Menu of French-English Bilingual Fiction as horizontally and vertically aligned Free Online Parallel Texts (Short Stories, Novels... etc)
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Guillaume Apollinaire Cox City
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Word Count: 1,136 Date Published: 1910 Genre: Horror Length: Very Short Original Language: French
Only got half an hour to spare. Do you fall asleep reading parallel texts. Then this baby is for you. A very short bilingual horror story in the form of a Spanish/ English/ French parallel text which uses fairly simple language, will not take forever to read and will (guaranteed) keep you glued to the screen. I spent all evening translating into English and frankly, it's given me the creeps. When I find time I will match sentences with colours like I'm doing with Boule de Suif and I'm even thinking of making this one the entry level parallel text for beginners by adding lots of grammar annotations. We'll see.
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Word Count: 1,413 Date Published: 1910 Genre: Thriller Length: Very Short Original Language: French
Chilling little story just a bit longer than Cox City above and perhaps more recognized in the literary world. Again, the simple language used is this thriller's main advantage. I have to admit, it's one of my favourites. The original was written in French and I found the Spanish version in googleland but I'm having to translate the English version. Around 1,500 words long so it's not going to take you long to read it. Enjoy! UPDATE: This bilingual short story now has some of the most comprehensive annotations of all my parallel texts. Result = great for beginners.
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Guy de Maupassant Boule de Suif [Dumpling] or [suet ball] or [ball of tallow]
Parallel Text Languages: French - English - Spanish Original Text: French Word Count: 14,000 words or so First Published: 1880 YouTube reading: lasts about an hour and a half Level: Intermediate
Traditional horizontally aligned parallel text. Sentences are being matched within paragraphs using different colours so as to make referencing from one text to the other all that more easier. Great short story that remains a classic. You really feel for the main character (dumpling), a prostitute whose high moral ground puts the rest of her company to shame. Nice mix between dialogue and narration. Some old fashioned words used and, as always in these free of author's rights French texts, the passé simple is the dominant tense employed, but otherwise, a good story for language learning.
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Original Text: French Word Count: 70, 353 First Published: 1864 Genre: Science-Fiction Adventure
Work in progress means that I've only done a limited amount of the chapters and will decide later on if I want to finish it or leave it as a way for you to get into this novel, giving you links to continue reading it as a none parallel text. THEORY BEHIND = it is often hard to get into reading full blown foreign language fiction and so you can use this parallel text intro to ease you into one. There is a good chance you'll get hooked (it's Jules Verne after all) and once hooked you'll continue the story on an e-book or something, using the internal dictionary to guide yourself. Similar to taking the stabilisers of bike if you like. NOTE: If you are looking for a French public domain fiction author whose works are the most suitable to language learning (none of that complicated waffling the French are so good at, just simple gripping story telling) then look no further than Jules Verne.
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT... WITH EXTRAS Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: Un Scandale en Bohème [A Scandal in Bohemia]
Parallel Text Languages: English, French Original Text: English Word Count: 9,248 (English version) First Published: 1892
This parallel text is a real beauty on a number of levels. First, being a Sherlock Holmes short story it reads like a television programme, with a good balance between dialogue and narrative (which helps language learning) and an easy to follow storyline (which makes it accessible to language learners.) In addition, the Sherlock Holmes adventures don't suffer from dated use of language the way a lot of the other public domain short stories do. But this is no ordinary adventure for Holmes and Watson. No indeed, for it is in this one that he comes head to head with 'that woman', the only woman ever to beat Sherlock at his own game. The portrayel of this mutual outwitting has lead to A scandal in bohemia attaining bronze medal position in a list of the Best Sherlock Holmes Short Stories of All Time (as voted in the most comprehensive survey ever conducted on the matter.) So, it's a great short story, very suitible for language learning. Anything else? Well... yes! I have adapted the original version so that it follows more closely the translation. Why? Because translations can be liberal leading to difficulties when using them in parallel texts. But by bringing the two closer together, the resulting bilingual story becomes significantly more useful. Did I stop there...? Of course not! Just to help you that little bit more, I colour matched the individual sentences and clauses making referring from the French text to the English text extremely instinctive... and then I threw in a line under line version at the bottom of each page for good measure. "Phew!"
