If you want to speak French fluently and accurately, you have to pay attention to many little subtleties. Here is a look at how to introduce yourself in French.
When listening to newscasts on the radio, you might hear a sentence like this:
Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs. Ici Pierre Landry. Voici les informations nationales et internationales.
(Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Pierre Landry. This is the national and international news.)
This “ici + name” construction is often used in telephone conversations, as in:
Bonjour, ici le bureau du notaire Pierre Simon, je voudrais parler à Madame Billard.
(Good morning, this is the office of Notary Pierre Simon, I would like to speak with Ms Billard?)
This interesting thing about ici + name is that it used only when speaker is far away from the audience. You would never introduce yourself this way in front of a live audience.
In this case, you would use the verb s’appeler, as in:
Bonsoir, je m’appelle Jessica Guéant. Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à ce concert spécial.
(Good evening. I’m Jessica Guéant. I would like to welcome you to this special concert.)
You will also hear in France the verb se prénommer when introducint the first name, as in:
Bonjour, je me prénomme Pierre.
I should point out here that English-speakers tend to use the following constructions:
Mon nom est Jessica Guéant
Je suis Jessica Guéant.
While these are grammatically correct and are becoming widespread, some people think that they are somewhat improper translations from English. I would recommend the “je m’appelle…” construction.
That said, there are certainly situations where a construction like “son nom est + name” or “c’est + name” are perfectly acceptable, as in:
–C’est qui ? (Who is it?)
–C’est Pierre. (It’s Pierre.)
–Quel est son nom? (What is his name?)
–Ça (ne) me dit rien.(It doesn’t ring a bell.)
Introducing your profession
While we are looking at how to introduce oneself, it is worth pointing out that French uses an interesting construction when presenting a person’s profession. Typically, the article is omitted where English requires one. Consider these examples:
Je suis étudiant. (I’m a student.)
Micheline est musicienne. (Micheline is a musician.)
Elle est traductrice et avocate. (She is a translator and an attorney.)
François est ingénieur. (François is an engineer.)
Again, it would be stylistically incorrect but not grammatically wrong to say:
Je suis un étudiant.
François est un ingénieur.
But this rule changes when other elements are added to the sentence. For example, one would say:
François est un ingénieur de renommée internationale. (François is a world-renowned engineer.)
Stanley Aléong is a polyglot, author, musician and language coach in French, English and Spanish. He likes to share his passion for languages and believes that anybody can learn to speak a foreign language well with the right methods and tools. He has also invented a cool visual learning tool called the Language Wall Chart Calendar that is based on his own learning experience. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.