Source photo ; link
- Bonjour madame.1
- Bonjour monsieur.
- Comment vous vous_appelez ?2
- Amélie. Et vous ?
- Je m'appelle Pierre.3
- Moi aussi.
Hello madame (by the way, meaning "my lady"; ma dame)
Hello sir ("my sir"; mon sieur)
How do you call yourself ? = What's your name?
Amelie. And you?
I call myself Pierre = I'm Pierre.
Charmed = Pleased to meet you.
Me also, me too.
1. In French, the main problem for my students is to know which ending letters you pronounce, which ones you don't. In my articles for beginners, I'll cross the letters which are silent and underline the ones you pronounce, to help you with your pronounciation.
This is a tip (un "truc", un "tuyau");
Remember the word CAREFUL and pronounce C-R-F-L, don't pronounce the others. Easy! C'est simple !
Voilà des exemples;
un parc (a park), un sac (a bag), un lac (a lake), un truc (a practical tip)....
exception ; du vin blanc (white wine. C'est important !)
Bonjour (hello), c'est pour vous (it's for you)
exception ; words in -er ; un papier (a paper), parler (to speak), skier (to ski).
Always pronounce er exactly like "é", as the letter "a".
For instance Téléphoner ; to call. J'ai téléphoné = I have called, I called. Je voudrais téléphoner = I'd like to call.
un sportif (a sportive man), une "manif'" (short word for manifestation. Important word to know in France ; a demonstration).
un animal (an animal), un journal (a newspaper)
So, from now on, be careful! ;)
2. In French, we link words together, which makes a beautiful pronounciation, but sometimes a whole sentence can seem like one word only to a beginner! This point is very important -c'est tres_important - if you want to have a perfect pronounciation.
Vous_aimez le vin blanc ? (do you like white wine?)
Remember; be careful with vowels; a, e, i, o, u -and h, which is never pronounced in French, so it makes the vowel which comes afterwards sounds like the first letter of the word (think of French people speaking English. They tend to say "Arrods" for "Harrods" or "my usband"....)-.
My students tend to say "vous aimez" (you like), which is good but not perfect, because it sounds like "vouz aymay", while a French would say "vou zaymay".
So, when you see this sign ; "_", it means that you take the last letter of the word and you say it with the word that comes right after;
Les_enfants (the children) ; lay zanfan
mon_ami (my friend) ; mon nami.
French children themselves take time to understand it. For example, a plane, which is "un avion", sounds like "un navion". So, at the beginning, it seems correct to them to say "maman, regarde le navion !", mummy, look at the plane.
3. Comment vous vous_appelez ? Je m'appelle Marc. (How do you call yourself? = what's your name? I call myself Marc = my name is Marc).
In the dictionary, you can't find "vous vous_appelez " or "je m'appelle" because they are conjugated verbs.
Right. I don't talk much about grammar in my classes, but this is important.
A verb, or the "doing word", as some call it, looks like this in the dictionary;
to dance; danser
to prefer; preferer
to observe; observer
to detest/hate; detester
to commence/start; commencer
So, in English you have "to ..." and in French the word usually finishes with "er". That's what we call the infinitive, meaning the word you'll find in the dictionary.
But when you speak, you'll say;
I dance; je danse
I prefer; je prefere
I observe; j'observe (by the way, observe how the vowel changed "je" to "j'". We'll come back to this).
For some reason, we say that "I prefer" is the conjugated verb of "to prefer", the infinitive.
Bien. I think you deserve a glass of wine after this intense first class!
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