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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 now 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#.

$asculine definite article: le %leu& Feminine definite article: la $asculine indefinite article: un %nasal sound which can be derived from the English sound 'un' as e(plained in the first lesson& Feminine indefinite article: une %)n'&

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


la*une table "the*a table# le*un sac "the*a bag# le*un chat "male cat#, la*une chatte "female cat# le*un bras "the*an arm# la*une soeur "the*a sister# la*une bouche "the*a mouth# la*une +ambe "the*a leg# la*une lampe "the*a lamp# la*une terre "the*a land# la*une botte "the*a boot# la*une langue "tongue# le*un langage "language# la*une chambre "room# le*un v,lo "the*a bi e# le*un +our "the*a day# la*une nuit "the*a night# la*une voiture "the*a car# le*un pays "the*a country# le*un fr-re "the*a brother# le*un p-re "the*a father# la*une m-re "the*a mother# la*une t.te "the*a head# la*une maison "the*a house# la main "the*a hand# le*un pain "the*a bread# la*une tasse "the*a cup#

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 ara/gn,e "a spider#, l'ara/gn,e "the spider# une auto "a car#, l'auto "the car# 0reviously, we said that there was no logical rules to find out the gender of the French words. 1ctually, there are some... Professions 1lmost every profession has two genders depending on whether it is a man or a woman who is accomplishing the wor . E(amples : un boulanger a male ba er

une boulang-re a female ba er un boucher a male butcher une bouch-re a female butcher The following list gives the masculine and feminine form of some professions: 2river $asculine: un conducteur Feminine: une conductrice 1irplane pilot $asculine: un aviateur Feminine: une aviatrice Engineer $asculine: un ing,nieur Feminine: une ing,nieure Teacher $asculine: un professeur Feminine: une professeure 0resident $asculine: un pr,sident Feminine: une pr,sidente $inister $asculine: un ministre Feminine: une ministre Wor er $asculine: un ouvrier Feminine: une ouvri-re Animals 3i e professions, most animals may have both genders "male and female#. 1s opposed to professions, the way the female form is built does not comply to any general rule and conse4uently, must be learnt by heart. The following is a list of e(amples: 5at $asculine: un chat %sha& Feminine: une chatte %shat'& 2og $asculine: un chien %shi6in& Feminine: une chienne %shi-n'& 3ion $asculine: un lion %li6on& Feminine: une lionne %li6on'& Tiger $asculine: un tigre Feminine: une tigresse %tigr-s'& 7orse $asculine: un cheval Feminine: une +ument 8abbit $asculine: un lapin Feminine: une lapine 8at $asculine: un rat Feminine: une rate. 0ig $asculine: un porc, un cochon Feminine: une truie %tr)6i& 9ovine "cow*bull# $asculine "bull#: un taureau %toro& Feminine "cow#: une vache 2on ey $asculine: un :ne Feminine: une :nesse 1s you may have noticed in the previous e(amples, 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 ad+ectives 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: 2efinite article: les "both feminine and masculine# Undefinite article: des "both feminine and masculine#

Plural rule: ;n French, the plural form of nouns and ad+ectives is built by appending an 's' "li e in English#. 7owever, in many cases, this rule is not applicable, and you will be re4uired to learn by heart the irregular form of plural form of these e(ceptions "lesson <#. E(amples: =ingular: le chat 0lural: les chats =ingluar: la table 0lural: les tables =ingluar: un chien 0lural: des chiens =ingluar: une lionne 0lural: des lionnes =ingluar: un oiseau 0lural: des oiseau( oiseau is one of these e(ceptions.

3. Some usual expressions

merci "than you# s'il vous pla/t "please# bon+our "literally 'good day', means good morning*good afternoon# bonsoir "good evening# bonne nuit "good night# au revoir "literally 'see you again', means goodbye# pardon "sorry# e(cuse>6moi "e(cuse me#

The verb groups


;n English, the infinite tense is built by adding ' to ' in front of the verb : to say, to see, to eat, etc. ;n French, the infinite tense is indicated by appending 6er, 6ir or 6re to the verb. E(amples : -er parler "to tal # chanter "to sing# manger "to eat# marcher "to wal # aller "to go# ,couter "to listen to# laver "to wash# commencer "to begin# -ir finir "to end# mourir "to die# courir "to run# sentir "to feel# avoir "to have# venir "to come# savoir "to now# vouloir "to want# -re sourire "to smile# vivre "to live# boire "to drin # entendre "to hear# .tre "to be# conduire "to drive# vendre "to sell# The verbs ending with 6er are referred to as ' first group ' verbs, the verbs ending with 6ir compose the ' second group ' and the verbs with the ending 6re form the ' third group '. ;t is useful to distribute the verbs between these ? groups because different con+ugation rules apply to each group as we're going to see.

