Tuesday, October 11, 2011

French is easier to speak than to write

It is relatively easier to speak French than write.

Why do I say that?

'This’ in French can be ce, cette, or cet depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine or masculine starting with a vowel. But since ‘cette’ and ‘cet’ are pronounced identically and assuming 50% of all nouns are feminine, more than half nouns will take similar demonstrative pronouns. So, if in doubt say ‘sette’ (soft ‘t’ please).

Let’s consider ‘my’. It is mon for masculine, ma for feminine and mon for anything you own that starts with a vowel. Following similar logic, ‘moN’ (nasal N) is the default usage.

Of course, the best bet is to learn the gender of the noun as you learn it, but initially this helps build confidence. As long as it doesn’t become a habit.

Let’s now think of the verbs. Verbs take different endings depending on who is the noun/pronoun.
For example,
Je suis allé (If I am male)
Je suis allée (If I am female)

For vous it could be more complicated.

Vous êtes arrivé (You, formal, singular, male)
Vous êtes arrivés (You – group of males, group of males and females)
Vous êtes arrivée (You, formal, singular, female)
Vous êtes arrivées (You – group of females only)

Now before you give up, consider this: in all cases, irrespective of gender or number, the verb is pronounced identically – ‘arrivay’.

Alors, c’est facile. N'est pas?

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