Ch.4: Comment t'appelles-tu? - What's your name?


Early Start French 1: CONTENTS | HOME

French Starter Pack
1 Greetings
2 Goodbye
3 Ça va?
4 What's your name?
Famous people
4a Alphabet
5 Colours
6 Numbers 1-12
7 Ages
8 Months
9 Numbers 13 - 31
10 Birthdays
11 Days of the week
12 Today's date
13 Pets
14 Brothers & sisters
15 Consolidation / assessment
16 En classe

What you will learn in section 4

"Je m'appelle Benjamin".
- boy in park in Villeneuve d'Ascq

You will learn how to introduce yourself in French. The CD and video show some French children saying what they are called, helping you recognise the sound of some common French first names. You may want to find out more about the origins of names - see "what is your name in French?" below....

If you go on to do the next optional section 4a, 'the Alphabet', you will learn how to spell out your name in the French way.

We also suggest you find out the names of some famous French people, and what they are famous for.

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French first names

What is your name in French?
Many names are popular throughout many different countries that share the same religion or culture, such as saints' names:
e.g. the English Steven is the same saint as Étienne in French; Estéban in Spanish, Stefan in German and Stefano in Italian.

With these centuries-old names, each language has changed some sounds and the rhythm of the word - and the spelling has followed.

Names cannot be "translated", and obviously not all names will have an equivalent in every language.

First names in 5 European languages:

Download 04names-list.pdf [24k]

A project on first names
One school did a joint project on first names with their French partner school. They both collected the first names of all the children in each class, and of their parents. When they exchanged lists, they found that in France, some names were very common, like

Some French children had two names joined with a hyphen "-", like:,

Jean-Jacques, Henri-Pierre (2 boys' names joined together),

Anne-Marie, or Marie-Louise. (2 girls' names joined together)

These "hyphenated" names are counted as the person's first name, not a first and a middle - so "Jean-Jacques Lefèvre," is called Jean-Jacques, not Jean.

Sometimes a boy is called something like Jean-Marie, or a girl is named Marie-Jacques - in each case the "proper" gender name came first.. 

They discovered some of the most popular first names in France here:-.

French-language links

They found a lot more detail in this site, which is all in French: it gives top first names ("les prenoms) for each year, plus egional and international trends:
Try starting here:

Family names

They looked here for French family names ("lesnoms de famille"):
A good starting point is the "Top 100":

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