The pronouns

+e ";# tu "you informal form or 'tutoiement' in French# il * elle %il*el'& "he*she it does not e(ist in French# nous %nou& "we# vous %vou& "you when tal ing to more than one person or formal form 'vouvoiement' in French# ils * elles %il*el'& "they#

Notes @. 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, A. in English, the And person pronoun is ' you ' whether in singular or plurial. Formally, in French, if you tal to one single person, you use ' tu ' and if you tal to a group of people, you must use ' vous '. ;n fact, the ' tu ' form "or ' tutoiement ' in French# is commonly used between people of same age, or same social ran . When tal ing to a older person or to somebody above you in ran "your boss for e(ample#, you must, most of the time, employ the ' vous ' form "or ' vouvoiement in French#. ' tu ' mar s familiarity while ' vous ' mar s respect. ?. When the verb starts with a vowel, you must use +' instead of +e.

Present tense
;n French, there are much more verb tenses than in English. 7opefully, a large number of them are rarely, or never, used in the spo en language. The simplest verb tense is the present which is used to describe actions that occur in the present time. 5on+ugating verbs in the present tense is very easy in English because the verb does not change, e(cept for the ?rd singular person where a ' s ' is appended. ;n French, the present tense con+ugation is not so straight forward. The verbs termination varies according to the person and the verb group and might be altered. 3et's start with the @st group verbs :

Conju ation of the 1st roup !er"s


chanter #to sin $ +e chante %shant'& tu chantes %shant'& il*elle chante %shant'& nous chantons %shanton& vous chante> %shant,& ils*elles chantent %shant'& parler #to spea%& to tal%$ +e parle %parl'& tu parles %parl'& il*elle parle %parl'& nous parlons %parlon& vous parle> %parl,& ils*elles parlent %parl'& 'couter #to listen to$ +',coute %,cout'& tu ,coutes %,cout'& il*elle ,coute %,cout'& nous ,coutons %,couton& vous ,coute> %,cout,& ils*elles ,coutent %,cout'& Bou can clearly see the con+ugation pattern applying to the the termination of the @st group verbs. @st person singular : 6e And person singular : 6es ?rd person singular : 6e @st person plural : 6ons And person plural : 6e> ?rd person plural : 6ent Bou should be able to con+ugate any other @st group verb. 3et's try ' aller ' : +'alle, tu alles, etc. Unfortunately, it's wrong ! ! ' 1ller ' is one of the so many irregular verbs. The

con+ugation is rather : +e vais %v,& tu vas %va& il*elle va nous allons vous alle> ils*elles vont %von&

Conju ation of the 2nd roup !er"s


finir #to finish$ +e finis tu finis& il*elle finit nous finissons vous finisse> ils*elles finissent !enir #to come$ +e viens tu viens il*elle vient nous venons vous vene> ils*elles viennent !ouloir #to (ant$ +e veu( tu veu( il*elle veut nous voulons vous voule> ils*elles veulent Cnce again, the con+ugation of And group verbs respect some ind of termination pattern, however, less obvious than in the @st group. =ome of the And group verbs con+ugate li e ' finir ' "termination pattern : 6s, 6s, 6t, 6ssons, 6sse>, 6ssent# and othersli e ' venir ' "termination pattern : 6s, 6s, 6t, 6ons, 6e>, 6ent#. 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 And group verb, e(cepting learning it by heart.

Conju ation of the 3rd roup !er"s


"oire #to drin%$ +e bois tu bois il*elle boit nous buvons vous buve> ils*elles boivent !endre #to sell$ +e vends tu vends il*elle vend nous vendons vous vende> ils*elles vendent !i!re #to li!e$ +e vis tu vis il*elle vit nous vivons vous vive> ils*elles vivent The ?rd group is a real mess since most of the verbs which belong to it are irregular. Devertheless, they respect a termination pattern "6s, 6s, 6t, 6ons, 6e>, 6ent# but are altered. Cnce again, no general rule can be drew up. ; hope you have a good memory !

" tre " (to be) and " avoir " (to have)
1s in many european languages, ' .tre ' "to be# and ' avoir ' "to have# play a special role in French. They are also referred to as au(illiaries. French language ma es use of only two au(iliary verbs ".tre and avoir# while English has many of them "to have, will, would, shall, should, can, could, must, might, ought to, etc.#. Cn one hand, ' .tre ' and ' avoir ' are strongly irregular but in the other hand, they are used very often. 5onse4uently, their con+ugation must be well nown. ;n the present tense their con+ugation are : )tre #to "e$ +e suis %sEi& tu es %,& il*elle est %,& nous sommes %some& vous .tes %-t'& ils*elles sont %son& a!oir #to ha!e$ +'ai %+-& tu as %a& il*elle a nous avons vous ave> ils*elles ont %on& 2espite the irregular behaviour of these verbs, the con+ugation terminations respect, more or less, the pattern we previuosly noticed. Dote that this remar is applicable to the verb ' aller ' as well.

