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French For Beginners par Olivier Malet

Chapter One

English and French are using the same alphabet; even better English and French are using several hundred words that have the same spelling and meaning in both languages. Here are one hundred examples! rage, bandit, banquet, Bible, bizarre, boulevard, avenue, bracelet, budget, capable, capital, torture, tradition, train, triple, type, union, urgent, vacant, vague, vengeance, zone, information, conversation, menace, minute, municipal, muscle, nation, national, lion, indulgent, installation, inspection, instrument, grain, horizon, imitation, humble, final, fortune, golf, motion, existence, durable, date, destruction, construction, dispute, docile, contact, concentration, cage, canal, canon, cigarette, client, code, colonel, combat, art, article, aspect, pigeon, portrait, biscuit, circuit, piano, rail, rural, air, plateau, change, orange, tribunal, taxes, fruits, assassin, absence, accent, accident, accusation, acquisition, action, adoption, affection, agent, agriculture, album, alliance, allusion, ambition, amusement, anecdote, angle, animal, aptitude, volume, tunnel, style, sublime. You might assume from this that you have less to learn than you anticipated. In a way it is true for if you did see these words in writing you would guess correctly their meaning. However if you only heard them you probably would not recognize them because their French pronunciation is very different from the English one. > Now listen to the following words and see (or rather hear) for yourself: Durable, date, destruction, muscle, change, national, lion, indulgent, installation, amusement, anecdote, angle, combat, art. Therefore you need to be able to associate a spelling - you might be familiar with - with a new sound. In this book we are going to use terms such as sound, syllable, stress and intonation. It is important you understand exactly what they mean. What is a sound? In languages there are two kinds of sounds consonant sounds (p,t,k,b,d,g,f,v,s,z, etc) and vowel sounds ( a e i o u ). A word like in has two sounds: (the vowel /i/ + the consonant /n/), bean has three sounds (/b/ + /ea/ + /n/),

pinned has four sounds (/p/ + /i/+/n/ + /d/), skilled has five sounds (/s/ + /k/ +/i/ + /l/ + /d/) The idea is this: the number of letters does not necessarily match the number of sounds. Two written vowels might give only one vowel sound (bean) and two consonants might only give one consonant sound (pinned & skilled). Sometimes a letter is not pronounced at all like the letter p in psychology or the letter e in charge. What is a syllable? A word like Spanish has two syllables: Span-ish; intensive has 3 syllables: in-ten-sive. A syllable must contain a vowel sound to be counted as one. It is important that you understand what a syllable is because French is a syllable-timed language. In other words syllables are the rhythmic elements of French sentencesWe shall come back to this matter later on in this course. What is a stress? A stress is an emphasis put on a syllable. For instance in the 3 syllable word pho-to-graph the syllable pho is pronounced with more strength than the other two. We could show the stress in photograph like this: photogragh. From the examples you are about to hear, you can easily see how stress is used in French (as opposed to English). French stress is one of duration rather than intensity and it is always placed on the last syllable of a word or group of words. In the French word photographe the syllable graphe will be made longer (but not really louder as it is in English). Stress in English depends on the words; they have most of the time the stress placed on the first syllable, but not always. The vowel in a non-stressed syllable may disappear in English it is never the case in French (Compare the words Adresse where the vowel A is still heard and Address where it has changed into a schwa.) > Now listen to the following : FRENCH province substance effort contexte Adresse Respect Regard ENGLISH province substance effort context address respect regard



You are going to learn how to pronounce French vowel sounds and how to match them with their French spelling. Be careful not to pronounce them the English way. Intonation refers to the notes on which the syllables are pronounced. For example, listen to Are you going home? (5 syllables) This question is said to have a rising intonation because the sequence of notes on which the syllables are pronounced goes up:

> Listen to I want to stay here (5 syllables). This sentence is said to have a falling intonation because the sequence of notes on which the syllables are pronounced goes down:

> Listen to these four French sentences. State whether the intonation is rising or falling; Rising intonation: ^ Falling intonation: v FRENCH Bonjour ! v a va? ^ Pardon? ^ Bonsoir! v ENGLISH Hello! How are you? Pardon me? I beg your pardon? Good evening!


French & English have many words in common but their pronunciation differs greatly. A sound is a vowel or a consonant; these sounds do not necessarily match one letter or the same letter. A syllable is a rhythmic unit; in French a syllable must contain a vowel sound. A stress is the way to pronounce a syllable: - louder in English, longer in French - the last syllable of a word or group of words is always the one stressed in French. Intonation refers to the notes on which the syllables are pronounced the melody goes up or down.

