Belajar Bahasa Perancis(part one)

Setelah kita belajar bahasa rusia…

sekarang waktunya kita belajar BAHASA PERANCIS….

tp maaf2 aja yach artikel bahasa perancis saya menggunakan bahasa inggris…

jd yg tdk tw, siapkan kamus/translator ato bka sja google translate

hihihihi… :)


Lesson 1 – Pronunciation guidelines

A written course in not the best suited means to learn how to pronounce a language, especially when you have never heard it. In addition, the way people pronounce their own language may tremendously vary from one place to another and is strongly dependent on the local culture, customs and neighbouring influences. This remark is particularly true for French language : there are startling pronunciation differences between the French spoken in southern France, in northern France, in Belgium, in Switzerland, in Québec and in the many French speaking African countries (Marocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Zaïre, Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Burkina Fasso, Tchad, etc.), in such a way that people may not understand each other! So, you understand that we have to agree on a standard. Hopefully, such a standard exists and is commonly referred to as “international French” also improperly called “Parisian French”. The aim of this first lesson is to give you guidelines for the pronunciation of the main French sounds, i.e. single vowels, vowels combinations and the consonants whose pronunciation differs from the English one. This is not an exhaustive description of the French pronunciation since it does not make any sense to try to cover all aspects of the pronunciation of a language until you can hear the actual sounds.

French Speaking Contries Image

As mentioned above, learning how to pronounce a language from a written course is a tough job. Some of you have suggested to include sound files in the text to ease the comprehension of the following lesson. It is now available !!! To take advantage of this new feature, you are required to have the software MPLAYER.EXE on your PC since the format of the sound files is .WAV. MPLAYER comes with the multimedia kit of WINDOWS 3.x.
The letters or the words you can hear are indicated by the following sign headphone.
So, French pronunciation will be no longer a dark mystery for you !!!

For MAC users, a freeware called SoundApp is able to read and play various sound file formats. Especially, it can convert WAV files into Macintosh AIFF or SND files. Click here to download it from MIT. Also, for UNIX users, the SOX program converts WAV files into AU files. Click here to download it from the Netherlands. Though English and French share a good bunch of words, their pronunciation is completely different. Moreover, in French there are some sounds that does not even exist in English. Let’s start with the vowels.

1. Single vowels

  • headphonea
    • Pronunciation: like the first “a” in “marmalade” or in “heart”, but just a little bit less open.
    • Examples: table (table), sac (bag), chat (cat), rat (rat), baggage (luggage), sa (his/her), bras (arm), matin (morning).
    • Similar sounds: â (more open than a)
  • headphonee
    • Pronunciation: like the indefinite article “a” in English with a sharper sound, or like the second a in “marmalade”.
    • Examples: cheveu (hair), deux (two), second [segon] (second), oeuvre (work, as in master works), soeur (sister), heure (hour), beurre (butter).
    • Similar sounds: “eu” and “oeu”. The latter one is more open than e and eu.
  • headphonei
    • Pronunciation: like the English “ee” but shorter.
    • Examples: pipe (pipe), minute (minute), courir (to run), midi (midday), nid (nest).
  • headphoneo
    • Pronunciation:two different sounds:
      1. an open “o” more or less as the English “more” and “for”
      2. a closed one like the English “go” and “low”
    • Most of the times the “o” in French is open. It is closed when located at the end of the word. Note that the difference between open and closed “o” is not as stressed as it is in English between the words “open” and “control”.
    • Examples:
      1. Open o: headphonebotte (boot), grotte (cave), développer (to develop), homme (man)
      2. Closed o: headphonevélo (bicycle), indigo (indigo)
    • Similar sounds: (to a closed o): “au”, “eau”, “ô”. Examples: eau (water), auto (car), contrôle (control).
  • headphoneu
    • Pronunciation: the French sound for “u” does not exist in English. While in most languages “u” is pronounced like the u in “bush”, in French it differs dramatically. The French “u” is exactly the same sound as the German “ü”. As we’re going to see later, the sound “u” as the English “bush” exists in French as well, but it is formed by the vowel combination “ou”.
    • Examples: voiture (car), minute, humain (human).
  • y
    • Pronunciation: pronounced the same way as a double French “i”.
    • Examples: noyer [noi-ier] (to drown), rayer [rai-ier] (to scratch), loyer [loi-ier] (lease), pays [pai-i] (country).


  1. In most cases, the final e in a word is not pronounced. Examples : bouche [bouch'] (mouth), jambe [jamb'] (leg), lampe [lamp'] (lamp).
  2. When followed by a doubled consonant (l, t, p, r, m, n), e is pronounced like the English -ay as in “say”, “bay”, but without the glide towards i and more open. In French, this sound is referred to as “è” (e with a grave accent). Examples : pelle [pèl'] (shovel), mettre [mèttr'] (to put), lettre (letter), terre [tèr'] (land).

