FREN 100 AMU Week 2 French I American Military University assistance is available on Domyclass
Week 2 Overview
Welcome to week two. This week, we will continue to work through Rosetta Stone Lessons three and four of Unit 1 on Rosetta Stone. You should review Sakai Lessons, Week 2. We will have Skill-builder 2 to complete under quizzes. You should also complete Forum 2.
Students will be able to:
Identify French gender, colors, sizes, pronouns, professions, questions and answers Identify French articles, singular and plural forms, Numbers 1–6, Clothing and Quantities
In this lesson, we will discuss:
Articles, Gender, Colors, Sizes, Pronouns, Professions, Questions and Answers, more Singular and Plural forms, Numbers 1–6, Clothing and Quantities
- Singular and Plural Forms
- New Vocabulary Terms
- Places Where French Is Spoken
- Reading: Sakai Lessons 2
- Assignment: Unit 1, Lessons 3 and 4, Rosetta Stone (Submit your first Learner Progress Report in PDF)
- Forum 2
- Skill-builder 2, under quizzes
Topics to be covered include:
- Gender in French
- French Adjectives
- A brief summary of the history of France
- French culture, manners and dining
In this lesson, you will learn about gender, articles, adjectives, and pronouns. You have already begun your study of these parts of speech, and with time, it will become easier to adjust to a language that uses grammatical gender. You will even learn a little about Romance languages, including those other than French. In addition, you’ll learn about French culture, in broad, rather than specific regional terms.
Gender in Romance Languages
In Lesson 1, you were introduced to the idea of gender in language. When articles were introduced, you learned that there are both masculine and feminine articles. You also learned that some words, like marié and étudiant are different in the masculine and feminine. While this provided you with an idea of one of the key grammatical factors in French, you will find that gender is important in the French language throughout both conversation and written language.
Gender, in grammatical terms, is not about biology. It is common throughout the Romance languages; Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian all use gender in the same way. While grammatical gender may be a new or different idea for many English speakers, once upon a time, very long ago, English also had grammatical gender. Grammatical gender was only dropped in English at the point of the transition from Old English to Middle English in 1066, with the invasion of England by the Normans.
Grammatical gender is not just an annoyance; it actually impacts the sound and harmony of the language. Most people describe romance languages as sounding harmonious, fluid, pretty, or even sexy. Part of what creates that fluidity is gender; it extends well beyond just le and la and il and elle.
Each noun (remember: a person, place or thing) has a gender. Sometimes, this gender seems logical. For instance, the word homme or “man,” is masculine. When a word is masculine, you will use le. When a word is feminine, you will use la. You should make the habit of memorizing the article with the noun; this will ensure that you know the gender of each noun. You will also need to know the gender of nouns when gendering adjectives and modifiers. If you look up a noun in French, you’ll see a letter identifier showing ‘m’ or ‘f’ to tell you whether it is masculine or feminine.
While gender is something you should memorize as you learn new words, there are some helpful guidelines to help you make a best-guess at gender. The following word endings and structures can clue you into feminine words. Words that do not fit these rules or organizational schemes are usually masculine. While these are helpful, they can be wrong!
|Feminine Word Endings||Masculine Word Endings|
|–tion, –sion and -son||-age|
|–ude, –ade||-il, -ail, –eil, –ueil|
|–ée||–é (but not –té)|
|–té||-eau and –ou|
|Consonant followed by –ie||-i, -at, -et and –ot|
|Most other endings consisting of Vowel + Consonant + e: –ine, –ise, –alle, –elle, –esse, –ette, etc.||-isme|
|Also, words ending in other consonant spellings.||-ing|
You may find it helpful to memorize these endings; they accurately predict gender about 90 percent of the time.
The gender of a noun does not change; however, the noun maintains its gender when either singular or plural. Most French words become plurals in the same way as English nouns; add the letter s. This holds true for both masculine and feminine words.
- The French word for “boy” is garçon(masculine). To make garçonplural, you will simply add an s, making garçon into garçons.
- The French word for “girl” is fille(feminine). To make fille plural, you need to add an s to create filles.
Other plural words have irregular plural forms. These change significantly when they become plural, rather than singular. Examples of irregular plural forms include animal and animauxand journal and journaux. Irregular plural forms include adjectives; the –aux ending is used only for masculine words. You have probably noticed that these words end in –al; however, not all words that end in –al are irregular plurals.
In Lesson 1, you were introduced to articles, like “a” and “the.” Here, you will learn about those in more detail. There are two types of articles: indefinite articles and definite articles. Indefinite articles, in English, consist of “a” and “some.” Definite articles, in English, include “the,” and “both” in the singular and plural.
