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Lesson Transcript

Virginie: Bonjour!
Eric: Hello, Eric here! Basic French Simple Phrases With the Verb être, “to be.” In this lesson, you will learn how to introduce yourself and use etre in basic simple phrases.
Virginie: And at the end of the lesson you will be able to say your name and nationality.
Eric: Yeah, and that's important because a lot of the time you’ll be saying your nationality next when you speak to someone.
Virginie: So today, we'll try to cover a few different nationalities in French. And first, we will listen to a short conversation.
Eric: The conversation is between Patricia and Lionel, who are meeting for the first time. The speakers are speaking standard normal French. Let's take a listen.

Lesson conversation

Patricia: Bonjour, je suis Patricia. Je suis belge.
Lionel: Bonjour, je suis Lionel. Je suis américain.
Eric: One more time, more slowly.
Virginie: Encore une fois, plus lentement.
Patricia: Bonjour, je suis Patricia. Je suis belge.
Lionel: Bonjour, je suis Lionel. Je suis américain.
Eric: How about in English.
Patricia: Bonjour, je suis Patricia. Je suis belge.
Eric: Hello, I am Patricia. I am Belgian.
Lionel: Bonjour, je suis Lionel. Je suis américain.
Eric: Hello, I am Lionel. I am American.
Eric: Great, Virginie, what nationalities do people most encounter in France?
Virginie: I would say Spanish and Italian, people from the border, Germans, too.
Eric: Ok, well that makes a lot of sense, because these people are living right next to France, they’ll gonna be coming in for tourism, right?
Virginie: Right, exactly. So they usually, you know, learn French. It’s cool!
Eric: Right, but I think it’s actually pretty spread out, the amount of people who speak French. You were telling me once you met somebody from Guam that spoke French.
Virginie: Yeah, I met somebody from Guam who spoke French, that was pretty awesome, actually. So I guess people learn French all over the world.
Eric: It’s definitely a global language.
Virginie: Yes.
Eric: So, in our dialogue, our character Patricia is Belgian, right.
Virginie: Yes, she is Belge.
Eric: And Lionel is American, il est americain. So we know that the French nationalities have genders.
Virginie: Yes, absolutely, you won’t say you are American in the same way whether you are a guy or a girl.
Eric: So Lionel because he is a man, he is going to say, je suis américain.
Virginie: Yes and me if I were American, I would say Je suis américaine.
Eric: So, let’s hear that one more time. Can you do it for us, Virginie?
Virginie: Let me give you the two genders. américain
Eric: That’s a masculine
Virginie: américaine
Eric: and that’s the feminine. The sound is totally different when it’s the feminine version because you are going to be adding an E to the end of the word. What about Belge? When I say that word, is there going to be a difference in the masculine and feminine versions?
Virginie: No, both words are exactly the same. They are spelled the same way and they are said the same way. So it’s Belge and Belge
Eric: And that word actually ends in an E anyway.
Virginie: Yes.
Eric: So there is no need to make it masculine or feminine.
Virginie: Absolutely.
Eric: So you said that many Italians also study French?
Virginie: Yes. Many Italians study French.
Eric: And if I am Italian, how would I say, I am Italian in French?
Virginie: Oh you would say je suis italien
Eric: For a man?
Virginie: Yes. And for woman, you would say je suis italienne.
Eric: Okay. One more time for us. Let’s hear it again.
Virginie: Okay, italien
Eric: For man
Virginie: italienne
Eric: For female.
Virginie: So it’s the same thing. You add an E at the end of the word and then it sounds like N.
Eric: Okay, great. Let’s move on and take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Virginie: je / j' [natural native speed]
Eric: I
Virginie: je / j' [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: je / j' [natural native speed]
Eric: Next
Virginie: suis [natural native speed]
Eric: am (conjugated form of être)
Virginie: suis [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: suis [natural native speed]
Eric: Next
Virginie: belge [natural native speed]
Eric: Belgian
Virginie: belge [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: belge [natural native speed]
Eric: Next
Virginie: américain/e [natural native speed]
Eric: American
Virginie: américain/e [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: américain/e [natural native speed]
Eric: Ok, great. Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Virginie: Basically, in French, there are no actual rules that can make you guess the word for a nationality.
Eric: Interesting. Even if I know the name of the country in French, I‘m be able to guess the nationality?
Virginie: Well, you can try to guess it, but there’s no rule, really. So it makes it a little tricky.
Eric: You make it sound like it's really difficult, I’m sure it's not that hard.
Virginie: No, it’s not. I guess the best way to find out what the nationality is when you have the name of the country would be to look it up!
Eric: It sounds hard looking up. So we encountered three different nationalities in this lesson.
Virginie: Yes, first we saw "Belge".
Eric: Ends with an "e", same male and female spelling and pronunciation. Belge.
Virginie: then we saw Americain/Americaine.
Eric: Ends with the sound AIN (SPELL) for the masculine and AINE (Spell) for the feminine.
Virginie: Americain for the male and Americaine for the female.
Eric: Interesting. And finally we saw Italien/Italienne.
Virginie: Ends with the sound IEN (Spell) for the masculine and IENNE (spell) for the feminine.
Eric: Wow, that's a lot to remember.
Virginie: And we haven't even started the grammar part...
Eric: The grammar is very easy today, no worries!

Lesson focus

Eric: So, if you've listened to our first Bootcamp lesson, you already know that je suis means “I am.” Let's examine it in close details.
Virginie: Yes I am is the conjugated form of the verb être, “to be.”
Eric: Last time we saw that in order to say "I am Eric", I will say "Je suis Eric".
Virginie: Well, you can use it to say anything about yourself! Like, "I am American" will be Je suis Americain/Americaine. But be careful. When the word that follows je suis begins with a vowel, like A, E, I, O, U, you need to add a little liaison sound between suis and the following word. Again, that would sound like Je suis Z americain.
Eric: Interesting. Je suiS américain.
Virginie: Right, because America starts with an A which is a vowel.
Eric: Can you give us another example?
Virginie: For example, Je suis italien. The first letter of italien is I, which is a vowel.
Eric: So it makes it sound like a Z. Je suis italien. Okay. So now, let’s take a look at the word order in French sentences.
Virginie: It’s actually really easy. Basically in French, the sentence is subject, verb, complement or object, SVO..
Eric: Right. Pretty much the same as in English then?
Virginie: Yes absolutely.
Eric: So, in our sentence, we have Je suiS américain. The je is a subject…
Virginie: Yes.
Eric: “I.” Suis is a verb “am,” américain, which is the complement or object.
Virginie: Okay. Let me give you another example of how the words are ordered in French. The sentence could be, for instance, je mange une pomme, which is “I eat an apple.” And Je is the subject, mange is the verb, and une pomme is the complement.
Eric: Pretty easy. So why don't we conclude by you telling us you're French, Virginie?
Virginie: Je suis française.
Eric: Probably it won’t help out too many of our listeners out there since you wouldn’t need to say that but it will be great for you to work on your pronunciation.


Eric: That just about does it for today.
Virginie: Have a nice day!
Eric: Bye-bye
Virginie: Au revoir!