2. Accentuated vowels

One of the most striking differences between the French and the English words is the use of accented characters in French. Almost every vowel – excepting “y” – can be accentuated. Some accents change the sound of the vowel, others don’t. The accents (shown in conjunction with the letter e) are:

  • the grave accent – è
  • the sharp accent – é
  • the circumflex accent – ê
  • the diaeresis ë
  • Accents which change the vowel sound

    headphoneé is pronounced like the English -ay as in “say”, “bay”, but without the glide towards i.
    Same thing for headphoneè and ê but with a much more open sound.
    Examples : headphonefrère (brother), père (father), mère (mother), événement (event), headphoneblé (wheat), bête (beast or stupid), headphonetête (head).
    A diaeresis on an “i” makes the syllable sound as if there were two syllables. Examples : naïf (naïve) is pronounced [na-if] instead of [nèf] (ai is normally pronounced as an è in French).
    â is more open than an “a”. Example : mâcher (to chew), pâte (paste)
    ô is more closed than “o”. Example : hôte (host), contrôle (control)

    Accents which do not change the vowel sound

    In all other situations, the accent does not affect the sound of the vowel i.e. : à, ë î ù, ü. So, what’s the need for them? The answer is simple : no need ! But French people are reluctant to change the spelling of their language (as English people !) as opposed to Spanish and German people. Most of the French accentuated characters have historical origins. For instance, the “^” was used to indicate that in old French, the vowel was followed by an “s”. Thus, the modern French words forêt (forest), hâte (haste), hôte (host), pâte (paste) were spelled as follows in old French : forest, haste, hoste, paste. As you can notice, there were identical as their English counterparts, or, more precisely, these English words directly come from old French !

    3. Vowels and consonants combinations

    • headphoneou
      • Pronunciation: like the “u” in “bush”
      • Examples: bouche (mouth), genou (knee), cou (neck)
    • headphoneoi
      • Pronunciation: pronounced like the combination “oa”
      • Examples: oie (goose), doigt [doa] (finger)
    • headphoneau, eau
      • Pronunciation: “ô”
      • Examples: eau (water), bateau (ship)
    • headphoneai
      • Pronunciation: “ê”
      • Examples: maison [mèson] (house), j’ai (I have), lait (milk), mauvais (bad)
    • headphoneeu, oeu
      • Pronunciation: “e”
      • Examples: feu (fire), bleu (blue)
    • headphoneui
      • Pronunciation: “ü-i” (two sounds)
      • Examples: aujourd’hui (today), fruit (fruit)
    • headphoneer, et
      • Pronunciation: “é”
      • Examples: boucher (butcher), boulanger (baker). Exceptions: hier [ièr'] (yesterday), et (and)
    • headphoneon
      • Examples: bon (good)
    • headphonean
      • Examples: an (year)
    • headphoneen
      • Examples: vent (wind)
    • headphonein, ain, ein
      • Examples: matin (morning), main (hand), pain (bread)

    4. Consonants

    Most of consonants in French are pronounced in a fairly same way as in English, however, there are some exceptions. In the following list, we’re only going to review the consonants whose pronunciation differs in French and in English.

    General rule
    The following consonants : d, n, p, r, s, t, x, are generally not pronounced when located at the end of a word (note that they are not pronounced but they generally change the sound of the preceding vowels). Conversely, all the other consonants (i.e. the following consonants : c, f, k, l, q, z. The other consonants like b, j, g, v, w, etc. are rarely or never located at the end of a word) are pronounced. As many good rule, there are lots of exceptions ! In the progression of this course, the pronunciation rule will be indicated when necessary.
    Examples : trois [troi] (three), vent [ven] (wind), fonds [fon] (fund).
    Exceptions : see numbers.
    The French “r” sound is fairly different from the english one. In English, “r” is soft, round. In contrary, in French, “r” is guttural and must be pronounced like Scottish people do (maybe, a little bit less guttural !).
    The French “j” is pronounced like the English “g”. Examples : jardin (garden), jour (day).
    In French, the pronunciation of “g” depends on the subsequent character. If followed by “a”, “u”, or “o”, “g” is pronounced like the “g” in “garden”. If followed by “e” or “i”, it is pronounced like the second “g” in “language”. Examples : langage (language), langue (tongue).
    The French sound for “gn” is very similar to the Spanish “ñ” or like the sound “nié”. Examples : gagner [gañé] (to win), mignon [meeñon] (cute).
    The French “ch” is pronounced like the English “sh”. Examples : chambre [shambr'] (room), chat (cat), chaussure (shoe).
    In French, the character “h” is not pronounced when located at the beginning of a word. Examples : haricot [arico] (bean), homme [om'] (man), hâche [ach'] (ax)
    As in English, most French words add an “s” when plural, however, the last “s” in a word is never pronounced. Examples : maison and its plural form maisons are pronounced the same way. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, for instance, plus (more) is pronounced [plüss].
    1. the pronunciation rules which apply to “s” and “ss” when located within a word, are the same as in English.
    2. when a word begins with an “s”, the “s” is pronounced like “ss” (soft “s”). It is actually the same rule as in English.

