Bonjour! Comment allez-vous? Hello! How are you? French is one of the most popular speaking languages in the world—along with Mandarin, Spanish, and English. Gaining the skills to speak another language opens up a vast array of opportunities because it allows you to communicate with people in countries other than your own.

Taking French 1 (FREN 1) at UCSC takes you one step closer to being able to communicate with other French-speaking people. The main concepts you will learn in this class are as follows:

1. Greeting People

Bonjour. Comment ça va? Comment tu-tappelles? 

Hello. Hi. How are you? What is your name?

Knowing how to respectfully meet people and introduce yourself is very important. It gives you the basic skills of having a simple conversation with a complete stranger—or friend!

2. Counting

un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq…cent!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5…100!

Numbers are used everyday in your life. Knowing the numbers in French will give you the ability to ask the price, say your age, give the date, and so on!

3. Describing Your Week

Ma semaine était très mal.

My week was very bad.

Being able to explain how your week was could spark a very interesting conversation with another. If it was amazing, you get to share your good news; if it was awful, you get to share an interesting story/explanation!

4. Describing Appearance and Personality

Je suis petite. Je suis amusante. 

I am short. I am funny.

The descriptions of yourself and others are very valuable. It gives you the chance to talk about yourself (which almost everybody loves to do) and allows you the opportunity to bond with people with the same characteristics as you!

5. Talking About Your Classes

Mon cours est facile. Mon professeur est gentil.

My class is easy. My professor is nice.

Everyone knows how common “small-talk” is. Being able to discuss what classes you’re taking and how they are will save you from those awkward silences!

6. Describing Your University

UCSC est très grand et joli. 

UCSC is very big and pretty.

The knowledge of knowing how to talk about your university is very important for someone who may not know the area and/or campus as well as you.

7. How You Spend Your Free Time

Je regarde la télé.

I watch television.

Many people bond over same-interest activities. If you are able to communicate your hobbies to another, you could very well find a long-lasting friend!

8. Asking About Someone’s Day

Qu’est-ce que tu aimes faire après le cours?

What do you like to do after class?

This is simply out of respect and politeness. We constantly ask each other how we are doing and what we are doing. If you do not know how to have a conversation about your day or someone else’s, that conversation won’t last very long—if at all.

9. Talking About Possessions

J’ai un chien.

I have a dog.

People are also able to connect through their possessions. If you are unable to talk about your possessions with another, they will never learn very much about you, and therefore that relationship will most likely be a short one.

10. Giving Your Address and Phone Number

Quel est votre numéro de téléphone?

What is your phone number?

Lastly, understanding how to tell another person your number/address is incredibly useful. This gives people the information they need to know in order to contact you and hopefully interact with you in the future.

These ten, basic concepts allow you to hold a simple conversation with another in French—that’s pretty cool! The more you learn and the more you practice, the closer you get to becoming fluent in another language; it’ll do you wonders.


Sophie Bales

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