A. FROM SOUND TO SPELLING I. VOWELS a. Listen to the French vowels: a/e/i/o/u Now these are only the vowel we have for written French (or English) but in fact there are more vowel sounds than letters to represent them. In English we will use two letters to represent the other vowels; for instance, we use the letters ou as in you or ey as in obey because we dont have a single letter to represent these vowels. In French a similar (but not identical) system will be used. b. Listen to the following combinations and try to imitate them as precisely as you can: ou / oi / an / in / on The last 3 vowel sounds are nasal sound, the sound AN for instance is close the British pronunciation of the word France with this difference: The N is always mute in French. Compare the 2 pronunciations of the word "France" in English then in French. Unlike English, French uses accents on top of the vowel e to change its pronunciation. There are 3 main types of accents:

The acute accent: The grave accent: The circumflex accent:

The last two accents (2 & 3) give the same pronunciation. The acute accent can only be found on the letter e and the other two can be found on the other vowels but they do not, however, change their pronunciation. In other words the letters a, and are pronounced the same way the same goes for i and or u and or .

c. Listen to the following combinations and try to imitate them as precisely as you can. a///e/i/o/u d. Dictation: write down the vowel sounds you hear. You should have written: A, O, U, I, E, , OU, OI, AN, IN . In these notes, we will use terms such as: syllables, sounds, vowels, consonants, and intonation. It is important you understand exactly what they mean. In English the same sound can have different spellings: Machine eve feet field leave people key They all contain the same vowel sound but the spelling is different. In French the same phenomenon occurs: The vowel E is also written EU and OEU The vowel is also written ET and EZ and ER (at the end of a verb) The vowel is also written , AI and EI The vowel O is also written AU and EAU The vowel IN is also written UN, AIN and EIN The vowel AN is also written EN As we have seen some letters in English are not pronounced at all. The same is true for French: The consonant letters S T D X Z are generally mute at the end of a word. The vowel letter E is mute at the end of a word. We will learn to pronounce these spellings gradually as we learn some more vocabulary. e. Now try to see if you can pronounce these words correctly. Remember that the stress is placed always on the last syllable. budget, capital, vacant, zone, menace, minute, final, golf, date, dispute, docile, canal, canon, plateau, taxes, assassin, absence, accent, accident, animal, aptitude, volume. II. CONSONANTS

Consonants do not differ dramatically in French and in English. Pronunciation differences: The French difference is based on voiced as opposed to unvoiced consonants. The English (and Cantonese) difference is based on aspiration. English Kate English Skate French Aspirated Unvoiced P T K Unaspirated Unvoiced P T K (QU) F S, CH Note :

English Gate French Unaspirated Voiced B D G (GU) V Z, S (in between vowels) J

Cantonese does not differentiate between unvoiced & voiced consonants Beware of the letter J pronounced as in the word MEASURE (as opposed to MAJOR ) L (ONLY ONE ARTICULATION IN FRENCH) LOOK NOT COOL R EXISTS IN CANTONESE BUT NOT IN ENGLISH M, N SIMILAR TO ENGLISH



ANSWERS: You should have selected the following words : pas, tout, vous, cas, got, chou SEMI CONSONANT ALSO EXISTS IN ENGLISH BUT THE SPELLING DIFFERS FROM FRENCH: /j/ as in yes French spelling: y + vowel i + vowel ill / wa / / ui / as in What French only French spelling: French spelling: oi ui voyage Reliez travaillez quoi? huit (trip) (link, put together) (work!) (what?) (eight)

> Listen : THE ALPHABET The alphabet is used to spell words, your name, the name of a place etc Of course the pronunciation differs from English. Instead of giving you the alphabet in the traditional order we classified the letters according to the vowel sound they contain. AHK are pronounced with the vowel / a / B, C, D, G, P, T, V, W are pronounced with the vowel / e / = (in French spelling) E is pronounced with the vowel / O / = e (in French spelling) F, L, M, N, R, S, Z is pronounced with the vowel / E / = or (in French spelling) I, J, X, Y are pronounced with the vowel / i / = i (in French spelling)

O is pronounced with the vowel / o / note : U, Q : are pronounced with the vowel / y / = u (in French spelling) F, L, M, N, R, S, Z : are pronounced with a similar vowel in English and in French. O : is pronounced with a similar vowel in English and in French. BEWARE OF: G & J : THE VOWELS ARE INVERTED W IS PRONOUNCED : DOUBLE V Y IS PRONOUNCED : I GREC

> Dictation: write down the letters you hear

You should have written : A, G, U, V, C, B, E, D, F, H, I, J, L, K, O, M, N, P, Q, R NUMBERS: Instead of giving you the numbers in the traditional order we classified the numbers according to the vowel sound they contain: > listen to the numbers UN - 1 CINQ - 5 QUINZE - 15 VINGT - 20 QUATRE - 4 QUATORZE - 14 HUIT - 8 DEUX - 2 NEUF - 9

ZRO - 0 SIX - 6 DIX - 10 ONZE - 11 TROIS - 3 SEPT - 7 TREIZE - 13 SEIZE - 16 DOUZE - 12 > Dictation: write down the numbers you hear. You should have written : 1, 6, 10, 16, 2, 4, 3, 15, 7, 9, 11, 5, 8, 12, 14, 13, 20, 0, 13, 16 KEY PHRASES: > Listen & repeat (make sure you reproduce their pronunciation as accurately as you can) 1. Bonjour! Hello! / Good Morning! 2. Au revoir! Goodbye! (The e in Au revoir is not pronounced There are only 2 syllables) 3. Salut! Hi! / Bye! (The t in Salut is not pronounced) 4. Bonsoir! Good evening! 5. Dsol! Sorry! 6. Pardon! Pardon me! / Excuse me! (Do not pronounce the n at the end of pardon) 7. Merci! Thanks! / Thank you! 8. a va? How are you? Youre ok? (the is pronounced like s ) 9. Oui. Yes. (Pronounced as the English word wee) 10. Non. No. (Do not pronounce the last n)



> The inclusive form: In English if you want to include yourself in the action, you do not say Dance but rather lets dance. To include yourself in the command in French you change the vowel sound at the end of the verb: Dansez! becomes Dansons! Dance! Lets dance

Translate orally in English: PARLONS! LETS TALK!

