Do you remember the first sentence you learned in French? In general, the first French lesson is an unforgettable memory for a student. Therefore, I did a little study with my students at Azurlingua where I asked them to remember the first French sentence they learned in this course. I can only imagine the first sentence, memorized and understood…what a proud feeling!
Of course, there were some classic answers which I expected, but there were also some interesting answers from my students in the A1 course (course for beginners). For example, Marilane and her daughter, Brazilians vacationing in Nice, had already studied French in Brazil and now wanted to improve their French. Marilane’s first sentence was “My name is Marilane!” and her daughter Larissa’s first sentence was “What’s you name?”. As for Sevil, a German student of Turkish origin, who started studying French at level A0 at Azurlinga, the first sentence she could remember was ”My name is Sevil!”. For another girl, Flavia, her first sentence was “How old are you?” These reflections are interesting as they correlate to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages goals of communication.
I also posed the same question to my Swiss students in the intensive course. Their answers where quite different! Tamara told me that her first sentence was “I don’t know, I’m a tourist!”, and Claudia W. had learned the magical phrase: “I don’t understand!” Finally, there were students such as Claudia P. who remembered her first French lesson at university. Her first sentence was “It’s Arthur, the parrot!” Arthur is a character from FLE, similar to the character “Brian” (Where is Brian? Brian is in the kitchen!), that has traumatized a whole generation of Frenchmen who learned English in school.
How about you? What is the first French sentence that you remember?