Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Jason: Hello everyone, welcome to Upper Beginner Season 1 lesson 17, Going for Coffee at a French Café. C’est Jason. Jason here!
Ingrid: Bonjour à tous, Ingrid here!
Jason: Today, we're going to learn how to politely ask something to an unknown person, for example to a waiter, to a taxi driver or to anybody you need to show some respect.
You will do your first steps with the conditional too, as you will see it is the best tense to express its wishes politely in French.
Ingrid: You'll be able to say things like "I would like this or that" in a polite way.
Jason: We will use the conditional form to ask something nicely, so that you will see it’s one of the main uses of the conditional tense in French.
Ingrid: Yes! Jason, and what will be the subject of our conversation today?
Jason: Today, the dialog will take place in a very typical and popular place in France: in a Parisian café. Vanessa and Tristan are two friends who want to drink and eat. They are speaking informal French between themselves and formal French with the waiter.
Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
Dialogue
Tristan: As-tu choisi ce que tu voudrais boire sur la carte?
Vanessa: Oui je voudrais un café noisette, et toi qu’as-tu choisi?
Tristan: J’aimerais commander un café-gourmand mais je ne vois pas le garçon de café!
Vanessa: Il est là! [Speaking to the waiter] Pouvez-vous nous apporter un café noisette et un café-gourmand s’il vous-plait?
Garçon de café: Très bien, désirez-vous du sucre dans votre café Madame?
Vanessa: Non merci, je préférerais un café sans sucre s’il vous-plait.
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Tristan: As-tu choisi ce que tu voudrais boire sur la carte?
Vanessa: Oui je voudrais un café noisette, et toi qu’as-tu choisi?
Tristan: J’aimerais commander un café-gourmand mais je ne vois pas le garçon de café!
Vanessa: Il est là! [Speaking to the waiter] Pouvez-vous nous apporter un café noisette et un café-gourmand s’il vous-plait?
Garçon de café: Très bien, désirez-vous du sucre dans votre café Madame?
Vanessa: Non merci, je préférerais un café sans sucre s’il vous-plait.
English Host: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
(In a French café)
Jason(In a French café)
(Glasses sounds, French music)
Jason(Glasses sounds, French music)
Tristan: As-tu choisi ce que tu voudrais boire sur la carte?
Jason: Have you chosen what you'd like to drink on the menu?
Vanessa: Oui je voudrais un café noisette, et toi qu’as-tu choisi?
Jason: Oh, yes, I would like a coffee with a dash of milk, and you have decided?
Tristan: J’aimerais commander un café-gourmand mais je ne vois pas le garçon de café!
Jason: I would love to order a "café gourmand," but I don't see the waiter coming!
Vanessa: Il est là! [Speaking to the waiter] Pouvez-vous nous apporter un café noisette et un café-gourmand s’il vous-plait?
Jason: He's just here! [Speaking to the waiter] Could you please bring us a coffee with a dash of milk and a "café gourmand?"
Garçon de café: Très bien, désirez-vous du sucre dans votre café Madame?
Jason: Okay, would you like some sugar in your coffee, Madam?
Vanessa: Non merci, je préférerais un café sans sucre s’il vous-plait.
Jason: No, thanks, I would prefer a sugar-free coffee please.
Post Conversation Banter
Jason: I would love to go to a French cafe!
Ingrid: Yes it’s true that the atmosphere is generally very nice and typically French!
Jason: But is it true that a lot of French typical bars are closing these days?
Ingrid: Yes unfortunately, there are just a few of them in the countryside and even in big cities, they close down to make way for new lounge-style bars that are very modern because this is what young people are looking for.
Jason: This is sad indeed. But I guess that some very famous bars in Paris will remain open a long time as they are very appreciated by tourists.
Ingrid: Yes we call them the “French brasseries” or “Parisian bars”. The most famous, but also the most expensive in Paris are “Les Deux Magots” and “Le café de Flore” which are both located in Saint-Germain des prés, which is called “the literary district of Paris”.
Jason: And why are they so famous?
Ingrid: First because it is very beautiful inside, the historical architecture and design have remained the same for decades and also because many famous writers used to go there, such as Hemingway or Jean-Paul Sartre.
