45 Days of French – Day 11

So to continue with the movies starring France, though that was not originally my intention, I pulled out Forget Paris, with Billy Crystal. It should provide a nice  background as I review my notes from Hour 4 of Alpha Teach Yourself French in 24 Hours (ATYF). Definitely a unique movie for the way it puts a story together.

But I digress.

Hour 4 begins with a couple paragraphs introducing the idea of dealing with irregular verbs. Then…well, no verbs. But a lot of numbers. And addresses. And phone numbers.

Beyond 69
The numbers beyond 69 don’t follow the typical pattern seen thus far. See for yourself:

  • 70, soixante-dix
  • 71, soixante-onze
  • 72, soixante-douze
  • 80, quatre-vingts
  • 81, quatre-vingt-un
  • 82, quatre-vingt-deux
  • 90, quatre-vingt-dix
  • 91, quatre-vingt-onze
  • 92, quatre-vingt-douze
  • 99, quatre-vingt-dix-neuf
  • 100, cent
  • 200, deux cent
  • 300, trois cent
  • 400, quatre cent
  • 500, cinq cent
  • 600, six cent
  • 700, sept cent
  • 800, huit cent
  • 900, neuf cent
  • 1000, mille
  • 2000, deux mille
  • 5000, cinq mille

In Belgium and parts of French-speaking Switzerland, 70 is septante, 80 is octante, and 90 nonante; simpler, me thinks. Note that the -t of cent is silent in the compounds 101, 108 and 111, but otherwise, liaison is the norm. Also, ATYF notes that the -s in quatre-vingts is dropped when it is used in an ordinal. But that only brings up more questions for me, since I thought ordinal numbers were formed by adding the suffix -ième. But the book’s example show’s what looks more like a cardinal number (sans the -s) used like an adjective in agreement with a noun. Confused…

Also worth noting is that mille does not change form in the plural.

A franc is worth 100 centimes. Prices will often be written similar to 3F50, and would be read trois francs cinquante. To say that something is so many frances per size/quantity, us the definite article with the size or quantity counter, as in 30 francs le kilo “30 francs per kilo.”

A lot of the discussion here surrounds the specifics of Paris. Paris is divided among a number of arrondissements. The U.S. embassy is apparently in the First Arrondissement.

When writing or saying the street number, it is separated from the street with a comma (or a pause, when speaking). The postal code comes before the city name, contrary to the usual pattern in the United States. And unlike English where there seems to be an infinite number of street types, there are only four in French – boulevard (bvd), rue (r), place (pl), and avenue (av).

Phone Numbers
ATYF covers the basics of phone numbers, focusing on what might be expected in France, and especially Paris. We’ll just put here that to say a phone number, you break it up into two digit sections (in France the full number is ten digits, not counting an international code or city code). A number like would be relayed as zéro un, zéro trois, quarante-cinq, seize, quatre-vingt-onze. Note the use of zéro, not “o”, as is common in English.

ATYF suggests the reader take a look at www.pagesjaunes.tm.fr, an online phonebook. Check it out. I think it has changed significantly since the book was published, though, based on the book’s descriptions and my short review of the site.

Irregular Verbs
About time, n’est-ce pas? So why don’t we just dive in:

Infinitive Ending 1ps 2ps 3ps 1pp 2pp 3pp
“to go”
vais vas va allons allez vont
  • conjugated and combined with an infinitive, aller forms le future proche, “the near future”: “I am going to do ____.”
    • Je vais manger. I am going to eat.
  • Should always be followed by  à, par, en or an infinitive. It does not stand alone as in English “I am leaving.” In order to say that, one of the following should be used:
    • partir: Je vais partir.
    • s’en aller: Je m’en vais.
“to drink”
bois bois boit buvons buvez buvent
  • note stem change from boi- to buv-
  • can be used both literally (to drink a drink) or figuratively (to drink in ideas, words, etc.)
  • when no stated “substance” is provided, boire usually means “to drink alcohol”
  • refers to the actual “drinking”. When instead stating what one is “having” to drink, use prendre.
“to know”
connais connais connaît connaissons connaissez connaissent
  • note î in infinitive and third person singular
  • used of knowing people, places, things through experience. Contrast this with savoir later in this list, which is used of knowing facts and how to do something.
“to believe”
crois crois croit croyons croyez croient
  • Can mean to believe, to think, to believe in… similar to English in range of meaning.
  • croire à is used for “to believe in _____.” However, “to believe in God” is croire en Dieu.
“to say”
dis dis dit disons dites disent
“to write”
écris écris écrit écrivons écrivez écrivent
  • note stem change from écri- to écriv- from singular to plural
  • when referring to what one is writing, a noun with article will suffice.
  • who is being written to is identified by the use of à
“to do”
fais fais fait faisons faites font
  • Requires completion. Cannot just say Je fais, must say Je fais ____. This usually means adding an imperative or noun phrase. Even when answering a question, must either answer oui or non, or a full expression, not just, “I do.”
“to read”
lis lis lit lisons lisez lisent
“to be able”
peux peux peut pouvons pouvez peuvent
  • pouvoir is not used with verbs of “sensing”, such as entendre or vois, unless the intention is to explicitly state physical [in]capability to hear or see, for example.
    • In order to say something like “I can hear”, simply use the present tense.
“to know”
sais sais sait savons savez savent
  • note stem change from sai- to sav- from singular to plural
  • used with infinitive: “to know how to do ____.”
“to live”
vis vis vit vivons vivez vivent
  • note stem change from vi- to viv- from singular to plural
  • Can mean “to be alive” or “to live (somewhere)”
“to see”
vois vois voit voyons voyez voient
“to want”
veux veux veut voulons voulez veulent
  • vouloir with an infinitive means “to want to do ______.”
  • the polite form is je voudrais ____, “I would like…”
“to sleep”
dors dors dort dormons dormez dorment
“to depart”
pars pars part partons partez partent
“to go out”
sors sors sort sortons sortez sortent
“to lie”
mens mens ment mentons mentez mentent
“to feel/smell”
sens sens sent sentons sentez sentent
“to serve”
sers sers sert servons servez servent

About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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3 Responses to 45 Days of French – Day 11

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

  2. Pingback: 45 Days of French – Day 23 | σφόδρα – exceedingly

  3. Pingback: 45 Days of French – Day 25 | σφόδρα – exceedingly

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