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L6'o t I


French Lesson


Bcsides la rarhe, thcre arc other animaux on Ia .Jt're, whose buildings are wcather-beaten, pocked with rusty nails, and lcaning at odd angles, but wtrch has a


nw tracror Les chiens cringc in rhc preseuce of their ntster, lt Jerniu, and bark at /es drars as lrs r/?arr slink
mewing to rl)e back door, and lcrporlctu cluck and scrarch and arc specral pcts oflc.fcnnier's children until thcy are beheadcd by le lirniu and, plucked by ta fentne of tt

Le Meurtre

ambling up the hill, head to rump, head to rump. Leam what a varlrr is A varlre is milked in the mornrng, and milked again in the evening, lwirching her dung-soaked tail, her head in a stanchion. Always start learning your foreign language with the names of fann animals. Remembcr that onc arumal is rn aninral, bur more than one are aninaux, eru)tng tn a, :r. Do not 'fhere pronounce the x. These aninrarrc live on e Jenne is not much difference between rhat word, y'rme' and
See rhe uadrer

Jerniet with her red-knuckled hands and then cooked and catcl by chc cntrre-lrmi//r_ Until furdrcr noticc do not pronouncc the 6nal consonants ofany ofthc words in your new vocabulary unless they arc followcd by thc lctrer e, and somerimcs nor even theu. The rulcs rnd thcir nurnerous exceptions will be covercd irr latcr les!(/e wjll uow introduce a piece of languagc hisbry and rhen, following it, a language concept Agrrculure rr J pursurr in Frrncr. rr ir cour,try, but the word is pronounced ditlereudy, ajrrcuhure -fhc spelling is the same because thc woril is derived from the Larin In your lessons you will noticc rhrt some French words, such as la-[rnc, rrc spcllcd thc same way or nearly rhe s:mc way as thc, ctlLrivalent words rn our own language, end in rhcsc crscs c words in both languages arc derived lrom thc sarnc Latiu word Other Frcnch words are not at all likc oLrr words for the same things In drese cases, the Frcnch words are usually derivcd from rhe Latin but our words ibr tlre

our own word for the placc where wisps ofsrraw covcr everyrhing, rhe barnyard is deep in mud, and a hot dunghill *eamr by rhe brrn door on r wintcr morning. so it should be eesy to learn. Fetne We can now introduce the definitc articles ie, la, and les, which we know already from certain phrases we see 1n our own country, such as Ie ut le sandwich, le af6,

1J0 I F43.h L6so I

same things are rot, rnd have come to us fiorn the Anglo-Saxon, the Danish, ald so on. Thrs is a piece of information about languagc history. Thcre willbe more language history in later lcssons, because language his-


t I


tory is really quite lascinaring, as we hope you will agree by thc end of rhr: course. We have just said that wc have our own words in English lor ihe same things. This is not strictly true. We can't reatly say there arc scveral words lor the same thing. It rs in fact jusr the oPposrte- therc is only one word for mrny things, and usually even that word, when it is a noul, is too general Keep this language concept in mind as you listen to the following cxampler A French arbre is not the elm or maple shading the main street ofour Ncw Englalrd to\,r'ns in thc infinitely long, hor and listless, vacant summcr ofour childhoods, whi.h are rhemselves dillerent from the childhoods of French children, rnd il you see r Frc'nchman standing on r stre(t ln a small town rn Amcricr pointing to an elm or a maple and calling ir an arbre, you will know thr. is wrong. An arbre is a pLne trec in rn rncient (own square with lopped, stubby branches and prtchy, leprous bark standing in a row of similar plane trees across ftom ihe town hall, in front ofwhich a bicycle ridden by a mrn with thick, reddish skin rnd an old caP wavers past end turns tnlo a narrow lane. Or an arbre is one of the dense, scrubby live oaks irr the blazing dry hills of Provencc, through which a slm ar ngure in a blu clorh

jacket carrying some sort of a nct or trap pushcs his way An arbre can also cast a pleasant shadc and kcep la malson cool in the summer, but rcmember that ld mai\on is not wood-frarned with r widow's walk and a wide front porch but is laid our on r rorth-south axrs. is built ofrrrcgular, sand-colored blocks ofstone. and has a retl rile roof, small square windows wirh grccn shutters, and no windows on the north side, which js rlso prorected from the wrnd by r closely planred line of cypresses, while a pretry mulberry or olive may shade thc south Not that lhcre rre nor many dillerent sorts of ndisons in France, their archirccture depclding ou their climare or ol dre facr rhat there may be a loreign counrry nearby, like Germany, but we cannot really have rnore than one image behind a word we say, like maison. What do yor.r see when you say hoare? l)o you see more lhan one kind