REGARDONS! LETS WATCH! CHANTONS! LETS SING! DANSONS! LETS DANCE! TUDIONS! LETS STUDY! TRAVAILLONS! LETS WORK! CRIVONS! LETS WRITE! LISONS! LETS READ! SORTONS! LETS GO OUT! THE FAMILIAR FORM: In English, if you want to tell a stranger to listen you say Listen; if you want to tell your mother to listen, you also say Listen. In French, you do not use the same form; to tell your mother to listen, you use this familiar form (fam). Compare the regular form and the familiar form. To use the familiar form in the command in French you remove the vowel sound at the end of the verb: > Listen & repeat: Dansez! (Dance!) becomes : Danse! (Dance!) (familiar form) Use the familiar form only when the command is followed by (fam) Note : The familiar form is used when speaking to ONE person only. Someone you are very close to (a parent, a relative, a friend of long standing) and when speaking to a small child. We obtain the familiar form by dropping the final vowel sound. Listen to these commands in the regular form and in the familiar form. Listen to it again hide the French and translate orally using both the Polite form & the familiar form. > Listen to the polite and the familiar forms :

Look! Regardez! > Regarde! Listen! coutez! > coute! Swim! Nagez! > Nage! Study! tudiez! > tudie! Speak! Parlez! > Parle!

Walk! Marchez! > Marche! Stop! Arrtez! > Arrte! Sing! Chantez! > Chante! Dance! Dansez ! > Danse! Ask! Demandez! > Demande! Eat! Mangez! > Mange! Start! commencez! > commence! Work! Travaillez! > Travaille! Stay! Restez! > Reste! Come in! Entrez! > Entre! In the commands you have learned, you obtained the familiar command by dropping the final vowel sound. Well call the verbs following this pattern TYPE I VERBS. TYPE I : VERBS with special spelling for the inclusive form: For these two verbs the inclusive form has a special spelling due to the nature of the consonant g : Swim! > Nagez! / Lets swim! > Nageons! Eat! > Mangez! / Lets eat > Mangeons! To keep the soft g sound (a sound you get in English in the word vision) we have to add an e before the vowel o otherwise we would get the hard sound g (a sound you can find in English in the word go) A similar problem occurs with the verb below, but this time we have to add a cedilla under the letter c to keep the sound s Move forward! > Avancez! > Lets move forward! > Avanons! All the verbs ending in GEZ or CEZ for the Polite Form will follow the same pattern. > Listen : THE NEGATIVE FORM NEGATIVE COMMAND So far, we have used only affirmative commands. Our next step is to learn how to express these commands in the negative. In English, the negative is formed as follows: Sing! > Don't sing! Let's sing! > Lets not sing! In French, the negative is formed by adding ne before the command and pas after it. Chantez! > Ne chantez pas! Dont sing! Chante! > Ne chante pas! Chantons! > Ne chantons pas! Lets not sing! The letter e of ne is replaced with an apostrophe when the verb begins with a vowel sound. coutez! > N coutez pas! Dont listen! coute! > Ncoute pas! coutons! > Ncoutons pas! Lets not listen!

> The unstable e sound The vowel sound of ne is said to be unstable; it is automatically dropped before another vowel sound which is reflected in the spelling (ne becomes n). The vowel of ne is unstable because its retention or fall depends on the nature of the following sound.

The final e of reste and entre is also an unstable vowel sound; it must be pronounced when the commands are followed by a consonant sound. Reste - 1 syllable Ne reste pas - 1 2 3 4 (4 syllables) Entre - 1 syllable Nentre pas - 1 2 3 (3 syllables) The following commands contain the unstable vowel sound in the first syllable. When these commands are shifted to the negative form, we have two consecutive unstable vowels: Look! Regarde Dont look! Ne regarde pas Look! Regardez Dont look! Ne regardez pas Lets look! Regardons! Lets not look! Ne regardons pas It is customary in such cases not to pronounce the second unstable vowel. > Exercise: Translate the following commands orally into French

Dont look! (fam) Ne regarde pas! Listen! coutez! Lets swim! Nageons! Dont talk! Ne Parlez pas! Walk! Marchez! Dont stop! (fam) Narrte pas! Dont sing! Ne chantez pas! Dance! Dansez ! Dont ask! Ne demandez pas! Lets not eat! Ne mangeons pas! Lets not start! Ne commenons pas! Study! (fam) tudie! Work! (fam) Travaille! Dont stay! Ne restez pas! Dont come in! (fam) N entre pas!

