THE COMMONEST WORDS IN FRENCH
In 1958, I opted for French as second language for my Bachelors degree, at St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai, Tamilnadu, India.
It was the late Rev. Fr. Moumas S.J., a saintly jovial Jesuit priest from Gascony, who taught me French.
Learning the language was never an easy task. I used to spend a lot of time reading French novels borrowed from the well–stocked college library. In the 1960s and 70s, after graduating, while being employed in Sri Lanka, I used to visit the Library at the Alliance Française in Colombo often, trying to brush up and augment the French I learned in college. During this time, I took down notes and found an easy method to learn French.
Recently, while browsing through my old papers and books, I came across four pages of French words I had picked about 50 years ago. Since I feel that this list would provide a shortcut to you and your children to learn French, I have presented them below. Please pass it on to your friends and their children.
The words in the list occur most frequently in ordinary French, as determined by a word count of 400,000 running words of French prose. The figures after each word indicate its average number of occurrences per 1,000 words. It will be seen that the total is 446.1; in other words, learn these, and you will know 44.6% of the words of French.
LEARN THEM NOW.
The meanings given are the common English translations. Others are possible.
|à , au, aux, à l’||=||to, at, in, to, the, at the, in the, to the||=||21.4|
|aller (v.)||=||to go||=||2.1|
|1avoir (v.)||=||to have||=||13.7|
|bien (adv.)||=||well, very||=||2.8|
|ce, cet, cette, ces||=||this, that, these, those||=||12.0|
|de, du, de l’, de la, des||=||of, from, of the, from the||=||54.9|
|dire||=||to say, tell||=||4.2|
|1donner (v.)||=||to give||=||1.4|
|elle; elles||=||she, it, her; they, them||=||8.0|
|en (prep.)||=||in, while||=||6.3|
|en (pron.)||=||of it, of them, some, in the matter||=||2.6|
|1etre (v.)||=||to be||=||20.6|
|1faire (v.)||=||to make, do, have (something done)||=||4.5|
|il; ils||=||he, it, him; they them||=||13.7|
|le, la, l’, les (art.)||=||the||=||69.4|
|le, la, l’, les (pron.)||=||him, her, it them|
|leur (pron.)||=||to them, them||=||2.6|
|leur, leurs (adj.)||=||their|
|lui (pron.)||=||(to) him, her, it||=||3.8|
|2me||=||me, to me|
|mon, ma, mes (adj.)||=||my||=||4.5|
|ne … pas||=||not||=||10.5|
|nous||=||we, us, to us||=||4.1|
|on||=||one, they, we||=||3.9|
|Ou … ou, soit … soit||=||either …. or|
|pas (neg. adv.)||=||not, no||=||5.6|
|petit||=||little, small, insignificant, petty||=||1.7|
|pour||=||for, in order to||=||3.2|
|1pouvoir (v.)||=||to be able, can||=||1.9|
|1prendre (v.)||=||to take||=||1.2|
|que (conj.)||=||as, than||=||12.8|
|que (rel. pron.)||=||who, whom, which, that|
|qui (rel. pron.)||=||who, whom, which, that|
|1savoir (v.)||=||to know||=||1.4|
|se||=||himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselves, each other||=||8.7|
|si||=||If, even, if so||=||2.5|
|son, sa, ses||=||his, her, its||=||8.9|
|sur (prep.)||=||on, atop, about, in, on top, over||=||3.4|
|tu, te, toi||=||you||=||1.8|
|un, une (art.)||=||a, an||=||18.5|
|1venir (v.)||=||to come||=||
|1voir (v.)||=||to see||=||
|1vouloir (v.)||=||to want, wish||=||
|vous||=||you, to you||=||
|y||=||To it, to them, in it, in them, there||=||