French Level 1|
Judging from what you have just read and heard, what do you believe Victoire's question, "Comment tu t'appelles?" means in English? If you said, "What is your name?" you are absolutely right!!! To give you a little more understanding of how this all works, let's take a look at the exact English translation of Victoire's question, which is: "How you yourself calls?" or "How do you call yourself?" This sounds VERY WEIRD to an English speaker, but not to someone who is French. Why, you ask? I will attempt to explain.
When we want to express an idea to another person, how do we do it? We can use pictures, act it out, or probably the easiest way, we just SPEAK IT to them. What do we use when we speak an idea to a person? Why, language (of course!) Language is a great way to present an idea to someone else. For example, both questions, "Comment tu t'appelles?" and "What is your name?" are different ways of expressing the same idea, it is just being done using different words (and languages in this case).
Another important part of presenting an idea using language is through word structure. Here's an example: Victoire is trying to find out the boy's (Luc's) name. She puts the words together in a way that makes sense to her. As you saw a few paragraphs back, the way that a French person forms a question to ask someone's name is done very differently than an English speaker would do it. This is not only because the languages are different, but because the formulation of the phrase itself is different. To translate the English question, "What is your name?" directly into French is something that is possible to do, but it would make about as much sense to a native French speaker as "How you yourself calls?" would make to a native English-speaking person.
How do you keep this all straight, you ask? I will sum it up in one word, Memorize!!! Memorize these sentences and don't try to translate them. In time, they will become second nature to you and they will make perfect sense. (WHEW! How was that for a LONG explanation).
Now let's look at how Luc answers Victoire's question. He says, "Je m'appelle Luc" or "I call myself, Luc". Now I know what you are thinking, why not just say simply, LUC. I will tell you why. If all you give are one word responses in this course, you will never learn to use the language efficiently. When you are a fluent French speaker, you can do it the easy way, until then.....
Let's move on to the next part of the dialog:
In this part of the dialog, Luc asks Victoire, "Comment t'appelles-tu?" Notice that he rearranged the formation of the words in the question from how Victoire did it. Both ways are used, however, Luc's way is the most grammatically correct. Victoire's, on the other hand, is the most commonly used form. Which one is best? It's your pick!
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