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  Notes for parents

Language notes

moi aussi
This means “me too”. Mathilde teaches Emma the phrase when they agree with one another about a shared love of birthdays. The two words may have been seen individually before now, either in previous phrases, or in the definitions section beside the transcripts. Always listen carefully for the correct pronunciation of moi.

anniversaire
This word is introduced alone initially, as the whole question is quite a mouthful for new learners. Sometimes breaking the word down into syllable-by-syllable sounds can make pronunciation easier. Anniversaire is the word for “birthday”. Your child may observe that the word is similar to the English word “anniversary”. Indeed, the French phrase for "wedding anniversary" is anniversaire de mariage.

quelle est la date de ton anniversaire?
Literally translated, this question means, “which is the date of your birthday?” Listen carefully to Mathilde to hear each word clearly. The verb in the sentence, est, has silent letters, so close attention is required for this word. The word ton means “your”. There will be greater explanation of this point in later episodes.

c’est le vingt-cinq septembre
There is quite a lot of new information in this short sentence! Firstly, your child will already have come across c’est in other contexts in High Five French. It is a very useful phrase for stating facts and identifying things, meaning “it is...”. The second point here is the date itself. Where in English, we would say “the 25th”, in French the number is used with le before it: le vingt-cinq = the 25th. This is not the case for all numbers. See the Close-up section below for further explanation. The final point to note here is the month; in this case, septembre. If your child compares the months in French to those in English, they will notice that all the months in French do not have a capital letter at the start, in contrast to English.

mon anniversaire est le huit février
This sentence structure gives a fuller answer to the question quelle est la date de ton anniversaire? It uses the wording in the question, changing ton, meaning “your”, to mon, meaning “my”. Your child may be able to breakdown the question and answer to work out these meanings for themselves.

janvier
Mathilde goes through the pronunciation of each month with Emma. For this month, “January” it is useful to listen closely for the soft j or “zh” sound at the start and also for the sound made by letters -ier at the end of the word.

février
The word for February, février, has a similar ending to janvier, just as the same months do in English. Your child here may note the acute accent, which opens up the sound of the -é.

mars
Many of the months in French are similar to their English counterparts and mars is no exception, as Mathilde points out. It has a softer ending, -s, than the English “-ch” on March.

avril
The “p” in the English April, is substituted for a -v in the French, avril. Mathilde demonstrates the pronunciation beautifully.

mai
Again, there is only one letter different from the English in this month too; mai and May. Mathilde claims, c’est pareil!, “it is the same”.

juin
The month of June, juin, does sound quite different from the way it looks. Mathilde and Emma present the pronunciation clearly for your child to listen and repeat.

juillet
In French, July, juillet, has an -et ending. This has a particular sound, not the same as these letters would make in English. The middle part of the word, -uill-, has a very specific sound too, which can be practised as many times as necessary with Emma and Mathilde.

août
In English, it would be very uncommon to see three vowels together in a word, but it can happen quite often in French, as is seen here in août, the word for August. Listen to how Mathilde says the word.

septembre
Can your child spot the difference here? Only the last two letters are reversed from the English spelling.

octobre
This word demonstrates the same situation as the month before! Only the last two letters are switched around. Do remind your son/daughter that, even though there are similarities to English that might make it easier to understand the meaning, it is important for them to be aware of the differences in sound. Just because a word looks like English, it should not be pronounced like English!

novembre
Three in a row! Again, the last two letters are reversed, and of course, there is no capital letter at the start. It is a good idea to remind your child of this point too.

décembre
It’s not quite four-in-a-row, as décembre has an accent, -é, to remember, as well as switching the last two letters....and no capital at the start!

That’s the full year now. All the months are quite easy to identify, so it’s a great confidence booster to have so much new vocabulary at once, which is relatively straightforward to learn.

le jour de Noël
This literally means “the day of Christmas”. Watch out for the accent over the ë. This means both the o and the ë have to be pronounced separately. Mathilde shows you how to do this.


Close-up

As mentioned above, when giving dates in French we need only say the number, with le before it. For example: le dix = the 10th, le dix-huit = the 18th, le trente = the 30th.

There is, however, an exception to this rule. On the 1st of the month, you must say le premier. For example, le premier septembre = the 1st of September, le premier août = the 1st of August, but le deux novembre = the 2nd of November, le trois janvier = the 3rd of January.

Cultural points

La Fête Nationale

This means “the national festival”. It takes place in the 14th of July every year in France. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison by the people of Paris. They were protesting against the way the monarchy was treating the ordinary people of France. This action started the French Revolution in 1789. After this time, France became a Republic. Nowadays, there are huge celebrations on this date, the most famous being in Paris. There are parades along the Champs Elysées and huge fireworks displays. All of France is on holiday on the 14th of July.