Chapitre 6 – Visite de L’Appartement

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Story

Click the audio bars below to listen to the slow, normal and street French recording of this fifth chapter of French Today's free French audiobook.

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Story

Anne et Mary montent dans l’ascenseur. Anne presse le bouton du quatrième étage, et une voix enregistrée annonce: “attention, fermeture des portes”, au grand étonnement de Mary.

Anne and Mary board the elevator. Anne presses the button of the 5th floor (US English - “le quatrième étage” is 4 floors up from the street level), and a recorded voice announces at Mary’s stupefaction: “Caution. Doors are closing”.

Quand elles arrivent à destination, la même voix proclame: “Quatrième étage. Attention, ouverture des portes”.

When they reach their destination, the same voice announces: “Fifth floor, opening of the doors”.

Anne

Et voilà, c’est ici ! Tu vas pouvoir rencontrer le dernier membre de notre famille, ma fille Sylvie.

Here we are. You’re going to meet the last member of our family, my daughter Sylvie.

Sylvie

Salut Mary. Ça va ?

Hi Mary. How are things?

Mary

Bonjour Sylvie, ça va merci.

Hi Sylvie, everything is fine, thanks.

Sylvie

Tu n’es pas trop fatiguée par le voyage ?

You’re not too tired by the trip?

Mary

Non, pas trop, merci. Wow, c’est super joli ici. J’adore la décoration !

No, not too much, thanks. Wow, it’s really beautiful here. I love the decoration/style!

Sylvie

Oui, ce n’est pas très grand, mais c’est calme, ce qui est super rare pour Paris. Viens, je vais te montrer ta chambre. Paul y a déjà mis ta valise. Ça l’amuse de la faire rouler !

Yes, it’s not very big, but it’s calm, which is super rare for Paris. Come, I’ll show you to your room. Paul already brought in your suitcase. He finds it fun to make it roll!

Mary

Il a l’air trop mignon ton frère.

Your brother seems so cute.

Sylvie

Ouais, on peut dire ça… Tu sais, il a huit ans, et moi quinze ans, alors ce n’est pas toujours l’amour entre nous ! Et toi, tu as quel âge ?

Yep, you could say that… You know, he’s 8, and I’m 15 so it’s not always love between us! And you, how old are you?

Mary

Moi, j’ai dix-sept ans.

I’m 17.

Sylvie

Donc, ben là, c’était l’entrée, et puis à droite là, tu as le salon. Il est tout petit !

So, well there, that was the foyer, and then to your right, over there, you have the living room. It’s tiny!

Mary

Oui, mais très lumineux. J’aime bien les couleurs.

Yes, but it’s very bright. I like the colors.

Sylvie

Bon, ici tu as des toilettes. Et là, à gauche, la salle à manger cuisine. C’est la plus grande pièce de la maison, et c’est bien comme ça parce qu’on y est tout le temps. Il y a aussi un petit balcon, pas très grand mais c’est agréable de s’y asseoir quand il fait beau.

OK, here, you have the toilets. And there, to the left, the dining room / kitchen. It’s the biggest room of the house (meaning more “home” here), and it’s a good thing because we’re there all the time. There is also a small balcony, not very big but it’s pleasant to seat there when it’s nice out.

Mary

Dis donc, ta mère a la main verte ! C’est une vraie jungle ce balcon !

Gosh (“say”), you’re mother has green thumbs. This balcony is a real jungle!

Sylvie

Oui, elle adore jardiner. Alors comme on n’a pas de jardin… Voilà les chambres: à droite, celle des parents, à gauche, celle de Paul, et à droite encore, la tienne. La salle de bains est au bout du couloir.

Yes, she loves to garden. So since we don’t have a garden… Here are the bedrooms: to the right, my parents’, to the left, Paul’s, and to the right again, yours. The bathroom is at the end of the corridor.

Mary

Et toi? Tu dors où ça ?

What about you? Where do you sleep?

Sylvie

Ben là, avec Paul. Je te donne ma chambre.

Well right now (we say “right here”), with Paul. I’m giving you my room.

Mary

Oh non… Tu es sûre ? Tu es vraiment trop gentille, ça me gêne.

Oh no… Are you sure? You are really too kind, I’m embarrassed.

Sylvie

Mais non Mary, c’est normal. Et puis Paul est plein de défauts, mais il ne ronfle pas encore ! De toutes les façons, comme dit Maman, je suis tout le temps chez mes copines. Non, vraiment, ça ne me gêne pas du tout. Allez, installe-toi, cet après-midi je crois que Maman veut t’emmener au marché !

