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Fluenz co-founder, tutor, and leader of the product development team,
Sonia Gil, discusses all-things language learning.
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Putting the final touches on the wifi iPad access Fluenz Flashcards--fully optimized for iPad and iPad 2. We'll be posting here as soon as the beta release is ready.

Putting the final touches on the wifi iPad access Fluenz Flashcards--fully optimized for iPad and iPad 2. We'll be posting here as soon as the beta release is ready.

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Anthony
Disregard, it works now must have been a glitch

Disregard, it works now must have been a glitch

dr.chipcouncil
You know what would be nice, but very difficult? One that uses voice recognition rather than typing. I depend heavily on the index cards as they are to force the content into my brain.

You know what would be nice, but very difficult? One that uses voice recognition rather than typing. I depend heavily on the index cards as they are to force the content into my brain.

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The iPad Flashcards are out and Eric did a nice video we've posted on Facebook. As always looking forward to your feedback.

The iPad Flashcards are out and Eric did a nice video we've posted on Facebook. As always looking forward to your feedback.

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5 people find this helpful
Cathy Wood
I sawa user say they 'installed' the flashcards to theiri pad...I do not see anywhere to dothis. Is there an app now? Or do we just have to go online as i saw mentioned? Im a bit confused.

I sawa user say they 'installed' the flashcards to theiri pad...I do not see anywhere to dothis. Is there an app now? Or do we just have to go online as i saw mentioned? Im a bit confused.

Ashoka Tano
si!!!!!! usted especial, Sonia! mucho gracias, tango un ipad, lo camprobare

si!!!!!! usted especial, Sonia! mucho gracias, tango un ipad, lo camprobare

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Thanks to all the people who have written us directly and who posted here and on Facebook with feedback about the Flashcards. Clearly this is something the entire Fluenz community has been waiting for. The team that is working on this project is very proud of all the positive comments the beta version has received. We've been slowly fixing some of the bugs users have pointed out and are looking to improve in many areas. There is a pipeline of great additions to Fluenz and hopefully most of them will be received with the same enthusiasm as these Flashcards. The feedback has given us even more energy to finish development and start launching all these new features in the Fluenz learning experience. One of the first things we hope to have up and running is a redesign of the Commons themselves. We realize the navigation is not great and that we need a lot more interactivity--and it needs to be more closely linked to the learning experience. After that we'll launch several new ways to improve your learning, and more ways to access what we've already built. Hopefully I'll have news of all this activity very soon (and Italian users fear not, we're not slowing down on Italian 3). In the meantime please continue sending us feedback for the Flahscards. We can't wait to get to the 2 and 3.0 stages. PS. Where to find the Fluenz Flashcards? As an integral part of the Fluenz programs they are available to all Fluenz users. Register if you haven't (use the code that came in your original red box) or login if you haven't and you'll see the link on the My Commons box, to the right of the screen. If you are logged in you can always go directly to fluenz.com/commons/apps/flashcards.

Thanks to all the people who have written us directly and who posted here and on Facebook with feedback about the Flashcards. Clearly this is something the entire Fluenz community has been waiting for. The team that is working on this project is very proud of all the positive comments the beta version has received. We've been slowly fixing some of the bugs users have pointed out and are looking to improve in many areas.

There is a pipeline of great additions to Fluenz and hopefully most of them will be received with the same enthusiasm as these Flashcards. The feedback has given us even more energy to finish development and start launching all these new features in the Fluenz learning experience.
One of the first things we hope to have up and running is a redesign of the Commons themselves. We realize the navigation is not great and that we need a lot more interactivity--and it needs to be more closely linked to the learning experience. After that we'll launch several new ways to improve your learning, and more ways to access what we've already built. Hopefully I'll have news of all this activity very soon (and Italian users fear not, we're not slowing down on Italian 3).

In the meantime please continue sending us feedback for the Flahscards. We can't wait to get to the 2 and 3.0 stages.

PS. Where to find the Fluenz Flashcards? As an integral part of the Fluenz programs they are available to all Fluenz users. Register if you haven't (use the code that came in your original red box) or login if you haven't and you'll see the link on the My Commons box, to the right of the screen. If you are logged in you can always go directly to fluenz.com/commons/apps/flashcards.

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3 people find this helpful
tomparm
I've had a Fluenz license and DVD for two months or so-- but I had little time to study. However, I started today, and I love Fluenz, but it is hard for me to pronounce Spanish words correctly. So...I'm grateful for the flash cards. I used them after i finished my very first lesson. The flash cards work very well, and allow me to practice speaking at any time without being inside a lesson. Thanks.