SUMMARY: Verb commands : Present tense imperative mood how to give an order POLITE & PLURAL FORM Arrtez! Chantez! Cochez! Commencez! Compltez! Dansez! Demandez! coutez! Entourez! Entrez! tudiez! Mangez! Marchez! Nagez! Observez! Parlez! Regardez! Reliez! Rptez! Restez! ENGLISH Stop Sing Tick Start Complete Dance Ask Listen Circle Come in / enter Study Eat Walk Swim Look closely Talk / Speak Look Put together Repeat Stay

INCLUSIVE FORM TYPE I VERBS Arrtons! Chantons! Cochons! Commenons! Compltons! Dansons! Demandons! coutons! Entourons! Entrons! tudions! Mangeons! Marchons! Nageons! Observons! Parlons! Regardons! Relions! Rptons! Restons!

FAMILIAR FORM Arrte! Chante! Coche! Commence! Complte! Danse! Demande! coute! Entoure! Entre! tudie! Mange! Marche! Nage! Observe! Parle! Regarde! Relie! Rpte! Reste!

TYPE II VERBS crivons! Lisons! Rpondons! Sortons!

crivez! Lisez! Rpondez! Sortez!

cris! Lis! Rponds! Sors!

Write Read Answer Go out

Note : There are special spelling for TYPE I VERBS ending in -CEZ or -GEZ for the inclusive form:

Mangeons! Nageons! Commenons! The negative form : Ne parle pas! / Ncoute pas! The unstable e : Ne regarde pas / Nentre pas

Do not proceed further unless you master all the commands & key phrases very well. Now you need to know how to understand and form sentences containing a subject, a verb and a modifier (adverb) as in the English sentence: He works well. > Weve seen 3 commands for the verbs weve learned so far: Travaille! (fam) Travaillez! : Work! Travaillons : Lets work! We have 3 oral forms (Familiar, Polite & Inclusive) These 3 oral forms will be used for the present tense indicative of the verbs weve seen. Je travaille : I work / I am working Tu travailles : You work / You are working Il, Elle travaille : He, she works / He, she is working Ils, elles travaillent : They work / They are working For these 4 personal pronoun the familiar oral form of the verb is used (In other words the verb always sounds the same, the endings e, -es, ent are silent) Nous travaillons : We work / We are working Vous travaillez : You work / You are working French has two equivalents for the English pronoun you. As already learned before, the familiar form is used when speaking to a person you are very close to (a parent, a relative, a friend of long standing) and when speaking to a small child. It cannot be used if you are speaking to more than one person. In English, the pronoun they can refer to: (1) several men (2) several women (3) a group of men and women

In French, a distinction is made. (1) They eat (men alone or men and women mixed) : Ils mangent (2) They eat (women alone) : Elles mangent In the translation exercises, we will use they when referring to men alone or men and women mixed; we will use they (f) when referring to women alone. Note : French uses the same form for he eats and he is eating, we eat and we are eating, you eat and you are eating, etc Note also that there is no oral distinction between: Il travaille | Ils travaillent Elle travaille | Elles travaillent They sound the same. This is characteristic of TYPE I VERBS. TYPE 2 VERBS > These verbs have 4 oral forms, they distinguish the singular from the plural by adding a consonant. familiar form : cris! Write! polite form : crivez! Write! inclusive form : crivons! : Lets write! For the singular the oral form of the familiar form is used: cris! J cris : I write / I am writing Tu cris : You write / You are writing Il, Elle crit : He, she writes / He, she is writing Note that t he written endings are different : The ending is -s for the personal pronouns je and tu and the ending -t is used for the personal pronouns il & elle. However they are silent endings. Plural forms : Nous crivons : We write / We are writing Vous crivez : You write / You are writing Ils, elles crivent : They write / They are writing

> Here are the TYPE 2 VERBS weve seen so far: TYPE II VERBS crivons! Lisons! Rpondons! Sortons!

crivez! Lisez! Rpondez! Sortez!

cris! Lis! Rponds! Sors!

Write Read Answer Go out

ADVERBES Adverbs are modifiers, they modify the meaning of the verb; they do not change their spelling and somehow they are always placed right after the verb they modify. > Listen & Learn! rarement (rarely) bien (well) ici (here) beaucoup (a lot) trop (too much) vite (fast/quickly) parfois (sometimes) mal (badly) l (there) peu (a little) trop peu (too little) lentement (slowly) souvent (often) ensemble (together) l-bas (over there) tout (everything) trs (very) tout de suite (right away) > Listen to the following sentences and translate them orally: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Elles sortent souvent. They (f) often go out Vous rpondez bien. You answer well. Nous lisons beaucoup. We read a lot. Tu cris mal. You write badly. Je lis beaucoup. I read a lot.

