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Lesson Transcript


Eric: Absolute Beginner Lesson 20 - Let's Celebrate Your Birthday in France!
Virginie: Today, we're going to look at counting French. What's going on in our dialogue?
Eric: Well it looks like Rob is invited to Cathy's little sister's birthday.
Virginie: So this conversation is going to be between Rob and the little Caroline.
Eric: And they're going to be speaking informally.
Eric: How about we listen to the dialogue.
Virginie: Okay.

Lesson conversation

Rob: Alors, c’est ton anniversaire aujourd’hui!
Caroline: Oui, j’ai dix ans!
Rob: Dix ans! Tu es une grande fille!
Caroline: Et toi, tu as quel âge?
Rob: J’ai vingt-et-un ans.
Caroline: Tu es vieux.
Rob: Oui, je suis un grand-père!
Eric: One more time with the translation.
Rob: Alors, c’est ton anniversaire aujourd’hui!
Eric: So, it's your birthday today!
Caroline: Oui, j’ai dix ans!
Virginie: Yes, I am ten!
Rob: Dix ans! Tu es une grande fille!
Eric: Ten! You're a big girl!
Caroline: Et toi, tu as quel âge?
Virginie: And you how old are you?
Rob: J’ai vingt-et-un ans.
Eric: I am twenty-one.
Caroline: Tu es vieux.
Virginie: You are old.
Rob: Oui, je suis un grand-père!
Eric: Yes, I am a grandpa!
Virginie: Since we're talking about ages, have you ever heard of the Ste Catherine, the Catherinette celebration in France, Eric?
Eric: No, I never heard of that.
Virginie: Oh, it's very funny. You know, when you are a single woman and you are 25 or more, you're celebrated as a Catherinette. It comes from Ste Catherine, Saint Catherine. So what happens is that your friends make a hat for you, a hat made of paper or made of plastic, a funny hat to make people know that you're not married and you're 25 or older.
Eric: Is it an alluring hat to get the guys interested or is it just a hat?
Virginie: I think, yeah, it's a good point actually. Maybe it's for the guys to actually notice girls with hats.
Eric: You'd notice the girls that are…
Virginie: Yeah, yeah. That's true. Yeah.
Eric: Still single.
Virginie: Yeah, yeah. So it's pretty funny. I have a picture of my mom with a hat.
Eric: What is you get divorced or something, would you still start wearing it if you're like 50 or…
Virginie: No, no, no. You're not a real single anymore. You've been through marriage, so that's different.
Eric: Ah, so I see. What if you never get married and you're 60 or something.
Virginie: Well, you're old, you're going to wear a hat.
Eric: Pressure.
Virginie: Yeah. But it's something that used to be celebrated a lot but now a lot of people don't actually know about it but it was running in my family. I remember that. Yeah, definitely.
Eric: So when is this holiday?
Virginie: It's on Saint Catherine's Day and it's November 25th. So if you're in France on a November 25th, pay attention to the girls on the street, maybe you'll see some with funny hats.
Eric: All right. One last question; is this everywhere in France or only in the south…
Virginie: Yeah, it's a national thing. Yeah.
Eric: Wow!
Virginie: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: Nice.
Virginie: Let's take a look at our vocabulary for this lesson. Alors [natural native speed].
Eric: Then or so.
Virginie: Alors [slowly - broken down by syllable], alors [natural native speed].
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Ton [natural native speed].
Eric: Your (informal).
Virginie: Ton [slowly - broken down by syllable], ton [natural native speed]. Un anniversaire [natural native speed].
Eric: A birthday, or an anniversary.
Virginie: Un anniversaire [slowly - broken down by syllable], un anniversaire [natural native speed].
Eric: Then.
Virginie: Dix [natural native speed].
Eric: Ten.
Virginie: Dix [slowly - broken down by syllable], dix [natural native speed].
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Un an [natural native speed].
Eric: A year.
Virginie: Un an [slowly - broken down by syllable], un an [natural native speed]
Eric: All right.
Virginie: Grand.
Eric: Masculine.
Virginie: Grande [natural native speed].
Eric: Feminine. Big, large, or tall
Virginie: Grand, grande [slowly - broken down by syllable], grand, grande [natural native speed].
Eric: All right.
Virginie: Une fille [natural native speed].
Eric: A girl or a daughter.
Virginie: Une fille [slowly - broken down by syllable], une fille [natural native speed].
Eric: All right.
Virginie: Quel(le) [natural native speed].
Eric: Which or what.
