Dialogue

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Introduction
Virginie: Hi everyone, Bonjour!
Eric: Eric here, Gengo French, lesson 27 – Your French is getting too good.
Virginie: Hi, this is Virginie here, I am with Eric and welcome to this new Gengo lesson.
Eric: What’s new, Virginie, how are you?
Virginie: I am good, how are you?
Eric: Very good. So it looks like in this lesson we are gonna be learning about the other past tense, the passé composé, and we are gonna be looking at the difference in its usage from the imparfait.
Virginie: In our dialog today, Joe meets Manon for a meal and they get catch up about Joe’s trip.
Eric: Right. Ok, well let’s have a listen.
Dialogue
Manon : Alors, comment était Vincennes, hier ?
Joe : C'était vraiment chouette. On est allés là-bas en métro. On a mangé des sandwiches, et on a bu...on a bu, quoi.
Manon: Vous avez vu des concerts ?
Joe : Oui, c'était génial.
Manon : Tout comme un parisien.
Joe : Et toi ? Qu'est-ce que tu as fait hier ?
Manon : J'ai travaillé.
Joe : Pauvre de toi.
Manon (rires) Ton français est trop bon !
Joe (rires)
Waitress : Voilà les moules frites.
Manon : Dis donc! C'est très bon ! Qui t'a parlé de cet endroit ?
Joe : C'est secret.
Manon : Trop bon !
Eric: One more time, a little more slowly.
Manon : Alors, comment était Vincennes, hier ?
Joe : C'était vraiment chouette. On est allés là-bas en métro. On a mangé des sandwiches, et on a bu...on a bu, quoi.
Manon: Vous avez vu des concerts ?
Joe : Oui, c'était génial.
Manon : Tout comme un parisien.
Joe : Et toi ? Qu'est-ce que tu as fait hier ?
Manon : J'ai travaillé.
Joe : Pauvre de toi.
Manon (rires) Ton français est trop bon !
Joe (rires)
Waitress : Voilà les moules frites.
Manon : Dis donc! C'est très bon ! Qui t'a parlé de cet endroit ?
Joe : C'est secret.
Manon : Trop bon !
Eric: One more time, with the translation.
Manon : Alors, comment était Vincennes, hier ?
Eric: So how was Vincennes yesterday?
Joe : C'était vraiment chouette. On est allés là-bas en métro. On a mangé des sandwiches, et on a bu...on a bu, quoi.
Eric: It was really amazing! We went there by metro. We ate sandwiches, we drank...well, we drank.
Manon: Vous avez vu des concerts ?
Eric: Did you see any concerts?
Joe : Oui, c'était génial.
Eric: Yes, we did. It was great.
Manon : Tout comme un parisien.
Eric: Just like a Parisian.
Joe : Et toi ? Qu'est-ce que tu as fait hier ?
Eric: How about you? What did you do yesterday?
Manon : J'ai travaillé.
Eric: I worked.
Joe : Pauvre de toi.
Eric: Poor you.
Manon : Ton français est trop bon !
Eric: Your French is too good.
Joe (rires)
EricJoe (laughs)
Waitress : Voilà les moules frites.
Eric: Here are the mussels with French fries.
Manon : Dis donc! C'est très bon ! Qui t'a parlé de cet endroit ?
Eric: Oh my gosh, this is so good! Who told you about this place?
Joe : C'est secret.
Eric: It's a secret.
Manon : Trop bon !
Eric: Too good.
Post Conversation Banter
Eric: So, wow, was that a date?
Virginie: I think so, I think Joe wants it to be a date.
Eric: But does Manon?
Virginie: I don’t know if it’s a date for Manon because, you know, French people don’t really date.
Eric: Interesting. At all? How do you…
Virginie: We don’t actually call it date, you know, it’s not like there is a format when you meet someone. And we still hang out together and everything, but there is no protocol for a date.
Eric: What do you do if you like someone who is French? How do you manage?
Virginie: Well, you just call him up and say hey, what you at to, let’s have a walk.
Eric: So if you are in France and you are passionately in love with someone, ask them for a walk.
Virginie: Yeah.
Eric: Ok.
Virginie: Yeah, along the river or, you know, and you can also of course go to the movies or go to the restaurant, etc. But it’s not said that it’s a date.
Eric: Right, it’s a little more casual.
Virginie: Enough with dating, let’s take a look at our vocabulary for the day.
Vocab List
Virginie: hier [natural native speed]
Eric: yesterday
Virginie: hier [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: hier [natural native speed]
Virginie: chouette [natural native speed]
Eric: nice
Virginie: chouette [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: chouette [natural native speed]
Virginie: le métro [natural native speed]
Eric: the subway
Virginie: le métro [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: le métro [natural native speed]
Virginie: un sandwich [natural native speed]
Eric: a sandwich
Virginie: un sandwich [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: un sandwich [natural native speed]
Virginie: manger [natural native speed]