I've had a Fluenz license and DVD for two months or so-- but I had little time to study. However, I started today, and I love Fluenz, but it is hard for me to pronounce Spanish words correctly. So...I'm grateful for the flash cards. I used them after i finished my very first lesson. The flash cards work very well, and allow me to practice speaking at any time without being inside a lesson. Thanks.

Ashoka Tano
I just did session one flash cards that was sooooo helpful for reviews!

I just did session one flash cards that was sooooo helpful for reviews!

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These can be a little tricky. The first thing we have to do is know the present tense very well. Then we can work on the past. These are the three verbs you need to know well. Ser Estar Ir "Ir" is probably the easiest one to deal with because it has a straight translation in English: Ir = To go Yo voy I go Tú vas You(i) go Él/Ella va He/She goes Nosotros/as vamos We/We(f) go Ustedes van You(p) go Ellos/as van They/They(f) go Here is the past tense of ir. Yo fui I went Tú fuiste You(i) went Él/Ella fue He/She went Nosotros/as fuimos We/We(f) went Ustedes fueron You(p) went Ellos/as fueron They/They(f) went Again this is straight forward. Whenever you are talking about "going" in the past tense, use the "fui" form. I went to the park yesterday = Yo fui al parque ayer I went to the theater with her = Yo fui al teatro con ella So I went = Yo fui ALWAYS. ------- Ser and Estar, you have to be clear on when to use each to nail the past tense correctly. That is the hardest part, and truthfully only practice gets you there. We try to break it down as much as possible, but some things are just not straight forward. That said, in general terms we can say that "Estar" is used for location or states of being that change, and "Ser" is used for innate qualities and other cases like professions, etc. Yo estoy en mi casa / I am at home Yo soy Sandra / I am Sandra In these examples you have to use "estar" in the first sentence, and "ser" in the second. There is no gray areas in this one. Ok, now the past tense. Yo estoy = Yo estuve I am (location) = I was Yo estuve en la oficina. I was at the office. Now if you wanted to say: I went to the office, you would use "fui" correct? Yo fui a la oficina. = I went to the office. Yo estuve en Madrid el año pasado / I was in Madrid last year Yo fui a Madrid el año pasado / I went to Madrid last year Yo estuve con Juan ayer / I was with Juan yesterday Yo fui a casa de Juan ayer / I went to Juan's house yesterday So far so good. _----- Now let's look at Ser, this is what confuses people. Yo soy = I am Yo fui = I was See the past tense of Ser is the same as the past tense of Ir. In Fluenz, when we first introduce the past tense we only talk about the past tense of estar (Yo estuve = I was) and the past tense of ir (Yo fui = I went). At the beginning in our world, the past tense of Ser (the simple past tense- there are others) does not exist. Truthfully, you don't use the simple past tense of Ser as much in every day speech. Why? Well because we don't change our innate qualities too much. And it is used more as a way to "play with words." Yo soy estudiante ( I am a student) Yo fui estudiante en esa escuela (I was a student at that school) Now this is a very particular example, it works with student because once you seize to be one, well you are not one anymore, but for professions for example, it rarely works. Yo soy profesora (I am a teacher) Yo fui profesora (I was a teacher) --- Maybe you would use this sentence to explain that you were a teacher at such and such school. Yo fui profesora en esa escuela (I was a teacher at that school)-- Now even though you could say this, for cases of ser in past tense you would most likely use a different tense, called the imperfect: "era" which gives a meaning of "used to be". Yo soy profesora en esta escuela (I am a teacher at this school) Yo era profesora en esa escuela (I used to be a teacher at that school). ---- Conclusion, to avoid confusion, and in any case, it is what you will hear most in the street. Present Past Yo estoy Yo estuve Yo estuve en su casa. (I was at her house) Yo voy Yo fui Yo fui a su casa. (I went to her house) Yo soy Yo era Yo era rubia antes. (I was blonde before / I used to be blonde before) Hope this helped!

These can be a little tricky. The first thing we have to do is know the present tense very well. Then we can work on the past. These are the three verbs you need to know well.

Ser

Estar

Ir

"Ir" is probably the easiest one to deal with because it has a straight translation in English: Ir = To go

Yo voy I go
Tú vas You(i) go
Él/Ella va He/She goes
Nosotros/as vamos We/We(f) go
Ustedes van You(p) go
Ellos/as van They/They(f) go

Here is the past tense of ir.

Yo fui I went
Tú fuiste You(i) went
Él/Ella fue He/She went
Nosotros/as fuimos We/We(f) went
Ustedes fueron You(p) went
Ellos/as fueron They/They(f) went

Again this is straight forward. Whenever you are talking about "going" in the past tense, use the "fui" form.

