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Archive Archives
01 - November 2003 (conception) - February 2006 (reorganization)
02 - March 2006
09 - February 2010


I think it would be very useful to have an appendix of diagrams. Image:Diagramme_bicyclette.svg was very useful in teaching me bicycle terms so if we had a diagram with translations below (if needed) for a variety of subjects (car, bike, house, computer, etc.) it could help people pick up vocabulary more quickly than a list. gren グレン 14:06, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Great idea! If you've any skill with these, feel free to add some. Jade Knight (talk) 20:18, 24 October 2008 (UTC)


So I am a mite confused. Why is the linked PDF (both the low-res and high-res) from 2006? That's a very long time ago. I worry that downloaders (such as myself) are getting an out-of-date product. --Gwern (contribs) 02:40, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The PDFs are old because there don't seem to have been any active contributors on this book for a while. In which case the text won't have changed much. You can see individual page histories to see how much they've changed since 2006. --Swift (talk) 04:07, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree that PDF versions should be kept up to date and I have made a new PDF version from the print version. The old one was made with Latex formatting tools outside Wikibooks but as I have not done that with this one the presentation is not quite as polished. Recent Runes (talk) 19:53, 8 February 2010 (UTC)


Back on topic of pronounciation, see above, I will agree that approximations are not always best. I will agree that IPA and audio are nice. I also will agree that .ogg files should be replaced. I do however have two suggestions.

  1. With IPA, have the corresponding letters. Right now, it is only showing the phonemic inventory.
  2. HAVE ENGLISH APPROXIMATIONS! They aren't always best, but work and all browsers and are easiest to understand. For foreign sounds, do what my Chinese textbook does. Example- IPA y, French u, Pinyin ü: shape your mouth like you are going to say bee, but say ooh. This method works well. Also look at Irish, the pronounciation appendix. It does a good job.

Finally, I am willing to renovate the French Pronounciation page if need be. 21:48, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

"Featured book" status[edit]

This book was removed from the list of featured books following the discussion here. Recent Runes (talk) 22:07, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

For the record, I agree with the removal of the "Former featured book" banner that was previously on the front page. Recent Runes (discusscontribs) 16:03, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

Templates for playing speech recordings[edit]

(Note: This item was copied here from Wikibooks:Reading_room/Technical_Assistance to remain accessible if that discussion is archived. Recent Runes (talk) 15:09, 11 April 2010 (UTC))

At least 3 of the language books use a similar table template to play speech recordings, when you click on "audio" (French, Spanish & German). This takes you to a new screen with a sound-to-light show.

The Definite Article · L'article défini
singular feminine la la fille the daughter
masculine le le fils[1] the son
singular, starting with a vowel sound l’ l’enfant the child
plural les les filles the daughters
les fils the sons
les enfants the children

I think it would be more useful to be able to stay on the original screen and read the text at the same time as listening to the recording.

The Listen template does something like this, but the icons and text layout are rather larger and do not fit into the tables so neatly. Would it be possible to combine the two templates so that the layout of the books is not significantly altered, but the audio can be played at the same time as reading the text? It's a bit too technical for me, so that's why I am asking here! Recent Runes (talk) 17:55, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

I guess this issue is not really specific to Wikibooks, as Wikipedia and Wiktionary have similar templates with (IMO) similar room for improvement and perhaps more people available to spent time on it if they are interested. If I get any more joy over there, I'll announce further developments here. Recent Runes (talk) 16:48, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I guess most readers just open the link in a new window with a right-click (but considering touch-based input devices this is something that probably should be avoided). Maybe the table template should be adjusted to include the play button (which can be configured to require less space, see here for examples). By the way, the Listen template has the problem that the built-in Firefox audio player ignores the horizontal HTML layout; thus, if it is used, there should be enough white space to the right of it. --Martin Kraus (talk) 10:24, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the help. The right clicking does work after a fashion, but as you say is not the ideal solution. I tried making a test template based the French_Table template, but so far have not achieved the compact layout I was aiming for as the audio player seems to be adding line-feeds to the layout. (see below)
French Grammar • French • Gnome-speakernotes.png
(info •78 kb • help)
Flag of France.svg The Definite Article Flag of La Francophonie.svg L'article défini
singular feminine la la fille the daughter
masculine le le fils[2] the son. etc....
Recent Runes (talk) 22:42, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I think you should give the player its very own table cell. --Martin Kraus (talk) 07:07, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
So far I have not managed to do this. Inserting | or || after the speaker image do not change the display as I expected. If anyone else would like to experiment with the template "Recent Runes Table" please go ahead. Recent Runes (talk) 15:13, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I've updated {{French/Table}} to play speech on the page. In the current implementation, the speech box takes a large width if there is no title, and a small width if there is; some other formatting may work better. --hagindaz (talk) 21:44, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
This looks pretty good now, giving easier use without upsetting the print-out. All we need now are some more French natives for new audio recordings! Recent Runes (talk) 22:10, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

