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Lesson Transcript

Céline: Exactly. Bonjour, je m’appelle Céline.
Sam: Welcome back, Céline. We have another exciting lesson today, right?
Céline: Yes.
Sam: Céline, tell us about today’s lesson.
Céline: Today, we’re going to learn some idiomatic expressions in French.
Sam: Sounds fantastic. And where does this lesson take place?
Céline: At my place.
Sam: And who’s the conversation between?
Céline: Alex and me.
Sam: Sounds great, shall we start?
Céline: Let’s go!
Woman: Céline tu es prête?
Woman: Non! Attends!
Woman: Oh la la! Dépêche-toi!
Woman: Ok! On y va!
Woman: Sam, tu es prêt?
Woman: Oui! On y va!
Woman: Alex, tu es prêt?
Woman: Oh non, le café!
Sam: So, Céline, before you go out, I know it takes me a long time to get ready, maybe an hour or so. How about you?
Céline: Same. I think one hour or one hour and a half?
Sam: It’s pretty fast, right?
Céline: Yeah, I think so.
Sam: Of course, before you get ready to go out you have to choose the right outfit, the right hairstyle, the right bag.
Céline: That’s the main problem. So, personally I choose before the bath or the shower. In France, men are like women, maybe worse.
Sam: Oh, really?
Céline: Yes. Yeah, I think so.
Sam: But, you have to be comfortable before you go out, right?
Céline: I think so and pretty and beautiful.
Sam: You look good, you feel good.
Céline: Exactement.
Sam: Now that we’re ready to go out, let’s look at some vocab!
Sam: The first item is?
Céline: Etre.
Sam: “To be”.
Céline: Etre. Etre.
Sam: Next item is?
Céline: Aller.
Sam: “To go”.
Céline: Aller. Aller.
Sam: Next is?
Céline: Attendre.
Sam: “To wait”.
Céline: Attendre. Attendre.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Tu es.
Sam: “You are”.
Céline: Tu es. Tu es. Tu es.
Sam: “You are”.
Céline: Tu es. Tu es.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Café.
Sam: “Coffee”.
Céline: Café. Café.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Attends.
Sam: “Wait”.
Céline: Attends. Attends.
Sam: Next.
Céline: Dépêche-toi.
Sam: “Hurry”.
Céline: Dépêche-toi. Dépêche-toi.
Sam: Okay, now let’s have a closer look at some of the items used in this lesson.
Céline: First, we have the verb “aller”, “to go”. Do you remember, Sam, the group it belongs to?
Sam: Well, it ends with “er” but it’s from the third group. It’s an irregular verb.
Céline: Bravo Sam!
Sam: Where is the verb “aller” in our dialogue?
Céline: In the sentence : On y va! “Let’s go.”
Sam: On?
Céline: Well, yes. Let me explain you “on”. “On” is an impersonal pronoun. It can be somebody, “we”, “they”. It’s a bit tricky, but don’t worry. Here are some fresh and useful examples: On est mal barrés.
Sam: “We’re in trouble.” That’s casual French!
Céline: Yes. On s’en fiche.
Sam: “Who cares?”
Céline: Mon copain et moi, on va au restaurant.
Sam: “My boyfriend and I, we’re going to a restaurant.” So here, I think that’s casual too.
Céline: Yes. You can also say “Mon copain et moi nous allon sau restaurant.” “On” is more casual. And how about this one, Sam? In France we say: Plus on est de fous, plus on rit.
Sam: As they say in France, “the more, the merrier”. Great.
Céline: Oui. Great. Next we have the word “café”, it’s a masculine noun. You know Sam, in France people enjoy café in the morning and after meals. But, attention, only French or Italian. Not American café.
Sam: What?
Céline: Yes.
Sam: I knew you were going to say that. I’m not surprised.
Céline: Well, J’aime le café. “I like coffee.” But Sam, have you ever heard about “les cafés littéraires”?
Sam: What?
Céline: Les cafés littéraires: “Coffee house debates.”
Sam: You mean coffee houses where people chat? Like about baseball and stuff like that?
Céline: Non, non, non, non, non Sam. French people are passionate about the talking, so I think it’s more like debates. Anyway, “café littéraire” is a place where people talk about literature, thoughts, politics and it was really famous in the 17th century. It is said that the French revolution began in a “café littéraire” and then, you know what happened. Many famous people were going there and talked about their thoughts. The most famous coffee house in Paris is the “Procope”. We should go sometimes there and debate.
Sam: Great idea. Hey, wasn’t that around Jean Jacque Rousseau’s times? 17h century or was he 18th century.
Céline: I think 18th, Sam.
Sam: I think you’re right.
Céline: Yes. Okay, next item is: Attends!
Sam: “Wait!”
Céline: “Attends!” is from the verb “attendre”, the third group again. This time, at the imperative form. So, when you want the person to wait, just say “attends”. This is the casual one. For the polite one, you would say “attendez”.
Sam: And don’t forget, you can always be nice and add “s’il vous plaît” at the end, which means “please”, of course.
Céline: Yes. Like in “attendez s’il vous plaît”. We do have more polite in French. Like : Veuillez patienter s’il vous plaît.
Sam: “Please hold on.”
Céline: There’s even more polite. Veuillez patienter s’il vous plaît.
Sam: “Please hold on.” But, this is not the imperative form anymore, right?
Céline: Well, it’s the imperative form of the verb “vouloir”, so, in English that would be translated as “please, want to wait” or “please, would you wait”.
Sam: This is polite, right?
Céline: So, with French friends, you can use “attends”, “wait”. Like Alex, in the dialogue. Now, if you tell me “wait”, I would say: dépêche-toi!
Sam: “Hurry”.
Céline: Yes, “hurry”. You can also say: Allez, dépêche-toi!
Sam: “Go, hurry!” Let’s go to the grammar?
Céline: On y va!

