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Michel Thomas French Vocab Co. Transcript

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Joshua Sevalis
Joined 4895 days ago

5 posts - 5 votes
Speaks: English, French

 Message 1 of 4
12 May 2009 at 2:37pm | IP Logged 
Hi guys,

Myself and a few other people on the Michel Thomas forum were putting together a transcript for the Michel Thomas French Vocabulary Course but the publishers have since closed the entire forum. It would be good therefore to finish the transcript here.

Here are the instructions we were working to in the other forum:

Those interested can volunteer to transcribe a track and then post it here.

Once these are posted, other fans can check the spelling, grammar etc and can correct these initial versions if necessary. Gradually, we will get a complete and accurate transcript of the vocabulary course.

If you want to help, state here which track from the French Vocabulary Course you're going to transcribe and then get to work on it. Post your completed transcription of the track here when it's done. As more are completed, we will start knitting them together to make a standard Michel Thomas review booklet.

Here is what we've done so far, feel free to check it and please, let's get people signing up to do the next track, so that we can get a whole booklet done!

CD 1 - Lesson 1

As an English speaker, you already know thousands of French words that are just waiting for you to transformer them from English into French. As Michel Thomas said, French is not really an alien language; 60% of English words are of French origin. These familiar (often everyday) words share similar roots in Greek and Latin. Consider them your best friends as you build your vocabulaire in French. And while they can sometimes be false friends when their meaning is not always the same in French, you can count on them over 90% of the time. That's a real head-start.

In this segment, we'll introduce more than a dozen ways to boost your French using these handy little changes. And once you master these simple transformations, you'll be able to create many hundreds more French words on your own. Michel Thomas already taught you many of these useful transformations, which he wanted you to use to help you inventer your very own French vocabulaire. We'll review these, and learn some more. Yes, a lot of the vocabulary in French and English is very close, so much so that some people joke that French is mispronounced English and vice versa. So, we'll help you with the prononciation of these words, which are largely shared between French and English -just as Michel Thomas did from the very beginning of the first course.

If you ever saw the film called The Pink Panther - La Panthère rose, practise these transformations with your best Inspector Clouseau accent, and you will quickly become really fluent and credible.

Let's begin.

Right at the start of his courses, Michel Thomas explained how English words ending in -ible and -able are usually the same words in French except for their pronunciation. Using this handy tool, the English “possible” becomes possible in French, with the stress firmly placed on that ending.

So how do you say “impossible” in French?


So what would “visible” be?






“I find the situation incomprehensible”? (I find is je trouve, and situation is la situation, again with the stress on the end of the word.)

Je trouve la situation incompréhensible.

To say “this” before a noun, you use “ce” for masculine nouns. For example, un dîner “a dinner”, ce dîner “this dinner”.

So if “a professor” is un professeur, “this professor” would be?
Ce professeur.

“This professor is very accessible”. (“Very” is très. Can you now use your instinct to produce this sentence?)

Ce professeur est très accessible.

With femine words such as “situation” and “opinion”, you use cette.

This situation.

Cette situation.

I find this situation incomprehensible.

Je trouve cette situation incompréhensible.

To say “this” with a masculine word beginning with a vowel, you use cet. So, if “a hotel” is un hôtel, “this hotel” would be?

Cet hôtel. (In French you do not pronounce the h and the first sound you hear is o.)

If you didn't like the hotel, how would you say:

This hotel is terrible.

Cet hôtel est terrible. (Stress on the end of hôtel and -ible.)

To say “these”, you use ces. “A method” is une méthode.

“These methods”.

Ces méthodes.

“These methods are horrible”.

Ces méthodes sont horribles.

As Michel Thomas taught you, to say that you are going to do something, you use aller, followed by the “to” form of the verb. So “they are going to eat” will be ils vont manger. “To understand” is comprendre, so:

“They are going to understand the situation”.

Ils vont comprendre la situation.

“The results” is les résultats and the French for the verb “to be” is être.