I went to the park yesterday = Yo fui al parque ayer
I went to the theater with her = Yo fui al teatro con ella

So I went = Yo fui ALWAYS.

-------

Ser and Estar, you have to be clear on when to use each to nail the past tense correctly. That is the hardest part, and truthfully only practice gets you there. We try to break it down as much as possible, but some things are just not straight forward.

That said, in general terms we can say that "Estar" is used for location or states of being that change, and "Ser" is used for innate qualities and other cases like professions, etc.

Yo estoy en mi casa / I am at home

Yo soy Sandra / I am Sandra

In these examples you have to use "estar" in the first sentence, and "ser" in the second. There is no gray areas in this one.

Ok, now the past tense.

Yo estoy = Yo estuve
I am (location) = I was

Yo estuve en la oficina. I was at the office.

Now if you wanted to say: I went to the office, you would use "fui" correct?
Yo fui a la oficina. = I went to the office.

Yo estuve en Madrid el año pasado / I was in Madrid last year
Yo fui a Madrid el año pasado / I went to Madrid last year

Yo estuve con Juan ayer / I was with Juan yesterday
Yo fui a casa de Juan ayer / I went to Juan's house yesterday

So far so good.
_-----

Now let's look at Ser, this is what confuses people.

Yo soy = I am
Yo fui = I was

See the past tense of Ser is the same as the past tense of Ir.

In Fluenz, when we first introduce the past tense we only talk about the past tense of estar (Yo estuve = I was) and the past tense of ir (Yo fui = I went). At the beginning in our world, the past tense of Ser (the simple past tense- there are others) does not exist.

Truthfully, you don't use the simple past tense of Ser as much in every day speech. Why? Well because we don't change our innate qualities too much. And it is used more as a way to "play with words."

Yo soy estudiante ( I am a student)

Yo fui estudiante en esa escuela (I was a student at that school)

Now this is a very particular example, it works with student because once you seize to be one, well you are not one anymore, but for professions for example, it rarely works.

Yo soy profesora (I am a teacher)

Yo fui profesora (I was a teacher) --- Maybe you would use this sentence to explain that you were a teacher at such and such school.

Yo fui profesora en esa escuela (I was a teacher at that school)-- Now even though you could say this, for cases of ser in past tense you would most likely use a different tense, called the imperfect: "era" which gives a meaning of "used to be".

Yo soy profesora en esta escuela (I am a teacher at this school)

Yo era profesora en esa escuela (I used to be a teacher at that school).

----

Conclusion, to avoid confusion, and in any case, it is what you will hear most in the street.

Present Past

Yo estoy Yo estuve Yo estuve en su casa. (I was at her house)

Yo voy Yo fui Yo fui a su casa. (I went to her house)

Yo soy Yo era Yo era rubia antes. (I was blonde before /
I used to be blonde before)

Hope this helped!

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6 people find this helpful
Fabrice
"Va" is correct, it's the Usted form. You do not use the Tú form yet, i think it starts on Disc 2. So it's "usted va" and you probably have seen "tú vas" when you loooked online.

"Va" is correct, it's the Usted form. You do not use the Tú form yet, i think it starts on Disc 2. So it's "usted va" and you probably have seen "tú vas" when you loooked online.

Jacob Mhilu
I am your new follower, just interested on how you can lift me up from, I just know bonjour! But I speak fluently English and Swahili. Please make me A French speaker!

I am your new follower, just interested on how you can lift me up from, I just know bonjour! But I speak fluently English and Swahili.
Please make me A French speaker!

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Hey Guys, Whether you are learning Portuguese or not you won't want to miss my latest trip to Porto Alegre! Check out the Travel Brazil episodes here: Learn Portuguese, Travel Brazil: Porto Alegre, Magical Cityhttp://youtu.be/bxyiUAy2bXk Learn Portuguese, Travel Brazil: Amazing Porto Alegrehttp://youtu.be/xIh6Igroy8s Hope you enjoy!

Hey Guys,

Whether you are learning Portuguese or not you won't want to miss my latest trip to Porto Alegre!

Check out the Travel Brazil episodes here:

Learn Portuguese, Travel Brazil: Porto Alegre, Magical City
http://youtu.be/bxyiUAy2bXk

Learn Portuguese, Travel Brazil: Amazing Porto Alegre
http://youtu.be/xIh6Igroy8s

Hope you enjoy!

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1 person finds this helpful
Josephina
Comment...

Comment...

Josephina
A propósito Sonia. Por favor, necesitamos mas lecciones en español. ¿Tal vez "Español Avanzada"?

