An Easy Introduction to French

by Geoffrey Barto of gbarto.com

Lesson 3

In Lesson 3, we're only going to learn ten new words. But don't be deceived. There's a lot to cover in this lesson. First, let's look at the dialogue.

  • Bonjour, mademoiselle.
  • Bonjour, monsieur.
  • Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui?
  • Je vais bien, merci. Et vous?
  • Très bien, merci. Euh...
  • Oui?
  • Est-ce que vous voulez un café?
  • Non... mais j'aimerais bien prendre un thé.
    Vous voulez aller au café?
  • Oui, je veux bien!
  • Alors, on y va?

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Now it's time to learn about some of our new words. I'll explain what the words are doing at then end. (The first four lines, though, should look pretty familiar.)

  1. euh (EUH - say the "u" in "put" and hold it a few seconds). um.
    The French don't say "um" when they're looking for a word. They say, "euh". Try to make this sound, halfway between "uh" and "ooh" when you need to pause. Saying "um" will reveal you as an English speaker and confuse the person you're talking to.
  2. oui (WEE, pronounced very quickly). yes.
    When we say OUI, YES is what we are saying.
  3. aimerais (EMMeRAY). (I) would like.
    J'AIMERAIS BIEN is a polite way of indicating what you would like.
    Emma-Rae, J'AIMERAIS is French for I WOULD LIKE.
  4. prendre (PRAWnDRe). to take.
    When you comprehend a conversation, you TAKE something away from it. PRENDRE means TO TAKE. ¿Comprende?
  5. J'AIMERAIS BIEN PRENDRE UN THÉ means I WOULD GLADLY HAVE (TAKE) A TEA

  6. aller (AH-LAY). to go.
    When you go down the alley, use the allez that ends in Z.
    But TO GO down the alley, is to use the allez with R.
    VOUS ALLEZ means YOU GO. Just plain ALLER means TO GO.
  7. VOUS VOULEZ ALLER AU CAFÉ? means WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO TO THE CAFÉ?

  8. veux (VEUH). (I) want.
    JE VEUX means I WANT. I vould like that, so I say JE VEUX.
  9. JE VEUX BIEN means I WOULD LIKE (THAT) or I WANT (IT) WELL

  10. alors (AH-LOR). so.
    ALORS is used to transition in a conversation.
    The allure of ALORS is it works SO well to change the subject.
  11. on (OHn). one (a person).
    ONE does this or that, they say. Only the French just say ON.
  12. y (EE). there.
    Y (EE!), THERE it is! (Whatever it is you're talking about).
  13. va (VAH). (he/she/it) goes.
    We've seen JE VAIS (I GO), VOUS ALLEZ (YOU GO) and ALLER (TO GO).
    Now, va-va-voom, there it GOES when you say VA!
  14. ON Y VA? means SHALL WE GO? (ONE THERE GOES?)

A few notes:

Whew! We've had a lot of information. Now let's see how much we've absorbed by looking at our conversation again. Afterwards, a translation follows so you can make sure you understood.

Got that? Double check against the translation and re-read the notes if you had problems.

This concludes Lesson 3. (Words learned: 50)

Lesson 2 - Language Page - Lesson 4