An Easy Introduction to French

by Geoffrey Barto of gbarto.com

Lesson 2

In this lesson, we will expand on the conversation from Lesson 1 and learn twenty new words. Look at the conversation and see what you recognize. But do not try to follow the whole conversation until you have worked through the notes. Here is the new conversation:

Now, here is the new vocabulary.

  1. au (OH). at the, on the, to the.
    AU is used only with masculine nouns (words like monsieur). With feminine nouns (like dame) use A LA.
  2. de (De). of.
    We know one form of this in "soupe du jour" (soup of the day). We know another with the Marquis de Sade (Sade was the family estate).
  3. aujourd'hui (OH-ZHOOR-DWEE). today (lit. on the day here).
    You know that AU means ON THE. You know that JOUR means DAY. DE is OF. Finally, HUI is late Latin for THIS/HERE. Put it together: ON THE DAY OF HERE it's AUJOURD'HUI. TODAY is ON THE/AU DAY/JOUR OF HERE/D'HUI.
    Whew! That might have been more than you needed to know!
  4. je (ZHe). I.
    Who am I to judge? I am JE, yes, JE am I.
  5. vais (VAY). (I) go.
    We've already seen VOUS ALLEZ (YOU GO). This is another form. Here's a rhyme to help you remember:
    When YOU GO, VOUS ALLEZ (VOOZ AHLAY),
    When I GO, JE VAIS (ZHe VAY).
  6. JE VAIS TRÈS BIEN, MERCI means I AM VERY FINE, THANKS (I GO VERY WELL, THANKS)

    Five words down and a new way to answer "Comment allez-vous?"

  7. est-ce que (ESKe). is it that (used to indicate a question).
    If you want to make a statement into a question, just put EST-CE QUE in front:
    Vous allez (You are going) becomes Est-ce que vous allez? (Are you going? orIs it that you are going?)
    If you want to ASK A question, be sure to use EST-CE QUE (ESKe).
  8. voulez (VOO-LAY). (you) want.
    Here's a rhyme:
    Just you try to fool away,
    We can see what VOUS VOULEZ (VOO VOO-LAY),
    What YOU WANT is a café.
  9. un (UHn). one/a.
    Number ONE is UN, when talking of ladies it's UNE: UN monsieur (A gentleman) / UNE dame (A lady)
  10. café (KAH-FAY). coffee/café.
    You go to the CAFÉ to have your COFFEE.
  11. EST-CE QUE VOUS VOULEZ UN CAFÉ? means DO YOU WANT A COFFEE?

    Ten words down and now you can ask questions!

  12. non (NOHn). no.
    Adding an "n" just makes NO stronger! NON is French for NO.
  13. NON MERCI means NO THANKS

  14. suis (SWEE). (I) am.
    If I sweep, JE SUIS a sweeper. JE SUIS is French for I AM.
  15. désolé (DAY-ZOH-LAY). sorry.
    If you're SORRY, you're not just sad. In French, you're desolate, for DÉSOLÉ is SORRY. (We'll learn about the extra "e" on the end a little later).
  16. mais (MAY). but.
    Try as you may, MAIS what can you say?
    There are no BUTs about it, the word for BUT is MAIS.
  17. JE SUIS DÉSOLÉ, MAIS... means I AM SORRY, BUT...

  18. pressée (PREH-SAY). pressed (for time).
    If you're PRESSED for time, then you are PRESSÉ.
  19. JE SUIS DÉSOLÉ, MAIS JE SUIS TRÈS PRESSÉ means I AM SORRY, BUT I AM VERY BUSY (OR PRESSED FOR TIME)

  20. comprends (KOHn PRAWn). (I) understand.
    When I say JE COMPRENDS, it means COMPRENDO, I COMPREHEND.
  21. Fifteen words down! Only five to go!

  22. voir (VWAHR). to see.
    From the same word as "video," believe it or not, VOIR is TO SEE the view.
  23. revoir (ReVWAHR). to re-see.
    Easy enough. If you're lost in reverie, and you want AGAIN TO SEE, you need only REVOIR.
  24. au revoir (OH R'VWAHR). goodbye (lit. to the re-seeing).
    AU REVOIR and auf wiedersehen,
    Be well UNTIL WE SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN.
  25. If coffee's not your thing, try the dialogue with these:

  26. thé (TAY). tea.
    Try this rhyme: We say TEA, they say THÉ (TAY).
  27. coca (KOH-KAH). Coca Cola or a similar soda.
    If you want a COLA in France, you have to order COCA.
  28. Twenty words down for Lesson 2! And now you know FORTY words!

Now it's time to make sure you've got all forty words down. Read through the dialogue again to make sure you understood.

If there's anything you're unsure about, check it against the translation below. Run through the list again if you missed more than two words.

This concludes Lesson 2. (40 words learned)

Lesson 1 - Language Page - Lesson 3