Some coloursbleu
"blue# rouge "red# blanc "white# noir "blac # vert "green# +aune "yellow# rose "rose# orange "orange# gris "grey# marron*brun "brown#

1. Adjectives
;n the second lesson we saw that in French nouns have a gender : they can be either masculine or feminine. =ome 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 comple(#. There is an other ind of words in French which change in accordance to the gender and the number : the ad+ectives. 1d+ectives change according to the gender and the number of the noun which they 4ualify. The rules which we drew up for the nouns are applicable to the ad+ectives :

Adjecti!es Concordance *ules

*ule 1 6 5oncordance with the gender When the noun which an ad+ective 4ualifies is feminine, an ' e ' is appended to the ad+ective, if it does not already end with an ' e '. *ule 2 6 5oncordance with the number When an ad+ective refers to a noun in the plurial form or more than @ noun, a ' s ' is appended to it, if it does not end with a ' s ', a' > ' or a ' ( '. *ule 3 6 The rules @ and A are cumulative, i.e. if an ad+ective 4ualifies a feminine and plurial noun, it ta es an ' e ' and a ' s ' at the end. *ule + 6 $asculine is stronger ! When an ad+ective refers to a group of masculine and feminine nouns, only the masculine concordance rule applies. This rule is also nown as ' the masculine wins over the feminine ', which is the more macho French grammar rule !

Dote : ;n most cases, the ad+ectives follow the noun or the group of nouns they refer. 7owever, this remar is not rigid and you can actually put an ad+ective before the noun it 4ualifies but be careful, by doing this, you may change the meaning ! "idiomatic form#. E(amples :

un homme petit "a small man# * un petit homme "a id# une femme bonne "a good woman# * une bonne femme "a woman with a pe+orative meaning# une voiture sale "a dirty car# * une sale voiture "a awful car#

=ome ad+ectives are placed before the noun they 4ualify rather than after. E(amples :

grand "big, large# : we say ' une grande voiture ' "a big car# rather than ' une voiture grande '

beau "nice# : we say ' un beau graFon ' "a nice boy# rather than ' un graFon beau '

Dote that, in these e(amples, both forms are grammatically correct but French spea ing people prefer the first one.

,xamples of adjecti!e concordance rules


Criginal sentence : ;l conduit un camion bleu "7e drives a blue truc #. 3et's apply the fourth rules we mentioned above :

*ule 1 - concordance (ith the ender: ;l conduit une voiture bleue *ule 2 - concordance (ith the num"er : ;l conduit des camions bleus *ule 3 - accumulation of rules 1 and 2: ;l conduit des voitures bleues *ule + - - masculine (ins o!er feminine - : ;l conduit un camion et une voiture bleus

2. Some adjectives

"i or tall

masculine singular : rand feminine singular : rande masculine plural: rands feminine plural: randes small masculine singular : petit feminine singular : petite masculine plural: petits feminine plural: petites nice masculine singular : "eau feminine singular : "elle masculine plural: "eaux feminine plural: "elles u l. masculine singular : laid feminine singular : laide masculine plural: laids feminine plural: laides ood masculine singular : "on feminine singular : "onne

masculine plural: "ons feminine plural: "onnes "ad masculine singular : mau!ais feminine singular : mau!aise masculine plural: mau!ais feminine plural: mau!aises hi h masculine singular : haut feminine singular : haute masculine plural: hauts feminine plural: hautes lo( masculine singular : "as feminine singular : "asse masculine plural: "as feminine plural: "asses hea!. masculine singular : lourd feminine singular : lourde masculine plural: lourds feminine plural: lourdes li ht masculine singular : l' er feminine singular : l' /re masculine plural: l' ers feminine plural: l' /res clean masculine singular : propre feminine singular : propre masculine plural: propres feminine plural: propres dirt. masculine singular : sale feminine singular : sale masculine plural: sales feminine plural: sales lon

masculine singular : lon feminine singular : lon ue masculine plural: lon s feminine plural: lon ues 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 : @. when the masculine singular form of the ad+ectif ends with a e, the feminine form is identical to the masculine one "e.g. sale * sale# A. when the masculine singular form of the ad+ectif ends with a n, the feminine form is derived by appending a e and by doubling the ending n "e.g. bon * bonne# ?. when the masculine singular form of the ad+ectif ends with a er, the feminine form end by /re "e.g. l,ger * l,g-re# <. when the masculine singular form of the ad+ectif 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 * beau(#

. !ur "irst sentences


Gery simple sentences can be built using a sub+ect, an ad+ective and the verb )tre "to be# such as :

3a maison est grande "The house is big#. 3a voiture bleue est ch-re "The blue car is e(pensive#. Tu es grand "Bou are tall#. Elle est belle "=he is nice#. 3es garFons et les filles sont grands "The boys and the girls are tall# 6 Dote that in this e(ample the 'macho' rule applies because the ad+ective rand is only in concordance with the noun ar0ons. Dous sommes intelligents "We are smart#.

Dote that the concordance rules apply to the ad+ective according to the gender and the number of the sub+ect. ; advise you to buid such sentences using the few words you have already learnt. ;t's a good e(ercise which ma e you practice the feminine and plurial forms of the ad+ectives as well as the present tense con+ugation of the verb .tre. 7ave a good time.

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