Dialogue - French

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Vocabulary

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bonjour hello
salut hi, bye (informal)
je / j' I
tu you (informal)
s'appeler to be called
être to be
non no
français(e) French
italienne Italian

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of This Lesson Is on How to Ask and Tell Your Name.
Je suis Rob. Tu t'appelles... ?
"I'm Rob. Your name is...?"


Enchanté(e) ! "Nice to meet you!" You've surely heard this well-known phrase, which is usually what you hear after you tell someone your name. Sharing your name and getting another person's name are two of the first steps in engaging conversation and a relationship.

So how do you tell someone your name in French? Simply use the specific verb s'appeler to indicate your identity!

Telling Your Name With the Verb s'appeler


The verb s'appeler means literally "to be named." It's part of the first verb group, as its infinitive form (verb not conjugated) ends with the letters -er, similar to the verbs regarder, which means, "to look," and rêver, which means, "to dream."

Another particularity of the verb s'appeler is that the first particle is composed of the letter -s followed by an apostrophe. This particle has the function of reflecting the information provided to the subject. Does it seem a bit complicated? Well, let's take a look at an illustration of it with an example.

In the dialogue, Giulia says Je m'appelle Giulia. ("My name is Giulia.")

Here, the subject of the verb s'appeler is je, which refers to the Italian student. The particle m' in the phrase Je m'appelle tells us that je owns the first name Giulia; therefore, our female speaker Giulia is the Italian student.

For each person (first, second, or third of the singular or plural form), the reflexive particle s' of the infinitive verb s'appeler changes as follows:

Singular Form

French

"English Translation"

Je m'appelle

"My name is"; "I'm + name"

Tu t'appelles

"Your name is"; "You are + name"

Il s'appelle

"His name is"; "He is + name"

Elle s'appelle

"Her name is"; "She is + name"

Plural Form

Nous nous appelons

"Our names are"; "We are + names"

Vous vous appelez

"Your names are"; "You are + names"

Ils s'appellent

"Their names are"; "They are + names"

Elles s'appellent

"Their names are"; "They are + names"

Dialogue Focus:


Other possible solutions to tell someone your name include using a form of the verb être meaning, "to be." You'd say:

Je suis followed by your first name or full name, as in Je suis Antoine. ("I'm Antoine.")

or

Moi c'est followedby the first name, as in Moi c'est Marie, which literally means "Me, it's Mary,"or more commonly, "I'm Mary."

To tell someone the name of your interlocutor informally, you'd say Tu es followed by the name of the person you are talking to.

For Example:

  1. Informal:
    Tu es Luc.
    "You are Luc."
  2. Formal:
    Vous êtesAntoine et Luc.
    "You are Antoine and Luc."
  3. Vous êtes Monsieur Cardin.
    "You are M.Cardin."

Asking About Names With s'appeler


To ask for a person's name directly, use the verb s'appeler rather than the verb être. It is simply more specific and cannot be misinterpreted as making some kind of accusation as could be the case if someone asks you "Who are you?"

In the dialogue, the question asks about the speaker's name using Tu t'appelles ...? This yes-no question (referred to as a "closed question" or question fermée in French) could be completed as Tu t'appelles comment ?, meaning "What is your name?" It could also be completed as follow Tu t'appelles Julie ? or any other name you had guessed to verify your interlocutor's identity.

To ask for names, use comment (literally "how")in conjunction with the verb s'appeler,as in:

Informal situation

French

"English Translation"

Comment tu t'appelles ?

"What is your name?"

Tu t'appelles comment ?

"What is your name?"

Formal Situation

French

"English Translation"

Comment vous vous appelez ?

"What is your name?"

Vous vous appelez comment ?

"What is your name?"

Dialogue Focus: Ask and Tell Your Nationality With être, "To Be"


If you want to ask or tell about someone's origin, use the verb être, which means, "to be." The phrase word order is identical in either case. Observe in the dialogue the two phrases:

1 - Tu es française ? (Rob)
"Are you French?"

