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Getting started with French 1
Getting started with French 1

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1 Tu t’appelles comment ? Tu es français/ française ? (What is your name? Are you French?)

To start this week, you’ll look at how to introduce yourself by giving your name and nationality.

Activity 1

Described image
Figure 2

Read the two sentences below. What two ways do these people use to introduce themselves? What do you think ‘je suis’ means? Do you notice any other differences between the way they give their nationality? Write your thoughts in the box below.

  1. Salut. Moi, c’est Lucy. Je suis anglaise.
  2. Bonjour. Je m’appelle Charlie. Je suis anglais et français.
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One says ‘Moi, c’est’, the other uses ‘Je m’appelle’. ‘je suis’ means ‘I am.’ Charlie has dual nationality, he’s English (anglais) and French (français). Lucy is English: notice that there is an -e at the end of ‘anglaise’ for her, but not for Charlie. You may have noticed, too, that the nationality doesn’t start with a capital letter, as it does in English.

Saying your name

You’ve just come across some French-speakers giving their name and their nationality.

To give your name in French you would most commonly use:

Je m’appelle – I’m called (literally, ‘I call myself’).

In informal contexts or among friends you can also say:

Moi, c’est Lucy.

Moi, je m’appelle Lucy.

Lucy uses ‘moi’ here just for emphasis. Literally it means ‘Me, my name is […]’.

When someone asks your name, you would hear:

Tu t’appelles comment ? (informal)

Vous vous appelez comment ? (more formal speech)

Saying your nationality

To give your nationality, you use the adjective of your country. An adjective is a word that describes something, so, for example, France is the name of the country, but French is the word that describes something or someone from that country: ‘I like French cheese.’ ‘I am French.’

Note, however, that French adjectives of nationality can slightly change their form, that is, the way they’re written, as you noticed when you looked at the way Lucy and Charlie introduced themselves.

Charlie says: Je suis anglais (this is the ‘masculine’ form)

Lucy says: Je suis anglaise (this is the ‘feminine’ form, with an -e added)

Here are some more examples; note how the spelling for the masculine and feminine forms are different.

Table 1 Masculine and feminine forms
Masculine Feminine
français française French
espagnol espagnole Spanish
italien italienne Italian
anglais anglaise English
allemand allemande German