Characteristics of the French language in AX Semantics


In French, you need to know the gender of the noun in order to form the accompanying determiners, adjectives and numerals correctly.

French has two genders for nouns: masculine and feminine. There are two numbers: singular and plural. However, it only has one case for nouns: nominative.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
gendermasculinele port bleu (the blue port)
femininela voiture bleue (the blue car)
numbersingularune maison rouge (a red house)
pluraldeux maisons rouges (two red houses)
cases (noun)nominativele chien (the dog)
verb tensespresentil écrit (he writes)
past (Passé simple)il écrivit (he wrote)
imperfect (Imparfait)il écrivait (he wrote)
futureil écrira (he will write)
past participleécrit (written)

The standard order of a noun phrase in French is the following:

preposition + determiner + numeral + noun + adjective

See for example:

avec   ces    trois  livres     populaires
about  these  three  books[pl]  popular
PREP   DET    NUM    NOUN       ADJ
"about these three popular books"



For French nouns the lexicon needs to encode gender and preposition changes.

The case forms should be added to the lexicon if they are not regular.


The basic lexicon entry for maison (house) contains:

  • gender: feminine
  • inflection table for case and number:


If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for French with automatic handling of determiners.


In the lexicon the inflection table for gender and number can be encoded, as well as the adjective position (before the noun or after the noun).

For position, the default is "after noun". When an adjective should be before the noun, this has to be encoded in the lexicon.


The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects the wrong way, you should add it to the lexicon.

Container settings


The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for French: definite, indefinite, demonstrative, and possessive.


The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

textneuf jours
(nine days)
le neuvième jour
(the ninth day)
digit9 jours
(9 days)
le 9e jour
(the 9th day)

For French, both cardinal and ordinal numerals up to 30 and multiples of 10 up to 100 (e.g. 40, 50, etc.) are written out on the platform. The outputs of other numerals are in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example (written out vs. digit):

Take cardinal numerals for example:

trente voitures
(thirty cars)
soixante-dix voituresautomotive
(seventy cars)
31 voitures
(31 cars)

Prepositions and determiners: contractions

If users configure prepositions in the container, they are automatically adapted, if phonetic assimilation needs to happen. The preposition de for example is shortened before words beginning with a vowel.

For example:

(from Amélie)

Prepositions can also be contracted with determiners.

For example:

au jardin [= à le jardin]
(in the garden)

Determiners, like prepositions, are also shortened before words beginning with a vowel.

For example:

(the computer)

Preposition switch

Prepositions (i.e. à, dans, en) can be switched depending on the noun.

In the sentence below, the settings for the container are: determiner="definite", preposition="en", and case="nominative".

Ils voyageaient de Berlin au Canada.
(They were traveling from Berlin to Canada.)

Here a preposition switch happens from en to à (which is contracted with le to au in this case).

Determiner switch

Determiners can be switched according to lexical information. If you set the determiner switch for a specific noun in the lexicon, it will automatically switch to another determiner when you add the determiner you intend to switch in the container. The container setting for France in the first example is: preposition="à", determiner is unset (blank), and case="nominative".

à Berlin
(in Berline)

In the second example, the container settings for Philippines are still: preposition="à", determiner is unset (blank), and case="nominative". However, the determiner switches from none to definite, because it is configured in the lexicon entry for Philippines. As a result, the preposition à + plural definite article les are contracted to "aux".

aux Philippines
(in the Philippines)


If the lexicon entry of a country includes a switch from none to definite, there is still a way to use the country without the article (e.g., just "Philippines"). The determiner will always remain none by setting determiner=none in the container. Only an unset determiner (blank) triggers the switch from none to another determiner.

Language Variants

The AX NLG platform offers 5 variants of the French language:

  • France (Standard)
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Luxembourg
  • Switzerland

Different dialects of French show various accents and lexical differences. For example, in Standard French 70 is written as soixante-dix whereas in Swiss French it is written as septante.