Dialogue

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Do adjectives have a gender in French?
Aurore: And, does noun gender influence adjectives?
Michael: At FrenchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Mark Lee and Pauline Petit are walking past a car salon. Mark Lee says,
"I would like to have a new car."
Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
Dialogue
Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
Pauline Petit: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
Michael: "I would like to have a new car."
Pauline Petit: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
Michael: "Me too. I would like to have a red car."

Lesson focus

Michael: Adjectives qualify nouns. In French, they will always have to agree with the gender, either feminine or masculine, and the number, singular or plural, of the noun that they are qualifying. In this lesson, we'll talk about how gender works in French adjectives. In the conversation, Mark Lee says "I would like to have a new car."
Aurore: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
Michael: In this sentence, the adjective "new," or in French,
Aurore: nouvelle
Michael: agrees with the noun "car," or in French,
Aurore: voiture
Michael: which is a feminine noun. If the noun in the sentence is masculine, the word for "new" would instead be
Aurore: nouveau.
Michael: Now, in the conversation, Pauline says "Me too. I would like to have a red car."
Aurore: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
Michael: The adjective here is "red," or in French,
Aurore: rouge
Michael: In French, both adjectives and nouns go through changes in spelling depending on their use in a sentence. In our first example, we can observe that the adjective "new" changes depending on the gender of the noun it is modifying, which is
Aurore: nouvelle
Michael: when it is modifying a feminine noun, and
Aurore: nouveau
Michael: when it is modifying a masculine noun. Some French adjectives don't go through such changes, however. The adjective "red" in French, for example, retains its form,
Aurore: rouge
Michael: regardless of whether it's modifying a masculine or a feminine noun. Another rule in forming French adjectives is that, if the adjective in the masculine ends in
Aurore: -ent and -ant
Michael: or any vowel other than
Aurore: -e,
Michael: the ending
Aurore: -e
Michael: is added at the end of the word. For instance, we have the masculine adjective,
Aurore: passé
Michael: or "past." Its feminine form would be
Aurore: passée
Michael: Now, if the adjective ends in a vowel plus any of the letters,
Aurore: l, n, s, or t
Michael: the consonant is usually doubled and an
Aurore: -e
Michael: is added at the end. For instance, we have the word,"kind"
Aurore: gentil
Michael: and its feminine form would then be
Aurore: gentille.
Michael: When an adjective ends in
Aurore: -eux
Michael: the ending is changed to
Aurore: -euse
Michael: such as in the word
Aurore: heureux
Michael: or "happy." The feminine form would be
Aurore: heureuse.
Michael: Meanwhile, with an adjective ending in
Aurore: -oux
Michael: the ending is changed to
Aurore: -ouse
Michael: such as in the word "jealous"
Aurore: jaloux
Michael: which, in the feminine, would be
Aurore: jalouse.
Michael: Meanwhile, when an adjective ends in,
Aurore: -teur
Michael: such as in the word, "conservative"
Aurore: conservateur
Michael: we change the ending to
Aurore: -trice
Michael: in which case we get the word,
Aurore: conservatrice.
Michael: Since French has so many adjectives, there are other possibilities and exceptions, but the rules we've covered are the general ones, which would really help when you're just beginning to learn French.
[Summary]
Michael: In this lesson, you've learned that French adjectives always have to agree with the gender of the noun they modify. You've also learned some of the most common rules in forming feminine adjectives in French. Now, why don't we try to look at some more examples?
Aurore: Creusons le gros rocher avec une grosse pelle.
Michael: "Let's dig the big rock out with a big shovel." The adjective here is "big," which appears twice in the sentence. The first appearance is the word
Aurore: gros.
Michael: It agrees with the masculine noun, which is "rock," or
Aurore: rocher
Michael: Notice that it changes form in its second appearance: Applying the rule we've learned earlier, when a masculine adjective ends in
Aurore: -s
Michael: we double the ending and add an
Aurore: -e
Michael: to form the feminine, which in this case is
Aurore: grosse.
Michael: The adjective changed to feminine in its second appearance since it is modifying a feminine noun, which in this case is
Aurore: pelle
Michael: or "shovel." Let's try another example:
Aurore: C'est une œuvre d'art intéressante d'un homme intéressant.
Michael: "That's an interesting piece of art from an interesting man." Here, we have the adjective "interesting." In its first appearance in the sentence, we see it in its feminine form, which is
Aurore: intéressante.
Michael: That's because it's modifying a feminine noun, which in this case is
Aurore: art
Michael: or "art." Notice how it changed to its masculine form in its second appearance:
Aurore: intéressant.
Michael: Again, that's because this time it is modifying a masculine noun:
Aurore: homme
Michael: meaning "man."
Expansion/Contrast
Michael: We've covered the general rules for common French adjectives, particularly regular adjectives. But what if you encounter irregular adjectives, or those that don't follow the usual pattern and rules you've learned? If this is the case, there's only one thing you can do, and that is to memorize them. You don't need to memorize everything right away, but only focus on the most essential or commonly used ones. Here's one example:
Aurore: vieux.
Michael: This is the French word for "old" and is also the form used for masculine nouns. Its feminine form is
Aurore: vieille.
Michael: In what we've learned about French adjectives, when the masculine form ends in
Aurore: -eux
Michael: the ending should be changed to
Aurore: -euse
Michael: to form the feminine. But that's not the case with this word. Here's another example:
Aurore: blanc
Michael: or "white." It's feminine form is
Aurore: blanche
Michael: This is a special adjective because it doesn't fall into any of the rules we've learned. For one, it ends in a consonant, particularly in
Aurore: -c
Michael: and follows a different set of rules. In our example, the final sound of the word is mute, and, whenever that's the case, the ending in feminine is
Aurore: -che
Michael: However, if you hear the "k" sound, the ending in feminine is
Aurore: -que.
Michael: Such is the case for the word
Aurore: public
Michael: or "public," whose feminine form is
Aurore: publique.
Michael: Here's another one:
Aurore: fou
Michael: or "crazy." If we follow the general rule for masculine adjectives ending in vowels, we're supposed to add an
Aurore: -e
Michael: after the word. But since this is an irregular adjective, its feminine form would be
Aurore: folle.
Practice Section
Michael: Let's review. Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud. Then, repeat after Aurore focusing on pronunciation.
Do you remember how Mark Lee says "I would like to have a new car?"
Aurore as Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Aurore as Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Mark Lee: J'aimerais avoir une nouvelle voiture.
Michael: And do you remember how Pauline Petit says "Me too. I would like to have a red car?"
Aurore as Pauline Petit: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Pauline Petit: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
Michael: Listen again and repeat.
Aurore as Pauline Petit: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Aurore as Pauline Petit: Moi aussi. J'aimerais avoir une voiture rouge.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: We have a couple more expectations to the rules when it comes to gender agreement in French adjectives and nouns. When it comes to certain colors, the form of the adjective doesn't change regardless of whether it's modifying a masculine or feminine noun. We've covered this earlier in our example about the "red car," or
Aurore: voiture rouge.
Michael: The same is true for "yellow car,"
Aurore: voiture jaune
Michael: and "yellow phone," where "phone" is a masculine noun:
Aurore: téléphone jaune.
Michael: And just like in the case of certain colors, compound French adjectives also do not change their form, such as in the word
Aurore: l'avant-dernier
Michael: or "penultimate," which is a combination of the words
Aurore: avant
Michael: or "before," and,
Aurore: dernier
Michael: or "last."

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Aurore: À bientôt !
Michael: See you soon!

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