“These results are going to be terrible”.

Ces résultats vont être terribles.

“I find this situation incomprehensible, and the results are going to be terrible”.

Je trouve cette situation incompréhensible, et les résultats vont être terribles.

We're getting quite sophisticated here. If you feel you need to be reminded of any of these constructions, do go back to the Michel Thomas courses.

“It is impossible for me to leave”. (Start with c'est for “it is”, “to leave” is partir, and “for me” is pour moi. If you use words like “possible” or “impossible”, you add de after them.)

“It is impossible for me to leave”.

C'est impossible pour moi de partir.

“Tomorrow” is demain.

“It is impossible for me to leave tomorrow.”

C'est impossble pour moi de partir demain.

“Because of” is à cause de.

“Because of this terrible situation, it is impossible for me to leave tomorrow”. (Don't forget that “terrible” has got to come after the noun “situation”. As you remember from your Michel Thomas course, a noun is a word that you can put “the” in front of.)

A cause de cette situation terrible, c'est impossible pour moi de partir demain.

What do you think “permissible” is?


“It is permissible, but it is not recommended”. (Remember that for “not”, you use ne and pas on each side of the verb. “To recommend” is recommander. To say “recommended” you dive into the é form, which would be recommandé.)

C'est permissible, mais ce n'est pas recommandé.

To finish with a pair that is slightly less close, but still very friendly... “Extendible” is extensible. Remembering that “vocabulary” is not just vocabulaire, but le vocabulaire, and “French” is français, try:

“French vocabulary is extendible”.

Le vocabulaire français est extensible.

“Thanks to” is grâce à, and “my” is mon for masculine nouns, so have one more go at these -ible friends.

“Thanks to these transformations, my French vocabulary is extendible”.

Grâce à ces transformations, mon vocabulaire français est extensible.

Congratulations! You've made a great start in extending your vocabulaire français.

CD 1 Lesson 2 (Track 3)

Adjectives Ending in -able.

See how easy it can be? Let's move on now to another set of really friendly transformations, the -able words which become -able in French. Again, the stress is on the last part of the word. We'll practice some to help you unlock French words that you already know, and encourage you to build you vocabulaire on your own.

OK. How would you say “probable” in French?


And “improbable”?

Improbable. [Describes Im- sound]

What about “acceptable”?

Acceptable. (You must hit the last part of the word.)

Try “approachable”.

Approchable. (You can see how really productive this is.)

One more example: What would the French for “applicable” be?


Try saying:

“This solution is applicable, and the results are probable” (“The solution” is la solution.)

Cette solution est applicable, et les résultats sont probables.

Let's be a bit more ambitious in what we say. Try:

“It is not acceptable for me this way, because I want the results now” (Remember what Michel Thomas taught you? You place ne and pas on each side of the verb.)

Ce n'est pas acceptable pour moi comme ça, parce que je veux les résultats maintenant.

Let's look at another good friend. What do you think “remarkable” could be in French?

“The Professor's method is remarkable” (You'll need to change the word order to “the method of the Professor”. As “the Professor” is le professeur, “of the Professor” is du professeur.)

La méthode du professeur est remarquable. (Très bien! And so true... True of the Michel Thomas method of teaching languages!)

OK, let's try some everyday words. “To inhabit” is habiter. So, can you work out the French for “habitable”?

Try: “The house is habitable”. (“The house” is la maison.)

La maison est habitable.

Une chance in French means “a chance”. So elle a une chance means “she has/she stands a chance”. It also means “luck”. So “what luck!” is quelle chance!
“What luck! The house is habitable” would be?
Quelle chance! La maison est habitable.

“To repair” is réparer. Change the -er ending to -able, and “repairable” is?

“The car” is la voiture, so try:

“The professor's car is repairable”.

La voiture du professeur est réparable. (Quelle chance!)

