Leçon 3 – Greetings, Goodbyes, & Names
Greetings in French are based on the person being spoken to, just as I went over in our last lesson Tu or Vous. There are formal, and informal ways of saying hello and goodbye to people.
- Formal greetings: Bonjour; you will say to someone of authority such as a teacher or a boss, an elderly person, and to strangers. Bonjour literally means good day, and corresponds to hello, good morning, or good afternoon. In the evening, bonjour is replaced with bonsoir (good evening).
- Informal greetings: They follow the rules of tu.
Salut – Hi, Hey
Ça va – What’s up
Coucou – Hey, Hey there
Same as greetings, saying goodbyes follow the same rules for both formal and in formal.
- Formal goodbye: Au revoir literally means “to see again”. Bonsoir is also used as a goodbye if departing in the evening.
- Informal goodbyes: Ciao, we all recognise ciao! It means goodbye.
There are different ways to say goodbye:
- A bientôt – See you soon
- A tout à l’heure – See you soon (if planning on seeing that person very soon)
- A demain – See you tomorrow
Finding Out Someone’s Name
Same rules with formal and informal apply.
- Formal: Comment vous applez-vous? – What is your name? (Literally, “What do you call yourself?”)
- Informal: Comment t’appelles-tu? – What is your name. Same as the formal, yet notice the different spellings and the use of tu.
Here’s a bit of dialogue to go over what we just learned. One’s a formal greeting, and the other an informal greeting. Can you tell which one is which?
Julie: Salut, Rémi.
Rémi: Salut, Julie. Ça va?
Julie: Ça va. Et toi?
Rémi: Pas mal, merci.
Rémi: A bientôt!
Christine: Bonjour, Madame Gautier. Comment-allez vous?
Mme Gautier: Bonjour, Christine. Très bien, et vous?
Christine: Très bien!