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Lesson Transcript

Eric:Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 11 - Using Descriptions to Play "I Spy" in French.
Virginie: Welcome to the FrenchPOD101.com, where we study modern French in a fun, educational format.
Eric: So brush up on the French you started learning long ago or start learning today.
Virginie: Thanks for being here with us for this lesson. So what are we looking at in this lesson?
Eric: Well, Rob is at that wine tasting with Cathy. She asked him about his home.
Virginie: Oh, yes. Shall we listen to the conversation?
Eric: Let's do it.

Lesson conversation

Cathy : Donc, tu viens d’où, Rob ?
Rob : Je viens de Chicago.
Cathy : Qu’est-ce qu’il y a à Chicago ?
Rob : Il y a … des immeubles !!!
Cathy : Il y a aussi les fameux hot dogs !
Rob : Oui ! Les fameux hot dogs et les fameux bandits !
Cathy : Al Capone…Ah, l’Amérique…
Eric: One more time with the translation.
Cathy: Donc, tu viens d’où, Rob?
Virginie: So, where do you come from, Rob?
Rob: Je viens de Chicago.
Eric: I come from Chicago.
Cathy: Qu’est-ce qu’il y a à Chicago?
Virginie: What’s in Chicago?
Rob: Il y a … des immeubles!!!
Eric: There are… buildings!
Cathy: Il y a aussi les fameux hot dogs!
Virginie: There are the much talked about hot dogs too!
Rob: Oui! Les fameux hot dogs et les fameux bandits!
Eric: Yes! The much talked about hot dogs and the much talked about gangsters too!
Cathy: Al Capone…Ah, l’Amérique…
Virginie: Al Capone…Oh, America!
Eric: I love how French people say Hot dogs.
Virginie: Yes. You know, if you translated it literally it would be chien chaud
Eric: I've heard that they say that in Quebec actually, they say chien chaud.
Virginie: That's true, that's Quebec French.
Eric: So Rob is from Chicago.
Virginie: Yes, it always sounds very dangerous to French ears, Chicago.
Eric: Really? Do you guys associate it with gangsters?
Virginie: Yes, exactly.
Eric: I guess it conjures up with the 1920 Chicago.
Virginie: Yes, the prohibition, the gangster, the mafia.
Eric: Interesting, okay. But French has its own gangsters too, right.
Virginie: Yes, we have our own gangster. For example in the 60s and 70s there was that one man called Jacques Mesrine.
Eric: Jacques Mesrine?
Virginie: Yes he was French Public Ennemy #1.
Eric: Was he a murderer?
Virginie: No, he was more of a professional robber. He robbed banks.
Eric: If you want to hear a little bit more about him, you can go to our lesson notes.
Virginie: Yes there is a good summary of who he was in the cultural insight.
Eric: But for now, let's take a closer look at the vocabulary.
Virginie: Okay First, Qu'est-ce que / qu'est-ce qu' [natural native speed]
Eric: What.
Virginie: Qu'est-ce que / qu'est-ce qu' [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Qu'est-ce que / qu'est-ce qu' [natural native speed]
Eric: Next.
Virginie: Il y a [natural native speed]
Eric: There is, there are and also ago.
Virginie: Il y a [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Il y a [natural native speed]
Eric: And then.
Virginie: à + city [natural native speed]
Eric: At, in.
Virginie: à + city [slowly - broken down by syllable]. à + city [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have
Virginie: Un immeuble [natural native speed]
Eric: Building.
Virginie: Un immeuble [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Un immeuble [natural native speed]
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Fameux [natural native speed]
Eric: Illustrious or well-known.
Virginie: Fameux [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Fameux [natural native speed]
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Un hot-dog [natural native speed]
Eric: A hot dog.
Virginie: Un hot-dog [slowly - broken down by syllable], Un hot-dog [natural native speed]. Un bandit [natural native speed]
Eric: A gangster.
Virginie: Un bandit [slowly - broken down by syllable]. Un bandit [natural native speed]
Eric: And finally.
Virginie: L'Amérique [natural native speed]
Eric: America.
Virginie: L'Amérique [slowly - broken down by syllable], L'Amérique [natural native speed]
Eric: Okay. So what are we going to look at first?
Virginie: Okay, so our first word is un bandit.
Eric: Ah, Jacques Mesrine est un bandit.
Virginie: Exactly, Eric Jacques Mesrine is a gangster.
Eric: Could you also say gangster in French?
Virginie: Yes. We actually use the English version (with the French accent) =Un Gangster.
Eric: Wow, that sounds pretty tough.
Virginie: I know. Stop making fun of me when I speak Frenglish Eric, please un gangster.
Eric: It's fine. It comes from the American movies.
Virginie: Definitely, yes. Bandit sounds more French.
Eric: So let's talk about fameux. It sounds like famous in English.
Virginie: Yes but it doesn't mean famous, it's a faux-ami, a fake friend, do you know that word?
Eric: Right, a fake friend? Well what do you mean by that?
Virginie: You know, les faux amis, fake friends, are words that sound the same in the two languages, in French and in English, but they mean different things.
Eric: What does fameux mean exactly?
Virginie: It means ""much talked about"", or ""notorious"", ""illustrious.""
Eric: So how do you say ""famous"" in French?
Virginie: It's a good question. It's celebre. For example Madonna est celebre. Madonna is famous.
Eric: Okay I see.
Virginie: And, another example with fameux is ""le fameux vin de Californie.""
Eric: The much talked about or the well known California wine.
Virginie: Exactly.
Eric: One last word I would like to mention is Aussi.
Virginie: Moi aussi! Me too.
Eric: Aussi means too or also.
Virginie: Oui. Cathy gets excited and says ""il y a aussi les fameux hot-dogs!""
Eric: There are the famous hot dogs too!
Virginie: And usually aussi is placed right after the verb in French.
Eric: An example Virginie?
Virginie: Je suis professeur de francais. Je suis aussi actrice.
Eric: I am a French teacher. I am also an actress. So remember, aussi means too and also.