New Contributors Needed[edit]

As far as I (Recent_Runes) can tell, the original authors stopped working on this book in 2006 or 2007. Since then, the addition of new material has been far slower. I occasionally feed back some material from the French For Football book into the appendices, but I do not plan to make any major updates to the lessons here. Basically then, if anyone else likes to contribute then you are free (within reason) to do as you please. Recent Runes (talk) 15:30, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I'll see what I can do. Haven't been around for a couple of years, hence I forgot the password to my old account. There does seem quite a need for some rewrites on the parts I've seen. I'm also trying to make a start on A-level French Italienmoose (talk) 13:04, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Although Hagindaz has been more active recently. Recent Runes (talk) 17:33, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not going to be adding much content, so it seems Italienmoose will be the only major contributor. I had hoped someone would have fixed the book up over the years, and it's great that someone is finally up to it. Good luck! --hagindaz (talk) 20:22, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


As far as I've seen this seems to be my favourite looking languages book on here. It could do with a bit of an overhall though. Lessons seem to be detailed but from what I've seen don't have much sentence-written explanation. This should be changed. The reviews need to be completely redone and their aims reassessed. Need to change the vocab lists a bit and grammar section needs work. More appendices would be good. I think I'm going to write some language book guidelines for my languages project and presuming there aren't any complaints I'll transfer them onto here. Contributions welcome of course. Italienmoose (talk) 00:04, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

That all sounds good; good luck. I may be doing gradual formatting updates, so let me know if it gets in your way. --hagindaz (talk) 01:54, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Currently, there is no link from the Contents to the Planning page. I guess you will be putting this back at some point. Recent Runes (talk) 12:47, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
It's not very useful to readers, so I was thinking of referencing it from discussion pages, or maybe replacing it entirely with discussion pages so that there's more collaboration. --hagindaz (talk) 13:23, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Nothing's really happened to it for a couple of years. I'll have a look over it but I'll probably rewrite a large amount of it. Probably just link at the top of the discussion page then. Italienmoose (talk) 13:30, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I noticed that many lessons have empty "Dialogue" sections - perhaps because these are difficult to write without sounding forced and artificial. An alternative could be to use short extracts from French Wikipedia articles instead, which could serve equally well as authentic samples of French to be analysed and expanded on in the later sections. Many of the lesson themes look suitable for this kind of treatment. There could also be an advantage in not requiring more than one voice for any audio recordings. Recent Runes (talk) 19:48, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
That's a very good idea. There's a similar user-written text at French/Lessons/The house that works well. The existing dialogue stubs are just there to encourage contributions. --hagindaz (talk) 20:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Well that's about the length I was thinking of, but more could be done in that example to link it with the rest of the lesson and generate some exercises. Another idea would be to produce dialogues in the style of brief radio reports or interviews. These often cover stories in quite a condensed format, and students would be able to relate the lesson to audio material that is readily available on-line. They can be a good source of "inspiration" for the author too. Recent Runes (talk) 21:00, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Also a good idea; n:fr:Wikinews:Radio is another possibility. The book is really lacking in this kind of content, so it will all help. --hagindaz (talk) 05:42, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed that site before and it looks interesting, although the articles might be longer and more advanced than we would want for most lessons. Perhaps some of the speakers over there could be persuaded to record some audio for us - once we are happy with the texts, of course. I have added some text to the Science lesson, and I am getting the feeling that the grammar that can be naturally linked to the text is not necessarily the material that is allocated to the lesson at the moment. If I carry on in the same direction, it might require some swapping around of the grammar between the lessons. I'll see how I get on, but we may need to discuss how to rearrange things if necessary. Recent Runes (talk) 11:08, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course; it makes sense for the grammar and text to be linked. Some lessons work well for that now (such as acheter and payer for Shopping, but others like Science are pretty arbitrary and should be improved. A lesson on using past participles as adjectives might work well. Relatedly, I was also thinking of introducing venir and mettre in some earlier lessons. --hagindaz (talk) 15:34, 4 July 2010 (UTC)


The front page is nice and neat at the moment, but I think a better interface could make it more appealing to new viewers and easier to get around to edit for us. I've used the front page template for the Miskito WikiBook. Essentially what this changes is that there is a clear Getting Started section, listing the pages and subsections within it. There is also a list of the 10 introductory books, and a short summary of each of their contents. Also there's a project section for those who want to know more about the book. There's also an author's section with a list of suggested pages to add to make collaboration easier. The front page is a work in progress. I haven't fully changed it to the French version yet, some of the links point to the miskito book still and quite a few of the suggested pages don't actually exist for this book yet. But at the moment it's the thought that counts. The link is French/Contents. I suggest that as full summaries of not all the lessons can go there we create a splash page featuring a title page and the lesson list, which then links into the real frontpage (or technically, contents page). Comments please