    5. Numbers 1-10

    1. headphoneun
    2. headphonedeux [deu]
    3. headphonetrois [troi]
    4. headphonequatre [catr']
    5. headphonecinq [sinc]
    6. headphonesix [seess]
    7. headphonesept [sèt']
    8. headphonehuit [uit']
    9. headphoneneuf [neuf'] with an open “e”
    10. headphonedix [diss']

    Lesson 2 – Articles and Genders

    1. Gender in French

    We have a bad and a good news for you : as opposed to English, French words have a gender. That’s the bad news. The good news is that French words can have only two genders : masculine or feminine. Unfortunately, there is an additional bad news : the distribution of the words in the masculine and the feminine genders does not comply to any logical rule. Therefore, the only way to know the gender of a word is to learn it by heart!

    The gender is determined by the article, either definite (the in English) or indefinite (a/an in English).

    • Masculine definite article: headphonele [leu]
    • Feminine definite article: headphonela
    • Masculine indefinite article: headphoneun [nasal sound which can be derived from the English sound "un" as explained in the first lesson]
    • Feminine indefinite article: headphoneune [?n']

    The genders of the words introduced in the previous lesson are :

    When a word begins with a vowel, the definite article that precedes the word is contracted whatever the gender is :

    • une assiette (a plate), l’assiette (the plate)
    • un oiseau (a bird), l’oiseau (the bird)
    • un animal (an animal)l’animal (the animal)
    • une araîgnée (a spider), l’araîgnée (the spider)
    • une auto (a car), l’auto (the car)

    Previously, we said that there was no logical rules to find out the gender of the French words. Actually, there are some…


    Almost every profession has two genders depending on whether it is a man or a woman who is accomplishing the work. Examples :

    un boulanger
    a male baker
    une boulangère
    a female baker
    un boucher
    a male butcher
    une bouchère
    a female butcher

    The following list gives the masculine and feminine form of some professions:

    • Masculine: un conducteur
    • Feminine: une conductrice
    Airplane pilot
    • Masculine: un aviateur
    • Feminine: une aviatrice
    • Masculine: un ingénieur
    • Feminine: une ingénieure
    • Masculine: un professeur
    • Feminine: une professeure
    • Masculine: un président
    • Feminine: une présidente
    • Masculine: un ministre
    • Feminine: une ministre
    • Masculine: un ouvrier
    • Feminine: une ouvrière


    Like professions, most animals may have both genders (male and female). As opposed to professions, the way the female form is built does not comply to any general rule and consequently, must be learnt by heart. The following is a list of examples:

    • Masculine: un chat [sha]
    • Feminine: une chatte [shat']
    • Masculine: un chien [shi-in]
    • Feminine: une chienne [shièn']
    • Masculine: un lion [li-on]
    • Feminine: une lionne [li-on']
    • Masculine: un tigre
    • Feminine: une tigresse [tigrès']
    • Masculine: un cheval
    • Feminine: une jument
    • Masculine: un lapin
    • Feminine: une lapine
    • Masculine: un rat
    • Feminine: une rate
    • Masculine: un porc, un cochon
    • Feminine: une truie [tr?-i]
    Bovine (cow/bull)
    • Masculine (bull): un taureau [toro]
    • Feminine (cow): une vache
    • Masculine: un âne
    • Feminine: une ânesse

    As you may have noticed in the previous examples, the feminine form is often derived from the masculine by appending an “e” to the word. This rule is applicable in most cases and leads to a more general one : the feminine form of nouns and adjectives is built by appending an “e” to the masculine form of the word. This rule is general enough that you should learn it.

    2. Plural articles

    The plural form of the definite and indefinite articles is very simple for it does not vary according to the gender:

    • Definite article: les (both feminine and masculine)
    • Undefinite article: des (both feminine and masculine)

    Plural rule: In French, the plural form of nouns and adjectives is built by appending an “s” (like in English). However, in many cases, this rule is not applicable, and you will be required to learn by heart the irregular form of plural form of these exceptions (lesson 4). Examples:

    • Singular: le chat
    • Plural: les chats
    • Singluar: la table
    • Plural: les tables
    • Singluar: un chien
    • Plural: des chiens
    • Singluar: une lionne
    • Plural: des lionnes
    • Singluar: un oiseau
    • Plural: des oiseaux
      oiseau is one of these exceptions.

    3. Some usual expressions

    Lesson 3 – Pronouns and Verbs

    The verb groups

    In English, the infinite tense is built by adding ” to ” in front of the verb : to say, to see, to eat, etc. In French, the infinite tense is indicated by appending -er, -ir or -re to the verb. Examples :


    parler (to talk) chanter (to sing) manger (to eat) marcher (to walk) aller (to go) écouter (to listen to) laver (to wash) commencer (to begin)


    finir (to end) mourir (to die) courir (to run) sentir (to feel) avoir (to have) venir (to come) savoir (to know) vouloir (to want)


    sourire (to smile) vivre (to live) boire (to drink) entendre (to hear) être (to be) conduire (to drive) vendre (to sell)

    The verbs ending with -er are referred to as ” first group ” verbs, the verbs ending with -ir compose the ” second group ” and the verbs with the ending -re form the ” third group “. It is useful to distribute the verbs between these 3 groups because different conjugation rules apply to each group as we’re going to see.