Lesson focus

Virginie: What's our grammar point today, Eric?
Eric: We're going to be describing the things around you.
Virginie: Yes, that can be useful. Rob says that in Chicago Il y a … des immeubles""
Eric: Which means there are buildings.
Virginie: Let's break it down. First we have Il y a. Let me spell it out for you it's Il y a.
Eric: And that's there is, or there are.
Virginie: Right after it, we have ""des immeubles.""
Eric: ""Buildings"".
Virginie: Once again, it's Il y a des immeubles. What's new here is the little word ""des.""
Eric: Des, that's the indefinite plural article.
Virginie: Right. Rob is describing what there is in Chicago among other things.
Eric: So he uses an indefinite article, like he would say a building or a street.
Virginie: Yes. Only it's plus, so it's des, DES, the indefinite article.
Eric: Now, when Cathy mentioned the hot dogs, she uses the definite plural article.
Virginie: Yes she says ""il y a les fameux hot dogs.""
Eric: There are the well-known hot dogs.
Virginie: Les is the definite plus, actually it's LES.
Eric: And of course Chicago has special hot dogs.
Virginie: Yes, they are unique. That's why Cathy uses the definite article.
Eric: LES hot dogs de Chicago.
Virginie: Okay, a quick recap here because it's a little tricky. Il y a.
Eric: There are.
Virginie: Des immeubles
Eric: Buildings.
Virginie: Il y a
Eric: There are.
Virginie: Les fameux hot dogs
Eric: The well-known hot dogs. Okay, great. Well that just about does it for today.


Virginie: Before we go, we want to tell you if you are ready to test what you just learned?
Eric: The best way to do is by using flashcards which are available at the Learning Center.
Virginie: Yes, because there is a reason why everyone uses flashcards.
Eric: They work.
Virginie: They help memorization.
Eric: And you can get the flashcards for this lesson at FrenchPod101.com
Virginie: Thank you for listening. Au revoir.
Eric: Thank you. Bye.


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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Talking about landmarks, what do you think should be one of the next seven wonders of the world?

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 04:46 PM
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Bonjour Josh,

Merci pour ton commentaire ! 😄

Belle journée,


Team FrenchPod101

Wednesday at 04:09 PM
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Bonjour a tous,

Etre ou ne pas etre! I hope everyone is doing okay. 😄

A bientot!

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 10:10 PM
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Salut RI,

Thank you very much for sharing this with us and your fellow classmates.😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Sunday at 04:54 PM
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Thank you so much for frenchpod101.com. This website is really helping me to improve my French.

One thing I want to comment about this lesson is that people from Quebec do not say chien chaud about hot dog anymore. My husband is from Quebec. I was so proud of telling him that I know "chien chaud" after listening to this lesson, but he told me that they no longer call it "chien chaud"...they said chien chaud until maybe 1970s but not anymore. People in Quebec call it "hot dog" like French people.

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:36 PM
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Bonjour Milenko,

This lesson is for absolute beginners, hence why we mix both English and French in it. More advanced lessons have less English as students are better able to understand French.

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101

Friday at 01:16 AM
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deberian habar en frances y no tanto ingles

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 05:25 PM
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Bonjour Rishika,

Al Capone was a very famous American gangster in the 20th century!

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101

Rishika Patil
Wednesday at 10:13 PM
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What exactly is Al Capone? I didn't get it...

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 08:51 PM
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Bonjour Craig,

C'est normal, la règle est la même pour ces adjectifs.

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101

Monday at 11:34 AM
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Sorry, but in Adjectif qualificatif - part 2, you repeat the English explanation from part III in part IV.

Je suis désolé, mais dans Adjectif qualifican tif - partie deux, vous répétez l'explication en l'anglais de la partie III dans partie IV.