FL 6: Asking Questions

Here is some quick vocab before we begin:

Une Question = A question
Demander = To ask

There is no question about it, you will be asking questions in French if you intend to speak it or travel to a French place (like France). You will probably have to answer some questions as well. So here is a lesson on French questions.

Today I had another French lesson. I am learning French with a private tutor and now that my FBF is overseas I thought I would fill some of my spare time with some extra French lessons. I will not have 2 private lessons per week. In the first bunch of lessons I learned how to ask basic questions using “est-ce que” inserted into sentences (examples to follow). Now, as I am getting into more challenging topics, I am learning the art of inverted question asking (again, I will explain in a moment). These are two ways to ask questions but there is not only two ways to ask questions in French. There are three! The third way to to add a question mark at the end of a statement and raise your tone at the end of the sentence to imply a question. Following me so far?

Basic question asking words

Just as English had who, what, where, when, how and why questions, French does too.

Où = Where
Quoi = What
Qui = Who
Quand = When
Comment = How
Why = Pourquoi

Just structure the question with one of these words. It is easy!

  • Où est mon stylo?      Where is my pen?

“Est-ce que” Questions

One way to ask a question in French (probably the easiest way if you are just learning) is to insert “est-ce que” into a statement. Est-ce-que implies that you are asking a question and can be used whenever you ask a question.

  • Qu’est-ce que c’est?       What is this?
  • Est-ce que tu veux  à danser avec moi?        Do you want to dance with me?

Inverted Questions

The verb and the subject are inverted to form a question.

Example. Est-ce que tu as veux  à danser avec moi? ….”Est-ce que” is ommitted entirely and you are left with tu veux  à danser avec moi (You want to dance with me). To make this a sentence invert the subject (tu) and the verb (veux)…Veux-tu à danser avec moi?…Do you want to dance with me?

Adding a question mark at the end of the sentence…?

Just take a statement and add a question mark at the end of it. Use this with discretion.

  • C’est vrai?                It is true?
  • Nous mangerons à 8h?          We will eat at 8 o’clock?

This was just a quick lesson, gor a more in depth look at forming French question, here is a link!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to demandez!

 

 

Slacking on French Lessons

I am so excited to get my butt moving to France! I actually have trouble expressing my excitement in words. You know how when you attempt to explain to your partner how much you love them, and nothing you say really measures up to your feelings? Well, this is a similar kind of excitement.

I am going to France and I will obtain a job and hopefully meet a bunch of people. Speaking French is going to be a must, a total necessity. My problem would be that I am simply a beginner at French. Even worse, a French lesson slacker!

I know I must practice in order to reach the goals I have set out for myself. I must, I must, I must practice. I started my run well (run being the study of French). I practiced and studied every single day, I was consistent with the date and times of my lessons, I reviewed over and over again, read and looked up vocab like a mad woman. And now, the one hour lesson a week is all I put into this (although I do practice conversation an awful lot with FB).

If I had taken this slacker attitude with the financial aspect of getting this visa, I would have never been able to achieve that goal, but throughout that time period, I remained determined, knowing that all my efforts would pay off. And now that the plane ticket had been purchased and all is in place for the attainment of this visa, I need to take on that same attitude with the learning of this beautiful language.

Discipline it is! And not for any blind reasons such as thinking that I need to be disciplined because discipline in itself is a good quality. I do not necessarily agree with that. I do not believe discipline is necessary all the time. But I do believe that all dreams and goals are attainable, no matter how impossible they seem. And attaining these dreams and goals doesn’t simply come with expecting it to happen without any effort. Action is key. And the action I choose to take is the dedicated effort and discipline to set firmer, more concrete goals (like the monetary value of the money goal) and really make this a reality.

So here they are, my new French language goals. Necessary, if I want to be successful in France:

  • Become completely functional within 2 months of being in France (November 15). Becoming functional means speaking all the time and understanding others.
  • Dedicate at least one hour per day to some French activity. This can be reading, studying verbs, the lesson, watching TV, practicing conversational skills. It doesn’t matter what, it just has to be French.
  • DOING MY FRENCH HOMEWORK. I have never been good at doing homework. Throughout my life I have been more of the kind of student who slaps together a magnificent project in the last minutes. Would that style cut it for learning French? Not sure, but I am going to do the homework this time.
  • Post at least one French Language post per week. Yes I will!
  • Remember these goals!

You cannot become a runner by talking about running!

Until next time…

A French in Canada

Soon I will be a Canadian in France. I will have to face the challenges of speaking the language and getting a job, supporting myself, and integrating into a new culture. I will be making new friends, finding my new fav places to shop and eat and starting with only two suitcases of my stuff.

My boyfriend, being a French in Canad, shows me how some of these challenges may play out when I am in France. As he, himself, has had to go through this process when he stepped off the plane (his English was already pretty fluent though!).

He needs to obtain a internship work permit here in Canada.  He already has a job offer and yet has to wait up to 44 days for the permit to be approved! How stressful this is to wait to work for a job that has already been offered!

My lesson learned, expect to wait in France and be financially and mentally prepared for this. I will also apply as early as possible.

FL 5: Être (to be)

Être (to be) is an extremely useful verb and it is irregular. To refresh your memory, irregular verbs are the verbs that do not follow the usual conjugation rules. Verbs ending in -re are always translated in the same way unless they are irregular, like être.