6. Nous sortons ensemble. We go out together. 7. Tu ne sors pas souvent! You dont go out often! MORE TYPE 2 VERBS > The verb Rpondez is a type 2 verb adding the consonant d for the plural Je rponds : I answer / I am answering Tu rponds : You answer Il, elle rpond : He, she answers Nous rpondons : We answer Vous rpondez : You answer Ils, elles rpondent : They answer You have probably noticed that the -t ending is not there for the personal pronouns Il and elle. This is due to a spelling rule: a d cannot be followed by a t therefore the t is omitted if the stem of the verb ends with a d. It also seems that the verb has only one stem: rpond. But if this is true in writing, orally we have two stems; one, for the singular where the d is silent, one for the plural when it is heard. > Here are verbs following the same pattern as rpondez Attendez! Attends! : Wait! Descendez! Descends! : Go downstairs! Get off (a car, a train) Entendez! Entends! : Hear! Vendez! Vends! : Sell! Perdez! Perds! : Lose! > Translate orally in French :

You dont hear well. Vous nentendez pas bien. Get off now! Descendez maintenant! Dont lose! (fam) Ne perds pas! I dont sell a lot! Je ne vends pas beaucoup! Wait here! Attendez ici! They sell everything! Ils vendent tout! I hear everything! Jentends tout! Answer now! (fam) Rponds maintenant! Dont go downstairs!(fam) Ne descends pas! Im losing everything! Je perds tout!

> The verb Sortez is a type 2 verb adding the consonant t for the plural

Je sors : I go out / I am going out

Tu sors : You go out Il, elle sort : He, she goes out Nous sortons : We go out Vous sortez : You go out Ils, elles sortent : They go out

> Other verbs following the same pattern are:

Partez! Pars! Leave! Ne mentez pas! Ne mens pas! Dont lie! (truth)

> The verb lisez is a type 2 verb adding the consonant s for the plural (the sound is / z /)

Je lis: I read / I am reading Tu lis : You read Il, elle lit : He, she reads Nous lisons : We read Vous lisez : You read Ils, elles lisent : They read

> Other verbs following the same pattern are:

Traduisez! Traduis! Translate! Conduisez! Conduis! Drive! Construisez! Construis! Build! Dtruisez! Dtruis! Destroy!

Exercise: Translate orally in English

Vous lisez beaucoup! You read a lot! Elles conduisent mal! They drive badly! Nous construisons ici! We build here! Ne dtruis pas tout! Dont destroy everything! Je traduis trs bien! I translate very well! Sors tout de suite! Go out right away! Tu lis trs vite! You read very fast! Ne partez pas tout de suite! Dont leave right away! Ne lisez pas tout tout de suite! Dont read everything right away! Tu conduis trs bien! You drive very well! Tu mens! Youre lying! Tu cris trop lentement! You write too slowly!


Linking is a phenomenon we find in English. It consists of linking the consonant at the end of a word with the vowel of the next word: Far from it : the m of from becomes the initial consonant of the word it as if you were reading mit. The same phenomenon is observed with Fire away or Far away etc. In French the same thing occurs especially between the personal pronoun and the verbs starting with a vowel: > Il coute bien is read : i-l-coute-bien > Elle coute bien is read : -l-coute-bien This is what we call a linking. The liaison is not found in English. But it is not difficult to understand or reproduce because it is a kind of linking, except that the consonant at the endf of the word is not normally pronounced unless the next syllable starts with a vowel. > On mange bien en France. People eat well in France The n of on is not pronounced. But if the verb starts with a vowel, then we hear it as an initial : > On coute bien is read : on-n-coute-bien We listen well With the personal pronouns ending with an s (nous, vous, ils, elles) the sound z is heard. For instance with the TYPE I verb arrivez (arrive) > Nous arrivons aujourdhui is read: nous-za-rri-vons-au-jour-dhui > Vous arrivez aujourdhui is read: vous-za-rri-vez-au-jour-dhui > Ils attendent l-bas is read: ils-za-ttendent-l-bas > Elles attendent l-bas is read: elles-za-ttendent-l-bas

Weve seen that TYPE I verbs do not distinguish orally the singular and the plural form > Il travaille sounds the same as: ils travaillent But if the verb starts with a vowel sound, then a difference is heard due to the liaison:

Il coute - Ils coutent Elle coute - Elles coutent

EXERCISE Now listen to the following sentences and decide if they are singular or plural, circle the sentence you hear. Then translate orally in English. 1. Il arrive demain - Ils arrivent demain They're arriving tomorrow 2. Elle coute bien - Elles coutent bien She listens well 3. Il habite Paris - Ils habitent Paris They live in Paris 4. Elle aime a - Elles aiment a She likes that 5. Il arrive aujourdhui - Ils arrivent aujourdhui They arrive today 6. Il arrte maintenant - Ils arrtent maintenant He stops now 7. Il entre ici - Ils entrent ici He enters here 8. Elle arrive ici - Elles arrivent ici She arrives here 9. Elle entre maintenant - Elles entrent maintenant They are coming in now 10. Elle arrte aujourdhui - Elles arrtent aujourdhui She stops today THE PERSONAL PRONOUN ON ON is like the English personal pronoun ONE. It is rarely used in English. Wed rather use People or the impersonal pronoun you (e.g., To succeed you need to work) In France, (one speaks) / people speak French - En France, on parle franais. At school, (one writes) / you write a lot - lcole, on crit beaucoup. In France, (one eats) / people eat well - En France, on mange bien On, therefore has an impersonal meaning but it is also used as a substitute for the personal pronoun Nous : - Vous partez quand? When are you leaving? - Nous partons demain = On part demain. We leave tomorrow. THE NEGATION & THE UNSTABLE E