Italienmoose (talk) 14:39, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

The Miskito layout looks quite attractive, and perhaps it is an improvement. Personally, I am more interested in the educational material than how it is presented, but I thought splash pages were generally deprecated these days and that was why Swift moved the index onto the main page in January this year. Recent Runes (talk) 15:13, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Well the layout leads to the order the pages are likely to be read in and therefore the content of tha pages. Although technically the order of the lessons will stay the same no matter what the layout is so it is a little irrelevant. But as a reader I would prefer it to be easy to get around. And if we 'borrow' some of the other aspects of the Miskito book aswell I think overall the improvement will be hugely beneficial to new readers, as well as editors. My aim is to rework the layout a little to make it easier to get around, and to avoid a huge layout change when more content is finished. Then I'll work on the project pages so we have an idea of what's going on and then the more educational content. Italienmoose (talk) 15:30, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the administrative/meta content, I would prefer it be limited to discussion pages, and perhaps one planning page, since it is not at all useful to readers and is something they would have to filter out. Having so many meta pages may also scare off new contributors, who may feel they have to read through them rather than being bold and contributing content.
Regarding the getting started section, IMHO few people read prefaces and meta content at the start of books. Why not just present the list of introductory lessons?
Regarding the lessons list, I think it is simply more content readers would have to filter out. The less superfluous meta information, the easier it is for readers to focus on the content. Specifically, I don't think "Lesson #:" adds anything, and most readers won't pay attention to the "In this chapter" subheadings. Rather than telling readers what they are going to learn , why not just take them to it as simply as possible? This is just my opinion from reading other books.
As an example, look at the Google front page. It has very little secondary information and focuses on getting users to the content. Google limits the front page to around 30 words, so that the visual clutter is minimized. The Wikibooks analog is to simply present the table of contents as concisely as possible. --hagindaz (talk) 15:51, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Fair point about hiding the administrative content from readers. I just thought it would be a better way to show new contributors how they could get involved, if they could find the administrative pages straight away. Me personally, as a new contributor I would rather have the meta-pages easily visible to be able to get to grips with how to add new content properly quickly. It would be possible to have a quick-start guide for new contributors and more in-depth guides for long-standing contributors to rework the layouts of the newer contributors into a more coherent structure.
I was actually thinking the same about the getting started section, seeing as this wikibook was designed with the equivalent in the introductory lessons.
I disagree about the "in this chapter" headings. Admittedly with the ones that are there, they don't add much to it. However, for the second half of introductory chapters, and especially for the more advanced lessons, I think it's important that readers can easily search through the included content on the contents page so that they can review whichever content they need to reread. Removing them means that really they have to depend on the grammar appendix. It would be especially important if we get review pages done for each lesson - then it's easy to find out what you'd be reviewing for each. Remember that not except for beginners most people won't want to go through totally in order and many people want to relearn specific things in the context of a lesson. I suppose this could be shown purely on a more detailed contents page for just lessons. Italienmoose (talk) 16:12, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
That's a good point. How about a subject index like in Miskito, or a link which takes you to a page similar to French/Lessons/Level three, say listed after the review/exercises links? Also, a contributing link would be helpful. How about a link to the main talk page, or perhaps some "Meta" page, added to a template like {{French}}, which would go at the top of each lesson. --hagindaz (talk) 16:38, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Aha. That's more like it. Yeah, I'd quite like to do a detailed lessons index I think, and also rework the level three style a bit. That's what I had in mind. I think maybe add a meta template and just stick it at the bottom of the contents page, and then on the discussion page. Then it's at least easier to find than it is right now. Italienmoose (talk) 16:50, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
And now my second attempt. If you go on the main page you will notice I've added a project contents. I will try to add the appropriate pages/add any similar that are already in existence. I've used the original uncluttered style of the wikibook, which is quite nice. If we go for this minimalist approach we can then have more detailed summaries of lessons etc. on other pages. Italienmoose (talk) 19:15, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
As a temporary measure, I've added a "detailed contents" section to French/Lessons. An index sorted by topic would be much more useful for review, so feel free to create it; I may do it eventually once contents are more or less finalized. --hagindaz (talk) 21:31, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Common European Framework breakthrough level[edit]

