Where are you from? (Trying to figure out country of origin.)

I just stumbled across a topic - that may have been covered by Duo, who I now fondly call, our petite Professeur Hibou, but either I missed it, or it wasn’t spelled out entirely. Here’s what I’m trying to figure out. What do you think? Am I getting it?

So the question is this: “Where are you from?” - in terms of country of origin. First, I had not realized that the gender of the country is important. In fact, I hadn’t even really thought of countries as being either masculine or feminine in French.

Where are you from? “Tu viens d’où ?” Informal. (Actually, Where do you come from?) Formally we would ask: “Vous venez d’ou?”

And here is the interesting thing I‘m learning - but wish to clarify.

As I am from Canada, and as Canada is considered to be Masculine in French language … lumberjacks, I guess ;-) … then I reply: “Je viens DU Canada”.

But if I were to be from, say Belgium - which French consideres as being a Feminine country, my reply would be, “Je viens DE Belgique.”

Interesting, huh? Before we can answer the simple question about what is your country of origin - we need to first determine the gender of the country. Then, if it is a Femine country, we use “de” - as in “de France”. However if we are talking about a Masculine country, we would need to say, “du” - as in “du Japon”.

Parenthetically, if someone is from the US, as The United States is plural, one would have to say, “Je viens DES États-Unis.”

So that’s what I’m currently working on ...

Thanks, Max.

August 13, 2019, 5:00 PM


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