A propósito Sonia. Por favor, necesitamos mas lecciones en español. ¿Tal vez "Español Avanzada"?

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Please visit the beta version of the Fluenz Flashcards. If you are reading this as a member of the Fluenz community you'll see a link in My Commons. For those already registered you can go directly as well by going to fluenz.com/commons/flashcards. Enjoy!

Please visit the beta version of the Fluenz Flashcards. If you are reading this as a member of the Fluenz community you'll see a link in My Commons. For those already registered you can go directly as well by going to fluenz.com/commons/flashcards. Enjoy!

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1 person finds this helpful
gregjeff
Hi Eric, Still seeing the same issue in IE9 on the RTM version. Also, I just downloaded Firefox 4 and am seeing the same issue I saw in IE9 before. The menus to select language, level, etc. aren't actually visible, though if I move my cursor over where they should be, the cursor does switch to the hand, indicating that something is there, just not visible. Maybe just some form of layering issue? Grazie, Greg

Hi Eric,

Still seeing the same issue in IE9 on the RTM version. Also, I just downloaded Firefox 4 and am seeing the same issue I saw in IE9 before. The menus to select language, level, etc. aren't actually visible, though if I move my cursor over where they should be, the cursor does switch to the hand, indicating that something is there, just not visible. Maybe just some form of layering issue?

Grazie,
Greg

Was du nicht weißt...
Ted is right. Some part of the drills, either within the lesson or within the flashcard system need to go from to . I always did 'real' (let's hear it for the Vis-Ed folks!) flashcards in both directions. "Matchups" are also a good place to reverse directions.

Ted is right. Some part of the drills, either within the lesson or within the flashcard system need to go from to . I always did 'real' (let's hear it for the Vis-Ed folks!) flashcards in both directions. "Matchups" are also a good place to reverse directions.

Post Comment
If you have ever uttered those words I send you some finger pointing and a firm: "bad human", "bad human"... I'm sitting at a café in Santiago, Chile. A few minutes ago, a nice couple was attempting to order in Spanish. Unfortunately their phrase book was not resolving much. I helped them out, and we ended up having lunch together. Once again I was faced with that dreaded line. The lady told me that she has tried to learn Spanish but that "I am just not good at learning languages." And so I say to you what I said to nice Susan: You are not bad at learning languages, in fact, you are very good at it. Our brains are trained to do so and everyone already knows one and can use it as a base. Somehow we have come to believe the fallacy that one should learn languages easily, that we should "pick them up." I don't know of anyone who just "picked up" a language. Every single person that I know, including myself, has worked at it, has lived the frustrations, has made the mistakes, has wanted to quit. True, some people are better at memorizing than others, some are better at imitating and differentiating sounds, and some are less embarrassed to go out there and give anything a try. But I dare anyone to find that person that never had to think about what they were learning, practice, understand, write, remember, put things together. So, if you are interested in learning a new language, you have chosen to do something that you are already good at- congratulations! Smile because this is something you actually CAN do. Yes, it will take some work, yes it will take time, and yes it will not be ultra easy. But with some dedication and focused practice you will get there. 99% of Luxembourg's population is at least bilingual- so is all of Luxembourg "good" at learning languages and we aren't? People in Luxembourg don't have some superb genetic code. It has everything to do with the way we are taught languages and the way we perceive they should be learned. Too often we are faced with products, methods, people, claiming that learning will be "easy and fun." And since that is the norm in the way language learning products are sold, we believe it. And when it isn't so "easy and fun," we think it is us. We take it for granted that of course it has to take time and work. If you knew nothing about programming and wanted to be "fluent", you would automatically assume that you would have to study, and that it would be a difficult task, right? You would study math, programming languages, protocols, logic, right? You would have to train yourself, and having no point of reference you would basically start from scratch. And if someone told you that you can learn programming while you sleep, or in a "fun and easy" way, you probably wouldn't believe them. Ok, now the fun part, you already know a language and most are quite similar. All languages use the same logic: subject, verb, predicate. Sometimes positioning is different, sometimes the way verbs are used is different, but the intrinsic logic of verbal and written communication is pretty much the same. You already know down cold an entire grammatical system. In fact you know it so well that you don't even have to think about it. You are putting together subjects and objects and predicates and all those terms that you don't like. A new language is all of that system rearranged and in many cases things just stay the same. You already have the toughest part under control. The base layer is already there. I'm not trying to simplify things. Learning languages is tough. All I'm saying is that you picked a battle that you can win, that you are armed for. Go out there and conquer.

If you have ever uttered those words I send you some finger pointing and a firm: "bad human", "bad human"...

