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It struck me as another one of those colloquial phrases that differentiate English from French. I wrote to a friend, "Je me tiens les pouces" to wish her luck (literally translates as holding my thumbs). I didn't tell her I was "crossing my fingers" but she sent me back an emoji of this: 🤞 ! Another way the French-speakers have had to adapt, there is no emoji of someone holding their thumb. The older generations of French-speakers are not familiar with our English expression.

If you search for "pouce" or thumb in the emojis, you will find 👍 👎 and "doigt" gives you this 👌 as well (finger).

Can you think of another translation twister? When I made the decision to speak French without fear, I didn't care if I was wrong, if my phrases were anglicized, if the gender of the words was mixed up (and then mixed up again). The advantage to this "dive in head first" attitude paid off. It gave me the confidence I needed to put together a sentence and be understood. It gave me the courage to put myself out there, the brashness to be part of a conversation, the grit to search for the right vocabulary.

Yes, you will get the typical "rolling eyes" from some people who are uptight and cringe at the mistakes and de-grammaticalized sentences you've invented. Don't worry. Be bold, have the nerve to move forward, and you will see results. What you might be lacking is the fearlessness to construct a bad sentence. When you stumble through your mislaid words and pronunciation, the listener probably understands 80% of what you are saying... it is enough for them to mentally place the puzzle pieces and respond to you.

 learn french geneva 2018 6

10% discount for our readers!

Do you want to learn French but feel overwhelmed by the number of organizations offering French language lessons in this region? Are you required to reach a certain level of French for your job, or do you want to pass the Swiss citizenship naturalisation exam? Have you even thought about whether you want to take lessons in the classroom, online tutorials from home or a combination of both?

When it comes to learning French, there are so many options available to you in the Lake Geneva region that it can actually be very hard choosing between them all – especially if you don’t know what your learning style is, or whether you can be free at the same time every week for a tutorial.

To help you get over this initial hurdle and smooth your path towards effective and efficient language learning, Learn French Geneva draws on the expertise of 17 different teachers  and a bespoke website offering nearly 3000 exercises to help people of all ages learn French the way THEY want!

Flexible teaching methods

Founded in 2010 by Anouche Karaman, Learn French Geneva provides private or small group lessons for adults, teens and children either at home or at work. All new students are matched with a teacher whose expertise and interests most closely match their needs.  So, whether you are looking for one-to-one tuition on a weekly basis or an intensive 1 or 2 week-long course that will give your French a boost right from the start, Learn French Geneva will adapt their teaching methods to suit your needs. 

inlingua plus

Founded in 1975, inlingua Genève has a solid reputation in this region for providing high quality tuition that will help both private and corporate clients improve their language skills.

Part of the inlingua franchise, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the Geneva branch has continually strived to provide innovative programs that meet the ever-changing demands of its busy international clients.

So, it comes as no surprise to hear that the school has just launched a new learning package which combines the very latest language learning tools into one flexible training solution: inlingua Plus.

Officially launched in April 2018, the new package combines traditional in-classroom instruction with the very latest tools for e-Learning and live virtual conversation sessions with a teacher.

Priced at the promotional rate of Fr. 980.-, the introductory package includes 6 private 90-minute lessons with a teacher, plus 2 months unlimited use of iOL – inlingua’s online platform which provides a variety of interactive multimedia activities for those wishing to learn English, French, German, Italian or Spanish.  


Intensive weekend course on 9 – 10 September includes wine tasting and glass making!

A new language school has opened near Nyon in Vaud with a special emphasis on having fun!

Created to provide students with the confidence they require to engage in local life, Sapphire School offers both individual and small group classes as well as intensive weekend courses, which include an element of local culture too.

Having lived in Switerland most of her life, Laure-Anne Piaget founded her new language school at the beginning of this year, when she was touched by the “teaching bug” following work as a volunteer in Laos, teaching English.

She told knowitall.ch, “The experience opened up many new opportunities for me…I told myself that if I could teach English abroad then I would really enjoy teaching French to foreigners at home! The aim of my school is to help students get to know Switzerland better and one of the best ways of doing that is by engaging with local people and activities in French!”