2 - Non, je suis italienne. (Giulia)
"No, I'm Italian."

In both cases, the subject comes first; followed by the conjugated verb être and the adjective of nationality (see below for some examples). Therefore, you can hear or read the following:

Function

French

"English Translation"

Tell your origin

Je suis + adjective de nationalité

"I'm + adjective of nationality"

Tell your interlocutor's origin informally

Tu es + adjective de nationalité

"You are + adjective of nationality"

Tell your interlocutor's nationality formally

Vous* êtes + adjective de nationalité

"You are + adjective of nationality"

Orally, the only difference is the intonation. When asking the question, the intonation rises. To tell the origin, the intonation falls.

A Few Nationalities:

Masculine/Feminine Nationalities in French-English

French

"English Translation"

allemand/allemande

"German"

anglais/anglaise

"English"

américain/américaine

"American"

argentin/argentine

"Argentinian"

autrichien/ autrichienne

"Austrian"

belge/belge

"Belgian"

brésilien/brésilienne

"Brazilian"

chinois/chinoise

"Chinese"

espagnol/espagnole

"Spanish"

portugais/portugaise

"Portuguese"

russe/russe

"Russian"

suisse/suise

"Swiss"

For Example:

Context 1: Two people meet through a friend:

French

"English Translation"

Tu es belge ?

"Are you Belgian?"

Non, je suis américaine.

"No, I'm American."

Context 2: A father asks his son's girlfriend and future daughter-in-law:

French

"English Translation"

Vous êtes espagnole?

"Are you Spanish?"

Oui, je suis espagnole.

"Yes, I'm Spanish."

Context 3: On the 14th of July on the Champs Elysée:

French

"English Translation"

Je suis anglaise. Tu es allemand?

"I'm English. Are you German?"

Non, je suis hollandais.

"No, I'm Dutch."

*NOTE: The pronoun vous can refer formally to one person or several ones as in Madame Schwartz, vous êtes allemande. ("Mrs. Schwartz, you are German.") Or Anne et Marie, vous êtes suisses. ("Ann and Mary, you are Swiss.")

Dialogue Expansion: Ask About the Origin


To ask about someone's origin, you can also ask the wh- question ("Where are you from?), or in French, une question ouverte:

Question with the verb venir, "to come":

Informal:

French

"English Translation"

D'où viens-tu ?

"Where are you from?"

Tu viens d'où ?

"Where are you from?"

Formal:

French

"English Translation"

D'où venez-vous ?

"Where are you from?"

Vous venez d'où ?

"Where are you from?"

Note: You can ask this question either to learn the person's city of birth or the place where a person began a trip.

For Example:

At the customs counter:

French

"English Translation"

D'où venez-vous ?

"Where are you from?"

Je viens de Paris.

"I come from Paris."

On a first date:

French

"English Translation"

D'où venez-vous ?

"Where are you from?"

Je suis de Toulon.

"I'm from Toulon."

Question with être:

French

"English Translation"

D'où es-tu ?  

"Where are you from?"

Tu es d'où?

"Where are you from?"

For Example:

French

"English Translation"

Tu es d'où?

"Where are you from?"

Je suis de la région parisienne.

"I'm from the Parisian region."

Cultural Insights

Don't Let Initial Greetings in French Be Awkward...


Using vous or tu? Kissing or not kissing? Those are the questions when you meet a French native for the first time.

Fixed rules don't exist in this scenario! You will have to feel out the situation! However, some general guidelines will help you to decide what to do. Obviously, the context of the situation you are in will dictate your behavior and that of others.

In general, if you are among friends or in a relaxed situation, choose to use the informal you, the famous tu. If you are shy and timid, observe what is going on around you and imitate others.

