Maybe there's a problem that requires more than a visit to the doctor. Let's do more role playing to get used to conversation. Susanne has not heard from her sister Marie, who was supposed to pick her up at the train station, so she calls Marie's husband Giles to find out if anything is wrong. Giles: Ah Susanne! Encore heureux que tu as telephone. Oh, Susan, so happy that you called. Susanne: Qu'est-ce qu'il se passe? What's happening? Giles: Marie a eu un petit accident, elle est aux urgences a l'hopital. Marie had a little accident; she is in the emergency room at the hospital. Susanne: Quoi? Qu'est-ce qu'il est arrive? What? What happened? Giles: Rien de grave. Elle s'est coupee en ouvrant une boite pour le chat. La voisine l'a emmenee a l'hopital. Nothing serious. She cut herself while opening a can for the cat. The neighbor took her to the hospital. Susanne: Tu veux que j'aille la rejoindre a l'hopital? Do you want me to visit her at the hospital? Giles: Non, elle ne devrait pas etre longtemps, juste quelques points de sutures et une piqure anti-tetanique, c'est tout. No, she will not be long, just a few stitches and a tetanus shot, that's all. Susanne: Et les enfants? Ou sont Robert et Claire? And the children? Where are Robert and Claire? Giles: Ici, avec moi. Ecoute, je suis desole. Prends un taxi. Here, with me. Listen, I'm sorry. Take a taxi. Susanne: Non, je connais bien le trajet en metro. Je vais jusqu'a Chatelet, je change et je prends la direction Chateau de Vincennes et je descends a Nation. No, I know the metro route very well. I go to Chatelet, I change to the Chateau de Vincennes direction and get off at Nation. Giles: Oui, c'est cela mais si tu as beaucoup de bagages un taxi sera plus pratique. Yes, that's it, but if you have a lot of baggage, a taxi would be more practical. Susanne: Bon d'accord. En tout cas, j'arrive bientot. OK, fine. In any case, I'll be there shortly. Let's have a look at some new idioms we used here. Qu'est-ce qu'il se passe? What's happening? Just use this as it is. It is used to mean "What's going on?", "What's happening?" Quoi? "What?" used to express surprise. If you want someone to repeat something, as in the English "What", you would say "Comment?" (Although the more polite way, in English as in French, would be Excuse me?-Excusez-moi?) Qu'est-ce qu'il est arrive? Literally, "what is it that arrived?". It contrasts to "Qu'est-ce qu'il se passe?" which refers to more general goings-on; "Qu'est-ce qu'il est arrive?" refers to a more specific happening, as in "What happened?". Rien de grave. Nothing serious. You can use this to express that a problem is not serious, but it also is used to excuse someone. If someone bumps into you and says "Pardon", your reply may be "Rien de grave"-it's O.K., or that's O.K) Ecoute, Ecoutez (formal or plural) means "listen", but is commonly used to get attention or at the opening of a sentence or new thought. Bon d'accord. "D'accord" means "OK"; this just puts a little more emphasis on it. J'arrive. I'm coming, I'll be there. Try it with different persons: they're coming, etc.
What Did We Learn?
Practice these phrases to know what is happening
- Salut John, qu'est-ce qu'il se passe?
- Qu'est-ce qu'il est arrive?
- Qu'est-ce qu'y a de nouveau? (What's new?)
- Quoi de neuf? (What's new?)
And now, translate these phrases into French
- Suzanne cut herself.
- Hans cut himself.
- I'll be there shortly.
- They'll be there shortly.
- Pardon me. It's O.K.
- Listen, I'll be in Paris shortly.