As you have learned, a, in French, is un or une, depending on gender. If you need to use “some,” as an indefinite article for a plural noun, the correct word is des. Definite articles include le and la, as well as les. Les is used for both masculine and feminine nouns.
The table provides some examples:
|Indefinite singular||Indefinite plural||Definite singular||Definite plural|
|Un homme (man)||Des hommes||L’homme||Les hommes|
|Une femme (woman)||Des femmes||La femme||Les femmes|
|Un lit (bed)||Des lits||Le lit||Les lits|
|Une table (table)||Des tables||La table||Les tables|
The s at the end of both des and les is only pronounced when the following plural noun begins with a vowel sound. If the noun begins with a consonant, the s is silent. You may have noticed that the le before homme is abbreviated to l’. The letter h in French is also typically silent. This is standard for any French noun beginning with a vowel sound, regardless of gender.
A Quick Summary of French Government History
France, as it stands today, was shaped by three distinct ancient cultures, during the period associated with ancient Rome. Roman culture makes up one of these; the other two are the Gauls and the Franks, who lent France their name. While the word France is quite old, dating to the establishment of the kingdom of Francia in 843, it has had three distinct meanings over time. First, France referred to the area of the Île de France, including the city of Paris. Over time, the power of the ruler spread to encompass a larger and larger area. France was only united as a single kingdom in the sixteenth century, during the reign of Louis XIV. In 1539, French became the official language of France, replacing Latin (Countries and their Culture “France”).
France remained a monarchy until the French Revolution. The First Republic of France was established in 1789 by the revolutionaries. Much of the nineteenth century was spent as part of the First and Second Empires, created by Napoleon Bonaparte, and later, his nephew. During the Napoleonic period, there was a short period of the Second Republic; however, this lasted only from 1848 to 1852 (Brittanica “Second Republic”). The Second Republic fell to Napoleon’s nephew, Louis-Napoleon. The Napoleonic period ended with the beginning of the Third Republic, from 1870 to 1940. The Fourth Republic dates to the period following the German occupation of World War II, and the Fifth Republic, ongoing today, to 1958. France experienced a period of significant growth in the years following World War II.
National Identify in France
National identity is quite important to the French, but has been quite challenging, both in the past and today. For many French people, being born in France and being a native French speaker is essential to their identity. Religion often plays a part in national identity, but this, too, brings a great deal of conflict. France has been involved in a number of wars, both within its borders and outside its borders, that were the clear result of religion and religious intolerance. Today, France is a secular country, but around 80 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic by birth (Countries and their Culture “France”). In terms of personal beliefs, agnosticism and atheism are both relatively common (Arno “Getting to Know the French”).
While national identity is important to the French, it is important to recognize that French culture today is quite diverse. There are large immigrant communities in many areas, and racial and religious diversity is common, especially in larger urban areas. In total, there are around 4.5 million immigrants living in France. Some assimilate to French culture, while others, particularly North Africans, maintain many elements of their own culture. There have been conflicts with immigrant populations over religion, particularly some forms of Islamic dress, like the burka.
Immigrant groups are not the only source of conflict with regard to national identity in France. As you learned in Lesson 1, some regions of France have their own cultures, and even their own languages. Corsica, today, has some degree of administrative freedom separate from Greece, and both Bretons and Basques have sought out greater political independence.
This may also be a helpful time to note that if you are visiting France, you are expected to carry your visa and identification on your person at all times.
Adjectives must correspond to the noun in both gender and number. If the noun is feminine, the adjective should be; if the noun is plural, the adjective should be. While the articles are the same for masculine and feminine nouns when plural, adjectives are not.
|Masculine Singular||le lit vert||the green bed|
|Masculine Plural||les lits verts||the green beds|
|Feminine Singular||la table verte||the green tables|
|Feminine Plural||les tables vertes||the green tables|
In most cases, the adjective is made feminine by adding an e to the base form, as you have seen with vert. An s is added to the masculine or feminine form to create the masculine plural or feminine plural. For example, consider the word chaud or warm. The masculine singular is chaud, and masculine plural is chauds. In the feminine, the word is chaude and, in the plural, chaudes.
As in English, there are many adjectives in French. Sometimes the ending of the adjective changes to match the gender of the noun, and other times, the entire word changes to match the gender of the noun.
One common example of this is beautiful/handsome. In the masculine, the word is beau in the singular and beaux in the plural. In the feminine singular, it is belle, and in the plural, belles. You can find a list of the most common French adjectives at Most Common Adjectives.