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Original Text: English Word Count: 3,804(English version) First Published: 1890 Genre: Suspense
I am really starting to love these American authors. This well known classic American short story, much like the other one I did by Jack London, is concise yet poignant. The story starts off with an American civil war execution taking place on a bridge and follows the ups and downs of the hangee (is that the word for someone who is about to be hanged - oh nevermind) as he tries to escape. And like all good short stories should have in my book, a twist at the end is included, free of charge. NOTE: It's simple direct language and the fact that the translations follow very closely the original make this an excellent parallel text
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: L'Aventure de la Maison Vide [The Adventure of the Empty House] or [La Aventura de la Casa Vacía]
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Original Text: English Word Count: 9,048 (English version) First Published: 1903 Genre: Dectective (no sh*t Sherlock)
What I like about the Sherlock Holmes short stories is that, in comparison to other classics, they read like episodes in a television series; there is a good mix between narrative and dialogue (dialogue is excellent for language learning), they are not too oldie-stylie, the stories are generally fast paced, and there is very little waffling. This makes them indispensable for language learners. Synopsis: Holmes comes back from the grave, turning the tables on his hunters, who in turn become the hunted.
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Original Text: English Word Count: 4,899 (English version) Lengh: Short First Published: 1914 Genre: Gothic Horror Level: Intermediate (yeah, I say that all the time, but this one really is)
This short story is said to have been the original opening for the actual Dracula novel, but that the publishers had had it cut out. If this is the case they made a mistake in doing so as the said short story reads real well (say that when your drunk!), portraying with skill the dark gothic atmosphere we have come to so closely associate with the Count himself. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, as I like my stories straight forward, without authors doing the pen and ink version of 'doughnuts and wheelies' for the sake of them. It just happens that this kind of 'straight-forward writing' is tailor made for language learning. Unfortunately, the French translation, although being as 'readable' as the English original, is kind of... different. Every other sentence was structurally... different, even if the gist remained the same. But don't let this put you off, the French translation is a great story, and the English original will still aid. Lines, as always, are colour matched.
NEW PARALLEL TEXT Robert Louis Stevenson L'Étrange Cas du Dr Jekyll et de Mr Hyde [Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde] OR [El Extraño Caso del Dr. Jekyll y Mr. Hyde] Chapters 1-3 available for the moment UPDATE: Part Two (chapters 4-7) now available
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Original Text: English Word Count: 26,000 or so Lengh: Shortish (novella) First Published: 1866 Genre: Gothic Fantasy/ Sci-fi/ Thriller Level: Intermediate
Most of my short story parallel texts range from 1,000 to 15,000 words long. This one however, is longer (around 26,000 or so) and is thus technically a novella. The lengh means that it's taking me a while to colour match the lines so I'm offering up the first three chapters here as work in progress. It is worth the investment in time as for once, the French version follows very closely the original: this makes it an excellent parallel text between the two languages. That and the fact that you can't get more classic then Jekyll and Hyde; AND that this gothic fantasy novella has a straight forward story line; AND that it uses relatively simple language: AND that it's free and online. Seriously, I should really make you pay for this... I'm fool, I'M FOOOOOOOOL...
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Edgar Allan Poe Le Chat Noir [The Black Cat]
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Word Count: 1,842 Date Published: 1842 Genre: Horror Length: Very Short Original Language: English
Classic short horror story from the master himself, this tale will have you both reeling with disgust and reading on with morbid curiosity. All the lines are colour matched between the three languages and I've also managed to embed youtube audiobook videos for all three languages. The language used can be quite old fashioned which is why I also made an Easy English version.
