Transform those midnight snacks into bite-sized French learning opportunities.
Picture this: you walk up to your fridge and you immediately think le frigo (fridge).
You head to the couch to try and fall asleep in front of the TV. You find yourself muttering le canapé (couch), le salon (living room) and la télévision (TV).
You can keep the immersive French learning going all night and day, all over your house. You’re tidying your bedroom and can’t help but think le lit (bed). You get dressed for work and automatically look for les vêtements (clothes).
How can you achieve such fluid French thinking every day?
The answer is simple: with French labels for the home!
How Are Labels a Language Learning Tool?
While sticking labels around your home may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to achieving French fluency, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you’re practicing and learning 24/7.
Labels are big time-savers as you don’t need to sit down and deliberately study them. Rather, you simply go about your day and business as usual while continually picking up French words in the process.
French labels are super easy to set up and once you’ve got them placed where you want, the rest of your learning experience is essentially effortless.
Seeing French labels around the house will ensure the words stick in your mind from endless repetition, and remembering vocabulary becomes that much easier when you can associate the words with everyday objects.
Plus, seeing a visual of the word, rather than just hearing it, ensures you learn the spelling as well.
As a bonus, they’re really cheap for such an effective study resource.
The Ultimate Language Learning Hack: French Labels for the Home
With so many benefits, why not begin actively applying your French to everyday life? To help you get started, I’ve picked out some of the best options to find high-quality French labels for the home!
If you enjoy this type of natural, immersive French learning, take it up a notch with FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the French language and culture over time. You’ll learn French as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of great content, like interviews and web series, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.
You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
For example, if you tap on the word "crois," you'll see this:
Practice and reinforce all the vocabulary you've learned in a given video with FluentU's adaptive quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning and play the mini-games found in the dynamic flashcards, like "fill in the blank."
As you study, FluentU tracks the vocabulary that you’re learning and uses this information to give you a 100% personalized experience.
It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
One of my absolute favorite choices, FlashSticks sells foreign language sticky notes with a wide variety of purchasing options from £4 to £30 (roughly $5 to $40, and less if they’re offering discounts, which they sometimes do).
They’ve got sticky notes for both beginner and intermediate learners. Their labels contain words for household items, clothing, school objects and more. Some of the vocabulary you’ll learn includes words such as jardiner (to garden), la chaussure (shoe), le petit déjeuner (breakfast) and la voiture (car).
The labels are jam-packed with language information. Each label contains the French word, its pronunciation, its English definition, a small graphic and its type of speech. The pronunciation and type of speech features are particularly unique, as most labels don’t include this helpful information.
One of the great learning bonuses of these sticky notes is that they’re color-coded, with masculine nouns in blue, feminine nouns in pink and verbs, emotion words and other types of speech in green.
This is a fantastic way to help you remember a noun’s gender, which can be one of the harder things to master when learning French.
Additionally, your sticky notes come with the FlashAcademy app for your phone, which includes lessons, games, grammar tips and more. The app lets you scan your sticky note to get even more information on the word.
Furthermore, one of the coolest features it comes with is object translation technology, which allows you to snap a picture of an object and receive the word in French!
LinguaPosta offers both labels and posters available as downloads that are delivered to you in PDF form.
They’re a cheap option, costing just $5 per poster, plus a free download of their house words label sheet. That label sheet currently includes vocabulary for the kitchen but is being expanded to cover words for all rooms.
For now, their label sheet contains words like la chaise (chair), le placard (cupboard), le couteau (knife) and l’évier (kitchen sink).
One of the fantastic things about these labels is that they each contain an example sentence in French with the English translation below, an added resource for those looking to practice using new vocabulary in conversations.
The poster options include common verbs, French people and places and French conversations in a bistro.
You can either hang them up where you’ll see them each day or cut the words out and label individual objects.
For those who don’t want to go through the trouble of printing them yourself, there’s an option to have LinguaPosta print them for you, but it’s more expensive at $25.
Vocabulary Stickers is unique in that they offer a vocabulary label package for both your house and your office. Why stop at house vocabulary when you can learn all sorts of great French business words during the workday?
Their package includes 132 labels of words like le tapis (carpet), la plante (plant), la télécommande (remote control), l’écran (screen), le clavier (keyboard) and le bureau (office).
One of the fantastic advantages of these labels is that they include the English word in small font at the top corner of each label, so you have a reference when you need it.
Between the English definition and the fact that each label contains a small graphic, these are really easy to set up without having to do any research about definitions beforehand.
Like FlashSticks, Vocabulary Stickers also color-coordinates their labels, with red denoting feminine nouns, blue denoting masculine nouns and purple denoting plural words.
Their labels are supposed to be really easy to remove from objects without leaving residue and each package costs €16 (roughly $20), which includes free worldwide shipping.
Teachers Pay Teachers
Teachers Pay Teachers is a site run by educators who want to share their ideas and educational resources that they’ve created for their classrooms.
At the link above, you can find their household items label package created by educator Jacqueline Barnett that’s a very affordable option for learners, available for just $2.
The labels include 64 words that cover objects in every room of the house, including vocabulary such as la fenêtre (window), les rideaux (curtains), les escaliers (stairs), l’horlage (clock) and la brosse à dents (toothbrush).
While the labels don’t include English translations, they do contain pictures for easy placement and further visual association.
Labels are delivered to you as a PDF download.
If none of the above options suit you, you’re really looking to save a buck or you just love being crafty, I recommend simply making your own labels!
Creating your own labels is a fantastic way to personalize your product to cater to your learning needs. For example, if you already know kitchen vocabulary, then skip it and spend time memorizing the words you struggle with.
It’s super easy to make your own labels by creating a label sheet in a PDF, Word or Pages document. You can then either print the words out on sticky labels or on regular paper, cutting them out and taping them around the house.
Besides being a great way to save money, you can change up the words whenever you want! Once you learn the vocabulary from round one, edit your labels document with new words and phrases rather than having to purchase a new package.
Plus, you can customize your labels with English definitions, graphics, pronunciation guides or other features you personally find useful when learning new French vocabulary.
Color code them however you want and really have fun with creating a resource that works specifically for you!
You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to spreading French around your home, so it’s time to get labeling!
Camille Turner is Director of Scripturient Writing & Editing Services.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn French with real-world videos.