When arc we going ro rcturn to our /enne? As we poinced out earlicr, r language srudent should master la lirrre belore he or she moves on to /a ritlr, just :rs wc should all come to rhe crry or y in our adolesccnt ycars, when urture. or rnimrl lifc. ir no longer as irrrporrrnr or interesting to us as i! once was, lf you stand in a rilled frcld rt thc edge of ld I?m4 you will hear les vathes lowtttg becausc it is five in rhe winter cvening ald rheir udders arc futt A lighr is on in the barn, but ourside it is dark aud Ia Jtnne of Ic Jernier looks out a little anxiously across the baruyard


1i2 I

Fren.h Laron

Fre ch L6'on

I / lJJ

from the window of her raisire, where shc is peelinli vegetables Now thc hired man is silhouetted in the doorway ofthe barn. L/Jcn,xe wonders why ic is sranding still holding a short objcc in his right band The plural article lcs, spetled I r s, as nr es varler' is invariable, but do uot prorounce the J Thc singular xrticle is either masculinc. le. or feminine, la, depending on the nouu it accompaDies, aud it mrrst always be learned along with

Now the lrired man swings opcn Ia barriirc

rariro anrble acro.s rhc b,rrnyard. uddcrs.uaying, up to their hocks jn la 6ore, nodding their hcads and switch_ ing their trils Now their hooves clatrer across rhe con_
crete floor oflagrar3c aud the hjred man swin gs la barriire

any new noun in your vocabutary, because rhere is very littlc else to go by, to rcll what in the world of French

nouus is masculinc rnd what is fcmininc You mey lry to rcmembcr that all countries eudrng in silenr e are ferninirre exccpr for h Mexiq e, or thrt all the states in rhe United Strtes ofAnrerica endiDg in silent e arc fem-

sbut. But whcre is lc Jernier? And why, rr fact, js the chopping block covcred with saa3 that rs still sricky, even though le Jemier has nor k,llcd rn 2orler nr days? You will necd to usc indeEnite articlcs es wcll as de{inite articles with your nouDs, end we must rcpcar ther you will nake no rnisrakes wirh the gclder of your nouns

ifyou lcarn

the arricles ar the srmc time. Un is masculne,

ininc except for Mrinc-just as in Germen tbe four seasons are mascuhne and all minerals are masculine-but you wi)l soon forget these rules Onc day' however' la naison will sccn incvitrbly fcminine to yolr, wirh its welcoming open doors. rr shady roorns, its wrrm kilchcn La bi.ydette, a word we rre introducing now' will rlso seem feminine, rnd can be rhought ofas a young girl, ribbons f,uttering iu her sPokes as she wobbles down

thc rutted lane away from the hrm La bicyclette Bnt rhat was carlier in the ,fiernoon Now ler /ader stand ar the barnyard gatc, lowing and chewing rherr cuds Thc word rad, and probably also the word /ouing, are words you will not have to know in French, since you would almost nevcr have occasion to use them

This bcing so, what geDdcr is ,r, porld,) If you say masculine you are right, rhough the bird hersclf may bc a young lemale After the agc of tcn months, howcver, whcn she should also be stewcd rather than brolled, fried, or roasted, she is known as /a poalr and makes a grcat rackct after laying a clutch ofcggs in a corrrer of the poultry yard la Jinne wilt havc troublc finding in thc mornilg, whcl she will also discovcr somethrng that docs not belong chcre and that nakes her stand srill, her apron irll ofeggs, and gazc offacross the frelds Notice that the words porile, pould, nd poulrry, es' pecially when seen ol rhe pagc, have some rcscmbbncc. This is because all rhree are derived frorn thc same Latin word. This may help you remembcr the wo:d poulet. Po le, poulet, and poulrry have no rcscurblancc to thc

ane is feminine.


l:pa.h Lssoh

from the Angloshe was doing?