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Charles Dickens Le Signaleur [The Signal-Man]
Parallel Text Languages: French, English, Spanish Word Count: 5,097 Date Published: 1866 Genre: Spooky Length: Short Original Language: English
This one is like those horror films that have no blood or guts in them and yet still manage to give you the creeps through atmospheric mood setting. Hands up, the language used in the English original is quite hard to follow at times (It hasn't aged well) but the French and Spanish translations are far more straightforward. As always, lines are colour matched between columns.
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: The Red-headed League [L'Association des Hommes Roux] [La Liga de los Pelirrojos], [Der Bund der Rothaarigen]
Parallel Text Languages: English, French, Spanish, German Original Text: English Word Count: 9,862 (English version) First Published: 1892
There are four columns with a language in each. The paragraphs are neatly alligned which means that even referring from column 1. (English) to column 4. (German) is quite intuitive. I have also started to put the texts of this novel one under the other on a line by line basis (even clause by clause where it has been possible) What you get are groups of four lines of text the first line of these groups being English, the second French, third Spanish, and fourth German. The short story can be read like this (being more apt for beginners) if you are struggling with the texts in columns. Out of interest, the syntax of the English, Spanish and German versions matched really well (even with the German verb at the end thing). It was the French version which caused me all the head-scratching. It is well written but does go off on a frolic sometimes par rapport aux autres textes. NOTE; TEXT ALIGNMENT COMPLETE BUT STILL ANNOTATING NOTE; THIS PARALLEL BOOK IS CONTAINED ON MY FRENCH SITE
FREE ONLINE PARALLEL TEXT Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes: L'Escarboucle Bleue [The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle ] [El Carbunclo Azul], [Die Geschichte des Blauen Karfunkels]
Parallel Text Languages: English, French, Spanish, German Original Text: English Word Count: 8,501 (English version) First Published: 1892
If there is one lesson you'll learn from this Sherlock Holmes short story, it will be how not to stash stolen goods. Anyone for a bit of goose?
Short story, sentence under sentence alignment, word for word translations, grammar notes... ideal for a beginner with very little knowledge of french NOTE: ABANDONED BEFORE COMPLETION DUE TO CONCERN OVER AUTHOUR'S RIGHTS. HOWEVER WHAT HAS BEEN DONE IS VERY USEFUL TO BEGINNERS AS GRAMMAR NOTES ARE ROBUST.
Parallel Text Languages: English, French Original Text: French Word Count: 115,456 First Published: 1857
Sentence under sentence alignment, text being condensed to take out old style waffling, suitable for intermediate-advanced learners NOTE; THIS IS ACTUALLY ON MY FRENCH SITE WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THE ENGLISH COMES FIRST.
Parallel Text Languages: English, French Original Text: French Word Count: 188,003 (Not sure which version but certainly will be less as editing out chunks) First Published: 1837
Sentence under sentence alignment, text being condensed to take out old style waffling, suitable for intermediate-advanced learners NOTE; THIS IS ACTUALLY ON MY FRENCH SITE WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THE ENGLISH COMES FIRST.
Menu of Free Online French Lessons Based On French Music Lyrics (line for line and word for word translations with grammar notes)
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level Edith Piaf Je Ne Regrette Rien (1960) Probably the only French song that the average Joe knows. Well, at least it's a good one. Emotionally charged and yet short and simple song, and hence good for beginners. No extremely metaphorical lyrics, just nice and direct, which helps.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus (1969) Very very naughty. The controversial French lyrical genius begat a controversial sexy French song. You all know this one so there's not much more for me to add... except, if you thought it was a tad risqué beforehand, just wait until you understand the 'ins and outs' (ha ha!/ lol) of the lyrics. CONTINUED BELOW
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Stromea Alors On Danse (2013) This is the song that started it all off for Stromea. I used to flick on the music channels when drinking my bowl of coffee in the mornings and when this song came out, it was on EVERY morning for what felt like a year. It became one of those songs that would play in my head all day long. Be careful, it may have the same effect on you. Ps. In the lesson you'll witness how I trash almost every other translation of this song that exists!
