Ch.14: As-tu des frères et des soeurs?:
Brothers and sisters


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4 What's your name?
Famous people
4a Alphabet
5 Colours
6 Numbers 1-12
7 Ages
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9 Numbers 13 - 31
10 Birthdays
11 Days of the week
12 Today's date
13 Pets
14 Brothers & sisters
15 Consolidation / assessment
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What you will learn in film 14

"I've got a brother and two sisters!" - animated cartoon section of video.

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More extra words and phrases

An only child in France might say, instead of:

"Je n'ai ni frères ni soeurs",

"Je suis enfant unique."

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Everyday life in France: How many brothers and sisters?

Today French families are quite small. Most French women do have children (about 90%) but the average mother has only 1.78 children.

This means that that the typical French childhas only one brother or sister, and that many are single children. Large families (3 or more children) are now quite rare in France.

How family sizes have changed

Back in 1850, the average French family would have had about 5 children. A generation ago, the parents of today's children were brought up in families of typically 2 - 3 children. This has happened along with other changes, some of which you may well feel are not appropriate for discussing with your class:

  • most people now live in towns rather than in the country;
  • most people used to live in the same village as their parents and grandparents;
  • most women now go out to work;
  • on average, people are older when they get married;
  • many more people now live together with out being married;
  • there are many more divorces with couples splitting up, and often re-marrying or living with someone else.

The evolution of family life

In France, many of today's children live in a household that includes children from other relationships. In most such "mixed" families, a child will refer in casual conversation to the other children they live with as their "brothers" or "sisters".

When you are talking about "how many brothers or sisters do you have?", most pupils would be used to counting all of the children they live with. We include some useful extra vocabulary in case it is asked for.

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Software for data-handling

See recommendations given in chapter 13.

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Sources of information about social change in France

For up-to-date cultural background information about social changes and the pattern of life in France, see a really helpful website from the French Embassy:
France @ la carte - suitable for teachers researching material for lessons, has brief essays on many aspects of life in France today.

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