Virginie: Quel(le) [slowly - broken down by syllable], quel(le) [natural native speed].
Eric: Then.
Virginie: L'âge [natural native speed].
Eric: Age.
Virginie: L'âge [slowly - broken down by syllable], l'âge [natural native speed].
Eric: The next one.
Virginie: Vingt-et-un [natural native speed].
Eric: (21) twenty-one.
Virginie: Vingt-et-un [slowly - broken down by syllable], vingt-et-un [natural native speed].
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Vieux.
Eric: Masculine.
Virginie: Vieille [natural native speed].
Eric: Feminine. Old.
Virginie: Vieux, vieille [slowly - broken down by syllable], vieux, vieille [natural native speed].
Eric: And next
Virginie: Un grand-père [natural native speed].
Eric:a grandfather
Virginie: Un grand-père [slowly - broken down by syllable], un grand-père [natural native speed].
Virginie: Let's start with the very first word in our dialogue. It's the word alors.
Eric: I've heard this many, many times from French people.
Virginie: Oh yes. Yeah, so what does it mean, Eric? Can you tell us?
Eric: It means ""then"" or ""so."" It's also used sometimes just as a transition word.
Virginie: Yes, it is.
Eric: Like we say, ""like"" sometimes too much. Something like that.
Virginie: And in France instead of saying, ""like,"" we say ""alors, alors, alors."" Yeah. So we already learned the word ""donc"", which means ""so"" as well. Rob instead of ""alors,"" he could have said, ""donc"" to start a sentence. It's the exact same meaning.
Eric: And they're used equally as frequently.
Virginie: Yes. Absolutely.
Eric: Okay. ""Alors"" again has two meanings, both ""so"" and also ""then.""
Virginie: Right. Yes. And as we said in our dialogue, it means, ""so.""
Eric: And Rob says, ""Alors, c'est ton anniversaire aujourdhui!""
Virginie: Which means, so it's your birthday today?
Eric: What are some other examples we could use?
Virginie: I could ask you, ""Alors ca va?""
Eric: So, how are you doing?
Virginie: Exactly. Or ""Alors, tu viens?""
Eric: So are you coming?
Virginie: So you see you can use it pretty much with anything you're saying.
Eric: When in doubt, insert the word ""alors."" So what about the other meaning, ""then.""
Virginie: For example, if you say, ""You're not coming, then I'm not coming either."" You're going to say, ""alors."" You say “Tu ne viens pas, alors je ne suis pas.” You see.
Eric: You're not coming? Okay, I'm not coming either.
Virginie: Right. That's the second meaning of ""alors.""
Eric: Okay. And we also have the word, ""ton"" which is ""your.""
Virginie: Yeah, ""ton"" means ""your."" We've seen it in the previous dialogue I think. We just wanted to remind you of the meaning for today.
Eric: Right. And again, that's an informal usage. If it's somebody more formal, how would you say it?
Virginie: votre
Eric: votre So if it's ""your"" informal, ""ton"" and ""your"" formal, votre
Virginie: So in this case votre anniversaire, your birthday. Now in the dialogue, we have this adjective ""vieux.""
Eric: Old.
Virginie: Caroline says to Rob, ""Tu es vieux."" She's disgusted.
Eric: A little mean. He's only 21.
Virginie: Yeah. It's true. And you, Eric, are you ""vieux?""
Eric: I don't you think. Would you consider me ""view?""
Virginie: What was that?
Eric: Would you consider me ""vieux""?
Virginie: Actually, I think you're younger than me, so if you're ""vieux"" then I'm even more ""vieille.""
Eric: So you got it. For masculine, it's ""vieux,"" feminine, it's ""vieille.""
Virginie: Virginie is ""vieille."" You must have noticed that the feminine and the masculine for old sounds very different.
Eric: In this case, they do.
Virginie: Vieux and vieille. It's spelled completely differently. So take a look at the lesson notes for those. Well, Eric, if you meet my grandma, right, you're not going to tell her that she's ""vieille.""
Eric: That's a little rude.
Virginie: It is a little rude. So we have a word that is more polite, you know, to say old. Just like in English you say, ""elder.""
Eric: Senior citizen.
Virginie: Senior citizen. So in French, it's going to be ""âge.""
Eric: ""âge.""
Virginie: Oui. “Ma grand-mère et âge.” My grandmother is old, is older.
Eric: Or you could say, ""personnes âgées”.
Virginie: Les personnes âgées. yes, older people.
Eric: Which isn't quite true. But…
Virginie: Yes. Well, depending on who you talk to. I mean…
Eric: In the eyes of a 10 year old, I am.
Virginie: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: Okay. I think we're done with vocabulary.