Kissing is usually done among people you know or friends of friends. The process is simple: extend your cheek to the other person and make contact while making a kissing noise. Your lips should not be in contact with the other person's cheek. The usual number of kisses is two but may vary up to four, according to the region. No worries there-even the French natives have issues with the number of kisses to give. So simply ask or let the other person guide you. After all, you can always sincerely apologize!

If you want to show respect or you are in a more formal situation as in a business meeting or interacting with the elderly, just shake hands and use the formal you, vous. If you are unsure of what to do, wait for the person in front of you to initiate the contact. He or she might be un bon vivant, a person who likes to live the good life and set a more relaxed atmosphere by asking you to use tu after a few times and giving you a tap on the shoulder.

To be safe in any situation, smile, shake hands, and use vous until you are told otherwise. At least that way you won't run into trouble. On this note, I'll send you a kiss on the cheek while making a lip-smacking noise!

Grammar

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Below is a list of the grammar points introduced or used in this lesson. Click for a full explanation.

être 1
To Be: Newbie
Used
être 2
To Be: Newbie
Used
être 3
To Be: Beginner
Used

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Virginie: Bonjour tout le monde! Hello everyone!
Eric: Eric here!
Virginie: Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 1, Bistrot Français: Easy Self-Introductions in French.
Eric: Hello, and welcome to the FrenchPod101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn French!
Virginie: Hi, I'm Virginie, and thanks again for being here with us for this Absolute Beginner, Season 1 lesson.
Eric: In this lesson, you will learn how to ask someone's name and tell your own name.
Virginie: And you will soon listen to a conversation. Where does it take place, Eric?
Eric: It takes place in a classroom at the Sorbonne.
Virginie: Oh, at the Sorbonne,. Well, this will involve students I bet.
Eric: Right. The conversation is between Rob and Giulia, two students.
Virginie: Yeah, Rob, freshly arrived from the U.S. to study in France for a semester.
Eric: It's the first day of school, and Rob sits by Giulia, an Italian student.
Virginie: The speakers are young and soon to be friends, therefore they will be speaking informally.
Eric: Now, before we listen to the conversation.
Virginie: We want to ask...
Eric: Do you read the lesson notes, while you listen?
Virginie: We received an email about this study tip.
Eric: So we're wondering if you've tried it, and if so,
Virginie: What do you think of it?
Eric: You can leave us feedback in the comment section of this lesson. Okay, let's listen to this conversation.

