Learning French Words Through Etymology and Mnemonics
A New Approach to Vocabulary Study

Learning French Words Through Etymology and Mnemonics is the second book in the “Learning Foreign Language Words Through Etymology and Mnemonics” series (the first being Learning Spanish Words Through Etymology and Mnemonics). It makes use of etymology to help you remember French words, and failing that, suggests a mnemonic. This is the only book on the market that combines these two approaches. The amount and depth of etymology is carefully chosen to be practical and not overwhelm an average reader. The suggested mnemonics aim to help an educated English-speaking person. An adult or young adult who likes learning vocabulary with some word analysis instead of rote memory will find this book to be helpful and a joy to read. With about 2700 words selected from 7200 in the Lexique corpus sorted in frequency order, this book can be used either as a dictionary or for leisure reading. The mnemonics for the words are particularly helpful for short-term memory needed in taking an exam, while the etymological, cultural, or other interesting information provided for most of the words will serve you for years to come.

Different Study Methods

Etymology ⎤
               ⎡ Word analysis <-⎢           ⎥-> this book
               ⎢                 ⎣ MnemonicsStudy method <-⎢
               ⎣ Rote memory (e.g. flash cards)

Sample Pages

The main text of this little dictionary arranges the words in the order of their usage frequency per Lexique.org word frequency. Cognates serve as the most important learning aid.

The word frequency data generated from the Lexique corpus is in this file. (This data can also be used to help with word choice in writing. For example, if you prefer a more common word for the sense of "to try", essayer at the frequency position 313 is definitely better than tâcher at 2595.)

Author Biography and Contact

I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and M.A. in Philosophy. I have taught myself linguistics with an emphasis on morphological and phonological changes in the history of Romance languages, and have learned to read in multiple European languages. Please contact me by email to yong321@yahoo.com or by filling the form with comments or corrections.


This book will remain unpublished indefinitely. In the meantime, the full manuscript can be requested on a donation basis. With a $10 or more donation through Venmo, Zelle or Quickpay, Paypal or by other means, you will receive a copy of the e-book, on the condition that the received copy is only shared within your immediate family. At the end of every year in the future, you will receive an indexed, updated version of the book for free.

Brief Timeline and Blog

Beginning February 2020, I regularly post thoughts to my author blog on Goodreads. Note: It's a blog not about this single book, but about the Learning Foreign Language Words series.

Yong Huang
Oct 2016 — Jan 2021