Eric: to eat
Virginie: manger [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: manger [natural native speed]
Virginie: quoi [natural native speed]
Eric: well
Virginie: quoi [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: quoi [natural native speed]
Virginie: un concert [natural native speed]
Eric: a concert
Virginie: un concert [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: un concert [natural native speed]
Virginie: tout comme [natural native speed]
Eric: just like
Virginie: tout comme [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: tout comme [natural native speed]
Virginie: un(e) parisien(ne) [natural native speed]
Eric: a Parisian
Virginie: un(e) parisien(ne) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: un(e) parisien(ne) [natural native speed]
Virginie: pauvre [natural native speed]
Eric: poor
Virginie: pauvre [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: pauvre [natural native speed]
Virginie: trop [natural native speed]
Eric: too
Virginie: trop [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: trop [natural native speed]
Virginie: bon [natural native speed]
Eric: good
Virginie: bon [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: bon [natural native speed]
Virginie: les moules frites [natural native speed]
Eric: mussels with fries
Virginie: les moules frites [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: les moules frites [natural native speed]
Virginie: dis donc! [natural native speed]
Eric: my!
Virginie: dis donc! [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: dis donc! [natural native speed]
Virginie: qui [natural native speed]
Eric: who
Virginie: qui [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: qui [natural native speed]
Virginie: un endroit [natural native speed]
Eric: a place
Virginie: un endroit [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: un endroit [natural native speed]
Virginie: secret/secrète [natural native speed]
Eric: secret
Virginie: secret/secrète [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Virginie: secret/secrète [natural native speed]
Vocab and Phrase Usage
Virginie: Ok, let's take a look at some of the words from our dialogue, Eric.
Eric: I think we had first the sentence ends in the word quoi.
Virginie: Joe says in the dialogue, "on a bu quoi", well, we drank.
Eric: It’s a little bit, not slang, but familiar language.
Virginie: It is, it’s very casual, it sort of means “You know what I mean.”
Eric: And then I think he said something else that's interesting, he says, or Manon, rather, says, tout comme un parisien, which means “just like a Parisian.”
Virginie: Tout comme un parisien. So yes, it’s composed of the adverb tout, and then the adverb comme.
Eric: Basically meaning “just like.”
Virginie: For example, you can say, il est tout comme moi.
Eric: “He does everything like I do.”
Virginie: Also, you could say, c’est tout comme, by itself, and that means "it's almost the same.” So that’s a slightly different meaning, it’s used by itself.
Eric: Ok. So for example, you can say you're with somebody who's really close to you, maybe not actually related, but somebody say, oh, is that your sister? And you say, non, mais c'est tout comme.
Virginie: Right.
Eric: Just like
Virginie: What do we have next?
Eric: A nice little phrase, Dis donc.
Virginie: Yes, Dis donc
Eric: What does it mean?
Virginie: I think in our dialogue Manon is impressed by the food and the place. So she said Dis donc! That’s to express her surprise.
Eric: And that’s in English, roughly “Oh my!” or “oh my gosh!” or “wow!” something like that.
Virginie: Literally, it’s "say so” - Dis donc. If you use another intonation when you say dis donc, it can mean something very different.
Eric: What is that?
Virginie: Well, it can just mean “tell me!” Dis donc!
Eric: So what would be an example for this other usage?
Virginie: I could tell you - Dis donc, c'est ta voiture? “Tell me, is this your car?”
Eric: She’d be indicating the car right next to her, or something like that. Dis donc, tu as un euro? Tell me, do you have Euro?
Virginie: Exactly, so again, dis donc.
Eric: And I want to talk about a few expressions of time, to you know, to explain; if you're talking about “yesterday,” “today,” “tomorrow.” If you want to say “yesterday,” we were using the word hier.
Virginie: And that’s in our dialogue, hier.
Eric: If we're talking about the present, you're going to say?
Virginie: Auourd'hui.
Eric: Auourd'hui. And the word jour, “day,” is actually in the middle of it.
Virginie: That’s a good tip to remember it. Today.
Eric: And finally, “tomorrow” is?
Virginie: Demain.
Eric: Demain.

