Remembering Vocabulary

How To Say Sunset In French

Remembering Vocabulary

Learning is easy. Remembering is the problem. Do the quiz at the bottom of this article.

Many of you ask me how to remember vocabulary. So, I wanted to show you how I review a vocabulary list.

Of course, I’m not learning French, but I am learning German.

Okay: in fact, it’s quite simple: I take a list and I make up a paragraph with as many words as possible from that list.

Today, I’m working with this list.

I don’t find all the words interesting for me today, so I chose 10 to include here.

  1. le coucher du soleil
  2. une toupie
  3. des sous en chocolat
  4. une fiole d’huile
  5. allumer
  6. la fenêtre
  7. la porte
  8. une bénédiction
  9. un miracle
  10. une bougie

cold dogHere is my paragraph with the chosen words:

I’m babysitting my granddaughter and taking care of my daughter’s dog these days. Last week at sunset, my granddaughter was playing with a spinning top in the living room. Around 4 pm, she was hungry. However, I did not have much in my cabinets – I’m not a very good grandmother – and I had to give her some chocolate gelt I had bought for the New Year. As it was getting dark, I lit a lantern that looked like a vial of oil. I put it on the windowsill, the one next to the living room door. Unfortunately, the dog bit into the lantern. Fortunately, my husband managed to take it away. It’s a blessing that he had just arrived at that moment! It’s also a miracle that the lantern is not broken. So, I took a candle and replaced the lantern with the candle. It’s prettier and it’s more festive, actually. Life is good, right?

Teach French

Anne, toujours ravie de vous servir

And you, what can you create with a vocabulary list?

Do the same exercise – I call it recycling vocabulary – if you want to work on your French. Pick a list, write a small paragraph, or record the passage and send it to me here. I will correct it in writing or orally, depending on whether you sent me a text or a recording.


Beaucoup d’entre vous me demandent comment retenir le vocabulaire. Alors, je voulais vous montrer comment je révise une liste de vocabulaire.

Bien sûr, moi, je n’apprends pas le français, mais j’apprends l’allemand.

Donc, en fait, c’est assez simple : je prends une liste et j’invente un paragraphe avec autant de mots que possible.

Aujourd’hui, je travaille avec cette liste.

Tous les mots ne sont pas intéressants pour moi aujourd’hui. Alors, j’en ai choisi 10 que voilà :

  1. le coucher du soleil
  2. une toupie
  3. des sous en chocolat
  4. une fiole d’huile
  5. allumer
  6. la fenêtre
  7. la porte
  8. une bénédiction
  9. un miracle
  10. une bougie

Voici mon paragraphe inventé avec les mots choisis :

Je garde ma petite-fille et je m’occupe du chien de ma fille ces jours-ci. La semaine dernière, c’était au coucher du soleil, ma petite-fille jouait avec une toupie dans le salon. Vers 16H00, elle a eu faim. Toutefois, je n’avais pas grand-chose dans mes placards – je ne suis pas une très bonne grand-mère –et j’ai dû lui donner des sous en chocolat que j’avais achetés pour le nouvel an. Comme il commençait à faire nuit, j’ai allumé une lanterne qui ressemblait à une fiole d’huile. Je l’ai posée sur le rebord de la fenêtre, celle à côté de la porte du salon. Malheureusement, le chien a mordu dans la lanterne. Heureusement, mon mari a réussi à la lui enlever. C’est une bénédiction qu’il soit arrivé juste à ce moment-là ! C’est d’ailleurs un miracle que la lanterne ne soit pas cassée. J’ai donc pris une bougie, et j’ai remplacé la lanterne par la bougie. C’est plus joli et ça fait plus festif. La vie est belle quand même !

Et vous, que pouvez-vous créer avec une liste de vocabulaire ?

Faites la même chose – j’appelle ça recycler le vocabulaire – si vous voulez travailler sur votre français. Écrivez un petit paragraphe, ou enregistrez le passage et envoyez-le moi ici. Je vous le corrigerai à l’écrit ou à l’oral, selon que vous m’avez envoyé un texte ou un enregistrement.

Quiz - Hanukkah Paragraph

Choisissez la bonne réponse. Pick the right answer.
    Last week, my granddaughter was playing at sunset.
    My granddaughter was playing with a spinning top in the living room.
    I had to give her chocolate pennies that I had bought for the New Year.
    I lit a lantern.
    The lantern looked like a vial of oil.
    I put the lantern on the window sill.
    The window was next to the living room door.
    It's a blessing that you just arrived right at that moment!
    By the way, it’s also a miracle that the lantern is not broken.
    So I replaced the lantern with a candle.

Encore !


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Anne,

    A little while ago you asked me for some input on your new lessons.
    At the time I didn’t feel qualified for that but now, since you mention
    vocabulary, I do have a vocabulary story.

    In 1969 (Yes, that long ago) – I was studying French that long ago.
    But then there was a hiatus of nearly forty years which, I suppose,
    explains why I can sometimes understand things at a much higher
    level than A2, where I currently rate myself.

    Anyway, that long ago (!) I had had 2 years of high school French,
    which I basically didn’t care about and then began again with some
    self-study and a fairly long stint with Berlitz. The teachers were good
    and were also willing to put up with my idiosyncracies. I got to what
    would now be called A2 or a bit better.

    In the course of “going back to school” for a bit. I did more
    self-study. I still have some of the books, by Gaston Mauger. I was
    in an Irish literature program at the U. of Dublin. There was a brief
    fling with the very pretty daughter of the Belgian ambassador. Yes,
    that enhanced the French study too.

    Then, having finished the Irish diploma, I spent a couple of months
    in Paris going to the Alliance Française every morning and enjoying
    the rest of the city in the afternoon.

    Here is where the vocabulary story starts. I do not use flash cards
    or lists. In that period at the Alliance (I was at 4me there). I got
    myself a Petit Robert and a “micro” Larousse to carry around, along
    with a pen and a small pad of paper. The “micro” Larousse, you may
    know, is not a dual-language dictionary – French only. While “out and
    about” I used the “micro” to look up anything that I did not
    immediately understand and wrote down what I couldn’t figure out.

    Then in the evening, I used the Robert to find what had been written
    down earlier. If I didn’t really catch onto something, I would look up
    every word in the definition and then every word in the subsequent
    entry until I was satisfied. I can tell you I got some vocabulary
    that way!

    Well, I do recommend this way to anyone who has the opportunity.
    It works if you have the context. In any case, I firmly believe
    that language study is one of the most individualized things we
    do and that each person has the ability to come up with his or
    her own path. Anne’s method and this one, I think, both show that
    if you want “immersion” study, you can have it no matter where
    or who you are.

    Stephen H.

    PS – I still have the Petit Robert and still use it too.

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