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Lesson Transcript

Sam: Céline welcome back for today’s wonderful lesson.
Céline: Bonjour Sam, welcome back, yes.
Sam: And, how about today’s lesson? What’s the focus of today’s lesson?
Céline: The focus of today’s lesson is to talk about possibilities with the verb “can”.
Sam: Okay, sounds fantastic and maybe our speakers will be using casual French.
Céline: Of course and conversation is between Alex and myself and it takes place over the phone.
Sam: So, shall we start today’s lesson?
Céline: Oui.
Woman: Alex, tu peux venir chez moi?
Woman: Oui je peux venir samedi.
Woman: Et tu peux sortir après?
Woman: Oui, je peux sortir après.
Woman: Alors tu peux dire à Sam samedi?
Woman: One more time, with the English.
Céline: Encore une fois, avec l’anglais.
Woman: Alex, tu peux venir chez moi?
Male: “Alex, can you come to my house?”
Woman: Oui je peux venir samedi.
Male: “Yes, I can come Saturday.”
Woman: Et tu peux sortir après?
Male: “And, can you go out after?”
Woman: Oui, je peux sortir après.
Male: “Yes, I can go out after.”
Woman: Alors tu peux dire à Sam samedi?
Male: “Then, can you tell Sam, Saturday?”
Sam: Céline, what are some things you can do in the weekend in your hometown?
Céline: In Toulouse?
Sam: Yes.
Céline: In South of France?
Sam: Yes.
Céline: So, you can go to the beach, to the mountains or take a walk. Toulouse is really nice, go clubbing.
Sam: Go clubbing? Okay.
Céline: Go to a restaurant.
Sam: Sounds good.
Céline: Yes.
Sam: You go to the beach and the mountains?
Céline: Yes, because Toulouse is in the middle. So you can go to the Atlantic Ocean.
Sam: Wow.
Céline: The Mediterranean Sea or to the Pyrénées.
Sam: Oh, wow. The Pyrenees. Sounds good.
Céline: Yes. Or you can go to Spain. Yes, in southern France, people - they love to go to Spain. Barcelona is just like three hours by car.
Sam: Oh, wow.
Céline: Yeah.
Sam: So, the people who live in the south of France in the weekend can take a drive into Spain and then come back.
Céline: Exactement. And people from Paris can go to London and people from Strasbourg they can go to Germany, Belgium…
Sam: That sounds really great.
Céline: That’s very good! France is really well located.
Sam: Have you ever driven into Spain on the weekend?
Céline: Always.
Sam: Did you speed?
Céline: We can’t. On ne peut pas.
Sam: You’re not able to speed?
Céline: No.
Sam: Now, can we take a look at the vocab and phrases from this lesson?
Céline: Yes. Bien sûr.
Sam: Okay, the first item is?
Céline: Je peux.
Sam: “I can”.
Céline: Je peux. Je peux.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Tu peux.
Sam: “You can”.
Céline: Tu peux. Tu peux.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Venir.
Sam: “To come”.
Céline: Venir. Venir.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Sortir.
Sam: “To go out, to come out”.
Céline: Sortir. Sortir.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Dire.
Sam: “To say” or “to tell”.
Céline: Dire. Dire.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Chez.
Sam: “At”.
Céline: Chez. Chez.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Moi.
Sam: “Me”.
Céline: Moi. Moi.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Samedi.
Sam: “Saturday”.
Céline: Samedi. Samedi.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Alors.
Sam: “Then” or “so”.
Céline: Alors. Alors.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Après.
Sam: “After”.
Céline: Après. Après.
Sam: Now, let’s look at the vocabulary and usage from this lesson. The first item is?
Céline: Tu peux. “You can.” Here, in the dialogue, it’s a question. So, it will be translated as “Can you?”
Sam: How do you differentiate between the question and the statement?
Céline: Just by the intonation. For example: Tu peux venir samedi soir?
Sam: “Can you come on Saturday night?”
Céline: Tu peux venir samedi soir.
Sam: “You can come on Saturday night.”
Céline: See the difference, Sam?
Sam: Yes, I do. Just by the intonation alone, we can differentiate between the question and the statement.
Céline: Yes. The second form of “can” we see in the dialogue is “je peux”, “I can.”
Sam: So, “je peux” is a question. Is asking permission, right?
Céline: Exactly. For example: Je peux venir chez toi?
Sam: “Can I come to your house?” Ah, it’s the same thing in English!
Céline: Yes! From the verb “pouvoir”, “can”. “Pouvoir” can also be a noun, if you put an article in front it. Le pouvoir. It’s a masculine noun meaning “the power”.
Sam: I understand why it’s masculine. What do we have next?
Céline: Next we have “sortir”, “to go out”, it’s a verb from the second group as it ends with “ir”.
Sam: “To go out.”
Céline: Yes, “to go out”. But “sortir” has different meanings. Here, as you said, “to go out”, but as it is Saturday it means “going clubbing” or “partying”. Let’s see another example. Le film de Jean-Pierre Bacri sort aujourd’hui.
Sam: “Jean-Pierre Bacri’s movie comes out today.”
Céline: Philippe sort avec Laetitia.
Sam: “Philipe is going out with Letitia.” You mean they’re boyfriend and girlfriend.
Céline: Yes. “Je sors” with somebody means, “it’s kind of official”.
Sam: I see, next we have the word…
Céline: “Samedi”. “Saturday”. You know, that it’s the same in English. It’s referring to planet Saturn.
Sam: That rings a bell. Get it? Get it? Saturn, rings. Sorry.
Céline: Bravo, bravo. Did you know, Sam, that in France they public French TV cannot broadcast movies on TV on Saturdays?
Sam: No. And why is that?
Céline: To favor the movie theaters. You know, in France we think of everything.
Sam: Of course.