Weve seen both the negative form for a verb & the unstable e. The rule of pronunciation of the unstable e goes as follow. If the syllable preceding an unstable e ends with a vowel sound the unstable e is not pronounced. The following personnal pronouns end with a vowel sound: Je, Tu, On, Nous, Vous Therefore if they are followed by ne the e of ne is not pronounced, you pronounce all these personal pronouns as if they were ending with the consonant n > coutez & rptez:

Je parle franais - Je ne parle pas franais I dont speak French Tu travailles beaucoup - Tu ne travailles pas beaucoup You dont work a lot On part aujourdhui - On ne part pas aujourdhui We dont leave today Nous lisons beaucoup - Nous ne lisons pas beaucoup We dont read a lot Vous conduisez bien - Vous ne conduisez pas bien You dont drive well

ADVERBS OF TIME hier - yesterday aujourd'hui - today demain - tomorrow INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS: qui? - who? quoi? what? quand? when? o? where? comment? how? pourquoi? why? ASKING A QUESTION IN FRENCH & NOUNS OF LANGUAGES Vous parlez franais? (The last syllable has a high pitch) > Listen & repeat & translate in English orally both the question and the answer:

Vous parlez franais? Do you speak French?

Non, je ne parle pas franais. No, I dont speak French. Vous parlez anglais? Do you speak English? Non, je ne parle pas anglais. No, I dont speak English . Vous parlez portugais? Do you speak Portugese? Non, je ne parle pas portugais. No, I dont speak Portugese. Vous parlez cantonais? Do you speak Cantonese? Non, je ne parle pas cantonais. No, I dont speak Cantonese. Vous parlez chinois? Do you speak Chinese? Non, je ne parle pas chinois. No, I dont speak Chinese. Vous parlez danois? Do you speak Danish? Non, je ne parle pas danois. No, I dont speak Danish. Vous parlez allemand? Do you speak German? Non, je ne parle pas allemand. No, I dont speak German. Vous parlez espagnol? Do you speak Spanish? Non, je ne parle pas espagnol. No, I dont speak Spanish. Vous parlez italien? Do you speak Italian? Non, je ne parle pas italien. No, I dont speak Italian.

IRREGULAR VERBS Irregular verbs have to be learnt by heart, they have more oral forms than other regular verbs: 1. THE VERB BE IMPERATIVE MOOD PRESENT TENSE Familiar form: Sois sympathique! Be nice! Polite form: Soyez sympathique! Plural form: Soyez sympathiques! Inclusive form: Soyons sympathiques! Lets be nice! 3 oral forms : Sois, soyez, soyons. 2. THE VERB BE INDICATIVE MOOD PRESENT TENSE Je suis sympathique I am nice Tu es sympathique You are nice Il est sympathique He is nice Elle est sympathique She is nice On est sympathique People are nice

Nous sommes sympathiques We are nice Vous tes sympathiques You are nice Ils sont sympathiques They are nice Elles sont sympathiques They are nice Five oral forms and 6 different spellings : suis es, est (sounds like ) sommes tes sont Impersonal: Its stupid! - Cest stupide! It isnt nice! Ce nest pas sympathique! As you have probably noticed the adjective sympathique takes an s for the plural form. The s is mute though so orally there is only one form for the adjective. Adjectives agree in number (you add an s if the noun or pronoun it qualifies is plural). > Listen & repeat & translate in English orally both the question and the answer:

Vous tes Russes? Are you Russians? Non, nous sommes Belges. No, we are Belgians. Tu es Suisse? Are you Swiss? Non je suis Belge! No, Im Belgian! Il est journaliste? Is he a journalist? Non, il est architecte! No, he is an architect! Elle est secrtaire? Is she a secretary? Non, elle est architecte! No, she is an architect!

Note : In French we dont say : She is a secretary but: *she is _ secretary : Elle est secrtaire. MORE ON THE UNSTABLE E

The vowel e is said to be unstable because sometimes it pronounced and sometimes it isnt. If the syllable preceding it ends with a vowel sound it is not pronounced: Tu ne parles pas franais? You dont speak French? The e of ne is not pronounced In the word maintenant (now) the e is not pronounced because the syllable main ends with a vowel sound; similarly in the adverbial expression tout de suite (right away) the e of de is not pronounced because the word tout ends with a vowel sound (the t is mute) In the sequences: Tu ne, vous ne, nous ne, on ne, the e of ne is not pronounced. In Je ne the e of Je is pronounced but the e of ne is not pronounced. > Listen and repeat and translate orally in English. - Tu ne sors pas maintenant? Youre not going out now? - Non, je ne sors pas maintenant. No, Im not going out now. - Tu ne pars pas tout de suite? Youre not leaving right away? - Non, je ne pars pas tout de suite. No, Im not leaving right away. - Tu ne mens pas? Youre not lying? - Non, je ne mens pas! No, Im not lying! - Tu ne rponds pas tout de suite? Youre not answering right away? - Non, je ne rponds pas tout de suite. No, Im not answering right away. - Tu ne vends pas a maintenant? Dont you sell that now? - Non, je ne vends pas a maintenant. No, Im not selling that now . - Tu ne descends pas maintenant? Arent you getting off now? - Non, je ne descends pas maintenant. No, Im not getting off now. - Tu ne conduis pas? You dont drive? - Non, je ne conduis pas. No, I dont drive. - Tu ne traduis pas tout de suite? You dont translate right away?

