French Lesson 1: Basic Introduction


In this first French lesson we are going to look at how to introduce yourself in French.

 

(To help with pronunciation at this early stage, I have put approximate pronunciation in brackets after the word.)

Bonjour – hello / good morning / good day (bon-joor)

Salut – Hi (saloo)

Bonsoir – good evening (bonswar)

Bonne nuit – Good night (when going to bed) (bon nwee)

Ça va? – How are you/ how is it/he/she?  (sah vah)

This is a very useful expression in French and shouldn’t be underestimated!  The literal meaning is: ‘How goes it?’

The response is also quite odd.  You repeat the question back.  Ça va.  This means ‘it goes’ but is better translated as ‘I’m fine’ or ‘it’s/he’s/she’s fine’ etc.  You can also add adjectives to further the meaning:

ça va bien = I’m well / ça va mal = I’m awful.  (sah vah bee-ah(n)) . (sah vah mal)

Au revoir – Goodbye (ow rev-wa)

À bientôt – See you later (ah bee-an-toh)

À plus – Laters (ah plooss)

 

Examples: 

A: Bonjour Sévérine

B: Salut Christophe, ça va?

A: Ça va bien, et toi?

B: Oui, ça va.

… (they chat for a while)

B: Alors, à bientôt!

A: À plus!

 

Questions:

1) What is the expression for ‘and you?’

2) Did you spot the word for ‘yes’?

3) Do you think that the two people know each other already?

1) et toi? (pronounced ‘eh twa’)

2) Oui (pronounced ‘wee’)

3) It is a pretty familiar, non formal conversation between two friends.  You can tell due to the way they don’t introduce themselves and the way they casually say goodbye.

 

More introductions: (Approximate pronunciation in brackets)

Je m’appelle – I am called (jer mapel)

J’ai ….. ans – I am …. years old (jay … on)

Enchanté (de faire votre connaissance) – pleased to meet you [boy speaking]

Enchantée (de faire votre connaissance) – pleased to meet you [girl speaking]

(onshantay der fair votreh conaysons) [pronunciation the same for both]

Most people just leave out the bit in brackets.

Je suis… – I am (a)…

e.g. Je suis… du Pays de Galles / de l’Angleterre / des États-Unis / du Canada / de l’Australie / de l’Écosse / de l’Irlande

I am from Wales / England / USA / Canada / Australia / Scotland / Ireland

(jer swee… doo pay der gal / der longlertair / deyz eytaz oony / doo conadah / der l’ostraylee / der l’eycoss / der l’eerlond )

 

Je suis + profession = I am a + profession (jer swee)

e.g. Je suis professeur – I am (a) Teacher (jer swee professer)

médecin – doctor (meydsan)

infirmière – nurse (onfermee-air)

vétérinaire – vet  (veyteynayr)

 

Now read this conversation and think about the questions: 

A: Bonsoir!  Je m’appelle Madame Ducroq.

B: Bonsoir, je m’appelle Monsieur Dupont, ça va madame?

A: Ça va très bien, monsieur, et vous?

B: Oui, merci.  Enchanté de faire votre connaissance.

A: Oui, enchantée.  D’où venez-vous, monsieur?

B: Je suis de l’Angleterre, et vous?

A: Je suis de la France, je suis professeur.  Qu’est-ce que vous faites dans la vie?

B: Je suis ingénier. (on-jeyn-ee-ay)

… (they chat for a while longer)

B: Alors madame, au revoir.

A: Au revoir!

 

Questions: 

1) How could you tell that this conversation is more formal than the last?  What clues are there?

2) What is the new way of saying ‘and you?’.  Why has it changed?

3) What nationality are they both?  How do you ask ‘What is your nationality?’

4) What are their jobs and how do you ask, ‘What is your profession?’

5) Find the words for: ‘thanks’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ and ‘well then’

1) How could you tell that this conversation is more formal than the last?  What clues are there?

They speak using the formal word for ‘you’ which is ‘vous’.  They also refer to one another as Mr and Mrs throughout the conversation.  They words used for Good evening and Good bye are more formal. 

2) What is the new way of saying ‘and you?’.  Why has it changed?

Et vous?  This is the formal word for ‘you’. 

3) What nationality are they both?  How do you ask ‘What is your nationality?’

The man is English and the lady is French.  “D’où venez vous?’ or even ‘Quelle est votre nationalité?’

4) What are their jobs and how do you ask, ‘What is your profession?’

The man is an Engineer (did you guess right?) and the lady is a Teacher.  ‘Qu’est-ce que vous faites dans la vie?’ or even ‘Quelle est votre profession/métier?’  

5) Find the words for: ‘thanks’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ and ‘well then’

Merci (mer-see), Monsieur (miss-yer), madame (madam), alors (ah-law)

 

Be aware that, as with all languages, there is more than one way of expressing the same thing.  In the dialog I chose to use ‘Je suis de la France’ but French people don’t normally say, ‘I am from France’, rather ‘I am French’.  However, in this first lesson I didn’t want to delve into the world of masculine vs feminine adjectives and spoil the fun!  That’s on it’s way soon though….

 

That’s all for now.  Leave a comment (in French if you can!) and let me know what you think!

 

Merci et au revoir! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One response to “French Lesson 1: Basic Introduction

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
    find this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang
    of it!

    Like

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