Lesson focus

Sam: Now, onto today’s very easy grammar point.
Céline: Yes, Sam. We will try to explain as easy as possible. So, the verb “can”, in French expresses the capacity, the physical possibility, the permission, the eventuality and the choice.
Sam: Sounds easy.
Céline: First, let’s see the capacity. For example: Je peux compter jusqu’à 100 en français.
Sam: “I can count up to 100 in French.”
Céline: To talk about something you’re capable of doing, right? It’s the same as English. The pattern in French is really easy. Subject “je”, conjugated verb “can” “peux” plus infinitive verb as in: Je peux nager.
Sam: “I can swim.”
Céline: Je peux jouer la comédie.
Sam: “I can put on an act.” So can I.
Céline: So, you see, “I can” in French is “je peux” and then you add the infinitive verb. Really easy.
Sam: Very easy.
Céline: Now, let’s see the physical possibility with “can”. In our dialogue, we have: Tu peux venir chez moi?
Sam: “Can you come to my house?”
Céline: Oui, meaning “Is it possible for you to come to my house?” So, Alex said: Oui je peux venir samedi.
Sam: “Yes, I can come on Saturday.” I have a question. What if he can’t come on Saturday?
Céline: Non, je ne peux pas venir samedi.
Sam: Another easy pattern! Instead of “je peux”, you make a sandwich. “Ne peux pas” and of course in the beginning you say “no”.
Céline: Yeah, but you know, “si tu veux, tu peux venir ce soir”.
Sam: “If you want, you can come tonight.”
Céline: Yes, that’s the use of “can” for choice. “Si tu veux” meaning “if you want”. That reminds me of the word: Si on veut, on peut.
Sam: “If we want, we can.” Meaning, “Nothing is impossible.” or meaning “Anything is possible.”
Céline: As well, in the dialogue, I ask Alex “Tu peux dire à Sam samedi?”, “Can you tell Sam Saturday?”, as we said in many lessons, intonations in French is really important. Pay attention that this is the informal French. For formal questions you may use: “Pouvez-vous”?
Sam: For example?
Céline: Pouvez-vous fermer la porte?
Sam: “Can you close the door?”
Céline: You can you add “s’il vous plaît”, at the end, to make it more formal. Pouvez-vous fermer la porte s’il vous plaît? So that’s for a request. Another one: Pouvez-vous vous taire s’il vous plaît?
Sam: “Can you please shut up?” How about “could”?
Céline: “Could” is a little bit different. It’s “Pourriez-vous”, this is really polite.
Sam: The good old conditional tense.
Céline: Oui.
Sam: But, we will get to that in another lesson, I’m sure.
Céline: Of course.
Sam: How do you say “Can I take some pictures?”
Céline: Okay. You can say that in two ways: Je peux prendre des photos?
Sam: “Can I take some pictures?”
Céline: And the other one is: Puis-je prendre des photos?
Sam: “May I take some pictures?”
Céline: Yes, you cannot use “Peux-je prendre des photos”, it’s not French. At the same time, “puis-je” is really formal and polite. So, it’s perfect for any situation. “Je peux” is less formal.
Sam: Puis-je poser une question? “May I ask a question?”
Céline: Bien sûr que oui, of course you can. Nice use of “puis”, “Puis-je poser une question?”
Sam: Thank you. Peux-tu déjeuner avec nous aujourd’hui? Can you have lunch with us today?
Céline: Oui je peux!
Sam: You can? Great!
Céline: Génial! On y va?
Sam: Let’s go. Can you pay?
Céline: Puis-je payer? Non, je ne peux pas payer.
Sam: Oh, okay. No problem.
Céline: Okay, so here’s my question. Peux-tu me prêter 100 euros? “Can you lend me 100 euros?”
Sam: Désolé, je peux pas.
Céline: Oh tu peux pas.
Sam: Je suis égoïste.
Céline: Oui. Non tu es radin. You’re stingy. So, that was really good, Sam, because you said “Je peux pas”. When you speak French, you usually don’t pronounce the “ne”, “je peux pas” but –
Sam: - for our students, they should say: Je ne peux pas.
Céline: Exactement!


Sam: Okay. Sounds like a wrap, let’s go eat!
Céline: Oui!
Sam: Until the next time!
Céline: A bientôt!
Sam: Bye-bye!