French Level 1|
The parts of the conversation between Victoire and Luc in the first dialog box take place immediately after Luc's first brief encounter with Gille. The second box contains a near identical interaction which takes place between the same two students following their dialog with Marie-Catherine. How are these two dialogs similar and how are they different? Both contain Luc's question, "Qui est-ce?" which literally means "Who is this?" (In English we would say "Who's that?") In the first box, Victoire replys by saying, "C'est un ami." or "It's a friend". In the second box, she replies with "C'est une amie" which also means "It's a friend". Now if both of these replies mean "It's a friend", why do we need to answer in two different ways? Because the first response refers to a male (Gille) and the second refers to a female (Marie-Catherine). The French language differentiates between male and female. In fact, everything is male or female, both living and non-living things. I don't want to burden you with too much information at this point (we will be covering it in more detail later in the course), so I will give you a very quick explanation. How do we show this difference between males and females in speaking and writing? By taking the word "un" (in the first dialog box) and adding the letter "e" making the new word "une" (in the second dialog box). The same thing is done again with the word "ami" (from the first dialog box). The letter "e" is added making the word "amie" (in the second dialog box). This "e" is used to make these words feminine so that they will match with the gender of the person, the object, or whatever is being discussed. Sometimes the addition of the letter "e" will change the pronunciation of the words and sometimes it will not. It will however always effect the spelling of the word or words involved.
Before we move on I would like to briefly discuss the word "C'est" at the beginning of Victoire's two replies to Luc's question "Qui est-ce?" This word is actually a contraction that is used A LOT in speaking French. As was pointed out in the previous paragraph, the English cultural translation of this contraction would be "It's" from the words "It" and "is". However, in French the literal translation would be "This is" because the two words that make up this French contraction are "Ce" which means "This" and "est" which means "is".
This brings us to the next item of discussion for this leçon: How to ask and answer, "en français", questions concerning the name of another person. Here are the two parts of the dialog that deal with this concept:
The phrases in the first box that concern Victoire's (and later to be Luc's BEST) friend, Gille. The phrase used by Luc, "Comment s'appelle-t-il?" or "What is his name?" (literally "How does he call himself") is answered by Victoire when she says, "Il s'appelle Gille" or "His name is Gille". In the second dialog box, the question is "Comment s'appelle-t-elle?" or What is her name?" and "Elle s'appelle Marie-Catherine." or "Her name is Marie-Catherine." The French words, "Il" and "Elle" mean "He" and "She" respectively!
Well, you should be all ready for the big assignment for this Unité!
Bonne Chance (Good Luck), mon ami, ou (or) mon amie, as the case may be.
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