le francais ou francais

My fabulous local library--which I love almost more than anything--is wonderful in part because of all the free stuff it allows me access to. Obviously there are the books, the music, the magazines which I borrow/read all the time. There is also a reasonably wide variety of lectures, movie showings, author appearances, musical performances, etc. to choose from. But the free stuff doesn't stop there. They allow me free access to a large number of databases (education, literary, and not) and other Internet/computer programs. The one I have called you all here to discuss today is a nice little web-based program called Mango Languages which teaches me languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, ESL, or even Greek for free (there are 12 in total).

Once upon a time I took French classes and so I thought that I would try my hand at relearning everything that I immediately forgot after the final exam was completed. It has been a rather fun experiment and I feel that I am coming along in my French quite well (I can now order red or white wine in French! very useful for someone who doesn't actually drink red or white wine--perhaps learning how to refuse red or white wine will come next). A couple of the things that I like most about the program is that there is a lot of review as you progress and, in addition to teaching you what a phrase actually means, they teach you what phrases literally mean.

There is of course the problem of not having a teacher in the room to answer my many, many questions but I figure that is, in part, what blogs are for, right? So blogging world here is my French language question:

When speaking about speaking French (or English or Spanish, etc.) why am I sometimes instructed to use "le francais" and sometimes instructed to use just "francais?" When speaking about speaking anglais and espagnol I never seem to be instructed to use le or la but I am when I am speaking about speaking protugais. What is the rule?

Here are some examples from the program:

Vous parles tres bien le francais.

Parlez-vous anglais?

Je parle anglais et espagnol.

Je parle uniquement anglais et un peu francais.

Tu parle tres bien francais.

J'apprends le francais avec un super site web Mango Languages.

Je parle et je comprends un peu le portugais.

Help me please.


Jenny said...

Take up stuttering. Then when you utter half a "le" it'll seem like you're stuttering, or just trying to get that "le" in where it rightfully belongs.
You're welcome.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Go to youtube and enter the search for "One Semester of Spanish Love Song." Go. Now. Watch. Love.