Although La Belle Fille knows her names for French colours well we haven’t really focused on clothing as of yet. She’s asked me for the names of things in French like shoes, socks etc, but it’s not a topic we’ve concentrated on. It seemed natural then to add on what she was wearing each day with what she is doing.
The only tricky part is that we always do the sentence the evening before for the next day when we’re not in a hurry or too tired. So, in order to do this at the same time, it means some organising of getting clothes ready the night before! (Years of my mother’s nagging is ringing in my ear’s).
The other thing I thought I’d do is to start to introduce adjectives. This isn’t a focus, so if we don’t get it done each night its not a concern – in fact I’ve tried to make all of this as much fun as possible. I just thought this would be good as she’s confident about knowing the names of colours in French – our adjective focus – and so this gives her a feeling of having won already; so a good time to start to introduce the idea that in French things can be masculine or feminine and that effects how we describe them.
In fact, this is simply how I described it to her; “In French people aren’t the only thing that are boys and girls, things are too.” Then we looked at the way we can tell if the clothes items is a boy or a girl by looking at whether its described as le, la, un or une.
If you are not confident with french yourself and the item is a in a plural form you may not be sure as to which adjective gender to add. in these kind of situation with ruby I often look it up quickly on my phone, or if we have more time in a dictionary. This way I’m modelling how to find out more answers to her. But remember in French its perfectly acceptable if you’re really stuck just to name something as masculine! If you think about it, or if you’re like me anyway, we’re not always perfect with he use of grammar in our mother tongue so many French people do this as well.
Each clothing item on the attached PDF French Clothes has an article before it. In the same print out I’ve also included demonstrative articles – son, sa and ses. These can be used by just sticking them over the top of the clothing item, dependent on whether they’re masculine or feminine, so she’s also getting used to using pronouns.
The colours too are available in their masculine and feminine counterparts when appropriate in this PDF French Colours and Descriptors.
Just a few notes on using possessive pronouns and adjectives;
- On our fridge the sentences we construct are in the third person so the demonstrative articles are son, sa and ses. They relate to le, la and les or un, une or des.
- French adjectives agree with gender and number for the most part. If there is no feminine equivilant then this is one of the colours, like red and orange, that don’t do this. If there is an e on the end it is feminine. As I’ve doubled up printing out these colours due to the amount of clothes worn each day and the possibility having to male, pink items for example I didn’t want to create an additional set of colours with those required for several items – after all they would only be needed for such a minority of items (see the point below). I will add these in at a later date when it’s more suitable to introduce plural adjectives, so please follow if you want to be alerted of when new handouts will be available.
- Some items that are a plural in English (I’m talking British English here) like tights (I believe they’re pantyhose in American?) are singular in French. Just so you know in case you think I’ve got the pronouns wrong (I have double checked 😀).
- In French most adjectives follow the noun they modify and colours fit in this category; une écharpe rose. Also when you use two adjectives to describe a noun they remain in their normal position, in this case they would both be after the noun. As they both occupy the same position after the noun they need to be joined by et.
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