    The pronouns

    • headphoneje (I)
    • headphonetu (you informal form or “tutoiement” in French)
    • headphoneil / headphoneelle [il/el'] (he/she it does not exist in French)
    • headphonenous [nou] (we)
    • headphonevous [vou] (you when talking to more than one person or formal form “vouvoiement” in French)
    • headphoneils / headphoneelles [il/el'] (they)


    1. in French, there is no neuter pronoun (” it ” in English). That means that things can be either masculine or feminine as we mentioned in the previous lesson,
    2. in English, the 2nd person pronoun is ” you ” whether in singular or plurial. Formally, in French, if you talk to one single person, you use ” tu ” and if you talk to a group of people, you must use ” vous “. In fact, the ” tu ” form (or ” tutoiement ” in French) is commonly used between people of same age, or same social rank. When talking to a older person or to somebody above you in rank (your boss for example), you must, most of the time, employ the ” vous ” form (or ” vouvoiement in French). ” tu ” marks familiarity while ” vous ” marks respect.
    3. When the verb starts with a vowel, you must use j’ instead of je.

    Present tense

    In French, there are much more verb tenses than in English. Hopefully, a large number of them are rarely, or never, used in the spoken language. The simplest verb tense is the present which is used to describe actions that occur in the present time. Conjugating verbs in the present tense is very easy in English because the verb does not change, except for the 3rd singular person where a ” s ” is appended. In French, the present tense conjugation is not so straight forward. The verbs termination varies according to the person and the verb group and might be altered. Let’s start with the 1st group verbs :

    Conjugation of the 1st group verbs

    chanter (to sing)

    • je chante [shant']
    • tu chantes [shant']
    • il/elle chante [shant']
    • nous chantons [shanton]
    • vous chantez [shanté]
    • ils/elles chantent [shant']

    parler (to speak, to talk)

    • je parle [parl']
    • tu parles [parl']
    • il/elle parle [parl']
    • nous parlons [parlon]
    • vous parlez [parlé]
    • ils/elles parlent [parl']

    écouter (to listen to)

    • j’écoute [écout']
    • tu écoutes [écout']
    • il/elle écoute [écout']
    • nous écoutons [écouton]
    • vous écoutez [écouté]
    • ils/elles écoutent [écout']

    You can clearly see the conjugation pattern applying to the the termination of the 1st group verbs.

    • 1st person singular : -e
    • 2nd person singular : -es
    • 3rd person singular : -e
    • 1st person plural : -ons
    • 2nd person plural : -ez
    • 3rd person plural : -ent

    You should be able to conjugate any other 1st group verb. Let’s try ” aller ” : j’alle, tu alles, etc. Unfortunately, it’s wrong ! ! ” Aller ” is one of the so many irregular verbs. The conjugation is rather :

    • je vais [vé]
    • tu vas [va]
    • il/elle va
    • nous allons
    • vous allez
    • ils/elles vont [von]

    Now you can figure out why people are used to saying that the French language is difficult !

    Conjugation of the 2nd group verbs

    finir (to finish)

    • je finis
    • tu finis]
    • il/elle finit
    • nous finissons
    • vous finissez
    • ils/elles finissent

    venir (to come)

    • je viens
    • tu viens
    • il/elle vient
    • nous venons
    • vous venez
    • ils/elles viennent

    vouloir (to want)

    • je veux
    • tu veux
    • il/elle veut
    • nous voulons
    • vous voulez
    • ils/elles veulent

    Once again, the conjugation of 2nd group verbs respect some kind of termination pattern, however, less obvious than in the 1st group. Some of the 2nd group verbs conjugate like ” finir ” (termination pattern : -s, -s, -t, -ssons, -ssez, -ssent) and otherslike ” venir ” (termination pattern : -s, -s, -t, -ons, -ez, -ent). The case of ” vouloir ” is special for it is an irregular verb. There is no means to find out easily which pattern apply to a given 2nd group verb, excepting learning it by heart.

    Conjugation of the 3rd group verbs

    boire (to drink)

    • je bois
    • tu bois
    • il/elle boit
    • nous buvons
    • vous buvez
    • ils/elles boivent

    vendre (to sell)

    • je vends
    • tu vends
    • il/elle vend
    • nous vendons
    • vous vendez
    • ils/elles vendent

    vivre (to live)

    • je vis
    • tu vis
    • il/elle vit
    • nous vivons
    • vous vivez
    • ils/elles vivent

    The 3rd group is a real mess since most of the verbs which belong to it are irregular. Nevertheless, they respect a termination pattern (-s, -s, -t, -ons, -ez, -ent) but are altered. Once again, no general rule can be drew up. I hope you have a good memory !