Lesson focus

Virginie: All right. So as we said, the focus of this lesson is going to be telling your age.
Eric: So the question to ask someone's age would be, ""Tu as quel age?""
Virginie: And that's what Rob asks Caroline in the dialogue, right?
Eric: Exactly.
Virginie: ""Tu as quel age?"" What age do you have? It's basically ""tu as"" which you probably recognized, it's ""you have."" And then ""quel"" which you know already. It's ""which"" and then ""age"" and ""age"" is age.
Eric: One of those nice French words that is basically an English word said with a French accent.
Virginie: Yes, exactly. There is another way of asking someone's age.
Eric: Right. And that's ""Quel age as-tu?""
Virginie: Literally, this one is, ""What age,"" or ""which age are you?"" So you reverse the verb and the subject which in French is a way to ask a question in a more formal way, more politely. In any case, don't ever ask a lady, even if you reverse your verb and your subject, it's not going to change anything. It's rude. Don't do that.
Eric: Can I maybe ask you your age, Virginie? Would you tell me?
Virginie: Okay. Let's make an exception here.
Eric: Virginie, tu as quel age?
Virginie: J'ai 20 ans.
Eric: So Virginie is 20.
Virginie: Okay. That is not exactly true but, you know…
Eric: 20-ish.
Virginie: I'm in my 20's.
Eric: There you go.
Virginie: That is true. Yeah. I'm in my 20s. So what about you, Eric, quel as tu age?
Eric: J'ai 26 ans.
Virginie: J'ai 26 ans.
Virginie: Tu es vieux Rob. You are older than Rob. So Eric is vingt-six ans, which is 26.
Eric: The real scale you're going to need is to be able to count in order to give your age.
Virginie: Yes. But today, we're only going to count to 20. People who are older than 20 unfortunately will have to read the lesson notes because we don't have time here to count until, you know to count to 100, for example. So I have a little song.
Eric: Do you?
Virginie: I do. Song - une deux trois nous irons aubois.
Eric: One, two, three, we'll go to the forest.
Virginie: Une deux trois nous irons aubois. You only need to remember the first part, which is, ""une deux trois,"" which is one, two, three. But I’m not done with my little song. So let's go for it. Quatre cinq six cueillir des cerises.
Eric: Four, five, six, to pick some cherries.
Virginie: And again, it's, ""quatre cinq six cueillir des cerises."" Again, just the first part of the sentence is important. Quatre cinq six cueillir des cerises, and that's ""four, five, six."" Okay. Sept huit neuf dans mon panier neuf.
Eric: Seven, eight, nine, in my new basket.
Virginie: All right. And that again, ""Sept huit neuf dans mon panier neuf."" And again, the first part of the sentence is ""Sept huit neuf."" And that's seven, eight, nine. All right. ""Dis onze douze elles eeront toutes rouges.""
Eric: Ten, eleven, twelve, they will be all red.
Virginie: That's ""Dis onze douze elles eeront toutes rouges."" Dis, onze, douze."" Ten, eleven and twelve. We're not going to go any further with a real song. Sorry if you enjoyed it.
Eric: We did. What happens after 12?