Lesson focus

Céline: Well, Sam, today let’s learn some idiomatic expressions in French.
Sam: Can’t wait. So, what are those expressions?
Céline: Well, we saw them in the dialogue. The first one is: être prêt.
Sam: “To be ready”?
Céline: It’s used in French as same as in English. So, let’s see an example in the situation. You are at the Crazy Horse, backstage, and you’re the manager and you tell the women dancers before the show: Vous êtes prêtes?
Sam: “Are you ready?” So, “ready” agrees with the gender “prêtes” because they’re all women.
Céline: Yes, so as we say the expression “be ready”, “être prêt”, included the verb “être” so once again, please study your conjugation. Let’s see another version of “prêt”. You’re at the 14th of July in a French city. You see the fanfare getting ready and then you ask: Ils sont prêts?
Sam: “Are they ready?”
Céline: Yea. Also, let’s say that tonight there’s a big football game; Paris vs. OM. I would say to you: Sam, tu es prêt pour le grand match?
Sam: “Are you ready for the big football match?”
Céline: In that case, is not physically ready, but mentally ready for a big event or life. Another example: Je suis prête à tout pour réussir.
Sam: “I can do anything to succeed.” Oh, really?
Céline: Non, pas vraiment. Not really. In addition, the question “tu es prêt?” can be asked like “est-ce que tu es prêt?”
Sam: “Is it that you’re ready?”
Céline: Oui, on y va! Let’s go! You hear this quite a lot in our lessons. Like “on y va” or “c’est parti”. The expression “on y va” is used on its own in various contexts. Either to give the goal or a motivated team. If you want to be more educated or polite, you would say “Allons-y”, this expression means “Let’s go” and it’s the formal equivalent of “on y va”. The formal phrase “allons-y” can be used among colleagues or formal contexts.
Sam: So, “va” is a form of “aller”, “to go”, third person singular, I think. So, you should know your conjugation, right Céline?
Céline: Of course, Sam.
Sam: What is “y”?
Céline: “i”? like “y”?
Sam: Yes.
Céline: “Y” refers to a place. But, you have to say “on y va”. “Let’s go there”, literally. Let’s see an example. On va au restaurant.
Sam: “Let’s go to a restaurant.”
Céline: On y va!
Sam: Let’s go!
Céline: Literally “Let’s go there.”


Sam: Sounds great. So, let’s go to a restaurant, but first, maybe we should wrap up today’s lesson.
Céline: Is it the end?
Sam: Malheureusement. Sadly. So, until the next time.
Céline: A bientôt!
Sam: Bye-bye!