- Non, je ne traduis pas tout de suite. No, I dont translate right away. - Vous ne sortez pas? Youre not going out? - Non, nous ne sortons pas maintenant. No,were not going out now. - Vous ne partez pas tout de suite? Youre not leaving right away? - Non, nous ne partons pas maintenant. No, were not leaving now. - Vous ne mentez pas? Youre not lying? - Non, nous ne mentons pas! No, were not lying! - Vous ne rpondez pas tout de suite? Youre not answering right away? - Non, nous ne rpondons pas tout de suite. No, were not answering right away. - Vous ne vendez pas a maintenant? Dont you sell that now? - Non, nous ne vendons pas a maintenant. No, were not selling that now . ON THE UNSTABLE E (cont'd) - Vous ne descendez pas maintenant? Arent you getting off now? - Non, nous ne descendons pas maintenant. No, were not getting off now. - Vous ne conduisez pas? You dont drive? - Non, nous ne conduisons pas. No, we dont drive. - Vous ne traduisez pas tout de suite? You dont translate right away? - Non, nous ne traduisons pas tout de suite. No, we dont translate right away. In the sequence: Je n it is customary not to pronounce the e of Je - Je nattends pas ici Im not waiting here - Je nentends pas bien I dont hear well - Je naime pas a I dont like that - Je narrive pas demain Im not arriving tomorrow

- Je nhabite pas ici. I dont live here. - Je ncoute pas bien I dont listen well In the sequence: Ce nest pas it is customary not to pronounce the e of Ce - Ce nest pas bien Its not good! (well) - Ce nest pas a! Thats not it! - Ce nest pas maintenant. Its not now! - Ce nest pas l. Its not there! - Ce nest pas beaucoup! Its not a lot! - Ce nest pas trop! Its not too much! - Ce nest pas mal! Its not bad! - Ce nest pas loin! Its not far! - Ce nest pas tout! Thats not all! - Ce nest pas sympa! Thats not nice! ASKING A QUESTION To ask a question in French the intonation is used as we have seen previously. (The last syllable is pronounced on a high pitch) In the previous exercise you did just that. - Tu aimes quoi? What do you like? - Tu arrives quand? When do you arrive? - Tu voyages comment? How do you travel? By what means of transportation? QUESTION and NEGATION If you are asked a negative question and the answer is yes or no, French makes another distinction that English doesnt make: - Tu parles franais? - Oui, je parle franais. - Non, je ne parle pas franais. Do you speak French? Yes I speak French; No, I dont speak French

- Tu ne parles pas franais? - Si, je parle franais. - Non, je ne parle pas franais. Dont you speak French? Yes, I speak French; No, I dont speak French > Listen to the following questions and answer them using 'si' - Tu ne parles pas anglais? - Si, je parle anglais! Dont you speak English? Yes, I speak English! - Tu nattends pas? - Si, jattends! Arent you waiting? Yes, Im waiting! - Tu ne rponds pas? - Si, je rponds! Dont you answer? Yes, I answer! - Tu narrives pas demain? - Si, jarrive demain! Arent you arriving tomorrow? Yes, Im arriving tomorrow! - Tu nentres pas? - Si, jentre! Arent you coming in? Yes, Im coming in! - Tu ne pars pas tout de suite? - Si, je pars tout de suite! Arent you leaving right away? Yes, Im leaving right away! - Tu ne sors pas maintenant? - Si, je sors maintenant! Arent you going out now? Yes, Im going out now! - Tu ne descends pas ici? - Si, je descends ici! Arent you getting off here? Yes, Im getting off here! - Tu nes pas Belge? - Si, je suis Belge! Arent you Belgian? Yes, I am Belgian! - Tu nes pas suisse? - Si, je suis suisse! Arent you Swiss? Yes, I am Swiss!

- Tu nhabites pas ici? - Si, jhabite ici! Dont you live here? Yes, I live here! - Tu naimes pas a? - Si, jaime a! Dont you like that? Yes, I like that! QUESTION WITH EST-CE QUE 'Est-ce que' means litterally Is it that; it is used to change an affirmation into a question without having to change the intonation: - Est-ce que tu parles franais? Do you speak French? - Est-ce quil est franais? Is he French? Note : The e of que is dropped if the next word starts with a vowel. > Change the following affirmation into questions using 'Est-ce que' : - Vous chantez bien. You sing well > Est-ce que vous chantez bien? Do you sing well? - Vous sortez souvent. You often go out > Est-ce que vous sortez souvent? Do you often go out? - Elle aime beaucoup a! She likes that a lot > Est-ce quelle aime beaucoup a? Does she like that a lot? - Ils rpondent mal! They answer wrongly > Est-ce quils rpondent mal? Do they answer wrongly? - Jcris beaucoup. I write a lot > Est-ce que jcris beaucoup? Do I write a lot? Cest maintenant ? Its now > Est-ce que cest maintenant? Is it now? - Cest trs loin. Its very far > Est-ce que cest trs loin? Is it very far? - Ce nest pas bien. Its not good (well) > Est-ce que ce nest pas bien? Isnt it good?

