A First French Lesson from gbarto.com and multilingua.info


For our introduction to French, we will start by teaching you to introduce yourself to someone and say one or two words about yourself.


Here is the opening of a simple conversation:




How are you?

Comment allez-vous?

(koh-mawn tah-lay voo)

They should answer…



Very well, thank you.

Très bien, merci.

(tray byen mair-see)

And you?

Et vous?

(ay voo)

You respond…



Very well, thank you.

Très bien, merci.

(tray byen mair-see)

You continue…



I am [your name]

Je m’appelle [your name]

(zhuh muh-pell…)

And who are you?

Et comment vous appelez-vous?

(ay koh-mawn voo zapp-lay voo)

They should answer…



Pleased to meet you.



To which you respond:



Pleased to meet you.



*pronounce the “zh” like the “s in “pleasure.”

** females add a second “e” in the written form. This will be taken up later.


The dialogue sketched above is simple and the pronunciation guide is a rough approximation created for ease of use by a native speaker of American English, not for a precise representation of standard French. Native French speakers may add in some words or put some of the words in a different order. Do not worry about this for the time being. The information above should be enough for you to exchange names with an understanding French speaker.


Once you have met someone, you may want to learn more about them and to tell them about yourself.


Above, you learned that to say, “I am,” you say, “Je m’appelle...” This expression literally means, “I am called,” or “They call me.” To literally say, “I am,” you say, “Je suis...” The table below shows a few things you can say about yourself.

I am…

Je suis…

(zhe swee…)

from San Francisco.

de San Francisco.

(duh san fran-see-skoh)

an American man/



an American woman.



a lawyer.



a government worker.



a doctor.



Note that the French often don’t say “a/an” where we do.


To ask about the other person, you can say, “Vous êtes?” The table below shows a few possibilities.

You are… ?

Vous êtes…

(voo zet…)

what nationality?

de quelle nationalité?

(duh kell na-see-oh-nal-ee-tay)

an French man/



an French woman?



an engineer?



a businessman/

homme d’affaires/

(um d-ah-fair)

a businesswoman?

femme d’affaires?

(fem d-ah-fair)


This concludes the first French lesson from gbarto.com. Stay tuned. A second lesson is coming soon. And if you are in the San Francisco Bay area and would like lessons, why not visit gbarto.com/languages for information on our private tutors.