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Lesson Transcript

Sam: “Spoiled brat, no!” I’m joined too today by?
Céline: Céline, bonjour!
Sam: Bonjour Céline! And?
Alex: Alexandre, bonjour Céline, bonjour Sam!
Sam: Bonjour Alex.
Céline: Bonjour Alex.
Alex: Ca va?
Sam: Ca va et toi?
Alex: Très bien.
Sam: Great. So what’s the backdrop for today’s lesson?
Alex: Okay, so the focus of this lesson is the negation.
Céline: In French, of course. And this conversation takes place at home.
Sam: This conversation is between Sophie and Phillipe.
Alex: The speakers are friends, therefore their French will be informal.
Sam: Now, let’s start today’s conversation, okay?
Céline: Oui!
Alex: Absolument, on y va!
Sam: Absolutely, let’s go!
Alex: Sophie, tu écris?
Céline: Non, je n’écris pas.
Alex: Tu gribouilles?
Céline: Non, je ne gribouille pas. Je dessine!
Alex: Oh non! Tu ne dessines pas sur la table! Papa, Sophie n’écoute pas.
Sam: Now, one time slowly.
Alex: Sophie, tu écris?
Céline: Non, je n’écris pas.
Alex: Tu gribouilles?
Céline: Non, je ne gribouille pas. Je dessine!
Alex: Oh non! Tu ne dessines pas sur la table! Papa, Sophie n’écoute pas.
Sam: Now, with the English.
Alex: Sophie, tu écris?
Sam: “Sophie, are you writing?”
Céline: Non, je n’écris pas.
Sam: “No, I’m not writing”
Alex: Tu gribouilles?
Sam: “Are you doodling?”
Céline: Non, je ne gribouille pas. Je dessine!
Sam: “No, I’m not doodling, I’m drawing!”
Alex: Oh non! Tu ne dessines pas sur la table! Papa, Sophie n’écoute pas.
Sam: “Oh no! You don’t draw on the table! Dad, Sophie doesn’t listen!”
Sam: So guys, do you have kids in France who are naughty sometimes?
Céline: Oh yes, and in that case we have to punish them. Punir: “to punish”.
Alex: And I remember when I was a kind, for example, I used to get cut school.
Céline: Really?
Sam: Did you cut school every day?
Alex: There were some times when I didn’t want to go.
Sam: Okay, interesting.
Céline: Me too.
Alex: And I was punished. J’étais puni.
Sam: What was the punishment?
Alex: Well I get slapped upside my head.
Sam: Oh no, did that hurt?
Alex: Of course. Especially coming from my mother, you know. She’s a very strict woman.
Céline: So if you cut school you have a punishment from your parents and from the school.
Sam: Really?
Céline: Yes. But, they don’t slap you.
Sam: So maybe parents are strict nowadays, just the punishments are a little bit different, maybe.
Céline: I think so.
Sam: How about you Céline? Did you do anything naughty?
Céline: I remember one day I cut my hair and messed up my mother’s clock room.
Sam: What did your mother do?
Céline: She scolded me.
Alex: So, she didn’t punish you? She didn’t say “au coin”, “at the corner”? As a punishment, kids have to stay at the corner of the room for a long time.
Céline: Yeah, that’s true. But you know, when my mother scolds it’s really like a punishment.
Alex: C’est une femme de poigne comme on dit en français.
Sam: She’s a strong woman. Why don’t we get strong like Céline’s mother and go onto the vocabulary and phrases from this lesson?
Sam: Okay, the first item is?
Céline: Dessiner.
Sam: “To draw”.
Céline: Dessiner. Dessiner.
Sam: Next.
Alex: Ecouter.
Sam: “To listen”.
Alex: Ecouter. Ecouter.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Sur.
Sam: “On”.
Céline: Sur. Sur.
Sam: Next.
Alex: Table.
Sam: “Table”.
Alex: Table. Table.
Sam: Now let’s have a closer look the usage for some of these items from today’s lesson.
Céline: The first phrase is: Sophie, tu écris?
Sam: “Sophie, are you writing?”
Alex: In French we can also say: Sophie, est-ce que tu écris?
Sam: Got it. So, those two phrases mean the same thing. “Est-ce que” means “is this that?” you can add that and make a question with almost anything.
Alex: Right. Par exemple, Céline, est-ce que tu manges?
Sam: “Céline, is that you’re eating?”
Céline: Or you can say: Alex, tu manges?
Sam: “Alex, are you eating?” Voilà, you got it. Same meaning, just two different styles.
Céline: Exactly. Well, the next phrase is: Non, je n’écris pas.
Sam: “No, I’m not writing.” So, when making a negation we have two simple parts we need to use. There’s a “ne” and a “pas” part. And usually the conjugated verb is between those two parts. Much like a sandwich. For example?
Céline: Alex, tu parles espagnol?
Sam: “Alex, do you speak Spanish?”
Alex: Non, je ne parle pas espagnol.
Sam: “No, I don’t speak Spanish.” As you could hear from Alex’s response, you heard: je ne parle pas espagnol. NE, PARLE, PAS. The negation surrounds the conjugated verb. Easy, right guys?
Céline: Yes, it’s easy. Next we have : Je gribouille.
Sam: “I’m doodling.” What a funny word in French.
Alex: Not that funny because in the dialogue she’s doodling on the table, sur la table.
Céline: Oui. Sur la table.
Sam: “On the table” so “sur” is “on” in English, right?
Alex: Right, absolutely. For example: Le chat est sur la table.
Sam: “The cat is on the table.”
Céline: Yeah, and you know what, sounds like English textbooks in France for kids. That was the first sentence I learned in English. “The cat is on the table.” Le chat est sur la chaise.
Sam: “The cat is on the chair.”
Alex: Oh yeah, me too. It was like a song.
Sam: Talking about songs, how about the verb we find in the dialogue? “To listen”.
Céline: Ecouter. Here: Sophie n’écoute pas.
Sam: “She doesn’t listen.”
Céline: She’s disobeying. But, as you were talking about song, how about this example? Nous écoutons une chanson de Jacques Dutronc.
Sam: “We’re listening to a song from Jacques Dutronc.” So I guess, Jacques Dutronc is a famous French singer.
Alex: Yes. Really famous singer and composer and actor, too. And he was a dandy in the sixties and seventies in France.
Céline: Oui Alex. So if you’re listening to music, in French you would say: J’écoute de la musique.
Sam: “I’m listening to some music.”
Alex: Okay, another example. Un autre exemple. Céline n’écoute pas.
Sam: “Céline doesn’t listen.” I knew that already.
Céline: N’importe quoi!
Sam: “Nonsense.”
Céline: Mais si j’écoute! I’m listening, and to prove you that, I know that it’s time for the grammar.
Sam: That’s a fantastic idea. Let’s see how the French make negations. Shall we go?
Alex: Bien sûr!