    ” être ” (to be) and ” avoir ” (to have)

    As in many european languages, ” être ” (to be) and ” avoir ” (to have) play a special role in French. They are also referred to as auxilliaries. French language makes use of only two auxiliary verbs (être and avoir) while English has many of them (to have, will, would, shall, should, can, could, must, might, ought to, etc.). On one hand, ” être ” and ” avoir ” are strongly irregular but in the other hand, they are used very often. Consequently, their conjugation must be well known. In the present tense their conjugation are :

    être (to be)

    • je suis [süi]
    • tu es [é]
    • il/elle est [é]
    • nous sommes [some]
    • vous êtes [èt']
    • ils/elles sont [son]

    avoir (to have)

    • j’ai [jè]
    • tu as [a]
    • il/elle a
    • nous avons
    • vous avez
    • ils/elles ont [on]

    Despite the irregular behaviour of these verbs, the conjugation terminations respect, more or less, the pattern we previuosly noticed. Note that this remark is applicable to the verb ” aller ” as well.


    Some colours

    • bleu (blue)
    • rouge (red)
    • blanc (white)
    • noir (black)
    • vert (green)
    • jaune (yellow)
    • rose (rose)
    • orange (orange)
    • gris (grey)
    • marron/brun (brown)

    This third leson is tough but it is worth learning it because verbs are a major component in sentences. So, don’t give up now!

    Lesson 4 – Adjectives and Plural

    1. Adjectives

    In the second lesson we saw that in French nouns have a gender : they can be either masculine or feminine. Some of them can be both and the feminine form is derived from the masculine by appending a ” e “. We also learned how the plural affects the nouns, i.e. by appending a ” s “, in most of the times. To sum up, we can say that the gender and the number (singular or plural) affect the nouns termination, by appending either a ” e ” or a ” s ” (or sometimes something more complex).

    There is an other kind of words in French which change in accordance to the gender and the number : the adjectives. Adjectives change according to the gender and the number of the noun which they qualify. The rules which we drew up for the nouns are applicable to the adjectives :

    Adjectives Concordance Rules

    • Rule 1 - Concordance with the gender When the noun which an adjective qualifies is feminine, an ” e ” is appended to the adjective, if it does not already end with an ” e “.
    • Rule 2 – Concordance with the number When an adjective refers to a noun in the plurial form or more than 1 noun, a ” s ” is appended to it, if it does not end with a ” s “, a” z ” or a ” x “.
    • Rule 3 - The rules 1 and 2 are cumulative, i.e. if an adjective qualifies a feminine and plurial noun, it takes an ” e ” and a ” s ” at the end.
    • Rule 4 - Masculine is stronger ! When an adjective refers to a group of masculine and feminine nouns, only the masculine concordance rule applies. This rule is also known as ” the masculine wins over the feminine “, which is the more macho French grammar rule !

    Note : In most cases, the adjectives follow the noun or the group of nouns they refer. However, this remark is not rigid and you can actually put an adjective before the noun it qualifies but be careful, by doing this, you may change the meaning ! (idiomatic form).

    Examples :

    • un homme petit (a small man) / un petit homme (a kid)
    • une femme bonne (a good woman) / une bonne femme (a woman with a pejorative meaning)
    • une voiture sale (a dirty car) / une sale voiture (a awful car)

    Some adjectives are placed before the noun they qualify rather than after.

    Examples :

    • grand (big, large) : we say ” une grande voiture ” (a big car) rather than ” une voiture grande “
    • beau (nice) : we say ” un beau graçon ” (a nice boy) rather than ” un graçon beau “

    Note that, in these examples, both forms are grammatically correct but French speaking people prefer the first one.

    Examples of adjective concordance rules

    Original sentence : Il conduit un camion bleu (He drives a blue truck).

    Let’s apply the fourth rules we mentioned above :

    • Rule 1 – concordance with the gender: Il conduit une voiture bleue
    • Rule 2 – concordance with the number : Il conduit des camions bleus
    • Rule 3 – accumulation of rules 1 and 2: Il conduit des voitures bleues
    • Rule 4 – ” masculine wins over feminine ” : Il conduit un camion et une voiture bleus