Not at all Mary, it’s normal. Besides, Paul is full of flaws, but he doesn’t snore yet! Anyway, like Mom says, I’m always at my girlfriends’. No, really, it’s no trouble at all. Go, settle in, I think that this afternoon Mom wants to take you to the open-air market!

Chapters 5 and 6 were written at an High Beginner level (A2). This is the level of A Moi Paris, Level 3 - New Challenges.

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Questions and Answers

Q&A Audio

In addition to simply answering the questions out loud, you can also use these short sentences as a dictation and check your French spelling.

You may also want to use them to train on your French pronunciation, and just repeat out-loud after me, trying to mimic my voice and intonation as if you were an actor.

1. Les Castel habite à quel étage ?

What floor do the Castel live on?

Ils habitent au quatrième.

They live on the fourth floor [fifth floor in the US].

2. Qu’est-ce qui étonne Mary quand Anne et elle prennent l’ascenseur ?

What surprises Mary when Anne and she take the elevator?

Une voix annonce l’étage et dit de faire attention aux portes.

A voice announces the floor and warns people about the doors.

3. Qui est-ce que Mary n’a pas encore rencontré ?

Who did Mary not meet yet?

Sylvie, la fille des Castel.

Sylvie, the Castel’s daughter.

4. Pourquoi Paul a-t-il déjà mis la valise de Mary dans sa chambre ?

Why did Paul already put Mary’s suitcase in her bedroom?

Parce que ça l’amuse de la faire rouler.

Because he thinks it’s fun to make it roll.

5. Quels âges ont Sylvie et Mary ?

How old are Sylvie and Mary?

Sylvie a quinze ans et Mary dix-sept ans.

Sylvie is fifteen and Mary seventeen.

6. Où se trouve le salon ?

Where is the living-room ?

Il est à droite de l’entrée.

It’s to the right of the entrance.

7. Qu’est-ce qu’il y a sur le balcon ?

What’s on the balcony?

Il y a beaucoup de plantes.

There are many plants.

8. Combien de chambres il y a-t-il dans l’appartement ?

How many bedrooms are there in the apartment?

Il y a trois chambres.

There are three bedrooms.

9. Pourquoi Mary est-elle gênée ?

Why is Mary embarrassed?

Parce que Sylvie va lui donner sa chambre.

Because Sylvie is going to lend her her bedroom.

10. Et du coup, Sylvie va dormir où ?

And so, where is Sylvie going to sleep?

Elle va dormir avec Paul.

She’ll bunk in with Paul.

Tips To Learn French Efficiently

Study Guide Audio

Typically, in my other À Moi Paris audiobooks, we would be studying vocabulary about the house, giving directions in French, and the use of “il y a” to match the story.

However, in this audiobook, I thought I’d finish by sharing with you some useful tips about learning French.

Learning French, like any other new language, implies a lot of memorization, and often, as adults, our memory is not what it used to be. These tips will help you memorize new information longer, and learn French more efficiently.

1. Always Study French with Audio

Let’s start with one that many people don’t realize but is a key if you want to do more than just read novels or French magazines…

As you now understand, and have experienced in the previous chapters, written French and spoken French are almost 2 different languages.

There are many silent letters, glidings, liaisons etc… and they are everywhere, including in French verb conjugations and grammar.

Picking the right audio tool though is essential: a French beginner will be discouraged with a French movie. At that stage, French movies should be used as a recreation, not a serious study tool.

Picking the right French audiobook is your first challenge, and from your choice may very well depend the success or failure of your French studies.

2. Self Studying is NOT for Everybody

When it comes to learning languages, not everybody is the same. I’ve taught hundreds of students, and I can tell you from experience that some people have an easier time with languages than others. It’s not fair... and it’s not popular to say it… but it’s the honest truth.

It doesn’t mean that someone less gifted cannot learn French, but it means that self studying is not necessarily for everybody.

Some students need the expertise of a teacher to guide them through their studies, motivate them and find creative ways to explain the same point until it is understood. Skype French lessons can be a good solution. If you really want to boost your French, try one of the immersions at a teacher’s home I recommend.

3. Translate French Into English as Little as Possible

When you are a total beginner, some translation is going to occur but try as much as possible to avoid it.

Translating adds a HUGE step in the process of speaking:
Idea –> English and then English ->French

versus just “idea –>French”.

It makes your brain waste time and energy, and will fool you into making a mistake when literal translation doesn’t work.