Jason: Okay so you definitively have to go there if you have the chance to go to Paris!
Vocabulary and Phrases
Jason: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Ingrid: café [natural native speed]
Jason: a coffee served with a just little bit of milk
Ingrid: café [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: café [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: carte [natural native speed]
Jason: menu
Ingrid: carte [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: carte [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: commander [natural native speed]
Jason: order
Ingrid: commander [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: commander [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: café-gourmand [natural native speed]
Jason: coffee served with a selection of delicious delights
Ingrid: café-gourmand [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: café-gourmand [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: garçon de café [natural native speed]
Jason: waiter
Ingrid: garçon de café [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: garçon de café [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: sucre [natural native speed]
Jason: sugar
Ingrid: sucre [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: sucre [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: apporter [natural native speed]
Jason: to bring
Ingrid: apporter [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: apporter [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: désirer [natural native speed]
Jason: to want, to desire for
Ingrid: désirer [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: désirer [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: choisir [natural native speed]
Jason: to choose
Ingrid: choisir [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: choisir [natural native speed]
: Next:
Ingrid: préférer [natural native speed]
Jason: to prefer
Ingrid: préférer [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Ingrid: préférer [natural native speed]
Vocabulary and Phrase Usage
Jason: Let's have a closer look at the usuage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Ingrid: The first word/phrase we’ll look at is....
Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases
from this lesson.
Jason: As is the case in all Parisian coffees, you have to choose your drink on the menu before calling the waiter by putting your hand up. That’s why Tristan is asking Vanessa if she’s ready to order.
Ingrid: Yes, in the past we used to call the waiter by saying “garçon!” quite loud, but nowadays you only have to put your hand up and say “please”. Otherwise it will sound a bit old-fashioned!
Jason: Yeah, I think you're right! Usually garçon simply means boy in French, but in a coffee or a restaurant, it means waiter. What about the different types of coffees we heard in the conversation?
Ingrid: We heard café noisette and café gourmand.
Jason: It sounds quite similar; can you say it slowly and explain what is the difference?
Ingrid: (slowly) café noisette and café gourmand
Jason: And one more time at natural speed?
Ingrid: café noisette and café gourmand
A café noisette is really popular beverage in France composed of black coffee with just a dash of milk in it. The café gourmand is a coffee served with a selection of small French desserts. In Paris, it’s now a really trendy way to taste desserts.
Jason: Yes, and you can have more info on this in the bonus section, please check them.
Okay, and our next word?
Ingrid: Commander (natural speed)
Jason: Commander (slowly). This means to order. In the dialogue, Vanessa wants to order her coffee.
And we'll see how she is doing it in a polite way just a little more later on in this lesson, but let’s remember that verb for to order something in a coffee or a restaurant is Commander. Can we hear it again slowly?
Ingrid: (slowly) Commander
Jason: And again at natural speed.
Ingrid: Commander
Jason: This is a really convenient verb that you use when you have chosen your dish and you want to order it to the waiter. We’ll see that the usual way to order is “J’aimerais commander s’il vous plait!”
Ingrid: Yes! When you are in a coffee, this is definitely the more natural way to ask for your order.
Jason: Okay, so now let's move on to the lesson focus, and learn how to ask what you want politely. We’ll see that the form we are going to study can be used in various contexts, not only to order a dish.

