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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Virginie: Salut!
Eric: Eric here. All about season 1, Lesson 14. Top Five Most Useful Phrases for Learning French. Hello and welcome to frenchpod101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn French.
Virginie: I am Virginie and thanks again for being here with us for this all about season 1 lesson. Today you will learn the five top phrases to help you learn French.
Eric: These are going to be very useful as you start learning.
Virginie: Yes whether you study French in a classroom or with friends, these phrases will help you to get involved in a conversation.
Eric: They can also help when you are getting around in France. Okay so here they are.

Lesson focus

Virginie: Je ne comprends pas.
Eric: I don’t understand.
Virginie: Vous pouvez répéter lentement s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Can you please repeat slower, formal version.
Virginie: Tu peux répéter lentement s’il te plaît?
Eric: Can you please repeat slower, informal version.
Virginie: Qu’est-ce que que ... veut dire?
Eric: What does blank mean?
Virginie: Comment on dit … en français?
Eric: How do you say blank in French?
Virginie: Vous pouvez m’aider s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Can you please help me, formal version.
Virginie: Tu peux m’aider s’il te plaît?
Eric: Can you please help me, informal version. Okay so let’s go a little bit slower Virginie.
Virginie: Okay. Je ne comprends pas.
Eric: I don’t understand.
Virginie: Vous pouvez répéter lentement s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Can you please repeat slower, formal version.
Virginie: Tu peux répéter lentement s’il te plaît?
Eric: Can you repeat slower please, informal version.
Virginie: Qu’est-ce que que ... veut dire?
Eric: What does blank mean?
Virginie: Comment on dit … en français?
Eric: How do you say blank in French?
Virginie: Vous pouvez m’aider s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Can you please help me, formal version.
Virginie: Tu peux m’aider s’il te plaît?
Eric: Can you help me please, informal version. Okay so let’s take a closer look at these phrases.
Virginie: Yes. The first one “je ne comprends pas” can be used in all occasion, all situations.
Eric: And this is going to be very useful because French people are going to assume you are fluent if you say: bonjour!
Virginie: Yeah and they might start a fast conversation with you.
Eric: With a bunch of idioms that you don’t understand.
Virginie: So don’t hesitate to cut them off by saying: Je ne comprends pas.
Eric: Okay. So let’s see how the sentence is structured.
Virginie: Yes the verb “comprendre” in French means to understand. “Je comprends” is “I understand”.
Eric: And then to put this in a negative form, we are going to put the verb “comprendre” in between the two words “ne” and “pas”.
Virginie: And the result is: Je ne comprends pas.
Eric: Great. Phrase #2.
Virginie: Vous pouvez répéter lentement s’il vous plaît? can be said in two ways, right Eric?
Eric: Exactly. The formal and the informal way depending on who you are speaking with.
Virginie: Imagine you are in a classroom and you need your teacher to repeat what he just said.
Eric: Or you are at the metro booth asking for directions.
Virginie: Well in those situations, you need to be formal, you will then say: Vous pouvez répéter lentement s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Can you be slower please.
Virginie: Now before we analyze this phrase closer, Eric will give you the informal form.
Eric: If you are talking to your French brother in law or say your friend, you are going to be saying: Tu peux répéter lentement s’il te plaît.
Virginie: Yes remember in French, you use “vous” in formal situations and “tu” in informal situations.
Eric: Now here your intonation is very important too. Since it’s a question, you are going to have to raise your voice at the end of the sentence: Vous pouvez répéter lentement s’il vous plaît?
Virginie: This is important because otherwise it will sound like a statement not a question.
Eric: So literally if we break down the phrase, it means “you”.
Virginie: Vous.
Eric: “Can”
Virginie: Pouvez.
Eric: “Repeat”
Virginie: Répéter.
Eric: “Slowly”.
Virginie: Lentement.
Eric: “Please”.
Virginie: S’il vous plaît.
Eric: Great. Okay so let’s get on to our third phrase: Qu’est-ce que blank veut dire?
Virginie: What does blank mean?
Eric: For example: Qu’est-ce qu’une voiture veut dire?
Virginie: A car.
Eric: You see French people automatically answer when you ask this question. Let’s try it again: Qu’est-ce qu’un micro veut dire?
Virginie: A microphone. Now you might be wondering what the heck is this “qu’est-ce que” thing at the beginning of the sentence.
Eric: Well “qu’est-ce que” is a very easy way to make any sentence into a question in France. This is going to be spelled q-u-apostrophe-e-s-t-dash-c-e-space-q-u-e. Qu’est-ce que.
Virginie: Now if you look at the end of the question, you have these two words “veut” and “dire”.
Eric: And “veut dire” means literally “to say” but in our context it means “means”.
Virginie: Okay for example: Une voiture veut dire “a car”. “Une voiture means a car”, and if you say “ça veut dire” you say, “it means”.
Eric: Okay let’s repeat that one last time Virginie. Qu’est-ce qu’une voiture veut dire?
Virginie: Ca veut dire “a car”.
Eric: Okay and our fourth phrase is: Comment on dit blank en français?
Virginie: It’s one way to ask for French word. For example, par exemple: Comment on dit “a car” en français?
Eric: How to say a car in French.
Virginie: Une voiture.
Eric: Okay that’s an easy one: Comment on dit “a dog” en français?
Virginie: Un chien.
Eric: It works.
Virginie: Yeah so just say you know “comment” means “how” and it’s spelled c-o-m-m-e-n-t and “on” in this case is the equivalent of “one” in English.
Eric: So this is just going to be “how does one say”: Comment on dit?
Virginie: So this phrase can definitely be used in any context with anybody.
Eric: And people are always going to be willing to help you with the meanings of words.
Virginie: Yeah that’s true. I guess we all like to show off our knowledge right?
Eric: Probably. What is our last phrase in the list Virginie?
Virginie: It is: Vous pouvez m’aider s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Little slower, one more time.
Virginie: Vous pouvez m’aider s’il vous plaît?
Eric: Can you help me please. That’s the formal version.
Virginie: Yes and it’s very useful everywhere. For example, in the classroom with your teacher, in the street to ask for directions.
Eric: This is also useful for nonlinguistic purposes. For example, if you want to have somebody help you bring up some heavy bags at the stairs: Vous pouvez m’aider s’il vous plaît?
Virginie: Yeah it’s just a way to ask for help. Again just like our second phrase, there are two ways of addressing it depending on who you are talking to.
Eric: Exactly. The same old thing. It will be either the formal “vous pouvez” or the informal “tu peux” when you are talking to a friend.
Virginie: Yes although people love when foreigners use “tu” instead of “vous”. It’s so cute.
Eric: But you may not want to be cute.
Virginie: All right. Then make sure you don’t mix up “tu” and “vous”.
Eric: So what about the last part of the sentence “m’aider”?
Virginie: Well it’s the “help me” part of the phrase. “M’” stands for “me” and “aider” means “to help”.
Eric: This grammatical structure is going to be a little different in French than in English. You are placing the pronoun before the verb here “m’aider”, instead of in English, “help me” you are saying “me help”.