Basic Conjugation
Je suis (I am)
Tu es (You are)
Il/Elle est (He/She is)
Nous sommes (We are)
Vous êtes [You are (formal or group)]
Ils/Elles sont (The boys/The girls are)

How to use the verb être

  • When you start conversing in French, you will realize that this verb is very common. If you are going to memorize any of the conjugated forms, in the beginning Je suis will most likely be the form you use most often…

Exemples de Je suis:
-Je suis faim. (I am hungry.)
-Je suis très excité! (I am very excited!)
-Je suis une fille. (I am a girl)

If you have any “Je suis…” examples (exemples)  that you would like translated and posted, please let me know in the “comments” section of this post.

  • Être is used commonly in all the other conjugated forms as well!

Exemples de Être:
-Qu’est-ce que c’est? C’est un leçon. (What is this? This is a lesson.)
-Il est un garçon. (He is a boy.)
-Où sont les crayons? Ils sont sur le livre. (Where are the pencils? They are on the book.)

If you want a translation of any sentences using the verb être just comment to this post!

Coming soon… “FL 6: A French Resume”

Also…Please check out the links on the right side panel for a verb conjugator and a french accent typing website.

Coming soon…The French Resume

I know I mentioned a while ago that I would post on the French Resume and language to find a job. I haven’t been around to this task yet because I have been busy and I want a proper lesson from FB which takes a few hours. I will post on this asap!

In the meantime, here is a helpful link…

WRITING A FRENCH RESUME

Again, I will post my version, based on how I learn it, very shortly (one week give or take). Thanks for your patience!

Learning French In Everyday Living

I live in Canada and although Canada is a bilingual country, I have yet to hear anyone outside of Quebec speak French. I live in an anglophone society and learning another language when all I hear is English is proving to be challenging.

Living in Canada does have its percs though…3 Francophone television channels (emissions de television), bilingual signage and all product labels are bilingual (although Quebecois not France, French).

Taking French lessons once a week really helps me learn the structure and basics of the language but one hour a week is not that much. When I get to France I will be speaking it 24/7! Having a French boyfriend helps as well, but he insists on speaking English while in Canada.

So as my time to fly over that big blue ocean is approaching very fast (très rapide),  I have no choice but to get creative with my learning!

Here are some great ideas to learn the language très rapide:

  • Watch at least one French television program a day. I just flip my TV on to TV5 (channel 130 where I live) and spend an hour watching. But I do not simply watch passively! I watch with closed captioning (sous-titrage) and repeat after them. And I am not picky in what I watch. The goal is to learn!
  • Watch French movies without sub-titles. The movies are generally very entertaining and fun to hear people speaking in French. It becomes a nice challenge when I have to figure out what is going on. It would be awesome for closed captioning to play on everyone’s shirts as they speak but not the reality so I might as well train myself now!  Here are two movies you must see:   “Le Fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain” and (et)  “L’auberge espagnole”.
  • Begin writing your important documents and letters in French and get them corrected. I have written my visa cover letter in French and a letter to a French organization. My boyfriend corrects them with me and I learn a TON from it! Soon I will be writing letters to find a job and an apartment so its great practice!
  • Start writing short little assignments and get them corrected by a French person. I have written 200 words on why I want to move to France and the role sports play in my life. I learn a lot of vocab this way!
  • Read popular novel with a dictionary in hand, of course. You most likely won’t be able to translate it word for word but you will get the general story. Compare the French version with the English version to understand how the French language is different from English. After 5 or 6 chapters you will be surprised as to how many words you no longer need to translate! Here are two books with an English version available: “Le Petit Prince” et “L’Alchemiste“.
  • Find some French people and start having conversations even if it just via Skype. Conversation is probably the most important thing one can do to learn the language.

I hope this gives you a few great ideas to make your learning of French a whole lot easier!

FL4: Irregular verbs are useful!

In French verbs are conjugated depending on their subject (I, you, his, her, we, they, etc.).

Most verbs groups (verbs ending in -er, -ir, -re) follow a certain rule to be conjugated. Every time you conjugate them depending on their subject, the verbs all follow the same rule depending on the group they are in.

Exemple:
Manger (to eat)
Je mang-e
Tu mang-es
Il/elle mang-e
Nous mang-ons
Vous mang-ez
Ils/elles mang-ent

All verbs ending in -er end in the conjugations listed above depending on the subject you use. If you want to say “you eat” you would say “Tu manges”.

On top of conjugating the verbs depending on their subject, you must also conjugate them depending on their tense (past, present, future, and a few other ones).

Irregular verbs are verbs that do not follow the traditional rules of conjugation.

In an earlier post I showed you the verb avoir (to have). This verb is irregular as it doesn’t follow any conjugation rules.

For irregular verbs memorization is key!

Now that I have begun conversing in French, I need to conjugate every verb accordingly in m head before I speak it. When I get to an irregular verb, memorizing the conjugation have come in handy!

(Note: the whole conjugation process in speaking is easier than you may think. It is just a habit that needs to be practiced!)

Many of the most common things you will say contain irregular verbs. Pouvoir (to be able to/can), aller (to go), vouloir (to want) are some irregular verbs.

Conjugation of these 3 verbs:
Pouvoir
Je peux
Tu peux
Il/elle peut
Nous pouvons
Vous pouvez
Ils/elles peuvent

Aller
Je Vais
Tu vas
Il/elle va
Nous allons
Vous allez
Ils/elles vont

Vouloir
Je veux
Tu veux
Il/elle veut
Nous voulons
Vous voulez
Ils/elles veulent

Sentences you will use that use these irregular verbs:

I can eat  lots of food.- Je peux manger beacoup de la nourriture.

Can you come tomorrow?- Est-ce que tu peux venir demain?

We want to eat now.- Nous voulons manger maintenent.

For an awesome verb conjugater click here