I'm sitting at a café in Santiago, Chile. A few minutes ago, a nice couple was attempting to order in Spanish. Unfortunately their phrase book was not resolving much. I helped them out, and we ended up having lunch together. Once again I was faced with that dreaded line. The lady told me that she has tried to learn Spanish but that "I am just not good at learning languages." And so I say to you what I said to nice Susan:

You are not bad at learning languages, in fact, you are very good at it. Our brains are trained to do so and everyone already knows one and can use it as a base. Somehow we have come to believe the fallacy that one should learn languages easily, that we should "pick them up." I don't know of anyone who just "picked up" a language. Every single person that I know, including myself, has worked at it, has lived the frustrations, has made the mistakes, has wanted to quit. True, some people are better at memorizing than others, some are better at imitating and differentiating sounds, and some are less embarrassed to go out there and give anything a try. But I dare anyone to find that person that never had to think about what they were learning, practice, understand, write, remember, put things together.

So, if you are interested in learning a new language, you have chosen to do something that you are already good at- congratulations! Smile because this is something you actually CAN do. Yes, it will take some work, yes it will take time, and yes it will not be ultra easy. But with some dedication and focused practice you will get there. 99% of Luxembourg's population is at least bilingual- so is all of Luxembourg "good" at learning languages and we aren't? People in Luxembourg don't have some superb genetic code. It has everything to do with the way we are taught languages and the way we perceive they should be learned. Too often we are faced with products, methods, people, claiming that learning will be "easy and fun." And since that is the norm in the way language learning products are sold, we believe it. And when it isn't so "easy and fun," we think it is us.

We take it for granted that of course it has to take time and work. If you knew nothing about programming and wanted to be "fluent", you would automatically assume that you would have to study, and that it would be a difficult task, right? You would study math, programming languages, protocols, logic, right? You would have to train yourself, and having no point of reference you would basically start from scratch.
And if someone told you that you can learn programming while you sleep, or in a "fun and easy" way, you probably wouldn't believe them.

Ok, now the fun part, you already know a language and most are quite similar. All languages use the same logic: subject, verb, predicate. Sometimes positioning is different, sometimes the way verbs are used is different, but the intrinsic logic of verbal and written communication is pretty much the same. You already know down cold an entire grammatical system. In fact you know it so well that you don't even have to think about it. You are putting together subjects and objects and predicates and all those terms that you don't like. A new language is all of that system rearranged and in many cases things just stay the same. You already have the toughest part under control. The base layer is already there.

I'm not trying to simplify things. Learning languages is tough. All I'm saying is that you picked a battle that you can win, that you are armed for. Go out there and conquer.

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10 people find this helpful
Robert D. Williams
I used this forum because the "Create a Post" section wouldn't let me insert a category.

I used this forum because the "Create a Post" section wouldn't let me insert a category.

Doozer
Hi Sonia and Fellow Fluenz Users, I'm from Ireland, here we're taught Irish from a very young age until the time we leave school. Even with all this time spent on the language very few people end up being able to speak it very well and nobody within my own peer group ever got close to fluency, myself included. Since graduating, several of my friends have mastered a second language in a relatively short space of time, (2-3 years roughly), despite being not being able to do it within the school system. Granted, they have lived abroad and had total immersion. However, one friend decided to take another crack at Irish and managed to get to B.2 level with the Common European Language Framework which, from my understanding, is fairly comprehensive. He did this with a young family and full time job and there aren't exactly native speakers floating around everywhere here. I think I would have been someone who was guilty of thinking that if someone is bilingual they must be hyper-intelligent, but as I say I've seen quite a few friends, just normal people, manage to learn a second language since leaving school. I've only started down the path myself so, I guess I shouldn't be waffling but I'm trying to take inspiration from others and I'm not allowing myself any excuses this time around. That's my two cents really…

Hi Sonia and Fellow Fluenz Users,

I'm from Ireland, here we're taught Irish from a very young age until the time we leave school. Even with all this time spent on the language very few people end up being able to speak it very well and nobody within my own peer group ever got close to fluency, myself included. Since graduating, several of my friends have mastered a second language in a relatively short space of time, (2-3 years roughly), despite being not being able to do it within the school system. Granted, they have lived abroad and had total immersion. However, one friend decided to take another crack at Irish and managed to get to B.2 level with the Common European Language Framework which, from my understanding, is fairly comprehensive. He did this with a young family and full time job and there aren't exactly native speakers floating around everywhere here. I think I would have been someone who was guilty of thinking that if someone is bilingual they must be hyper-intelligent, but as I say I've seen quite a few friends, just normal people, manage to learn a second language since leaving school. I've only started down the path myself so, I guess I shouldn't be waffling but I'm trying to take inspiration from others and I'm not allowing myself any excuses this time around. That's my two cents really…