Lesson focus

Eric: Ok, Virgine, I think our grammar point for this lesson is past tense, right? The Passe Compose. Before we begin to see some examples of passé composé, let’s talk about how it’s used.
Virginie: You will use the passé composé anytime you’re talking about an action that start and end in the past.
Eric: It’s like a completed action. For example, you can say, “yesterday I ate an apple.”
Virginie: And in this case, “yesterday I ate an apple,” you will use in French the passé composé. Another usage of passé composé is, talking about an action that interrupted another actions in the past.
Eric: For example?
Virginie: Let’s follow up with this “eating an apple” example.
Eric: Alright.
Virginie: I can say, I was eating an apple when Eric came in.
Eric: So the second action,Eric coming in, is basically interrupting the first on-going action of you eating an apple.
Virginie: Yep… Virginie: “Eric came in” is going to be at the passé composé in French. Let’s be more concrete and let’s see an example from our dialogue. Joe says, On est allés là-bas en métro.
Eric: We went there by metro.
Virginie: Here our passé composé is, on est allés “we went,” and it’s composed of the verb être ou ne, and then it’s followed by the past participle allés.
Eric: And for ER verbs, we are going to basically construct all the past participles in the same way. We are going to drop the r and we are going to put an é, an acute accent on the e.
Virginie: And again, on est allés, it’s spelled allé, acute accent é. But what you need to know is that most verbs ah in the passé composé are going to be constructed with the verb avoir, and then the past participle.
Eric: The passé composé is a compound tense like we have in English, like for example, when you say, I have gone, I have done, that type of thing. You are using two verbs to construct the verb phrase. So have is going to be avoir in this case.
Virginie: Exactly, and then the past participle. Let’s take an example here. How would you say I have eaten an apple, or I ate an apple?
Eric: Well, you would say j’ai, “I have” with the subject and avoir together and then mangé the past participle, the infinitive manger, you drop the r and you add the é.
Virginie: Same thing. So again, it’s j’ai mangé, “I have eaten” or “I ate.”
Eric: And now avoir is kind of the default. Almost every verb is going to take avoir in the passé composé. If you don’t know a verb, I would guess that is going to take avoir. But there are some exceptions and these are basically the verbs of movement or change. They are going to take être.
Virginie: So it’s going to be être, and then your past participle. Just like in our first example, on est allés, “we went,” which is a movement verb, right. You go somewhere, you move.
Eric: Exactly.
Virginie: Then, there you are going to use être.
Eric: But when it’s a normal verb such as manger to eat, you are just going to fall back on avoir, the normal construction. So in avoir, the past participle is always going to stay exactly the same no matter if the subject is masculine, feminine, plural, singular. It’s always going to be j’ai mangé, nous avons mangé. It’s always going to be the same.
Virginie: But if your verb is constructed with the verb être, then the past participle will have to agree in gender and number with the subject.
Eric: Exactly but again only for the verbs that you take être, the verbs of movement or change.
Virginie: Can we explain that a little more in depth Eric?
Eric: Yeah. Well for example, if we want to say on est allés, we went, then in that case, since its plural, on, we are going to add an S to the end of allé.
Virginie: A, L, L, E acute accent, S. On est allés.
Eric: Now we were making an agreement between the subject which is plural and the verb which now also is plural.
Virginie: Now you can’t hear it obviously but it’s spelled different.