Virginie: What happens after twelve? That's a good question. Well, let's be straightforward here. After douze, after twelve, we have treize.
Eric: As in ""Vendredi treize.""
Virginie: ""Vendredi treize."" Friday the 13th, right. So treize is 13th. What do we have next?
Eric: Quatorze.
Virginie: Quatorze is 14th obviously and that's like the ""Quartorze Juillet.""
Eric: Which is the 14th of July or Bastille Day.
Virginie: Uh-hmm, Bastille Day, ""Quartorze Juillet."" Then we have ""Quinze.""
Eric: Fifteen. There was something you were telling me about rugby in 15.
Virginie: That's true. We were talking about rugby before we started recording. Okay. It's called Rugby a Quinze.
Eric: A rugby.
Virginie: Rugby, yes.
Eric: Okay, okay.
Virginie: Rugby a quinze. That's the name of the sport, you know, the rugby sport and it's because there are 15 players in a team.
Eric: Wow!
Virginie: So it's called rugby a quinze.
Eric: Okay. Okay, it makes sense. What about 16?
Virginie: Sixteen is seize.
Eric: Seize.
Virginie: So to explain seize.
Eric: We have a beer.
Virginie: A beer called 1664. It's French beer. It's made by made by (Kroninberg) but I shouldn't advertise here. But anyway…
Eric: It's very refreshing.
Virginie: If you're in France and you want to order that beer, the 1664, you can just say, ""Un seize.""
Eric: ""A sixteen.""
Virginie: ""A sixteen"" and you'll get a beer.
Eric: All right. Perfect. That's very important. Now, it starts to get a little bit easier. There's sort of a pattern for 17, 18, 19.
Virginie: Exactly. Can you explain the pattern, Eric?
Eric: Well, for 17 for example, we're going to say, ""Dix-sept"" ""ten-seven.""
Virginie: Dix-sept. What about 18?
Eric: Same formula, dix-huit, 10, 8 - 18. And in France, to come back to our theme of ordering a beer of the beer seize, if you want to order a seize, you have to be 18 years old.
Virginie: Yes, you have to be ""dix-huit ton."" Okay. Then we have dix-neuf, which is 19. And it's the same pattern, it's ""dix-neuf"" ten-nine, dix-neuf. And finally…
Eric: Weren't you recommending a magazine on the dix-neuf siècle.
Virginie: Oh yeah, there is some sort of crazy magazine online called the dix-neuf actually. And it's a magazine for the fans of the 19th century in France.
Eric: Ah, and I also showed you how to say 19th century.
Virginie: Uh-hmm.
Eric: And century is siècle
Virginie: So again, nineteen is ""dix-neuf."" And finally, we have…
Eric: Vingt.
Virginie: And that's the exact same pronunciation as ""wine"" ""vingt""
Eric: Vingt.
Virginie: Right. So that's easy to remember. Oh, I think we forgot something pretty important here. Since we're talking about birthdays.
Eric: Oh yes, how to say, happy birthday!
Virginie: Yeah, happy birthday in French is, ""Joyeux anniversaire.""
Eric: Or ""Bon anniversaire!""
Virginie: Exactly! So again, it's either ""Joyeux anniversaire,"" or…
Eric: Bon anniversaire!


Virginie: Okay. So, I think we were done for today, and thank you for listening.
Eric: Take care. Bye!


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