    2. Some adjectives

    • big or tall
    masculine singular : grand
    feminine singular : grande
    masculine plural: grands
    feminine plural: grandes
    • small
    masculine singular : petit
    feminine singular : petite
    masculine plural: petits
    feminine plural: petites
    • nice
    masculine singular : beau
    feminine singular : belle
    masculine plural: beaux
    feminine plural: belles
    • ugly
    masculine singular : laid
    feminine singular : laide
    masculine plural: laids
    feminine plural: laides
    • good
    masculine singular : bon
    feminine singular : bonne
    masculine plural: bons
    feminine plural: bonnes
    • bad
    masculine singular : mauvais
    feminine singular : mauvaise
    masculine plural: mauvais
    feminine plural: mauvaises
    • high
    masculine singular : haut
    feminine singular : haute
    masculine plural: hauts
    feminine plural: hautes
    • low
    masculine singular : bas
    feminine singular : basse
    masculine plural: bas
    feminine plural: basses
    • heavy
    masculine singular : lourd
    feminine singular : lourde
    masculine plural: lourds
    feminine plural: lourdes
    • light
    masculine singular : léger
    feminine singular : légère
    masculine plural: légers
    feminine plural: légères
    • clean
    masculine singular : propre
    feminine singular : propre
    masculine plural: propres
    feminine plural: propres
    • dirty
    masculine singular : sale
    feminine singular : sale
    masculine plural: sales
    feminine plural: sales
    • long
    masculine singular : long
    feminine singular : longue
    masculine plural: longs
    feminine plural: longues
    • short
    masculine singular : court
    feminine singular : courte
    masculine plural: courts
    feminine plural: courtes

    From this list, you can derive the following additional concordance rules which apply most of the time :

    1. when the masculine singular form of the adjectif ends with a e, the feminine form is identical to the masculine one (e.g. sale / sale)
    2. when the masculine singular form of the adjectif ends with a n, the feminine form is derived by appending a e and by doubling the ending n (e.g. bon / bonne)
    3. when the masculine singular form of the adjectif ends with a er, the feminine form end by ère (e.g. léger / légère)
    4. when the masculine singular form of the adjectif ends with a eau or au, the plural form is composed by appending a x and the feminine form is built by replacing eau or au by elle (e.g. beau / belle / beaux)

    3. Our first sentences

    Very simple sentences can be built using a subject, an adjective and the verb être (to be) such as :

    • La maison est grande (The house is big).
    • La voiture bleue est chère (The blue car is expensive).
    • Tu es grand (You are tall).
    • Elle est belle (She is nice).
    • Les garçons et les filles sont grands (The boys and the girls are tall) – Note that in this example the “macho” rule applies because the adjective grand is only in concordance with the noun garçons.
    • Nous sommes intelligents (We are smart).

    Note that the concordance rules apply to the adjective according to the gender and the number of the subject. I advise you to buid such sentences using the few words you have already learnt. It’s a good exercise which make you practice the feminine and plurial forms of the adjectives as well as the present tense conjugation of the verb être. Have a good time.

    4. More Numbers

    • 11 – onze (onz)
    • 12 – douze
    • 13 – treize [trèz']
    • 14 – quatorze
    • 15 – quinze
    • 16 – seize [sèz']
    • 17 – dix-sept
    • 18 – dix-huit [dizuit']
    • 19 – dix-neuf
    • 20 – vingt [vin]
    • 21 – vingt et un [vinté un]
    • 22 – vingt-deux [vint deu]
    • 23 – vingt-trois [vint troi]
    • 30 – trente
    • 31 – trente et un
    • 32 – trente-deux
    • 40 – quarante
    • 41 – quarante et un
    • 42 – quarante-deux
    • 50 – cinquante
    • 51 – cinquante et un
    • 52 – cinquante-deux
    • 60 – soixante [soissant']
    • 61 – soixante et un [soissanté un]
    • 62 – soixante-deux
    • 70 – soixante-dix (septante [pronounce the p] in Belgium and Switzerland)
    • 71 – soixante-et onze (septante un in Belgium and Switzerland) 72 – soixante-douze
    • 73 – soixante-treize
    • 74 – soixante-quatorze
    • 75 – soixante-quinze
    • 76 – soixante-seize
    • 77 – soixante-dix sept
    • 78 – soixante-dix huit
    • 79 – soixante-dix neuf
    • 80 – quatre-vingt (octante in Switzerland)
    • 81 – quatre-vingt-un (octante un in Switzerland)
    • 90 – quatre-vingt-dix (nonante in Switzerland) >
    • 91 – quatre-vingt-onze (nonante un in Switzerland)
    • 92 – quatre-vingt-douze (nonante trois in Switzerland)
    • 93 – quatre-vingt-treize
    • 94 – quatre-vingt-quatorze
    • 95 – quatre-vingt-quinze
    • 96 – quatre-vingt-seize
    • 97 – quatre-vingt-dix-sept
    • 98 – quatre-vingt-dix-huit
    • 99 – quatre-vingt-dix-neuf
    • 100 – cent [ssen]
    • 200 – deux cents
    • 1.000 – mille [meel']
    • 10.000 – dix mille

    Lesson 5 – Sentences Structures

    Now, it’s time to build sentences. Stand alone words are rarely useful. To express an idea, whether complex or not, you need to combine words in order to build up sentences. French language distinguishes three basic sentence structures : normal sentence structure, negative sentence structure and interrogative sentence structure.