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level Claude François Comme D'habitude (1967) Confession: I hate every song this artist ever did except this one which was truly a chef d'oeuvre. After being seen on TV by a Canadian artist, the song was bought and its lyrics re-written in English once the song had been given totally different theme. The finished product was then sung by Frank Sinatra and thus was born: 'I Did It My Way'
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level Indila Dernière Danse (2014) This was on the free to view music channels every morning for the whole of spring 2014. A hit that came out of nowhere which now has 73 million YouTube hits. Vevo wouldn't let me use the official video so I used an excellent remix in place. (burn-Vevo-burn)
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level Zaz Je Veux (2010) This was the song that led to Zaz becoming Frances top selling artist abroad in 2010 (or was it another year?) The album from which it came (called Zaz as it happens) ranked high in the charts all over Europe (except, of course, the UK). Simple but potent lyrics whose meaning hit home with me. Plenty of slang phrases within so if you need to work on that then this is your song.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Stromae Papaoutai (2013) Recent hit all over europe and the world (152 million YouTube Hits) by the now established king of electro-urban-geek music. This song is not the easiest of ones but has a very strong lyrical narrative, if not message (as do all his songs). Note that I've put in the phonetics for this lesson using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Benjamin Biolay Ton Héritage (2009) Modern Classic chanson Française. One man, one piano, one haunting tune, and a bunch of stirring lines. This one always gives me goose pimples when I hear it on the radio. The word for word translations are there but I have left it light on the grammar notes.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Jacques Brel Ne Me Quitte Pas (1959) This song is considered by many to be the all time greatest chanson française that has ever existed. Always at the top of meta-critic polls and a personal favorite of my own (I only do songs that I like). It's an oldie (circa 1959) and yet so timeless... P.s. I have done the phonetics for this one
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate-Advanced Level Malicorne Le Luneux (1977?) From the album Almanach, this traditional French folk song reconstructed by the experimental headonism of Malicorne in the late seventies will make you shiver with delight. I'm not sure whether the melody came from another song, but who cares when it's this good. Some oldie style wording but my notes will help you understand it.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate-Advanced Level Olivia Ruiz La Femme Chocolat (2006) Unique voice, unique style of music, unique lyrics and unique looks help this artist stand far out from the often samey nouvelle scene crowd. This particular song demonstrates well her quirkiness with lyrics that are just damnright trippy.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Serge Lama Je Suis Malade (1973) Possibly the most melancholic song in the history of mankind... and I love it. It's all about the words dude and Mr Lama paints such a stark yet poignant picture with them that you can't help putting yourself in his boots. Get a glass of whisky, light up cigarette and think of the lovers that have hurt you... you are now ready for this lesson.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate-Advanced Brigitte A Bouche Que Veut-Tu (2014) If you were to ask me who I'm mostly listening to these days my honest answer would be Brigitte. This pair of super hipster femmes fatales found success late in the game but there making up for it now. This particular track never fails to hit the sweet spot.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Charles Aznavour La Bohème (1965) If ever I'm feeling down there is always one song guaranteed to sooth my soul. This one. The song so beautifully describes the life of poor Parisian artists scraping a living together and finding comfort in each other and their own art that you'll feel like you are sharing the experience with them. Aznavour himself was born to Armenian immigrants but has attained legendary status to the point that you'll find him written within the DNA of every French man, woman and child alive.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Intermediate Level Charles Trenet Douce France (1947) It may be old but despite the age gap many of you will will be familiar with this song, particularly the melody. Hands up, I find many of the songs from this period a bit samey but a few by Charles Trenet stand out from the crowd. The reasons you should get to know this particular song yourselves are two fold. First, this song is almost a national anthem packed with nostalgia enriched images of France at it's most chocolate box period. Second, despite his idiosyncratic singing style, Trenet enunciates well so you'll be able to follow what he's singing with ease.
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level Gilbert Bécaud Et Maintenant (1961) Be prepared for pain, passion and anger... and then some. If you watch the clip I chose of Bécaud singing this song live, then you'll find it hard to believe that he hasn't just come straight from a mental asylum. However, when you start to understand the bitter words spat forth you'll come to realize his genius in capturing the feeling of utter rejection that most of us have experienced at least once in our lives. Watch the madness in the eyes...
