Monday, 6 April 2009


I think that every evening at the Open University summer school ended in singing. It sounds like a holiday but if you take the view that work is pleasure then every day is a holiday. I have written about French singers that you may or may not have heard of. However a good starting point for anyone who wants to join in the singing is to learn songs from singers that you have heard of.

Edith Piaf is a good place to start and this blog is about the song with the name of a recent film, 'La Vie en Rose'. We have an expression in English about looking at life through rose-tinted glasses and this is what the song is about. It may even lead to another song about regretting nothing. The first line is 'des yeux qui font baiser les miens' and it immediately takes you to the heart of this love song. If you don't have much time then go straight to the chorus, le refrain. In this blog I will just look at the first part as it tells you so much.

Quand il me prend dans ses bras, il me parle tout bas, je vois la vie en rose.

Take the first word, quand. You learn that the d is pronounced like a t when a vowel follows it. You don’t need to learn grammatical rules, learn songs! In this way you get to hear native speakers pronounce the words. Be careful with pronunciation in songs because the French sing final vowels when they don’t say them. Sing ‘rose’ and it is two syllables, say ‘rose’ and it is one. You learn forever how to say ‘he takes’ and that must be better than conjugating verbs. You learn the words for in a low voice or a whisper. Finally you learn the context for the name of the film.

A bientôt

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