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The French y and en are a source of headaches around the world, period. It was for me for a long time. We’ve attempted to simplify it as much as possible, but it is just not a simple concept to internalize. In any case, I’ll explain. It just takes some time getting used to. First of all, it is important to understand that these two little guys are extremely important in French. What’s important is to rember this, Y refers to a place. En refers to a thing. That said, let’s get into the details: Y refers to a previously mentioned or implied place; it is normally translated by "there" in English. The problem is that many times in English we don’t need the “there” but in French we ALWAYS need the Y. So if in English we say: -Are you going to the office today? You can simply reply: -Yes, I’m going. There is no need to say: -Yes, I’m going to the office. Nor. Yes I’m going there. In French you HAVE to use the “there” which is the Y in French. So if you are referring to a place, even if it is not mentioned, you need the y. Here some examples: -Est-ce que vous allez au bureau aujourd’hui? -Oui, j’y vais You MUST use the Y there. You cannot say: Oui, je vais. You either have to say: -Oui, je vais au bureau (actually saying the place) or -Oui, j’y vais So if you saw this phrase: -I’m going with here later. Would you need an Y, or not? The answer is yes. The phrase implies that you are going somewhere right? And since there is no mention of a place, you need an Y. As if you were saying: - I’m going there with her. - Oui, j’y vais avec elle. Y usually replaces what’s called a prepositional phrase beginning with something like à, chez, or dans. This is the most common use of Y. There is another use of it, but I will not mention it here. In the first two levels, this is what we most refer to. En En replaces a thing. It is equivalent to "some," "any," or "one" in English. Same as with Y, sometimes we don’t need the “any” or the “some” in English, but you always need the EN in French. Do you have a ticket ? Yes, I have one. Est-ce que vous avez un billet? Oui, j'en ai. He wants bread. He wants some. Il veux du pain. Il en veux. In other cases it replaces "of it" and "of them" which ar usually optional in English, but again, en is required in French. There are a lot of bags. There are a lot (of them). Il y a beaucoup de sacs. Il y en a beaucoup. I don't have enough money. I don't have enough (of it). Je n'ai pas assez d'argent. Je n'en ai pas assez. Again, there are more uses of En, but you won’t see them until later on. So let’s keep it as simple as possible for now.

The French y and en are a source of headaches around the world, period. It was for me for a long time. We’ve attempted to simplify it as much as possible, but it is just not a simple concept to internalize. In any case, I’ll explain. It just takes some time getting used to.
First of all, it is important to understand that these two little guys are extremely important in French.

What’s important is to rember this,
Y refers to a place.
En refers to a thing.

That said, let’s get into the details:

Y refers to a previously mentioned or implied place; it is normally translated by "there" in English. The problem is that many times in English we don’t need the “there” but in French we ALWAYS need the Y.
So if in English we say:
-Are you going to the office today?
You can simply reply:
-Yes, I’m going. There is no need to say:
-Yes, I’m going to the office. Nor. Yes I’m going there.

In French you HAVE to use the “there” which is the Y in French. So if you are referring to a place, even if it is not mentioned, you need the y.
Here some examples:
-Est-ce que vous allez au bureau aujourd’hui?
-Oui, j’y vais
You MUST use the Y there. You cannot say: Oui, je vais.
You either have to say:
-Oui, je vais au bureau (actually saying the place) or
-Oui, j’y vais
So if you saw this phrase:
-I’m going with here later. Would you need an Y, or not?
The answer is yes. The phrase implies that you are going somewhere right? And since there is no mention of a place, you need an Y. As if you were saying:
- I’m going there with her.
- Oui, j’y vais avec elle.

Y usually replaces what’s called a prepositional phrase beginning with something like à, chez, or dans.

This is the most common use of Y. There is another use of it, but I will not mention it here. In the first two levels, this is what we most refer to.

En
En replaces a thing. It is equivalent to "some," "any," or "one" in English. Same as with Y, sometimes we don’t need the “any” or the “some” in English, but you always need the EN in French.

Do you have a ticket ? Yes, I have one.
Est-ce que vous avez un billet? Oui, j'en ai.

He wants bread. He wants some.
Il veux du pain. Il en veux.

In other cases it replaces "of it" and "of them" which ar usually optional in English, but again, en is required in French.

There are a lot of bags. There are a lot (of them).
Il y a beaucoup de sacs. Il y en a beaucoup.

I don't have enough money. I don't have enough (of it).
Je n'ai pas assez d'argent. Je n'en ai pas assez.

