Season 2 – Lesson 22 – Coffee Break French

In this week’s lesson we look at another tense used to talk about the past: the imperfect tense. We learn how to construct it and look at one of the situations in which the imperfect is used. Please note that lesson 22 of Season 2 was originally known as lesson 62 of Coffee Break French. We have renumbered the lessons of each season as lessons 1-40 to make things more simple for our listeners.

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5 Comments on “Season 2 – Lesson 22 – Coffee Break French”

  1. I love this program very much and every day I get up with the voice of Mark and Anna.This is very friendly and cheerful.
    All the best wishes and merci beaucoup!

  2. Hey Mark and Anna,

    I am one of your many fans, and I’ve listened to many different French lessons (both online and bought CDs), but I find these lessons to be the most useful, so thanks! I was wondering whether you’re going to record any more lessons in the future, and if so, when do you think you’ll be doing them? I can’t wait to hear more!

    ps. I was worried about what is said in this lesson: that the -ais ending of the imperfect is a different sound to the -e acute ending of the past participle, so I asked my French teacher about it (who is French) and she says there’s no difference in the pronunciation. Does this perhaps differ depending on where you are in France?

    Thanks again!

  3. Thanks Fay for asking that question and for telling us what your french teacher said! I for one was really worried for the fact that I couldn’t pick out the difference between the pronunciation of the past participle and imperfect verbs! And considering I’ve decided to stop my actual french class in favour of this podcast series I was terribly worried.

    Phew that was a whole lot of weight on my chest. Cheers Fay once again!

  4. Bonjour Mark et Anna,
    I am a French student, and whilst listening to this podcast and also writing the words in imperfect tense, I noticed something.
    the third person singular and plural sounded the same for Parle
    Il parlait
    Ils parlaient
    They’re pronounced exactly the same… How would I distinguish between the two when speaking or listening?

  5. I see that some people are having trouble with pronunciation, so here is a rough guide.

    The sound in ‘parlé’ is /e/, the same sound as in ‘parler’ and ‘parlez’. It is the sound of ‘é’ as well as most endings that are ‘e’ followed by a consonant. It is pronounced similarly to /eɪ/, the sound in English ‘day’ and French ‘Réveille’. The sound in ‘parlais’, ‘parlait’ and ‘parlaient’ is /ɛ/. This sound is the sound of ‘è’ as well as ‘ai’ (when ‘ai’ is not followed by ‘n’ or ‘ll’). It is pronounced like English ‘bed’.

    Hope this helps!

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