Lesson focus

Sam: So today’s grammar point is making negations using “ne” and “pas”.
Céline: Yes, Sam. In the dialogue, the first negation we see is : Je n’écris pas.
Sam: “I’m not writing.”
Céline: And the second: Je ne gribouille pas.
Sam: “I’m not doodling.”
Céline: In both sentences, the common language put is the negative form. La négation.
Sam: Okay. And how do you make negations from these statements?
Alex: It’s very easy. The negative is formed with two particles. “Ne” and “pas”. Take the simple phrase “je dessine” from the dialogue.
Sam: “I draw.”
Alex: Add “ne” in front of the verb “dessine”.
Céline: And add “pas” after the verb. You’ll end up with: je ne dessine pas.
Sam: Which means “I’m not drawing.” But one point, guys. We need to tell our listeners to make sure they make the positive statements first, conjugate the verb and then just stick the two pieces on the beginning and the end. It’s very easy.
Alex: Tout à fait. Exactly. Be aware, though. There’s a trick if you have a verb starting with a vowel.
Sam: And what’s that?
Céline: With verb beginning either with “a”, “e”, “I”, “o”, “u”, the negative particle in front is not “ne” but “n” apostrophe for pronunciation purpose.
Alex: As in: Je n’écris pas.
Sam: “I’m not writing.”
Céline: Or with the verb “aimer”, “to like” or “to love” as in: Je n’aime pas le vin blanc.
Sam: “I don’t like white wine.” Interesting, I heard that “ne” is blended with the verb pronunciation.
Alex: Oui and the sound “e” disappears at the letter “e” is eliminated from the negative particle “ne”.
Sam: And basically is like a sandwich, as I said earlier. “Ne” plus conjugated verb plus “pas”. The equivalent in English is “not”. The negations in French are quite easy.
Alex: For sentences with the verb “to have”, the verb is followed by an article as in: J’ai une petite amie.
Sam: “I have a girlfriend.”
Céline: So, for the negative statement, you change the article by “de”. Alex?
Alex: Je n’ai pas de petite amie.
Sam: Okay, so “de” is the equivalent of “any”. How would you say, for example, “I don’t have any money?”
Céline: Je n’ai pas d’argent. You have to use the “d” apostrophe as “argent” starts with a vowel.
Alex: And any other example, please?
Sam: “I don’t have any change.”
Céline: Je n’ai pas de monnaie.
Sam: Or Picasso, right?
Céline: Yeah, or Dali.
Sam: It’s a joke.
Céline: I know.
Sam: Monnaie, Monet.
Alex: Oh, Claude Monet you mean. Okay, now I understand. Now I understand. Claude Monet, famous French painter.
Sam: Yes.
Céline: Tout à fait.
Sam: And the pronunciation for his name and the word “change” are the same pronunciation. It’s a funny joke, right?
Alex: Be careful because there’s Monet and Manet, too, not the painter. You know that, right?
Sam: I didn’t know that.
Céline: So how about this example? Je ne regarde pas la télé.
Sam: “I’m not watching TV.” Oh, good. I got it. So, to recap everything, “ne pas” is a negation adverb used to express a negation. It is always placed between the verb as in?
Céline: Je ne suis pas Française.
Sam: “I’m not French.” If the verb starts with a vowel, it changes by “d” apostrophe. As in?
Céline: Je n’écoute pas.
Sam: “I’m not listening.” When you see the negation with the verb “to have” as in?
Céline: J’ai une moto.
Sam: “I have a motorbike.” You have to replace the article with “de” as in?
Céline: Je n’ai pas de moto.
Sam: “I don’t have any motorcycles.” Great, that’s quite easy.
Céline: Sam, be aware that this is one of the many French negative adverbs, but we will study them in coming lessons.
Alex: Yes, coming soon! Is this the end?
Céline: C’est la fin. It’s the end.
Alex: But I have one last question! Céline, est-ce que tu fumes?
Sam: “Céline is that you smoke?”
Céline: Ah non, je ne fume pas, je ne bois pas, mais...
Sam: “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, but…”
Alex: You eat chocolate! I know, I know!
Céline: Oui!
Sam: Le chocolat!
Céline: Okay, so this is the really end, right?
Sam: Yes, and let’s go have some chocolate.
Alex: Right now, hot chocolate.


Sam: But I don’t have any Monet. Sorry, bad joke. Until the next time!
Alex: A la prochaine, au revoir!
Céline: Au revoir.
Sam: Bye-bye!


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