Again, there are more uses of En, but you won’t see them until later on. So let’s keep it as simple as possible for now.

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andy@fluenz
It would be -Nous voulons y manger. (We want to eat there) Y would represent the place previously spoken about.

It would be -Nous voulons y manger. (We want to eat there) Y would represent the place previously spoken about.

Mitchell Weinberg
Thanks. Yeah, brain-slip there.

Thanks. Yeah, brain-slip there.

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A common wish among our users is to be able to speed up comprehension level. Many of you have written us over the years asking for tips on how to improve this. Well, first of all, don't get frustrated, it is absolutely normal to have trouble with comprehension when you start learning. The learning process, if you are starting from scratch, works as such: First you work on delivery. You get a grasp of a limited amount of the language: you learn sounds, words, and structures, and the idea at first is for you to be able to say what you need and to have people understand you. Then, once you have that material in your brain you can actually understand it when it is being said to you. The problem of course is that people use a lot more vocab and structures than you know at first. So in the beginning you are kind of always guessing what people are saying because you are merely able to pick up words and phrases here and there. Again, this is normal. The great thing is that once you have your structures down, you can add vocabulary fairly easily and your understanding will increase little by little. Ok, but how do you speed it up? 1. Watch movies. Not just press play and let it roll. Grab a scene, and play it over and over, with and without subtitles, until you make out what it is they are saying. This works really well. It takes some hard work, and of course, in movies they are going to use slang, and different ways of saying things. We've found that at first, watching simple things, like children's movies, really works. Sonia swears by watching soap operas. Her take on it is that they are always overacted and the plots are fairly simple to follow so it makes it easier to focus on what the characters are saying. 2. Listen to music. This does not work for everyone, but some people have an incredible musical ear and working with lyrics is key. Again, do it in the same way you would a movie, take the lyrics, read them, write them, translate them, until you can make out what they say when you hear the song. 3. This may sound strange, but talk to yourself. Hearing yourself say things is incredibly helpful. The more you say them out loud, the more ingrained they will be in your brain. When you hear them, you'll recall what you've been practicing. 4. Go and find a place where they speak the language. A restaurant, a part of town, something. Don't be shy, say something to the waiter, or whomever, you'll be surprised, most people are actually willing to talk to you in their language- at least they'll say a few phrases to you. 5. Audiobooks are great too. Look for the simplest book you can find, again children's books work well. And since you can also get the text it helps in case you need to translate something. Do it in parts. Play thirty seconds at a time, or maybe even less, and go at it little by little, you'll see how after hearing it a few times, and stopping to think about it, you'll start to get the gist of it. Unfortunately there isn't one magical formula for comprehension. The truth is that like everything, you have to set out the time and work at it. But we can tell you that a little goes a long way. Do half an hour a day of just a small section of a book, for example, and in a week you'll already feel the difference. Good luck and feel free to post suggestions.

A common wish among our users is to be able to speed up comprehension level. Many of you have written us over the years asking for tips on how to improve this.

Well, first of all, don't get frustrated, it is absolutely normal to have trouble with comprehension when you start learning. The learning process, if you are starting from scratch, works as such:

First you work on delivery. You get a grasp of a limited amount of the language: you learn sounds, words, and structures, and the idea at first is for you to be able to say what you need and to have people understand you.

Then, once you have that material in your brain you can actually understand it when it is being said to you. The problem of course is that people use a lot more vocab and structures than you know at first. So in the beginning you are kind of always guessing what people are saying because you are merely able to pick up words and phrases here and there. Again, this is normal. The great thing is that once you have your structures down, you can add vocabulary fairly easily and your understanding will increase little by little.

Ok, but how do you speed it up?

1. Watch movies. Not just press play and let it roll. Grab a scene, and play it over and over, with and without subtitles, until you make out what it is they are saying. This works really well. It takes some hard work, and of course, in movies they are going to use slang, and different ways of saying things. We've found that at first, watching simple things, like children's movies, really works. Sonia swears by watching soap operas. Her take on it is that they are always overacted and the plots are fairly simple to follow so it makes it easier to focus on what the characters are saying.

2. Listen to music. This does not work for everyone, but some people have an incredible musical ear and working with lyrics is key. Again, do it in the same way you would a movie, take the lyrics, read them, write them, translate them, until you can make out what they say when you hear the song.

3. This may sound strange, but talk to yourself. Hearing yourself say things is incredibly helpful. The more you say them out loud, the more ingrained they will be in your brain. When you hear them, you'll recall what you've been practicing.