- Tu ne sors pas aujourdhui. Youre not going out today > Est-ce que tu ne sors pas aujourdhui? Arent you going out today? - Elle est secrtaire. She is (a) secretary > Est-ce quelle est secrtaire? Is she a secretary? - Il est architecte. He is (an) architect > Est-ce quil est architecte? Is he an architect? INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS and THE QUESTION WITH EST-CE QUE qui? - who? quoi? what? quand? when? o? where? comment? how? pourquoi? why? The interrogative pronoun is placed at the beginning, before Est-ce que The question words retain the high pitch. Listen. Note : the first sentence has a upward intonation (UI) while the second has a downward intonation (DI). Tu aimes qui? (UI) Qui est-ce que tu aimes? (DI) Who do you love? Tu arrives quand? (UI) Quand est-ce que tu arrives? (DI) When do you arrive? Tu travailles o? (UI) O est-ce que tu travailles? (DI) Where do you work? Tu voyages comment? (UI) Comment est-ce que tu voyages? (DI) How do you travel?

Note : There is a liaison between quand and est-ce que, but the letter d is pronounced like a t. However, there is no liaison between comment and est-ce que. Special cases : Pourquoi tu pars? (UI) Pourquoi est-ce que tu pars? (UI) Why are you leaving? Pourquoi is placed at the beginning even in the question using the intonation alone. The first syllable pour retains the high pitch. Tu manges quoi? (UI) Quest-ce que tu manges? (DI) What are you eating? Quoi is abbreviated to qu in front of Est-ce que. > Translate the following sentences into French. - What are you eating? Quest-ce que vous mangez? - Where are you working? O est-ce que vous travaillez? - What is it? Quest-ce que cest? - When is it? Quand est-ce que cest? - Why is she here? Pourquoi est-ce quelle est ici? - What is he writing? Quest-ce quil crit? What are you (fam) reading? Quest-ce que tu lis? - What are they (f) translating? Quest-ce quelles traduisent? - Who are they driving? Qui est-ce quils conduisent? - Why is he there? Pourquoi est-ce quil est l? TYPE I VERBS WITH A CHANGE OF STEM A vowel change in the stem of a verb is a phenomenon that occurs both in English and French. Sometimes there is a change in the spelling: I see - I saw. Sometimes there isnt: I read - I read (past tense)

In French a vowel change in the stem occurs when the ending is mute: Stop! Arrtez! (fam) Arrte! There is no change in the spelling for this verb but in the familiar form the vowel is open (as in ) but in the polite form arrtez is pronounced as if it was spelt . In the verb Rptez (Repeat) there is a vowel change in the spelling as well: Rptez (fam) Rpte We still have 3 oral forms (Familiar, Polite and Inclusive) but the is changed to when the endings are mute. Therefore we have: Je rpte I repeat; Im repeating Tu rptes you repeat Il, elle rpte he/she repeats Ils, elles rptent they repeat The endings e, -es, ent are silent For nous & vous the endings are not mute, therefore there is no vowel change in the stem: Nous rptons We repeat Vous rptez You repeat TYPE I VERBS with a spell change: Compltez! Complte! ( becomes ) Complete! Achetez! Achte! (e becomes ) Buy! Appelez! Appelle! (the letter l is doubled) Call! > Translate into French. - Dont buy that! (fam) - Nachte pas a! - Call me! (fam) - Appelle-moi! - Repeat that! (fam) - Rpte a!

- Im calling now! - Jappelle maintenant! - Complete everything! (fam) - Complte tout! REFLEXIVE VERBS A reflexive (or pronominal) verb expresses an action done to oneself : He killed himself, I wash myself etc.. In French the reflexive pronouns are placed before the verb and not after like in English: For instance if we use the TYPE I verb lavez (wash) we can use it reflexively thus: Je me lave : I (myself) wash I wash myself Tu te laves You wash yourself Il, elle se lave He, She washes himself/herself Ils, elles se lavent They wash themselves Nous nous lavons We wash ourselves Vous vous lavez You wash yourself In the sequences Je me & tu te the unstable e of me & te is not pronounced Attention : For the imperative we will use tonic pronouns (me, you, us) : Lave-toi! Wash yourself! Lavez-vous! Wash yourself! Lavons-nous! Lets wash ourselves! If the verb starts with a vowel the e of the reflexive pronouns me, te, se is removed: Je mhabille I get dressed

Tu thabilles you get dressed Il / elle shabille he/she gets dressed Ils / elles shabillent they get dressed Nous nous habillons we get dressed Vous vous habillez you get dressed Habille-toi! Get dressed! Habillez-vous! Get dressed! Habillons-nous! Lets get dressed! In French we dont say my name is but rather : I call myself. Je mappelle Olivier Nous nous appelons Tu tappelles Vous vous appelez Il, elle sappelle Ils, elles, sappellent Vous vous appelez comment ? Whats your name? Comment est-ce que vous vous appelez? How do you call yourself?