FREE FRENCH LESSON Beginner-Intermediate Level La Godinette OR Gael Lefevere + Nicolas Quemener J'étais Lassée D’être Jeune Fille (????) When Gael Lefevere, the guy responsible for introducing me to thereal French music scene, had interpreted this traditional Breton song with fellow musician Nicolas Quemener, I remembered thinking to myself that it was possibly the most moving piece of French language music I had ever come across. Like all songs from this region of France, the lyrics are hard and biting, yet all the more interesting for it, and you'll see just how deep the Celtic roots run in listening to the original version by La Godinette, a version that I have also come to love. Now it's your turn.
Menu of My Articles Re Learning French (Explaining how to use French tv, music, literature... etc)
MY SPOTIFY AND DEEZER PLAYLISTS OF The 100 All Time Best French Language Songs (Chansons Françaises) Ever See my list of what I think are the best French language songs ever (with learning the the French Language and Culture in mind) but that are specifically chosen to suite anglophone tastes. I have linked all the songs to YouTube videos, most with lyrics on them or underneath. Slowly doing write-ups for each. And you can listen to them all on the above page if you sign-up to Spotify
THE WHY AND HOW: Using Les Chansons Francaises (French language songs) to Learn French. Read my article explaining why and how... oh... I've just said that. I may go off on a folly with this article but what I say within (when I eventually get to the point) could change your current methods of learning French for the better. Also: detailed look at Irony vs atlantic drift.
ONE-STOP LINKS AND REVIEWS FOR The Best French Music Only Radio Stations Want to listen to French Radio Stations for French Language Songs but finding every two out of three songs are in English (and 3rd rate ones at that). Well, you've found the one link to rule them all, the one link to find them, the one link to link them all, and in cyberspace bind them. Now that's what I call kick-ass poetry! (Suck on that one keats)
HOW TO WATCH Live 'Free to View' French TV Channels Online from Abroad In the 21st Century, language, culture and television are very closely associated. If you can't be there then the next best thing is to see and hear what those that are are watching. Your ability to understand oral French will undergo a paradigm shift within just a few hundred hours of french tv watching. Yes, I know that sounds like Chinese water torture but there are a few gems to look out for so.. let me be your guide young padawan.
MY SPOTIFY AND DEEZER PLAYLISTS OF Modern Era French Music Artists And Songs Did you find my playlist of the top 100 French Language Songs of all time too old fashioned, too meloncholic? Here's the remedy. This is my personal playlist of modern french language music and it goes from mainstream pop to left-field hipster. It's like what French music radio stations would be like if you took out all the 80's anglophone music and then gave it taste. French music can be... good?
ALL - BY - MY - SEEELLLF... DON'T WANNA BE... Hints & Tips for Learning French as a Self Study Topic Going it alone can be a daunting challenge so why not take a little advice from those that have already crossed that bridge. Stand on the shoulders of vertically challenged people, that's what I say (No dwarfs were harmed during the writing of this article)
CONJUGATE THIS FOTHER MUCKER Rundown of the French Verb Tenses and Moods I noticed that there was very little on the web giving a brief yet comprehensive rundown of these French verb tense-moods as I like to call them. Even less showing the use of them with examples. Shall we consider this lacune filled now?
THE SLIPPERY FISH OF CONJUGATION RIVER The French Imperfect Tense (l'imparfait) There is one barrier left between you and near comprehension of French texts: L'Imparfait. ...and so welcome to my rule of thumb rule on how to translate this tense when you come across it in your readings. Examples given will help you understand... hopefully.
THE TOP TEN MOST INTERESTING French Language Music Artists Since 2000 French language music has always had a bit of a reputation for being naff among English speaking peoples. To rebuke those accusations I therefore present some shockingly good modern era music artists (Frenchies who still sing in French, who'd have thought..). The list is accompanied with individually playable YouTube videos so you can quickly sample and decide for yourselves. I have also written a ditty on each artist, not that anyone reads now-a-days.