4. Go and find a place where they speak the language. A restaurant, a part of town, something. Don't be shy, say something to the waiter, or whomever, you'll be surprised, most people are actually willing to talk to you in their language- at least they'll say a few phrases to you.

5. Audiobooks are great too. Look for the simplest book you can find, again children's books work well. And since you can also get the text it helps in case you need to translate something. Do it in parts. Play thirty seconds at a time, or maybe even less, and go at it little by little, you'll see how after hearing it a few times, and stopping to think about it, you'll start to get the gist of it.

Unfortunately there isn't one magical formula for comprehension. The truth is that like everything, you have to set out the time and work at it. But we can tell you that a little goes a long way. Do half an hour a day of just a small section of a book, for example, and in a week you'll already feel the difference.

Good luck and feel free to post suggestions.

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9 people find this helpful
Diana Wahlquist
I love the movie "Something's Gotta Give" - I've probably seen it at least 10 times. One day I decided to watch it in French (dubbed over the actors voices) and at first it was kinda weird because of the cheesy speakers!! However, because I knew the movie so well and could even quote some of the lines it was quite amazing how I understood what they were saying. Even though I hate hearing Jack Nicholson sound like a cheesy frenchmen it was worth it.

I love the movie "Something's Gotta Give" - I've probably seen it at least 10 times. One day I decided to watch it in French (dubbed over the actors voices) and at first it was kinda weird because of the cheesy speakers!! However, because I knew the movie so well and could even quote some of the lines it was quite amazing how I understood what they were saying. Even though I hate hearing Jack Nicholson sound like a cheesy frenchmen it was worth it.

SimonHGR
@mtvsux, yeah, what is it with Chinese movies, are they all tradgedies? I got "Crouching Tiger...", and "Lust, Caution", and they went from dismal in the first one to worse in the second. What's with this Ang Lee guy? (Still he did a good job with Sense and Sensibility at least. I wonder if there's a Mandarin dubbed version of that!?) All that said, I could actually understand a few sentences, and parts of more, right off the bat :) Also, be careful that you're getting a Mandarin movie, several I came across turned out to be Cantonese.

@mtvsux, yeah, what is it with Chinese movies, are they all tradgedies? I got "Crouching Tiger...", and "Lust, Caution", and they went from dismal in the first one to worse in the second. What's with this Ang Lee guy? (Still he did a good job with Sense and Sensibility at least. I wonder if there's a Mandarin dubbed version of that!?) All that said, I could actually understand a few sentences, and parts of more, right off the bat :)

Also, be careful that you're getting a Mandarin movie, several I came across turned out to be Cantonese.

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The Flashcards are back online. Our apologies for the misstep. We'll be looking forward to your feedback.

The Flashcards are back online. Our apologies for the misstep. We'll be looking forward to your feedback.

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Greg Parente
Sonia, you guys at Fluenz rock! You changed my life! I've spent the summer in Sarlat, France with my girlfriends family. Last summer, I spoke nothing with her grandparents except comment ca va? Ca va bien! Etc. Her mother speaks little english as well. Over the course this past year, I've made it up to Level 3 lesson 7. What a world a difference! I am communicating with them. We are laughing together, talking, and enjoying each other's company. My girlfriend is quite pleased after a frustrating summer last year. This program works for me! I discovered it online when I was highly disappointed and learning nothing at FIAF in NYC. 700 hundred dollars for 6 weeks and I could not, seriously, put a sentence together. After the French online demo, I could order a meal in french. You guys are rocking and now these flashcards! Merci beaucoup! Vous etes tres gentile! Maintentant, j'ai besoin de pratique mon francaise! Au revoir et bon journee! -Greg from NYC! We miss you in Level 3 but the newbie excellent as well!

Sonia, you guys at Fluenz rock! You changed my life! I've spent the summer in Sarlat, France with my girlfriends family. Last summer, I spoke nothing with her grandparents except comment ca va? Ca va bien! Etc. Her mother speaks little english as well. Over the course this past year, I've made it up to Level 3 lesson 7. What a world a difference! I am communicating with them. We are laughing together, talking, and enjoying each other's company. My girlfriend is quite pleased after a frustrating summer last year. This program works for me! I discovered it online when I was highly disappointed and learning nothing at FIAF in NYC. 700 hundred dollars for 6 weeks and I could not, seriously, put a sentence together. After the French online demo, I could order a meal in french. You guys are rocking and now these flashcards! Merci beaucoup! Vous etes tres gentile! Maintentant, j'ai besoin de pratique mon francaise! Au revoir et bon journee! -Greg from NYC! We miss you in Level 3 but the newbie excellent as well!

italeki
Where are the flash cards?

Where are the flash cards?

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