les Nombres

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Whether we’re sharing a phone number, writing down an address, asking a price, or giving a measurement, we use numbers constantly. When we use numbers, it’s usually important that we get them exactly right—one digit off and you won’t reach the person you’re trying to call.

We process numbers differently than we process words though, and most students find numbers intimidating in a foreign language, so they avoid practicing anything beyond the basic ability to count. Most language textbooks and programs encourage this approach to language by providing simple number lists to memorize.

Students are often surprised to find that they can’t process French numbers quickly unless they’re counting. When they come across digits in a French text, they read them in English. It’s essential to develop familiarity with numbers and how they are used in French—their real-world use in the language, not just some basic number lists.

In the Novel French Language number lessons, we’ll introduce you to the number lists, but then you’ll practice the numbers in the context of real-world uses and language expressions. We’ll also work on telling time, doing basic math, measurements, fractions, and some common real-world uses including building floors, and names or titles that include numbers (kings and popes).

As you progress through the number exercises, we strongly recommend that you build language practice into your daily life. Just like all of your other French lessons, don’t keep your number practice limited to online exercises. Try the following to build your comfort with numbers, and if you think of any games or exercises of your own that aren’t on this list, feel free to share!

Offline Number Practice

Count by…

  • odd numbers
  • even numbers
  • threes
  • fives
  • tens
  • Count any of the above, but counting down instead of up.

Learn the following in French:

  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your height
  • Your weight
  • Phone numbers for friends and family
  • Birthdays for friends and family
  • The numbers of car models you like
  • Trivia numbers

Even if you think you know the basic numbers, try the easy exercises. You may learn some vocabulary and culture that’s new, even if the numbers aren’t.

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