I have seen some general discussion here on the CEFR by the Council of Europe but nothing really detailed. Perhaps it would be useful to know the details of their lowest level (A1 / breakthrough), to use as a checklist to assess the progress of this book. A document about teaching EFL gives some idea of what is probably specified for French, but the definite information is only available in book form as far as I can tell. Has anyone seen any more detailed information on-line? Recent Runes (talk) 21:43, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't know much about the framework, but using it as a checklist seems like a great idea to me. --hagindaz 16:09, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I am just suggesting it could help review the overall progress. Although the specification above is for English, the general "functions" and "notions" should map fairly directly to French. The paper also lists a set of topics with associated vocabulary, which focuses on humdrum everyday life to the point of blandness in my opinion. There would be little to distinguish this book from the crowd, if we followed their prescribed vocabulary to the letter. I am dissecting some other French language books for beginners to draw up a table of core vocabulary against the CEFR functions and notions. I am not sure if this would count as OR, so I might make any results available on Google Docs or we could set up a Yahoo group for sharing spreadsheets. There is always Wikiversity too, but sometimes you need a real spreadsheet. Recent Runes (talk) 21:17, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Sounds good; I agree that we should include more interesting vocabulary. I've moved some vocabulary to "supplementary vocabulary" sections at the end of lessons, which we might use for both common lists as well as extra material for those interested on a topic. We can also look through wikt:fr:Wiktionnaire:Liste de 1750 mots français les plus courants, which I've imported as an objective starting point to French/Lessons/Vocabulary to be added. Feel free to add to or remove from this list. --hagindaz 02:37, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Here is another list of vocabulary aimed at French pupils up to 11 years old, which also has some grammar and word frequency data. Recent Runes (talk) 19:44, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Orphaned page[edit]

– Adrignola talk 00:55, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Auto-hide translations[edit]

In Firefox and perhaps other browsers, add

if (window.frenchSettings === undefined) frenchSettings = {};
frenchSettings.englishVisibility = 'hidden'; // 'default', 'hidden', or 'visible'

to this page to always hide English translations in lessons, for example to review or to test yourself. Change 'hidden' to 'visible' to always show translations. --hagindaz 17:44, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Adding IPA[edit]

I'm trying to go through and add IPA pronunciations to as much vocabulary as I can. I'd like some confirmation that what I've done so far fits with the correct pronunciation. (I can say these words fine, but sometimes I don't transcribe them to IPA perfectly.) I've already caught my mistake on the 'r' sound -- the IPA is /ʁ/ and not /ʀ/. The Family vocabulary page I created shows how I'm doing IPA fairly well. Please inform me of any mistakes so I don't make them again! Merci bien, Chrishy 22:00, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Broken print version[edit]

The print version seems to be broken. Possibly an unintended side effect of changes made to some templates during 2010? Recent Runes (discusscontribs) 00:01, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

It is due to "too many expensive parser function calls" and exceeding the template include size, which is true of other books as well. One option is to create several smaller print versions, one for each level (French/Lessons/Print version fails after nine lessons). Another is to <noinclude> templates. Another is to deprecate the print version in favor of collections. --hagindaz 01:36, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, collections might be a good option, although you don't seem to have quite so much control over the layout of things like page breaks. And I was puzzled as to why the PDF of the collection does not seem to contain any exercises.
The problem with the "template include size" seems to have been around for a while - perhaps it is not being given much priority as Wikipedia pages are never as long as a wikibook. Another alternative might be to make some new templates with fewer optional parameters, and use different templates for the optional information only where it appears in the original text. Recent Runes (discusscontribs) 13:40, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

<div> tags[edit]

Tags like <div id='french-lui-and-leur'> appear in some sections on some pages. Can anyone tell me what they are for? Recent Runes (discusscontribs) 18:37, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

They denote review and supplementary sections, to enable hiding. Some documentation is at {{French/Section}}. --hagindaz 21:39, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks but I don't completely understand, as elsewhere there is hidden text without using these tags. For example in French/Lessons/People_and_things where the exercises appear to be hidden without using these tags on the lesson page. Recent Runes (discusscontribs) 19:12, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
{{French/Exercise}} uses <div class='collapsible'><div class='title'>Title</div><div class='body'>Hidden body</div></div> to hide its content. In the case of sections, the section's heading must hide a separate element (the section's content), so a unique id is used to match the content with the heading. (In the case of tables, it's always the third, fourth, and sixth columns of any table that uses {{French/Translations table}} that are hidden, so unique ids are unnecessary.) --hagindaz 00:52, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Growing beyond the book format[edit]

My name is Ian and I'm from a project called Wikiotics, where we build free software tools for language instruction. We are starting to build collections of interactive language lessons that can serve as textbook replacements for students and this wikibook is the most comprehensive resource we have seen. If there is anyone here who is interested in expanding this content beyond a traditional text-based book format or who would like to incorporate interactive lessons we build based on the outline of this book, just chime in here or contact us at contact AT wikiotics DOT org or in irc at #wikiotics on freenode.

As example of the kind of new materials you can make with our tools, here are examples our current lesson types:

Wikiotics (discusscontribs) 15:00, 13 June 2012 (UTC)