    A typical French sentence is composed of the following elements :

    • The people who or the thing which does the action : it is referred to as the subject of the sentence.
    • the action : this is the verb.
    • the people who or the object which is affected by the action : this element is usually called the accusative or complément d’objet direct in French grammar. We’re going to adopt the term accusative (abbreviation : ACC).
    • the circumtances under which the action takes place (the time, the location, etc.) : this element is known as the complément circonstanciel in French. We’re going to call it circumstances (abbreviation : CIR)

    These elements play the role of elementary bricks that compose a sentence. French, as English, is a positional language, i.e. the function played by words in the sentence depends on their position in the sentence. So, each kind of sentence is built according to a specific structure or framework.

    These structures are very useful because they indicate the postition of the various elements (various bricks) in a given kind of sentence (normal, negative or interrogative). In the context of spoken language they work pretty well. Written language is often more sophisticated than spoken language and leads to more complicated sentences. Before reviewing the various sentences structures in the present tense, let’s introduce some prepositions

    1. Some Prepositions

    • dans (in)
    • à (to, at)
    • de (from)
    • sur (on)

    Examples :

    Je vis dans une grande ville (I live in a big city).
    Les enfants vont à l’école (The children are going to school).
    Il vient de France (He comes from France).
    Nous marchons sur la route (We are walking on the road).

    2. Normal Sentences

    The basic framework of a nomral sentence is :


    This structure is comparable to the English one. Examples :

    subject verb ACC CIR meaning
    Tu chantes une chanson dans la rue You sing a song in the street
    Il conduit la voiture tous les jours He drives the car every day
    Le boulanger vend le pain dans la boulangerie The baker sells bread in the bakery

    3. Negative Sentences

    The basic framework of a negative sentence is :

    SUBJECT + ne + VERB + pas + ACC + CIR The words ne … pas play a role similar to do not in English. While do not is located before the verb, in French the verb is put inbetween ne and pas. Excepting this difference, the structure of a French negative sentence is similar to its English counterpart.

    Examples :

    • Tu ne chantes pas une chanson dans la rue.
    • Il ne conduit pas la voiture tous les jours.
    • Le boulanger ne vend pas de pain dans la boulangerie.
    subject verb ACC CIR meaning
    Tu ne chantes pas une chanson dans la rue You do not sing a song in the street
    Il ne conduit pas la voiture tous les jours He does not drive the car every day
    Le boulanger ne vend pas le pain dans la boulangerie The baker does not sell bread in the bakery

    4. Interrogative Sentences

    The primary goal of interrogative sentences is to ask questions !! That’s what we call in French a “la palissade” or “un truisme” (something obvious). When asking a question, you may want to know who (qui in French) or what (que in French) is performing the action, when (quand in French) the action is performed, how (comment in French) or where ( in French) it is performed, etc. Most of questions need an interrogative conjunction which indicate what we want to know. The basic interrogative conjunctions are :

    • qui (who)
    • que (what)
    • pourquoi (why)
    • comment (how)
    • quand (when)
    • où (where)
    • combien (how many, how much)

    Compared to the normal and negative structures, the interrogative sentences are a little bit more complicated. Basically, French language provides two interrogative structures : a spoken laguage oriented structure and a written language oriented one. As the spoken language is always simpler than the written one, the first structure is easier to understand. So, let’s start with it.

    The basic structure is :

    Interrogative conjunction + est-ce que + SUBJECT + VERB + ACC + CIR + ?

    Once again, the group of words est-ce que plays a role similar to do in the English interrogative sentences. As we see, the structure of a French interrogative sentence is similar to its English couterpart. Note that the interrogative conjunction is optional depending on what you want to know.

    Examples :

    Question : Est-ce que tu chantes une chanson dans la rue ? (Do you sing a song in the street ?
    Answer : oui (yes) or non (no)
    Question : Qu’est-ce que tu chantes dans la rue ? (What do you sing in the street ?)
    Answer : Je chante une chanson. (I sing a song)
    Question : Est-ce qu’il conduit la voiture tous les jours ? (Does he drive the car every day ?)
    Answer : Oui, il condui la voiture tous les jours. (Yes, he drives the car every day)
    Question : Quand est-ce qu’il conduit la voiture ? (When does he drive the car ?)
    Answer : Il conduit la voiture tous les jours. (He drives the car every day)
    Question : Est-ce que le boulanger vend le pain dans la boulangerie ? (Does the baker sell the bread in the bakery ?)
    Answer : oui (yes) or non (no)
    Question : Qui est-ce qui vend le pain dans la boulangerie ? (Who sells the bread in the bakery ?)
    Answer : Le boulanger. (The baker).
    Question : Combien as-tu de frères ? (How many brothers do you have ?)
    Answer : J’ai deux frères (I have two brothers) or simply : Deux (two).

