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Robert eats his breakfast at home most of the time, but sometimes he likes to stop at a coffee shop for breakfast.

Pour (poor) le dejeuner, il y a (eel ee ah) du (doo) cafe au lait (cah fee oh lay) avec (ah veck) du pain (pan) et du beurre (boor). For breakfast, there is coffee with milk with bread and butter.

Here, we are introduced to a few new expressions and grammar rules. The idiom "Il y a" is a very useful and widely used expression meaning "there is" or "there are." Here are some new French words. Try to mix and match with the numbers you already know to make some sentences.

Sample: There are five girls: Il y a cinq filles. (You already know "fille" from the relatives in lesson six; it is the same as daughter.)

Form sentences from these words to practice:

Il y a Number Item French Pronunciation
Il y a 2 Oranges Oranges Oh rahnj
Il y a 7 Boys Garcons Gar sohn
Il y a 12 Eggs Oeufs Uf

Another French concept we see here is "some". In French, we say "of the" for some. You see in the sentence that for breakfast we have some coffee ("du cafe"). The expression is formed by "of"(de) and "the"(le). Don't forget that "the" changes depending on whether we are talking about a feminine, masculine or neuter or singular or plural nouns. In the case of our coffee, bread and butter, they are all masculine, so they get "le". The French, however, don't like the sound of "duh luh", so they combine "de" and "le" and use "du". We have all heard of "soupe du jour", right? Day is masculine (le jour) and so it becomes "du jour". Neuter nouns work the same, but feminine nouns keep "de", because the sound is nicer. (The French like their language to sound pretty!) "Some cream" would therefore be "de la creme" (crem). You are now seeing how important it is to learn a noun with its article so you always know the gender. If you look up a new word, note whether it has a small f or m or n. Memorize the word with its article, and you will always know how to treat it in a sentence. So when you looked up milk, you should have memorized "le lait" and when you looked up cream, you should have memorized "la creme".

What about plural nouns? Well, the French must also have a problem with "de les", because this construction changes to "des" (day). If you have some bananas, you would say: "J'ai des bananes" (ba nahn). Try to say I have some friends (ami, pronounced ah mee), some books (livre, pronounce lee vra), some drinks (boissons, pronounced boi sohn). (Hint: there is no distinction between masculine and feminine in the plural, so they will all get "des"). If you go back to lesson three, you can practice using different forms to say "he has", "they have", etc.

This same rule applies to another word in our breakfast. "Cafe au lait" is an expression you may have heard before. The expression "a la" means "with" or "in the style of". Let's compare Cafe au lait with Pie a la mode (half English, half French). Since, as we now know, milk is masculine, it should be le lait, but the French don't use a le, they use au, hence we have "cafe au lait". Mode, which means "style", is feminine, and so the a la can stay as it is. The same rule that exists for "de" with the plural exists for "a" with the plural. So, rather than "a les", we say "aux" for the plural.

Here is some vocabulary you can use try to form some sentences using "aux":
(Don't cheat and look at the bottom until you have tried the sentence.)

Donner, verb (doe nay) to give
Gateau, m (gat oh)- cake
Enfant, m (on fahn)- child
Viande, f (vee ahnde)- meat
Chien, m (shee en)- dog

*We are giving some cake to the children
**He is giving some meat to the dogs

(You may have to go back to lesson three to review "er" verbs to put the right endings for "we are giving" and "he is giving".)

What Did We Learn?

  1. A common breakfast in France is "cafe au ____" with "du pain et du _____".
  2. Use the very useful expression "il y a" to express the following: There are three boys, there are four oranges, there are eight bananas.
  3. I would like some coffee: J'aimerais __ cafe.
  4. I have some friends: J'ai ___amis.
  5. He has some books: Il a ____ livres.
  6. Give me some cream, please: Donnez-moi __ __ ____, s'il vous plait.
  7. We are having drinks (some drinks): Nous avons _____ boissons.
  8. For dinner, there is roast beef and potatoes: Pour le diner, ______le rostbif et pommes de terre.
  9. There are many things to learn: _______beaucoup des choses a apprendre.
  10. There are four kinds of cheeses: ______quatre types de fromage.

*Nous donnons du gateau aux enfants
**Il donne de la viande aux chiens.

 

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