Ah, finding out what your name is in French is magical, isn’t it?
It’s the rite of passage for any new learner.
The second you start learning the language, you want to know how to write and say your name in.
Want to know what your name is in French?
- Review the pronunciation rules below in part 1 to figure it out yourself .
- If you’re lazy, just scroll down to part 2 the list of common translated names.
- And learn bonus lines for introducing yourself in French in part 3.
By the way, you should also hear REAL French. So, here’s a free French audio lesson. Press play and learn how to introduce yourself.
- Lesson #1 – Easy Self-Introductions in French
- Free Lesson by FrenchPod101.com (click here for more free audio lessons).
Part 1: French Pronunciation Rules
“What’s my name in French? How will it sound like?”
Great question, glad you asked.
When learning to say your name in French, pronunciation is extremely important. So, here are some rules to help:
Rule 1: Many ending consonants are silent.
Generally speaking, consonants at the end of French words are not pronounced. However, you must be careful. C, R, F, and L are usually the exception to this rule (and they are the consonants in the word CaReFuL.) When these consonants (C, R, F and L) are at the end of the word, they are pronounced.
- Example: Éric (AIR-EEK) The “C” is pronounced.
- Example: Robert (ROW-BEAR) The “T” is NOT pronounced.
Rule 2: The “R” comes from deep in the throat.
The sound of the French “R” doesn’t exist in English. To pronounce it, form your mouth as if you are going to use the “K” sound. Blow air from the back of your throat. It is as if you are gargling water or trying to clear your throat.
- Example: Françoise (FRAN-SWAZ)
- Example: Marie (MAH-REE)
Rule 3: When “M” and “N” follow vowels, they become nasal.
Any vowel followed by an “M” or an “N” creates a nasal sound. Air has to pass through both the nose and the mouth (as opposed to using just the mouth.)
- Example: Alain (AH-LAH)
- Example: Damien (DAH-ME-EH)
Rule 4: The letter “I” is pronounced like the English “E.”
Anytime you see the letter “I”, treat it like an “E” when you pronounce it. Some English names already use this pronunciation rule such as Ian (EE-IN) or Nadine (NAH-DEEN).
- Example: Lili (LEE-LEE)
- Example: David (DAH-VEED)
Part 2: Common English Names in French
“I’m lazy. Just tell me what’s my name in French.”
If you want to know your name equivalent and how to pronounce it in French, refer to this chart:
Part 3: How to Introduce Yourself in French
Once you know how to say your name in French, you will need to know how to properly introduce yourself in French to other people. Here are some different ways to do so:
A) What’s your name in French (informal)
- What is your name? (Literally: What do you call yourself?)
- Tu t’appelles comment? Comment t’appelles-tu? (Informal)
- Pronunciation: TO-TAH-PEL COH-MOHN? COH-MOHN TAH-PEL-TO?
This informal question would be used among people of the same age group. Children would use this when meeting other children their own age.
B) What’s your name in French (formal)
- What’s your name? (Formal)
- Comment vous appelez-vous? (Formal)
- Pronunciation: COH-MOHN VOOZ-AH-PEL-AY-VOO?
C) My name is… in French.
This is the more polite version. When adults meet each other for the first time, this would be the proper form to use.
- My name is______.
- Je m’appelle ____. (Literally: I call myself ___.)
- Pronunciation: JHE MAH-PEL ____.
D) I call myself… in French.
When someone asks you, “Tu t’appelles comment?” or “Comment vous appelez-vous?” they are saying “What do you call yourself?” using the reflexive verb, s’appeler. It makes sense to respond with “Je m’appelle” (I call myself) as it uses the same reflexive verb.
- I call myself ___.
- Mon nom est ____.
- Pronunciation: MOHN NOM AY ____.
E) My name is… in French
This is the literal “My name is” response. It is acceptable to use for any occasion, but is less common than “Je m’appelle.”
- I am ______.
- Je suis _____.
- Pronunciation: JHE SWEE ____.
F) Pleased to meet you in French
“Je suis” (I am) is also acceptable to use for any introduction, but it is less common than “Je m’appelle.” This phrase is also used to introduce professions or adjectives, such as, “Je suis professeur” (I am a teacher) or “Je suis timide” (I am shy.)
- Pleased to meet you.
- Très heureux./Très heureuse. (Literally: very happy)
- Pronunciation: TRAY-ZUR-UH/TRAY-ZUR-UHZ
When someone introduces themselves, it is common to say “très heureux” to mean that you are very happy to meet them. Males would say “très heureux,” using the masculine form of the adjective. Females would say “très heureuse,” using the feminine form of the adjective.
Part 4: Sample Conversations
Take a look at this sample conversation between two teenagers meeting for the first time:
- Salut*! Tu t’appelles comment?
- Je m’appelle Thomas. Et toi**? Comment t’appelles-tu?
- Je m’appelle Sophie.
*Salut (SAH-LOO) is an informal way of saying “Hi.” It is often used by younger people.
**Et toi (AY-TWA) means “and you.” It is commonly used when asking a question of someone else after they have posed the same question. It uses the informal you, toi.
Here is a conversation between two adults meeting for the first time:
- Bonjour*! Je m’appelle Olivier. Et vous**? Comment vous appelez-vous?
- Bonjour, Olivier. Très heureuse. Je m’appelle Natalie.
*Bonjour (BOHN-JHOR) is a more formal way of saying hello or good day. It is used by adults meeting for the first time.
**Et vous (AY-VOO) means “and you.” It is the formal you-form, so it is used by people who are showing respect for one another or by adults who do not know each other well. It is often used when asking a question of someone else after they have posed the same question.
Now you know how to say your name in French.
Now, introduce yourself in French in the comments below.
– The Main Junkie