Fren.h L6sof

I /


wotd chi.ken,



is derived

It is still dark,

/er rarles are gone lrom

nouns. We can safely, howcver, introduce a preposition at this point, and before wc are through we will also be using

In this first lcsson we have concentrated on

her sight and quieter rhan they were ea(lier, except for the one bellowrng uade who is ill and was nor let out that morning 6y le Jemier for feer that sbe would infecr
the others, and lrltrnme is still there, peeling vegetables. She is-now Iisten carefully-/ans la cuisine. Do yot) remember what ld rririn is? It is rhe only place, excepr

one verb, so rhat by the end of tbe lesson you will be able to form some simple serltences. Try to learn what this preposition means by the contexr in which it is used-


for the sunny front courtyerd on r cool

une Jemme


You will noticc that you have been doing rhis all along with most of the vocrbulary iDtroduced. lt is a good way to learn a languege becausc it is how children lcarn their native languages, by associating the sounds rhey hear with the context in which the sounds arc utrcred If the context changed continually, rhe children would never learn to speak Also, the so-called meaning of a word is complerely determined by the contexc in which it is spoken, so rhit irr facr we cannor.ia1'.r merning rs inescapably attached to a word, but that it shifts over time and from contcxr to context Certajnly rhe so-called meaning ofa French word, as I trred to suggest earlier, is not its Englrsh cquiv:lenr bur whatevcr it rel'er. to rn French life. Thesc are modern or conremporary idees about language, but they are generally acccpted. Now th nw word we are adding to our vocabulary is the word dans, spelled dans Remember not ro pronounce the lastletler, r, or, in this crse, the nexr to thc lasr letrer, r, and speak the word through your nose. Ddrr Do you remember la.pmme? Do you remember whar

summer altemoon, where

peel les legunes
La fenme is

would reasonably

all knife dans hcr red-knu ckled hand and there are bics ofpotato skin sruck to her wrist, jusr as there are feathers sruck in /r rdflj on rhe chopping
a sm


block outside thc brck door, smaller fcathers, however, than would be expeced from ,rr porler The glistening white peeled pomrflrr de terre arc dans une bassinc md la bassine is dans the srrrk, and les uthes xe dans la grange, where they should havc been an hour ago Above thcm che beles ofhay are stacked nearly ddrr the loft, and ncar them is a calf dans thc catves' pcn The rows of barc light bulbs in the cciling shine on the clanking sranchions., is another word you will probably lot hrve to know in French, rhough it is a nice onc to know in Enghsh. Now that you know the words la Jenm , dans, an<l la caisine, yor: will haveno rrouble understanding your first complete sentence in French: La Jenne cst dans Ia cuisine. Say it over unril you feel comforrtble wi:Jt it. La Jemme


Fre .h

Lst l r-

erl-spelled e r I but don't pronounce the r or thc

ilaas Ia

nisine. Here are a few more simple sentences to practice on: La uache cst dans la panfe. La ponne de terre elt dans Ia bassi e. La bassine esr dans tlie sink. The whcrcabouts of le Jermier s more of a problem, but in thc ncxt lesson we may be able to tollow him irrto la uille. Bcforc goiug on to la ville, however, do study the list of additional vocabulary:

Once a Very

Stupid Man

sar bag

{/i'ler thrush
She rs tired and a and

I'aile: wing

lirtle ill and not thinking very clearly

she tries to get dresscd shekeeps asking hrrn where

h*chet Ie nanthe. hndle

Ia hathette:
Ie neurrre: morder

her rhings arc and he very patiently tclls her whcrc each thrng is-6rst her panrs, then her shirt, then her socks. then her glasses. He suggests to hcr rhat sbe should put her glasses on rnd she does. but this doesn'r sccm to
help very much. Therc isn't much light coming into thc

room. Part ofthe way through rhis search and this :rrtempt to dress hersclf she lies down on the bcd rnostly dressed while helies under the covers after crrlicr gctting up to feed the cat, opcning rhe can of lood widr .r noise that puzzlcd her because it sounded like nrilk sc;uirtlrg from the teat of a cow inro a metal buckcr. As she Lcs there nearly dressed beside him hc talks to hcr srcrdrly about various things, and after a whilc, rs shc has been listening ro him wirh diferent reacridrs rccording ro