    Notes :

    1. when que is followed by a word starting with a vowel, que is contracted in qu’ . This rule is illustrated in the examples Qu’est-ce qu’il and Est-ce qu’il and is general. We have already mentioned the same kind of contraction with the pronoun je (I) : je mange (I eat) and j’achète (I buy).
    2. when used with the conjunction qui (who) , est-ce que is replaced by est-ce qui resulting in Qui est-ce qui . This alteration is not a caprice of the French language but is conversely governed by strict grammatical rules. The que and the qui we are talking about here belong to the pronouns category, as we are going to see later in this course.
    3. Est-ce que does not depend on the gender nor the number of the subject while the English do must respect the conjugation pattern of to do. For the fisrt time, French is simpler than English !
    4. in French, when you answer a question by only oui (yes) or non (no) you are not required to repeat the subject and the verb as in English (yes I do, no we don’t, yes she does, etc.). However, it is not grammatically incorrect to repeat the subject. You may want to do that in order to emphasize your answer. If you do so, you have to repeat all the words of the question Examples : Oui, je chante une chanson (Yes, I do sing a song). Non, il ne conduit pas la voiture tous les jours (No, he does not drive the car every day)

    Now, we can introduce the second interrogative structure. Basically, this strcuture consists of switching the position of the subject and the verb like this :

    Interrogative conjunction + VERB + – + SUBJECT + ACC + CIR + ?

    Again, the interrogative conjunction is not mandatory. Examples :

    Questions Answers
    Chantes-tu une chanson dans la rue ? oui or non
    Où chantes-tu une chanson ? Dans la rue
    Que chantes-tu dans la rue ? Une chanson
    Conduit-il la voiture tous les jours ? oui or non
    Que conduit-il tous les jours ? La voiture
    Quand conduit-il la voiture ? Tous les jours

    It is very easy. However, the pattern only applies when the subject is a pronoun (je, tu, il/elle, nous, vous, ils/elles). Otherwise, it is not so straight forward. When the subject is not a pronoun, the interrogative structucture is :

    Interrogative conjunction + SUBJECT + VERB+ – + PRONOUN + ACC + CIR + ?

    The pronoun which is added must be in accordance to the number and the number of the subject.

    Examples :

    Normal sentence : Le Boulanger vend le pain dans la boulangerie.
    Interrogative sentences
    1. Le boulanger vend-il le pain la boulangerie ?
    2. Où le boulanger vend-il le pain ?
    3. Que le boulanger vend-il ?

    Explanations : “Le boulanger” is masculine singular The corresponding pronoun is “il”

    Normal sentence : La boulangère vend le pain dans la boulangerie.
    Interrogative sentences :
    1. La boulangère vend-elle le pain dans la boulangerie ?
    2. Où la boulangère vend-elle le pain ?
    3. Que la boulangère vend-elle ?

    Explanations : “La boulangère” is feminine and singular. The corresponding pronoun is “elle”

    Normal sentence : Les boulangères vendent le pain dans la boulangerie.
    Interrogative sentences :
    1. Les boulangères vendent-elles le pain dans la boulangerie ?
    2. Où les boulangères vendent-ellesle pain ?
    3. Que les boulangères vendent-elles ?

    Explanaitons : “Les boulangères” is feminine and plural. The corresponding pronoun is “elles”

    Normal sentence : Le boulanger et la boulangère vendent le pain dans la boulangerie.
    Interrogative sentences :
    1. Le boulanger et la boulangère vendent-ils le pain dans la boulangerie ?
    2. Où le boulanger et la boulangère vendent-ils le pain ?
    3. Que le boulanger et la boulangère vendent-ils ?

    Explanations : “Le boulanger et la boulangère” is a subject which comprises two people, therefore it is plural. As far as the gender is concerned, you have to remember the macho rule ” the masculine wins over the feminine “. Consequently the gender of this subject is masculine. The corresponding pronoun is then “ils”

    This fifth lesson ends the grammatical core of the course. In the next lessons, we’re going to focus on the vocabulary and the language by itself i.e. usual expressions, familiar expressions and idiomatic expressions. Other major verb tenses (past, future and conditonal) will be introduce at a steady pace. So don’t miss the next lessons.

    5. Exercises

    Build up the neagtive and interrogative sentences for the following normal sentences as shown in the example below :

    • normal sentence : Pierre chante une chanson dans la rue (Pierre is singing a song in the street)
    • negative sentence : Pierre ne chante pas une chason dans la rue (Pierre is not singing a song in the street)
    • interrogative sentence #1 : Où Pierre chante t-il une chanson ? Answer : dans la rue
    • interrogative sentence #2 : Que chante Pierre dans la rue ? Answer : une chanson
    • interrogative sentence #3 : Qui chante une chanson dans la rue ? Answer : Pierre

    List of normal sentences :

    1. Nous conduisons une voiture dans la ville (We’re driving a car in the city)
    2. Monsieur et Madame Dupont habitent une maison à Toulouse (Mr. and Mrs Dupont live in a house in Toulouse)
    3. Elle achète un gâteau dans la pâtisserie (She buys a cake in the bakery)
    4. Les enfants jouent au football dans le jardin (The children play soccer in the garden)

     continued in part two…..


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