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French Level 1
    Unité 12: Leçon 5b
    Des Nationalités
    Now that you are familiar with the names of "some" of the countries of the world, let's take things one step further. Suppose that you want to tell someone that you are from one of these countries, or you want to ask someone else if he or she is from one of these countries. First, let's check out the vocabulary for these words, en français and then we will try these words out in descriptive sentences! (*Note: In the last leçon, "some" countries were listed according to their places in the world. In this leçon, their nationalities will be listed alphabetically AND according to similarities in their spelling. You'll see what I mean in a minute!)

    Check out the chart below and notice that the masculine and feminine forms for each word are listed along with the English counter-parts for each set of words:

      Les Nationalités

    Track 26
    canadien canadienne Canadian
    haïtien haïtienne Haïtian
    italien italienne Italian

    américain américaine American
    (means someone from the United States)
    mexicain mexicaine Mexican

    anglais anglaise English
    (can be anyone whose first language is English)
    écossais écossaise Scottish
    français française French
    irlandais irlandaise Irish
    irlandais du nord irlandaise du nord Northern Irish
    japonais japonaise Japonese

    russe russe Russian
    suisse suisse Suisse

    allemand allemande German

    chinois chinoise Chinese

    espagnol espagnole Spanish

      I'm sure you noticed that the above words en français have one HUGE difference in spelling from the words en anglais. In English, nationalities ALWAYS begin with capital letters, however, in French, these words ARE NOT capitalized. Remember this rule when writing these words in French.

      Now it is time to take these new words that you've learned and put them into some sentences using our verb of being, "étre":

    Track 27
    Des Phrases avec Étre  
    Je suis américain. I am an American (male)
    Tu es française. You are French (female)
    Il est allemand. He is German.
    Elle est chinoise. She is Chinese.
    **Nous sommes espagnoles. We are Spanish. (females)
    Vous êtes écosse. You are Scottish (male OR female)
    **Ils sont mexicains. They are Mexican. (males)
    **Elles sont mexicaines. They are Mexican. (females)

      Take a look back at the phrases with the stars**. Do you notice anything about their spelling on the second chart that is different than the way that these words were spelled on the first chart? The pronouns used before the nationality words, "nous", "ils, and "elles" are talking about more than one person. You notice what happened to the end of the "nationality" (adjective) word. We added an "s" with the masculine pronoun, "ils" and an "es" with the feminine pronoun, "elles". With the word "nous", since it is in the masculine form, it is possible that this word means only men are being discussed OR that a group of men and women are being discussed. Do you remember why this is? Well, whether you remember or not, I'll tell,...uh, I mean, I'll remind you! All adjectives (describing words) take the masculine form anytime that we are discussing a group of men only or men and women. If there are no men involved in the group, we use the feminine form of the adjective. This is a very important rule you need to remember for writing French. Whenever we use the verb, "être" and it is followed by an adjective, the adjective must always agree with the pronoun (or the gender of the person whose name we could use in place of a pronoun). This means that if the pronoun, is singular or we have only the name of one person, the adjective is singular; if the pronoun, is masculine or feminine, or the person named is a boy or a girl, the adjective becomes masculine or feminine; and if the pronoun is plural, or if we have more than one name, the adjective must also become plural. This leads us to the next part of this leçon.

      You remember that I told you that making these words masculine and feminine is very important in writing French. What about speaking French! Well, this rule is not as important in spoken French because an "s" on the endings of words ending are usually silent. Silent, only if the next word does not start with a vowel (If you're having déja vu, it's because we've already discussed all of this information when you learned about the "emotions", but I thought, "hey, since the vocabulary of the nationalities follows basically the same pattern as the "emotions" words, what could it possibly hurt to review it again?")

      Get ready now for your big assignment!

      Bonne Chance!