45 Days of French – Day 3

Hmmm. It’s been a hard day to find reasonable study time. So its rather late as I begin recording my thoughts from the day’s efforts. Today was spent looking at Chapter 2 of Essential French (EF). There is a lot more content here than in the last chapter.

Chapter 2 is all about introductions, or présentations. The conversation illustrates the use of verbs to describe ongoing activity, as well as description. Immediately after the conversation, the text offers specific treatment of the French equivalent of “I am…” and “You are…”, which were used during the conversation. I’ll wait to give detail about these forms, as before the chapter’s end it is more systematic in treatment.

This then flowed easily into working with adjectives. Adjectives “agree” with the articles and/or nouns they are paired with, or compared to. Masculine nouns take a masculine form of any adjectives attached, and feminine nouns the feminine form, which is often the masculine form suffixed with an -e. And nationality (nationalité) was a great way to put all this into practice. The following examples are presented in the text and the vocabulary listing for the chapter:

Nationalité masculine form feminine form language (une langue)
American américain américaine l’anglais
Belgian belge belge
Canadian canadien canadienne
English anglais anglaise l’anglais
French français française le français
German allemand allemande guessing l’allemand
Italian italien italienne l’italien
Japanese japonais japonaise le japonais
Russian russe russe le russe
Spanish espagnol espagnole guessing l’espagnol
Swiss suisse suisse

Note that the French words for Belgian, Russian and Swiss do not change from masculine to feminine. The text also uses the adjectives petit/petite “small” and grand/grande “big” to show how agreement works. By this point, these two adjectives are firmly implanted in my memory.

Then the chapter quickly moves onto verbs. No general rules are presented; no verb families, no endings, just the present conjugation for a few verbs that relate to présentations and which were used in the conversation at the head of the chapter.

Three phrases are offered in the text that prove my previous thoughts wrong. On Day 1 I suggested that the book seemed unwilling to use linguistic terminology. This is not exactly true in this chapter. The author offers the French for many of the linguistic terms as they are needed: 1) verb: un verbe or verbes, plural, 2) infinitive: un infinitif, and 3) conjugation: une conjugaison. Color me sufficiently impressed and pleased.

Before getting to the verbes they present the subject pronouns: je “I” (1st person singular), tu “you” (familiar 2nd person singular), il/elle “he/it” and “she/it” (3rd person singular, masculine and feminine), nous “we” (1st person plural), vous “you” (polite 2nd person singular or any 2nd person plural), and ils/elles “they” (3rd person plural, masculine and feminine). Obviously, “you” will present some difficulty for English speakers, since there are two forms, and the one they will likely be required to use initially – vous – takes agreement in the plural, even with singular subjects.

In any case, here are the conjugated forms of some key verbs used in introductions:

un verbe: in the infinitive
“to be”
“to come”
“to work”
“to study”
je suis je viens je travaille j’étudie
tu es tu viens tu travailles tu étudies
il/elle est il/elle vient il/elle travaille il/elle étudie
nous sommes nous venons nous travaillons nous étudions
vous êtes vous venez vous travaillez vous étudiez
ils/elles sont ils/elles viennent ils/elles travaillent ils/elles étudient

And with that I am done for the evening.


About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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2 Responses to 45 Days of French – Day 3

  1. Pingback: 45 Days of French – Day 4 | σφόδρα – exceedingly

  2. Pingback: 45 Days of French | σφόδρα – exceedingly

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