• Blaine Pike

Updated: Apr 2

In brief: What are the top spelling patterns to teach to expand students' vocab?


Continuing with the theme of shameless shortcuts (which basically means exposing students to as much GCSE vocabulary as quickly as possible), I've ranked the top spelling patterns from the AQA French syllabus to help students expand their vocabulary fast.

If you have any students currently self-isolating, you could get them to focus on their vocabulary strategies. Can they work out these patterns for themselves, and/or some of the words in English? These skills are appropriate for all ages and levels.


I've also sorted each tip using my "similarity index", which means cognates and similar words come first in my results (so the students can spot links even faster).


1. French ⮕ English -y


There are 19 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



2. French -re ⮕ English -er


There are 15 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



3. French -ment ⮕ English -ly


There are 12 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



4. French -eur ⮕ English -er


There are 12 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



5. French é- ⮕ English s-


There are 10 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



6. French -ant ⮕ English -ing


There are 10 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



7. French -ique ⮕ English -ic


There are 4 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



8. French -ier ⮕ English -y


There are 2 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



9. French -en ⮕ English -an


There are 2 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



10. French -ie ⮕ English -y


There are 2 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



11. French dé- ⮕ English dis-


There are 2 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



BONUS! French ^ ⮕ English s

This is one of my personal favourites for stronger students. It's not a perfect rule (in MFL, what is?) and many of them will require some lateral thinking: pêche > pesc > pescatarian > fish; goûter > gastro > to taste, arrêter > arrest > to stop...


That said, how many of these could your stronger students work out links for?


There are 33 instances of this pattern in the AQA French syllabus.

NB. These results are indicative only, please excuse any anomalies!



Want more? Here is the full AQA French vocabulary list with the spelling links included. (Bonus: German and Spanish versions are on tabs 2 and 3!)


✨ If you found this interesting, please feel free to join my email list below to make sure you don't miss any of my upcoming posts!


As always, please help out the rest of your department (and any of your PGCE students / NQTs) by sharing this post with them, too!


Merci beaucoup!


Blaine




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