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Language in Corsica

The office language in Corsica is French, although there is a Corsican language called u Corsu which you will still hear spoken amongst the locals when you venture into villages. To the untrained ear, it sounds very much like Italian, and indeed if you do speak Italian, you may be able to make out snippets of conversation.

U CORSU - the Corsican Language

To understand a little of the development of the Corsican language, you have to consider the history of Corsica. Corsica has been invaded by virtually every Mediterranean civilisation since the Etruscans and her language reflects this.

Today's Corsican - Corsu - is thought to be based on old Genoese but certainly has considerable Tuscan influence in its structure. Modern Genoans can understand much of the spoken language, but there are words which defy etymological analysis. It is hard to learn - unless you are prepared to spend serious amounts of time with local people. It is now an official school subject in all schools in Corsica, having at one time been banned by the French administration.

Try this: "pane e vinu fa fantinu" - "bread and wine make you big and strong" or this:

Mi ricordu quiddu gjornu
Chi ghjunghjisti sculuritu
Denduti di pugnu in capu
Mursichenduti lu ditu
Ohimè, tu mi dicisti
Avvideci, so banditu

I remember the day
When you came home so pale
Hitting your head with your fist
And biting your finger
Woe is me! you said to me
Farewell, I am now an outlaw

Vous parlez bien français?
French is the official language of the island, and is widely spoken. If you're a little rusty, but would like to immerse yourself to practice your French, why not stay in one of the many village properties for rent. The Corsicans are proud of their island, and when someone engages them, they are normally delighted to discuss anything and everything, from football to cheese-making.

French Phrase books
There are so many phrase books and guide books on the market now, how do you know which one is right for you?

Absolute Beginners
Personally, I am a fan of the Collins Gem Phrase finders. Designed for ease of use, they give simple key phrases (which are also written phonetically underneath for help with pronunciation). When using phrase books, people often find that is not so much how to ask for something, but how to understand the reply. These days, the phrase finders normally comes with a tape where you can hear likely responses to your questions - great for the novice.

Simply want to brush up?
The Lonely Planet French Phrasebook is great for those who have already got to grips with the rudiments. It has a brief refresher on the basics, but deals more with everyday things like socialising, the environment, clothing, arts etc. Things you may not normally need to know about for a holiday. There is also a two way dictionary which comes in very handy! You might also be interested in our Corsican Culture special interest holidays, a fun way to practice your french in friendly surroundings - click HERE for details.

What about Corsican?
A mixture of French and Latin, I have only come across one guide book that has a few Corsican Phrases. More of a guide book than a phrase book, the Nelles Guide contains a small glossary of basic phrases; hello, goodbye, booking a room, eating and drinking etc., and a few handy menu items. See also 'U Corsu' section below.

Language courses in Corsica
If you wish to learn French or to improve your French knowledge and would like to learn quickly to communicate confidently in the language, with Pro Forma it's possible.

Courses for all levels of French available all the year
Courses are available all year. Their small size and great flexibility allows you to study the French language according to your needs and free time : multiple levels (beginner, elementary, intermediary, advanced, proficiency), numerous starting dates for beginners, variable course lengths and intensity. By choosing to participate in a French Course in Corsica, you are expressing the desire to discover the language 'directly' with the French teachers in PRO FORMA every day and in a French family. This is why our methodology is based on a lively and real-life approach to the French language. It enables you to acquire a wide knowledge of the language and to develop your communication skills.

For more details, please visit
PRO FORMA website and choose Nos Tarfis / Prices from the menu.

Learn French the easy way!
Linguaphone has already helped over 7 million people speak a new language. Their proven method of - Listen, Understand, Speak - provides the most natural and effective way, for learning to speak a foreign language. Simply click the link on the left to browse the range of course on offer.

As the two major languages of the Western World, English and French naturally have contributed many words to each other. Recent French contributions to English - with the French pronunciation retained as closely as possible - include such expressions as hors d'oeuvre, en route, rendezvous, carte blanche, savoir-faire, faux pas, fait accompli, par excellence, bon vivant, joie de vivre, coup d'état, nouveau riche, laissez faire, pièce de resistance, and RSVP.

In recent years, French has been virtually inundated with English words of all kinds - so much so that the resulting jargon has been dubbed Franglais, a combination of Français and Anglais. A few examples among hundreds are le hamburger, le drugstore, le week-end, le strip-tease, le tee-shirt, le chewing gum, and les blue-jeans. Most of these have been denied official status by the Academy, but even here concessions have been made. Recently, the Academy approved the adoption into French of le pipeline and le bulldozer - with the strict proviso, of course, that they be pronounced peep-LEEN and bool-do-ZAIR.

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