire

Rental – location

Renter/tenant – locataire/amodiataire/tenante/locataire

What to Consider When Choosing a Language School Abroad

Choosing to learn at a language school abroad is one of the most effective ways to fully appreciate the language. Plus, by learning a language on location, it is much easier to understand the cultural insights of the locals. Language schools can be set-up to teach a casual learner to the serious student, so it benefits to carefully research the different schools to make sure you use the right teaching environment. Also, the teaching can vary from one or two-hour lessons, full day teaching, or a full-featured service (social gatherings, school activities, weekends away, student tours, etc).

Here are several points to consider when searching the right location for the language school:

Tourist town

The actual location of the teaching institute can have a significant impact on the ability to learn, the expense, and overall enjoyment. A school set in a tourist town is practical for those wishing to pick up the new language skills while also being able to meet up with other students and travelers. A further benefit of schools in tourist towns is the wide range of extracurricular activities that will be popular in the local area.


Before signing up with one of the language schools make sure to investigate the published fees per hour of study. The most expensive fees quoted for lessons are usually in the big tourist cities. Plus, the accommodation in these areas is usually equally as high.

Non-tourist area

There are a variety of benefits that come from signing up for a language school in a non-tourist area. A significant benefit is the more affordable rates for the lessons and accommodation. Also, when you are away from the touristy areas there is a greater possibility of being forced to speak the new language. Many of the tourist-friendly destinations will have people who are able to speak the native language which doesn’t help in the long-term. It is more helpful to seek out a destination that will force you to put your new language skills to more use.


Certain schools might actually provide accommodation while others leave the students to find their own. This could leave the student living in a hostel or hotel, which could have a noticeable impact on the study costs.

A great accommodate option is to take the homestay, which gives the opportunity to rent a room from a local family. Renting a room with locals can further help to pick up the new language and get a better appreciation of the location, food, and culture.

The Written Language

Asked whether the spoken or the written language is the real one, most would respond that the latter is, since speech poorly reflects it. In reality, however, the reverse is true.

The spoken language is primary and writing, which succeeded it, is an artificial representation of the sounds people make. While all cultures, societies, and peoples intercommunicate by means of oral sounds, not all languages have written counterparts, and it was only late in evolution that alphabets were created to match them.

Although the origins of language remain elusive and can only be surmised by theories, those of its written version are more determinable.

Writing, as a nonverbal communication form, traces its roots to the pictorial representations, known as pictographs, that the Chinese, and the hieroglyphs that the Egyptians employed. Despite the considerable distance between their locations of origin, there was great similarity between them.

Anthropologists and linguists believe that both developed in Mesopotamia, or current-day Iraq, during the fifth century BC and that the Egyptian hieroglyphs were pictographs left by the Sumerians. Symbolizing objects, such as “river,” “house,” and “tree,” they soon evolved into ideographs, which represented words, such as “up,” “one,” and “down.”

As shapes were formed, so, too, did cuneiform writing arise, scraped into soft clay in Mesopotamia and then baked so that it formed a permanent record. The oldest such examples were discovered in Nineveh and Ur, respectively Sumerian and Assyrian cities, during the third century BC.

Syllabic writing, a development and combination of ideographs, surfaced about 2500 BC and was adopted by the Akkadians and the Egyptians, again in Mesopotamia, and for the first time resulted in a representation that reflected syllables and phonetics.

The latter parameter, particularly, sparked the creation of the alphabet, the first traces of which were found in Sinai between 2500 and 2000 BC. Complexity was minimized when the Eastern Semites reduced the number of symbols from hundreds to about two dozen, each one of which represented a consonant.

By 1500, the system was highly developed and was adopted, in modified form, by the Phoenicians, who lived in present-day Lebanon, and the Semites. Considered a syllabary, it was shortly followed by the Hebrew system.

By the first century BC, it assumed modern form, when the Greeks living in Asia modified the initial system and added symbols for vowels. Vowels themselves had previously been understood by the Phoenicians, but were not represented.

Migrating from Asia Minor to Northern Italy, the Romans derived their own alphabet from that of the Greeks and the Etruscans. Reshaped, it became, for all intents and purposes, the one standardly and widely used by most of the world’s languages today, although adjustments were often required to fit the respective one. In 600 AD, for instance, amendments were needed to conform to the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon (Old English) tongues. Turkish, Swahili, Vietnamese, and Indonesian subsequently adopted its use.

Several other written systems nevertheless persist. Traditional Chinese, for instance, considered both monosyllabic and morphemic, employs pictographs, ideographs, and compound ideographs. Arabic, which, contrasted to square Hebrew, is curvy in character, is equally used by Urdu, Persian, and Malay.

Developed by missionaries, who traveled to Russia to convert its people to Christianity, the Cyrillic alphabet is utilized by modern day Russian, as well as Bulgarian, Serbia, Byelorussian, and Ukrainian.

Linguists continue to fabricate alphabets to match languages only previously spoken. But whatever system they use, whether it entail pictographs, ideographs, hieroglyphs, cuneiform writing, syllabic writing, curly Arabic, square Hebrew, or the Greek, Roman, or Cyrillic alphabets, it will never exactly match the spoken words they represent, indicating that the oral language is primary and the written one only an artificial representation of it.