French memes – an authentic resource your students will love

French memes as an authentic resource

French memes are a great authentic resource that you can use in your classes – and there are many reasons why you should! While they usually don’t contain too much text – and thus are easy to read – they often contain cultural information that can lead to great classroom discussions. Memes are funny because they include cultural references that are generally familiar to the target audience, which means that you can use them to teach both the language and the deeper cultural references.

One example of a French meme refers to the reign of Elizabeth II. With her death, Louis XIV keeps the title of longest-reigning monarch in Europe. The meme is pretty simple as far as language goes – there aren’t very many words, and they are not particularly advanced vocabulary terms or grammar. Students can easily understand the meaning of the meme on the surface level. But the meme gives you the perfect chance to talk about Louis XIV and just how amazingly long his reign was!

French memes - an authentic resource your students will love

There are quite a few French memes referring to the great choclatine/pain au chocolat debate. You could use any of these to prompt a discussion about the different regions of France and the language differences.

French memes - an authentic resource your students will love

Where to find French memes

There are so many places to find authentic French memes. One of my favorite resources is the subreddit /Rance. Of course you need to be somewhat careful when choosing which memes to use, and don’t just let your students loose on the subreddit! Some of the memes have curse words, others might have inappropriate topics or images. But you can usually find something good that you can use in your classroom.

French memes – classics or the latest and greatest?

One of the best things about using French memes in your class is that they are current to whatever is happening in the news and on social media. The downside is that this can give them a very short shelf life. Some memes are relevant and get used over and over again, but others don’t age well at all. Political memes tend to age pretty quickly, as do TV references. Memes that refer to the human condition can stay relevant forever, as do language-based jokes. Most kids grow up being told to finish their vegetables because of starving children in some far-off place – and young French kids are no different!

French memes - an authentic resource your students will love
French memes - an authentic resource your students will love
French memes - an authentic resource your students will love

Not all memes are simple or easy to explain. This meme follows a format that your students will almost certainly be familiar with – but without a bit of explanation as to what the different magazines are and what their leanings are, they are unlikely to make much sense out of it. For an advanced French class, this might be perfect as it can lead to a discussion of the purpose of the magazines and perhaps even a visit to their websites to see how they address different stories.

Culture-specific memes

Sometimes memes refer to an event that is a really big deal in the target country, but that goes entirely unnoticed elsewhere. The Zevent was pretty big in France and raised a lot of funds for charity – but outside of Francophone countries, it’s pretty unknown. French-speaking twitch streamers raise funds and it’s raised record amounts. This would be a great meme to bring attention to something that your students might find useful – who knows, maybe they’ll find some new favorite streamers to watch while practicing their French?

French memes - an authentic resource your students will love

French memes for writing practice

Of course, you don’t just have to read memes. It can be fun to write your own – and it gives your students a chance to practice writing in French! There are many meme generators online that you can use, your students probably already know where they are. You can assign particular images to use, but it’s probably more fun if you let students come up with their own choices. You might want to assign a particular topic, otherwise some students may hit a creative block and be unable to do anything at all.

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