Lesson focus

Jason: In this lesson, you'll learn how to express that you want something in a polite way as in... "I would like something” and you can also use it in a question, if you are asking for something, as in “Could I have something please?”
Ingrid: The form I would like is translated as “Je voudrais”. For example: “I would like a coffee please” is “Je voudrais un café s’il vous plait”.
Jason: Je voudrais allows you to express what you would like to. As in English, you use the conditional form of the verb 'to want', in French this verb is vouloir.
Ingrid: Well, it's like saying “I want this” but in a softer way, for example when you order something, or that you are looking for something.
Jason: Yes and it also works with an infinitive verb doesn't it?
Naomi Yes, as in English, for example: "I would like to eat" is translated to “Je voudrais manger”
Jason: Does it work for other verbs?
Ingrid: Yes of course, for example I would like to hang out tonight is “Je voudrais sortir ce soir”
Jason: Got it. So, 'would like' +noun or 'would like' +infinitive verb is ok.
Naomi Right.
Jason: So again, the pattern is...?
Ingrid: Je voudrais.
Jason: Let's hear some examples. How about other sentences you can usually use in a Café?
Ingrid: Okay! So with a noun, it is “I would like some sugar please” and in French we'd say « Je voudrais du sucre s’il vous plait”.
With a infinitive verb, if you want to say “I would like to drink a glass of wine” it would be “Je voudrais boire un verre de vin”.
Jason: Je voudrais + noun or infinitive verb, that’s it !
Ingrid: Right. You can use both with a noun or an infinitive verb. I would like a glass of water is “Je voudrais un verre d’eau” or I would like to drink a glass of water is “Je voudrais boire un verre d’eau”
Jason: “Je voudrais un verre d’eau” or “Je voudrais boire un verre d’eau”
Ingrid: That's it!
Jason: How did they use it in the dialogue?
Ingrid: Tristan asked Vanessa if she had chosen her beverage, so Vanessa said “Oui, je voudrais un café noisette”
Jason: “I would like a coffee with a dash of milk” so here she is using the pattern "I would like" plus noun.
Ingrid: Yes but just after, Tristan uses the form "I would like" + infinitive verb as in “Je voudrais commander un café gourmand”
Jason: "I would like to order a café gourmand” Okay, so like we said earlier, this pattern is in fact the conditional form of the verb "to want", isn’t it ?
Ingrid: Yes, as in English, we use the conditional of the verb to express a wish as it is more polite and less direct! Here, for example, we use the conditional of the verb “vouloir”, “Je voudrais”.
Jason: Okay, and does this conditional form works with other verbs to express a willing?
Ingrid: Yes, for example, you also use this pattern to express “I would prefer”, “I would love” or “I would appreciate”. It also works both with a noun or an infinitive verb after.
Jason: Yes, as in the conversation you can translate “I would prefer a sugar-free coffee” by “Je préfèrerais un café sans sucre”.
Ingrid: Now, another example with an infinitive verb?
Jason: Yes, for example if you want to say “I would love to go to this café” it is “J’aimerais aller dans ce café”
Ingrid: That's right! So if I’m asking you “Where do you want to go?” you can answer me…
Jason: “I would like to go to this café” so that is: “J’aimerais aller dans ce café”. Here is the form with “J’aimerais +infinitive verb”.
Ingrid: Right. And if the waiter asks you “What do you want to eat?” you can say…
Jason: “I would like a café gourmand please”, that’s to say “J’aimerais un café gourmand s’il vous plait” and here is the form with “J’aimerais + noun”.
Ingrid: Yes, thanks to the conditional form + noun or infinitive verb, you can now ask everything you want in a convenient and polite way in French, isn’t it great?
Jason: Yes it is, and you can even use different verb to express your wish, for example: “I would love” is “J’aimerais” and “I would prefer” is “Je préfèrerais”.
Ingrid: Great job everyone!
Jason: Yes! So be sure to stay tuned. That's going to do it for this lesson.
Ingrid: See you next time! A bientôt!

6 Comments

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FrenchPod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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What would you say to order an ice cream in French?

FrenchPod101.com
Wednesday at 9:46 pm
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Merci Karen pour votre message.

Quel parfum souhaitez-vous ?


Bonne semaine,

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Karen
Sunday at 12:30 am
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Je voudrais une glâce, s'il vous plaît.

Joan
Wednesday at 2:01 am
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Cafe noisette translates to hazelnut coffee, not coffee with a little milk. je voudrais un café noisette

FrenchPod101.comVerified
Wednesday at 4:56 am
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Hello Mike,


Indeed, you can use "nous voudrions" (dont forget the "i"), instead of "je voudrais".

You can learn more about verb conjugations in the "verb conjugation chart" column.


Thank you for your comment !

Cheers,

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Mike
Thursday at 3:18 pm
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When two people are ordering jointly and at the same time, in a French café, is it OK and considered normal to use "nous voudrons" as an alternative to "je voudrais" ? Do Frenchpod 101 have complete reference charts showing all the verb tenses and conjugations please?