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Lesson Transcript


Eric: Using Descriptions to Play "I Spy" in French.
Virginie: 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

Rob: Giulia, tu as un téléphone portable?
Giulia: Oui.
Giulia: Non…non…
Rob: (rires) Qu’est-ce que tu as dans ton sac?
Giulia: J’ai…un portefeuille, un stylo, un paquet de Kleenex…
Rob: (rires) Et un téléphone portable?
Giulia: Ah! Voilà!
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 aslo.

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.


Eric: Okay, great. Well that just about does it for today.
Virginie: Thank you for listening. Au revoir.
Eric: Thank you. Bye.


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