Outro

Virginie: Thank you Eric. Well I think you guys are all set with your five phrases to get around France.
Eric: You should be perfectly ready for trip to France.
Virginie: And thank you for listening to us.
Eric: Take care everyone.

8 Comments

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FrenchPod101.comVerified
Monday at 6:30 pm
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FrenchPod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 5:57 am
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Bonjour Joe !


"Qu’est-ce que c’est qu’une voiture? "is not really correct. You could hear this sentence if it's pronounced by a child.

"Qu’est-ce qu’une voiture?" is correct !


A bientôt et merci pour votre commentaire !

Marie Alice

Team frenchPod101.com

Joe Cipriano
Tuesday at 1:59 am
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What is the difference between:


Qu'est-ce que c'est qu'une voiture? and


Qu'est-ce qu'une voiture?

FrenchPod101.comVerified
Monday at 3:36 pm
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Bonjour Barb,


Pour ajouter un mot dans la Word Bank, il faut cocher la case devant le mot dans le Vocabulaire, et cliquer sur "Add to WordBank".

To add a word in the Wordbank, you just have to check the word in the Vocabulary and then click on "Add to WordBank".


Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Mélanie

Team FrenchPod101.com

Barb
Monday at 12:58 am
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Bonjour tout le monde -- J'ai une question: comment est-ce qu'on ajoute un mot en le "word bank"? Merci!


Hi everyone -- I have a question: how do you add a word or phrase to your word bank? Thanks

FrenchPod101.comVerified
Saturday at 6:49 pm
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Hi Madeleine and Jeroen,


"répéter" is the infinitive form of the verb, and répétez is the verb conjugated at the 2nd person of plural "vous". So "Vous pouvez répéteR" is correct while "Vous pouvez répéteZ" is wrong.


About the order or the words "vous pouvez" or "pouvez vous", both can be said, but "pouvez vous" is more formal and used for writing, while "vous pouvez" is commonly used in everyday life (not impolite).


Mailys

team frenchPod101.com

Jeroen
Monday at 4:13 am
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In school they always taught us/me to say pouvez-vous or pourriez-vous instead of vous pouvez.


Is that just too formal to use in real life? Would that sound odd?

Madeleine
Wednesday at 2:34 pm
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Je ne comprends pas. I'm confused. Which one do you use in the phrase "Vous pouvez/Tu peux répétez lentement, síl vous plaît?": répétez or répéter? Is there any difference? Merci beaucoup! :)