"He is a new man."
Translation:C'est un homme nouveau.
This is the rule:
In French, "c'est" (sing.) and "ce sont" (plural) are used in a large variety of expressions, when a pronoun (it, she, he, they) is subject of verb "être" and followed by a nominal group, ie: article (+ adjective) + noun. - it is + noun => c'est - she is + noun => c'est - he is + noun => c'est - they are + noun => ce sont
So "he is a new" man is "c'est un homme nouveau/neuf"
What is the difference between nouvel and nouveau other than one is front of the adjective and the other is after?
I can see that nouveau homme is not easy to say and so they might throw an extra letter in there to make it easier but is there some sort of rule to anticipate when this is going to happen?
Yes, you can anticipate the use of nouvel instead of nouveau: it should occur every time the masculine noun starts with a vowel or a non-aspired H :
- un nouvel ami, un nouvel hôtel
Same principle is applied with "beau" -> "bel" (still only for masculine nouns)
That is what I was wondering.
You are saying that every time elision would practical you can add the letter L to make it happen.
you can also avoid this difficulty by changing the adjective/noun order to noun/adjective:
- un ami nouveau, un homme nouveau, un hôtel nouveau
note also that "homme" or "hôtel" can be also qualified as "neuf" (other translation for new)
Seems like a burden to remember to add the letter especially if you are writing it out but I guess with speaking it's just a matter of a little practice, as in English, where you change a to an in front of a word that starts with a vowel. It's just easier to to do it than not.