Lesson conversation

Rob : Bonjour.
Giulia : Salut !
Rob : Je suis Rob. Tu t'appelles ...?
Giulia : Je m'appelle Giulia.
Rob : Tu es française ?
Giulia : Non, je suis italienne.
Eric: One more time with the translation.
Rob : Bonjour.
Rob: Hello.
Giulia : Salut !
Giulia: Hi!
Rob : Je suis Rob. Tu t'appelles ...?
Rob: I'm Rob. Your name is...?
Giulia : Je m'appelle Giulia.
Giulia: My name is Giulia.
Rob : Tu es française ?
Rob: Are you French?
Giulia : Non, je suis italienne.
Giulia: No, I'm Italian.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Virginie: So Rob and Giulia in our dialog meet for the first time.
Eric: Right, and since they are both young -- they're college students -- they use the informal you.
Virginie: Which in French is "tu".
Eric: And that's spelled T-U. So what are the contexts for using tu are there in French?
Virginie: In general if you are among friends and family.
Eric: And to say hello, French people also tend to kiss, right?
Virginie: Yes, for example our two characters Rob and Giulia, next time they meet, they will kiss.
Eric: That's sort of a hello kiss. It's usually one kiss on each cheek.
Virginie: Yeah, and you don't need to be very good friends to do that.
Eric: So in what context can we give someone a kiss?
Virginie: Well, you give a kiss each time you meet a friend, and also the first time you meet a friend of a friend.
Eric: And you will give a kiss to say bye too?
Virginie: Absolutely.
Eric: What if I don't feel comfortable kissing someone I don't know?
Virginie: Well, you can always offer your hand to shake, but the person in front of you might just say "hey, let's kiss".
Eric: Wow, a little pushy. If I recall well, men usually don't kiss other men though?
Virginie: No, they only give hello kisses to women, and among men, they just shake hands.
Eric: Okay, we'll talk about French greeting habits more in our lessons to come.
VOCAB LIST
Virginie: So what's next Eric?
Eric: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Virginie: Bonjour [natural native speed].
Eric: Hello.
Virginie: Bonjour [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Bonjour [natural native speed].
Eric: bonjour The next one.
Virginie: Salut [natural native speed].
Eric: Hi or bye (informal)
Virginie: Salut [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Salut [natural native speed].
Eric: And next.
Virginie: Je / j' [natural native speed].
Eric: I.
Virginie: Je / j' [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Je / j' [natural native speed].
Eric: And next.
Virginie: Tu [natural native speed].
Eric: You (informal)
Virginie: Tu [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Tu [natural native speed].
Eric: So what do we have next, Virginie?
Virginie: S'appeler [natural native speed].
Eric: To be called.
Virginie: S'appeler [slowly - broken down by syllable]. S'appeler [natural native speed].
Eric: And next.
Virginie: être [natural native speed].
Eric: To be.
Virginie: être [slowly - broken down by syllable]. être [natural native speed].
Eric: être The next one.
Virginie: Non [natural native speed].
Eric: No.
Virginie: Non [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Non [natural native speed]
Eric: Okay, next.
Virginie: Français(e) [natural native speed].
Eric: French.
Virginie: Français(e) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Français(e) [natural native speed].
Eric: And finally.
Virginie: Italienne [natural native speed].
Eric: Italian (female).
Virginie: Italienne [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Italienne [natural native speed].
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Eric: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Virginie: The first word we're going to look at is.
Eric: Bonjour, B-O-N-J-O-U-R. And that's "hello".
Virginie: Yes, bonjour is said anytime during daytime.
Eric: So, how would we say hello at night?
Virginie: You need to say "Bonsoir".
Eric: Bonsoir, B-O-N-S-O-I-R. Does it matter if I mix them up?
Virginie: Not really, people will understand that you're saying hello.
Eric: Now in our dialog, Giulia says salut to say hello to Rob.
Virginie: Yeah, and that's spelled S-A-L-U-T. "Salut" is casual.
Eric: So that's used among friends?
Virginie: Yes, among friends, relatives, and friends of your friends, and young people.
Eric: And you can say salut to say goodbye too?
Virginie: Yes, like, I'm leaving now, salut!
Eric: Now at the end of the dialog, Giulia says: "Je suis Italienne".
Virginie: Which is "I am Italian".
Eric: So to say your nationality, you just need to say "I am", "je suis" and then just add on your nationality.
Virginie: Yes, while we're at it, let's take a look at some French.
Eric: Well, why don't we start with American?
Virginie: Of course.
Eric: How would I say that?
Virginie: Americain, Americain.
Eric: And that's the masculine version, right? But, would it be different for women?
Virginie: Yes, absolutely. French language has genders.
Eric: Right, masculine and feminine.
Virginie: Yes, just two genders. And French adjectives agree to the gender. And nationalities are adjectives.
Eric: So if that's neat, you were going to say you're American, how would you say it?
Virginie: I would say, "Je suis Americaine".
Eric: Repeat the male version one more time.
Virginie: "Americain", this is male. "Americaine", this is female.
Eric: Can you hear the difference? Let's try one other nationality and see if we can hear the difference.
Virginie: Sure.
Eric: Chinese.
Virginie: Okay, Chinese for men is "Chinois". Why don't you say, "I am Chinese", Eric?
Eric: "Je suis Chinois".
Virginie: And for female, it will be "Chinoise". To say, "I am Chinese", I would say, "Je suis Chinoise".
Eric: So if it's "Chinois" or.
Virginie: "Chinoise".
Eric: And then finally, what about French in French?
Virginie: Oh, that's important, right?
Eric: That is.
Virginie: Why don't we start with the male?
Eric: "Je suis Français".
Virginie: And for me, it would be, "Je suis Française".
Eric: And don't forget the cedille when you write that down.
Virginie: Yes, you know, the cedille is the little hook underneath the letter c. Well, you can check the lessons notes to figure that out.
Eric: And that makes your c sound like s.
Virginie: Exactly. I think that's enough vocabulary for now.

