Do not know French, please advice

Feb 10th, 2002, 11:08 PM
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Hi, I am going to Paris in May/June and will be with friends who I hope know a bit of French. They have been twice before. I spent 3 weeks this year in mainland China,Hong Kong and Bangkok. Never had a problem there. Went to a McDonalds and pointed to the picture of what we wanted. Just once I think our guide helped in the translation of something. Being polite goes a long way. I think it will not be to difficult in Paris. At least I hope not!
Feb 12th, 2002, 01:25 PM
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At big tourist attractions there shouldn't be any problems, all you need is a tourist guide there. Besides, I think the French there are used to tourists who do not speak English. But at other places it would we wise to be careful and learn some more words, because French can be very stubborn. I don't say all of them are, most of them are very nice people, generally. But one French madame said to me once that I came to her country, so I should speak the language.
Feb 12th, 2002, 04:02 PM
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My husband and I went to Paris last May. Neither of us speaks French and we had no trouble communicating. Most of the people spoke some English and it was enough for us to get by. I always said Bonjour and tried to be polite. We took some tours and of course the guides spoke english. We had a wonderful time. Enjoyed it so much that we are going back this May with my sister and her husband. My sister has some understanding of French.
Feb 12th, 2002, 06:27 PM
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Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about science books
Don't know much about the French I took...
Feb 12th, 2002, 09:33 PM
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As others here mentioned, I think you'll find that speaking even a limited amount of French will make your visit far more pleasant. In my experience, most Parisians are quite friendly and speak English rather well. However, whether you leave with the same impression will likely depend on your efforts to speak their language.

As long as you make a valiant attempt at the language, most will appreciate your efforts and try to switch to English (often fairly quickly, to the dismay of those trying to practice their French-speaking skills). If, on the other hand, you always start dialogues in English, you're apt to get less pleasant reactions and hear "I don't speak English" far more often.
Feb 12th, 2002, 09:48 PM
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Veronica, I would not worry too much about not being proficient in french. Every french tourist I've met could barely say a few words in english. I live in the Greenwich Village area and meet tourists weekly while dining out. Most of them can only speak a couple of words in english. It's rather fun trying to communicate in different languages and hand gestures. Buy a Berlitz french tape & book, and enjoy!
Feb 12th, 2002, 09:50 PM
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I tried speaking to locals in French, they answered in English. Am I that bad? Well, it was Paris...
A few observations: the thing that is hard to capture from high school French without a colloquial vocabulary is how to say some elementary phrases that may not translate directly. We washed our Metro tickets (doh!). How do you say "Will these still work?" Functionner? Marcher? I don't even think the clerk understood I was saying "Laver". (Nous avon lavee les billets?)
Also, I found "one" as in "I'll take one, please" was the thumb up, not the first finger.
Oh well, I tried, our French was just past elementary, and we never had a language problem.
Just watch the movie "Pulp Fiction" and remember - it's a Royale with Cheese, cuz they got the metric system, they don't know what a pound is.
Feb 13th, 2002, 02:53 AM
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Veronica- You should at least know the French phrase for "Thank you, you are very nice." It is- "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir."
Feb 13th, 2002, 03:15 AM
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Fluent Jean is tres marrant. But, seriously, does that phrase translate to the colloquial, "would you like to sleep with me tonight?", or, were the Pointer Sisters taking liberties with the language? (does the verb coucher truly mean sleep, but only sleep?) Inquiring minds want to know. Merci.
Feb 13th, 2002, 03:18 AM
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To x- the verb to sleep is dormir. The verb coucher means to go to bed.(which may or may not include "dormir")

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