Learning French in Paris, Leçon 1 – 5

La Seine

Conjugations are the changes we make to verbs to give additional meaning for person, number, tense, voice, mood, etc… In the table below there are the conjugations of the French word habiter and it’s English counterparts.

FrenchEnglish
J’habite
I live
Tu habitesYou live
Il/Elle/on habiteHe/She lives
Nous habitonsWe live
Vous habitezYou live
Ils/Elles habitentThey live

In French, the important thing to remember is the endings. They are replicated across the verbs of the first group (ones that end in -er such as habiter). For instance, if we took the word parler (speak) then we would have.

FrenchEndingPhonetic
Je parle
-epaʀl
Tu parles-espaʀl
Il/Elle/on parle-epaʀl
Nous parlons-onspaʀ.lɔ̃
Vous parlez-ezpaʀ.le
Ils/Elles parlent-entpaʀl

Although this makes it relatively easy to read what is going on there are a couple of points to remember. When speaking they all sound the same except for the -ons and -ez. In the case of parle, when speaking it would sound more like parle, parle, parle, parlons, parlez, parle.

The other thing to remember is that if there are any men in the group then the group is masculine (neuter). So if five women are speaking it would be ‘elles parlent’ but if five woman and one man are speaking it is ‘ils parlent’.

Introducing people

And informal way of introducing someone would be something like,

This is …English
Voici <insert name>.This is <insert name>

But a more formal way would be,

I present …English
Je vous présente <insert name>.I present to you <insert name>.

So, for instance, you might introduce someone or another of your friends in a conversation that goes along the lines of,

Person SpeakingFrenchEnglish
Tim
Bonsoir MaxGood evening, Max.
MaxBonsoir Tim. Ça va?Good evening, Tim. You are well?
TimOiu. Ça va?Yes. And you?
MaxBien, merci. Je vous présente ma femme. Elle s’appelle Jane.
I am well thank you. This is my wife. Her name is Jane.
TimEnchantée.Delighted to meet you.

The sounds [y], [u] and [wa]

It is important to be able to differentiate between the different sounds in French. Some of which are not commonly used in English. The table below has three groups of sounds. The first column all have the sound [y] in them, the second [u] and the third [wa].

[y][u][wa]
tubonjourmoi
bienvenuevousbonsoir
julieoutoi
dujardin

These notes are from Interactions 1 Méthode de Française A1.1 and where copyrighted work is used it is done so under the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994.

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