Eric: And the same is going to be if it’s a woman who is speaking as opposed to a man.
Virginie: Yeah if I was saying je suis allée, since I am a girl, I am going to put an E in at the end of the past participle allé. So it’s going to be spelled allé, and then little e.
Eric: But if I am saying je suis allé, it would be allé, no change in spelling.
Virginie: When it’s a group of women speaking and they say on est allées, then it’s going to agree in both gender and number. So you are going to add an E for the female form and then you are going to add an S as well because there are several women. So it’s going to be spelled allées. Nous sommes allées, on est allées.
Eric: But the way it works out is, if you have a mixed group, the default is always to pretend everyone is a man. I don’t know why that is but…
Virginie: Yeah men win over women.
Eric: These old school languages.
Virginie: So for example, if I say, on est allés, and I am talking about Eric and I going somewhere, on est allés is only going to be É and S, but no E.
Eric: So even though a woman is present in the group, the way it works out is, we kind of go back to everyone being a man. I don’t know why.
Virginie: Yes, that is so sad.
Eric: Very sexist.
Virginie: Now that we have covered the passé composé, let’s go back to the imparfait a little bit and try to explain the difference between the two right because…
Eric: Yeah, yeah exactly.
Virginie: You know the problem is that when you use ah I went in English, in French, it will be either the passé composé or the imparfait.
Eric: You have to make a choice, yes. So for example, if there is an action that interrupts another action, we are going to use for the interrupting action, the passé composé.
Virginie: And we are going to use for the interrupted action, the imparfait. Let’s give an example, it will be easier.
Eric: Okay so if we want to say, I was eating an apple when Eric came in..
Virginie: It’s going to be j'ai mangé une pomme quand Éric est entré.
Eric: And j'ai mangé is l’imparfait.
Virginie: Right.
Eric: And Éric est entré is passé composé.
Virginie: So I was eating an apple is imparfait. When Eric came in is passé composé. Whenever in English, you can use, I was eating, I was walking, I was doing something, you are going to be using the imparfait in French, like in a still picture.
Eric: And so this still picture is l’imparfait. These are the things that are unchanging the kind of background actions that we have going on.
Virginie: So let’s imagine you have your still picture and it’s sunny, it was sunny. So you are going to be using the imparfait and you are describing your still picture. It’s the imparfait, and all of a sudden a lightning struck, and that’s going to be the passé composé. Il faisait beau “it was sunny,” quand “when,” un éclair à éclaté “a lightning struck,” and that’s passé composé.
Eric: Where everything else is resting stable, we are going to use imparfait, but when we have this disruptive action, we have this thing that’s taking place, immediately, we are going to be using passé composé.

Outro

Virginie: Alright, I think we’re done for this lesson.
Eric: Great! And if you have any question about passé composé vs imparfait, just take a look at our lesson note. And that will help you a lot.
Virginie: Yes, and you will find also in the lesson notes a list of all the verbs used with the verb être at the passé composé. Thank you for listening!
Eric: Thank you for listening. See you soon.
Virginie: Bye!

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5 Comments

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FrenchPod101.comVerified
Saturday at 6:30 pm
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FrenchPod101.com
Thursday at 2:48 am
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Bonjour Deanna et merci pour votre commentaire !