Lesson focus

Eric: Well, the focus of this lesson is on how to ask and tell your name.
Virginie: In the dialog, Rob says, "Je suis Rob".
Eric: And that means "I am Rob".
Virginie: Then he asks Giulia, "Tu t'appelles?".
Eric: He's asking "Your name is?". You've got to watch your intonation here. You literally are saying, "you call yourself?"
Virginie: To which Giulia answers, "Je m'appelle Giulia".
Eric: My name is Giulia, or literally, "I call myself Giulia".
Virginie: Let's focus on "je m'appelle" and "tu t'appelles" for today.
Eric: Okay. And what verb is this, Virginie?
Virginie: It's the verb "s'appeler".
Eric: S apostrophe A-P-P-E-L-E-R. Note the s apostrophe is in the infinitive.
Virginie: Now in order to say my name, I will say, using the verb "s'appeler" - "Je m'appelle".
Eric: And "je" is "I".
Virginie: And see how the s apostrophe of the infinitive became a "m" apostrophe, "m'appelle".
Eric: The m apostrophe stands for "myself" - "I call myself".
Virginie: So "je", "I", "m" apostrophe -"myself", and "appelle" - "call". "Je m'appelle."
Eric: So these are reflexive verbs. The verb is following and changing based on the subject.
Virginie: Exactly.
Eric: So see how the "m" relates to the subject "je", but it won't be the same for "tu". The verb changes slightly for the subject. So if it's a you, we will say.
Virginie: "Tu t'appelles..." - "Your name is..."
Eric: "Tu t'appelles..". So now you have in your French bank my name is, your name is. What about his or her name is?
Virginie: "His name is" is "Il s'appelle". And "her name is" is "elle s'appelle".
Eric: "Il" is I-L, is "he". And you’re doing the "s" apostrophe, "Il s'appelle".
Virginie: Yeah, and "elle", she, is spelled E-L-L-E, "elle s'appelle".
Eric: Okay, so for a quick recap, I would say, "je m'appelle Eric".
Virginie: Tu t'appelles Eric.
Eric: Il s'appelle Rob.
Virginie: Elle s'appelle Giulia.
Eric: So now how do we ask someone's name, Virginie?
Virginie: Well, Rob in the dialog said, "Tu t'appelles?"
Eric: Listen to how Virginie's intonation goes up at the end of the question.
Virginie: Yes, and that means, "you call yourself"?
Eric: You can also add the word comment at the beginning or at the end of your question.
Virginie: And that would be, "comment tu t'appelles?" Or "Tu t'appelles comment?"
Eric: And literally, comment means how.
Virginie: Right.
Eric: Again, today we focused on the informal way of asking and saying your name.
Virginie: But for those who are curious about the formal way, don't worry, we'll cover it later on in another lesson.
Eric: Okay, great. Well that just about does it for today.

Outro

Virginie: Are you ready to test what you just learned?
Eric: Make this lesson's vocabulary stick by using lesson-specific flashcards in the learning center.
Virginie: There is a reason everyone uses flashcards.
Eric: They work.
Virginie: They really do help memorization.
Eric: You can get the flashcards for this lesson at.
Virginie: FrenchPod101.com.
Eric: Au revoir!
Virginie: Au revoir!