Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Let's take a closer look at the conversation.
Do you remember how Hugues Henry asks,
"Where are you from?"
Hugues Henry: D'où venez-vous ?
First is d'où. “From where.". D'où.
This starts with de, which translates as "from" in this context. De (enunciated). De.
Next is où, meaning "where." Où (enunciated). Où.
De is contracted with où to form d'où.
Next is venez. "Come," as in "you come." Venez (enunciated). Venez.
Venez is from the verb, venir, meaning "to come." Venir.
After this is vous, which is literally the plural form of "you," as in "you all." But it's also the formal way to address a single person, as is the case here. Vous (enunciated).Vous.
Together, venez-vous translates as "you come." Venez-vous.
All together, D'où venez-vous ? literally means "From where come you?" But it translates as "Where are you from?" D'où venez-vous ?
Remember this question. You'll hear it again later in this lesson.
Now, let's take a closer look at the response.
Do you remember how Mark Lee says,
"I'm from New York."
Mark Lee: Je viens de New York.
First is je. "I." Je (enunciated). Je.
Next is viens, meaning "come," as in "I come." Viens (enunciated). Viens.
Viens is from the verb, venir, meaning "to come." Venir.
After this is de, which means "from" in this context. De.
Last is the city, New York. "New York." New York (enunciated). New York.
All together, it's Je viens de New York. This literally means "I come from New York," but can translate as "I'm from New York." Je viens de New York.
The pattern is
Je viens de {CITY NAME}.
"I'm from {CITY NAME}."
Je viens de {CITY NAME}.
To use this pattern, simply replace the {CITY NAME} placeholder with the name of your hometown.
Imagine you're from Sydney. Sydney. Sydney (enunciated). Sydney.
Say
"I'm from Sydney."
Ready?
Je viens de Sydney.
"I'm from Sydney."
Je viens de Sydney.
When talking about where you’re from, de is used before feminine nouns.
All cities are feminine in French, so when talking about your hometown or home city, use de.
You can also use this pattern with countries. However, countries can be either masculine or feminine.
If you use this pattern with a country name that's masculine, use du instead of de.
For example,
Je viens de France. France, "France," is feminine.
Je viens du Japon. Japon, "Japan," is masculine.

7 Comments

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FrenchPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Can you say where you are from using the pattern introduced in this lesson?

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 08:28 AM
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Salut Diane S. Abrams,


You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We wish you good luck with your language studies.


Bonne journée,

Levente

Team FrenchPod101.com

Diane S. Abrams
Friday at 01:38 AM
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merci beaucoup

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:28 PM
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Bonjour Dan,

Yes, "D'où tu viens" would be a way to ask this question, and you could also say "D'où est-ce que tu viens ?" "D'où es-tu originaire ?", etc. 😉


Bonne journée,

Marion

Team FrenchPod101

dan markovitz
Tuesday at 10:35 PM
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Merci, Marion. That makes sense.


If I were to use informal French for this question, would it be: "D'où tu viens?" (But perhaps that's not the way you'd ask that question?)


dan

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 07:33 PM
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Bonjour Dan,

The inversion only happens in questions in formal French. In other contexts, formal French will be formed using a more "elegant" vocabulary and sentence structures. Using "nous" instead of "on", saying "également" instead of "aussi" and using "vous" instead of "tu" are all formal ways to address someone when you're not asking a question, for example. It's quite subtle, but there's a difference.


So to sum up:

- Subject/verb order changes only in formal questions

- To be formal in other contexts, you're mainly going to play on the vocabulary you use as well as the way you structure what you're trying to say.


Is it a bit clearer? 😄


Bonne journée,

Marion

Team FrenchPod101

dan
Monday at 04:22 AM
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Can you explain why the S-V-O word order changes when you're using formal or informal French? In the formal example, it's "venez vous" (verb-subject), but in the informal example, it's "tu viens" (subject-verb). Is this a special case, or does word order always change in formal vs. informal French?