4. Link to Images and Visual Situations, not English Words

So if you don’t translate in your head, what should you do?

Try as much as possible to link any new French vocabulary to images, situations, feelings and NOT to English words.

For example, when learning “j’ai froid”, visualize that you are cold, bring up the feeling, not the English words “I – am – cold” – which won’t translate well since in French we don’t use “I am”, but “I have”.

If you are creating flashcards to study French – which I strongly encourage you do – draw the word/situation whenever possible instead of writing English.

Even if you are not a good artist, you’ll remember what your drawing meant, and it’s much more efficient to learn French this way.

5. Beware of French Cognates

This is exactly why you should be particularly careful with cognates – words that are the same between the two languages.

Many students approach them thinking “ah, that’s easy, I know that one”. But then when they need to use that word, they don’t remember it’s the same word as in English…

Furthermore, cognates always have a different pronunciation, and your English brain is going to fight saying that word the French way. I hear many students having a hard time with the word “chocolat”.

In French, the ch is soft, as in “shave”, and the final t is silent. Shocola. Most English speaking students tend to pronounce it “tchocolaT”, a bit like “chocolate” in English.

Finally, there are many false cognates: words that exist in both languages but don’t have the same meanings (like ‘bras’ in English (a kind of underwear) and ‘bras’ in French (which is an arm).

So, cognates need more of your attention, not less.

6. Learn French in Sentences

Learn the new French vocabulary in a sentence. Like that you will learn “in context”: you’ll remember the situation and words longer, and you’ll already have a series of words that go well together handy for your next French conversation!

7. Make Your French Examples Close to Your Own World

Let’s say your teacher told you to write some sentences for homework – or maybe let’s imagine you are doing French flashcards.

You want to learn “the black dog” in French. Instead of writing down “Le chien est noir”, look for a black dog you personally know, and write:

“le chien de Peter est noir, Fluffy est noir”. (Peter’s dog is black, Fluffy is black).

Your brain will remember a sentence describing a truth or a memory much longer than it will remember a sentence of made up facts.

8. Group  Related Vocabulary Together

This is the same idea as the concept of learning French in context. Use larger flashcards and on the same flashcard, write all related French vocabulary as you come across it. You’ll get to the info faster if you have processed and memorized it all together.

9. Don’t Try to Learn Everything = Prioritize

Often, to make learning more fun, we try to present a text, a story. At least I do, as much as possible.

If your memory is great, go ahead and memorize everything!

But if it’s not the case, PRIORITIZE: what words in this story are YOU likely to use? Focus on learning these first, then revisit the story once you’ve mastered your first list.

The same logic applies to tenses: in conversation, most of the time we use the present indicative. So focus on the present when studying your French verb conjugations, and then move on to adjectives, essential vocabulary, asking questions, pronouns… things that will make an immediate difference in your ability to converse in French.

The French subjunctive can wait!

10. Study French Regularly, for a Short Time, not all in one Sitting

If you study French all afternoon, chances are that you’ll exhaust yourself, and are much more likely to get frustrated, lose your motivation or attention span.

Spending 15 minutes a day learning French – not while multitasking but with 100% of your attention – will get you better results than two hours during the weekend with the kids or TV playing in the background.

11. Constantly Review – Repetition is the Key!

This is probably the number one mistake most students make.

They concentrate on learning new material, and forget to review the older one.

Rule of thumb: for each hour spent learning new things, you need to spend a minimum of one hour reviewing older things.

Remember... Repetition is the key!

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have completed “À Moi Paris First Encounter”. As you noticed, this audiobook started quite simple, and then the French got more complex through the chapters.

However, since there are only six chapters, that progression was quite fast! Don’t worry, in my audiobooks, the transition will be much smoother.

Now, the only thing left to do is to pick up the right “À Moi Paris” audiobook to study with. The story is indeed ongoing, so for a nice review of the basics and to know everything about Mary’s life, why not start with Level 1?

However, should you be more advanced in French, don’t worry, there is a recap of the story so you can go directly to a higher level and still have lots of fun.

Follow the links on the pictures on the transcript to go the each audiobook page on FrenchToday.com, access the description and table of content and listen to audio samples of each level.

In any case, all our audiobooks have a 120 days 100% money back guarantee - so if you feel you’ve chosen the wrong level, just contact us, and we’ll exchange it for you.

Olivier, Leyla and I wish you good luck with your French studies. And hopefully we’ll touch base soon on French Today’s social networks (see below for links).

À bientôt !