As you can see, this -able transformation is a very useful one. Une transformation très utile, which you can really rely on. You will come across minor differences, but they are so minor you will still “get that ball over the net”, to quote Michel Thomas. For instance, “responsible” in French is responsable. How would you say then:

“She is responsible for customer relations”. (“Customer relations” is relations clients. But be careful. “To be responsible for something” is être responsable DE quelque chose, with de and les coming together to make des [in this case]).

Elle est responsable des relations clients.

And finally, if “adore” is adorer, “adorable” is bound to be...?


If “a cat” is un chat, and “your” is votre, go on, try:

“Your cat is adorable!”

Votre chat est adorable!

“A dog” is un chien. So if you are talking to an animal lover, you may want to say:

“Your cat and your dog are adorable.”

Votre chat et votre chien sont adorables.

Chat and chien are masculine, so “both” will be tous les deux, and this literally means “all the two” and it will go after the verb. So now try:

“Your cat and your dog are both adorable”.

Votre chat et votre chien sont tous les deux adorables.

A female cat is une chatte, and a female dog is une chienne. In that case, tous les deux has got to be agreeable -as Michel Thomas says- and becomes toutes les deux. So talking about female animals:

“You cat and your dog are both adorable” would be?

Votre chatte et votre chienne sont toutes les deux adorables.

These transformations are really getting quite remarquables, so let's move on to more of these friendly words, just waiting to get acquainted with you.

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 5752 days ago

497 posts - 555 votes 
Speaks: English*

 Message 2 of 4
12 May 2009 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
Sevalis, this idea is great. I'm amazed that the authors of this course would allow the transcripts to transcribed so that everyone can see! If the authors are against this, then I suggest changing the content so as not to break copyright laws.

My only suggestion, besides avoiding breaking copyright laws, is to have a computer program challenge the student to write/say the correct response after the prompt. There is a website by a Lithuanian that has an such a thing; and yes, it's designed to revolve around the structure of a MT styled course.

Here is the website:

For instance, you would type in:

?Your cat and your dog are both adorable

And then you would type:

Votre chatte et votre chienne sont toutes les deux adorables|Your cat and your dog are both adorable.

Basically, to the viewer, he would see the same exact thing you just posted above in regards to the transcript, but there would be embedded windows after each prompt to fill in. And only have typing in the response would one see the correct answer. Of course, one could just opt to see the right answer right away, skipping the challenge altogether, but that would mean one of two things:

1. You already know the answer. And if you know the answer, then why partake in the lesson?

2. You don't know the answer either because of not paying attention or the course is poorly designed.

So yeah, I think active participation via embedded windows to which you answer prompts is fairly important in these MT styled courses.      

Note: I don't think I followed the exact rules of the syntax that Lyzz, the author of the website, used. But it follows a similar idea.

As for making these courses...seriously, you don't need to copy word for word from the transcript. It's not like the content was carefully examined using complex permutations and the like. These "MT authors" don't have special Michel Thomas vision. Just refer to decent grammar manuals and you'll create similar if not better courses.    

Edited by Kugel on 12 May 2009 at 7:07pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Joshua Sevalis
Joined 4895 days ago

5 posts - 5 votes
Speaks: English, French

 Message 3 of 4
12 May 2009 at 10:22pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for your suggestions, Kugel. If anyone can put it into a program in order to test one's self, that would be great.

Regarding transcribing the course word for word - this has to be done, as this is a transcript designed to support people using this course.

It needs to be identical.

Anyway, anyone willing to do another track?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 5752 days ago

497 posts - 555 votes 
Speaks: English*

 Message 4 of 4
30 May 2009 at 7:17pm | IP Logged 
Sevalis, did you ever try transcribing one of these foundation/advanced courses? If you truly understood the material in the hour long CD, then you wouldn't have to worry about transcribing the course word for word. The only danger would be idioms and the like, but asking a native speaker to approve/disapprove each line in the transcript shouldn't be hard. This was the main goal of the MT courses: being able to throw in vocab easily due to the fact that the structure of the language had already been learned.   

1 person has voted this message useful

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