Voici la correction de votre texte :

Quand j’étais une étudiante, j’apprennais le français. Après l’école, je n’ai pas pratiqué, et j’ai beaucoup oublié la langue.


A bientôt !

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Deanna
Thursday at 8:08 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Quand j'étais une étudiante, j'apprendais le français. Après l'école, je n'ai pas practiqué, et j'ai oublié beaucoup de la langue.


When I was a student, I learned french. After school, I didn't practice, and I forgot much of the language.

FrenchPod101.comVerified
Wednesday at 11:06 am
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Hi Ylva Schanke,


That's a very good question!

I would like to explain some things about Passé Composé and Imparfait:


Imparfait [je mangeais] translates to the English imperfect [I was eating] while the passé composé [j'ai mangé] literally translates to the English present perfect [I have eaten], but can also be translated as the English simple past [I ate] or the emphatic past [I did eat].


In general, Imparfait describes past situations, while the Passé Composé narrates specific events. In addition, Imparfait can set the stage for an event expressed with the Passé Composé.


Compare the uses of these two tenses:


1. Incomplete vs Complete


Imparfait describes an ongoing action with no specified completion. Actually

"Imperfect" in English or "Imparfait" in French, comes from the Latin "imperfectus" meaning "unfinished", because the imperfect expresses an ongoing, uncompleted action:


-J'allais en France. - I was going to France.


-Je visitais des monuments et prenais des photos. - I was visiting monuments and taking pictures


The passé composé expresses one or more events or actions that began and ended in the past:


-Je suis allé en France. - I went to France.


-J'ai visité des monuments et pris des photos. - I visited monuments and took some pictures.


2. Habitual vs Occasional


The Imparfait is used for habitual or repeated actions, something that happened an uncounted number of times:


-Je voyageais en France tous les ans. - I traveled (used to travel) to France every year.


The Passé Composé talks about a single event, or an event that happened a specific number of times:


-J'ai voyagé en France l'année dernière. - I traveled in France last year.


3. Ongoing vs New


The imperfect describes also a general physical or mental state of being:


-J'avais peur des chiens. - I was afraid of dogs.


The Passé Composé indicates a change in physical or mental state at a precise moment or for an isolated cause:


-J'ai eu peur quand le chien a aboyé. - I was scared when the dog barked.


4. Background + Interruption


Imparfait and Passé Composé sometimes work together. Imparfait provides a description/background info, to set the scene of how things were or what was happening (In English: past tense of "be" + verb with -ing usually indicates this) when something interrupted (expressed with the Passé Composé).


-J'étais à la banque quand Chirac est arrivé. - I was at the bank when Chirac arrived.


-Je vivais en Espagne quand je l'ai trouvé. - I was living in Spain when I found it.


Now take a look at this text in Imparfait:


Quand j'avais 15 ans, je voulais être psychiatre. Je m'intéressais à la psychologie parce que je connaissais beaucoup de gens très bizarres. Le week-end, j'allais à la bibliothèque et j'étudiais pendant toute la journée.


When I was 15, I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I was interested in psychology because I knew a lot of really weird people. On the weekends, I used to go to the library and study all day.



And now look at this text in Passé composé:


Un jour, je suis tombé malade et j'ai découvert les miracles de la médecine. J'ai fait la connaissance d'un médecin et j'ai commencé à étudier avec lui. Quand la faculté de médecine m'a accepté, je n'ai plus pensé à la psychologie.


One day, I got sick and discovered the wonders of medicine. I met a doctor and started studying with him. After the medical school accepted me, I didn't think about psychology any more.


I hope this gives you a clearer image of how each tense works, so you can use it accordingly when needed.


Let us know if you need more help!


Stefania/FrenchPod101.com

Ylva Schanke
Wednesday at 5:38 am
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Hi!


I just wonder, cause in most cases, there's not an action interupted by another, but that action is standing alone in the sentence, so when should I use passé compose and imparfait in those cases??