Do the French speak Spanish as well?

Old Jun 29th, 2002, 03:48 AM
  #1  
pam
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Do the French speak Spanish as well?

Less than a week to go and getting nervous about my limited French skills. I find that after studying my Pimsleur tapes and language books that the best I can do is to say some very simple French phrases.This may or may not be sufficient,depending on the situation I find myself in.
Here's the crux of my problem however.
I speak fluent Spanish and whenever I start trying to answer in French (with my very limited vocabularly), I revert to Spanish!,and so I was wondering:
Do the French speak Spanish as well? Should I speak Spanish if my French isn't comprehendible or even there?
Thanks for any info you can give.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 04:36 AM
  #2  
French
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Strange question??
I am sure wether the French speak Spanish depends on each individual French person and wether they themselves learnt it at school????? Spanish is not an official language of France.

Would have thought English would be a more appropriate second language to try and converse in than Spanish.

This must be a troll!! Are some Americans really SO unknowleagable as to even think the "French" might speak Spansih as well??, why?? just because they are next to each other? Do "Americans" speak Spanish as well??
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 04:50 AM
  #3  
pam
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Unfortunately, YOU are one of the many reasons people are fleeing from Fodor's.
I am a "die-hard" here and the fact that you would think I'm a troll shows your little use of this site as well as your inability to do a search.
This was a sincere question and whether you feel it is worthy or not, you could have decided to answer in a civil tone offering something pertinent to say.
Which you didn't.
Being pushy and arrogant is not substitute for knowledge.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 05:16 AM
  #4  
carol
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I never noticed whether the French speak Spanish, and I don't think it's a language that the French espcially focus on studying, but it can only help that you know it. If your French doesn't "work" I think you should try English first, if that's your native language, and if that's not understood, use Spanish. (I think it's more likely that people would know English, though, than Spanish, but maybe in the Pyrenees area most know Spanish, too.) When I was in Greece, I was prepared to use Italian or French if necessaary, and the friend I was traveling with was prepared to use German or French if our English and my very very few (around 100, i.e., didn't "know" Greek) Greek couldn't serve us. Being willing to try another clearly foreign language that maight be common to us and to the people we're trying to communicate with does not mean that we assume that everyone must speak that language; it's just being practical and flexible.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 05:18 AM
  #5  
PB
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Pam,
Unless you'll be in the very deep southwest of France, you're better off reverting to English. English is more likely to be spoken than Spanish everywhere else. With your few phrases, you'll probably do fine. Once you expend the effort to speak a few words, they're more likely than not to immediately launch into English - but they do appreciate your efforts.

PB
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 06:07 AM
  #6  
French
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It was a REALLY unintelligent question, absurd!
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 06:15 AM
  #7  
French
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ps Pam

My comments -:

"Would have thought English would be a more appropriate second language to try and converse in than Spanish."

or "wether the French speak Spanish depends on each individual French person and wether they themselves learnt it at school. Spanish is not an official language of France"

Both quite acceptable and helpful comments!

Was that not helpful and pertinent enough for you?

Also I did find the question showed a level of "unknowledgeability" (if that is a word).

You then call me

1) The reason many are leaving Fodors (!!!)
2) Pushy
3) Arrogent

hmmm......
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 06:16 AM
  #8  
Sue
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Pam, theoretically you'd think the answer would be yes, since Italian, French, and Spanish are all 'romance' languages that are more closely linked to each other on the lingual 'tree' than they are to English, which as you may know started off as a Germanic language.

So your question, theoretically speaking, isn't all that off base. But in practice, it seems we only speak a language if we regularly come into contact with people whose first language is that language. This doesn't seem likely in the French case except in the region near the Spanish border, as PB said.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 06:33 AM
  #9  
Sue
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P.S. Pam, I would think that once your brain stops thinking that the only non-english language it knows is Spanish, you should do quite well. We managed in Italy much better than we thought, despite knowing hardly any Italian (but we do know some French.) We could guess our way along, if the Italian was written down. For example, it was easy to remember that the word for 'departures' was 'partenze' because of the similarity to 'partir' which as you might know is French for 'to leave.'

On the other hand, I struggled woefully trying to learn German, which tells you how far English has come from its roots. Only when I spoke certain words aloud did it sound similar to something in English, like 'gut' for 'good.'

Good luck, you'll probably manage better than you think. Very interesting question by the way.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:19 AM
  #10  
pam
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Thank all (except French speaker) for your insight. I am glad to see that you all understood immediately the basic source of the reasoning which was that the Romance languages are more closely associated with one another and so the reason I asked the question to begin with.
Thanks again for all your continued help and for hearing the knowledgeable and "sane" voices of some of the people I keep coming back to this forum to learn from.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:40 AM
  #11  
Florence
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Bonjour All,

Spanish is one of the optional language you can learn in high school in France, so you might find a number of people who can understand it (not to mention the rather large population of Spanish origin living in France). However, it is much more likely you'll find someone who understand English than Spanish.

French speaker, vous devriez avoir honte de donner une si pitoyable impression de notre pays à de futurs hôtes !)

 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:45 AM
  #12  
Sue
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Hi, Pam! Not much to add. I think the main stumbling block is that French pronunciation is so different from Spanish or Italian. When in Italy, I "make up" Italian from French and Spanish, and they understand me, but then they answer... and I'm lost. On the other hand, just knowing any foreign language makes it easier to "get it." I'm sure you'll be fine. Hope you have a great time; I'll be thinking of you on Bastille Day (la fête nationale)!
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:47 AM
  #13  
Anon
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Pam

so English and German are both germanic languages...but do Americans speak german as well???
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:48 AM
  #14  
xxx
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Do the English speak English?
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:51 AM
  #15  
Anon
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xxx

Obviously not as I have no idea what that comment meant????????????
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 07:59 AM
  #16  
mpprh
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Hi

The short answer is ............... maybe !

Spanish was taught as a second language. Now I think the second language is invariably English. Spanish comes more naturally than English to Francophones.
So, younger people are more likely to speak English.

More interesting is the cross border situation. Many border French people understand Spanish and with multisystem TV's watch Spanish TV.

To make this even more complex is the growth of Catalan. It is taught as a first language in Catalonia and widely understood on both sides of the Mediterranean Pyrennees. Catalan has similarities with Occitan / Provencaal and is a mixture of Romance languages. Check this out -

http://ct.yahoo.com/

Yes it is Yahoo in Catalan !

So I suggest you visit the Mediterranean South West to optimise the chances of communicating in Spanish to francophones.

Peter
The Languedoc Page
http://tlp.netfirms.com/
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 08:41 AM
  #17  
dfc
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To "French Speaker". You ask "Do "Americans" speak Spanish as well??" Depends on where you're at. I live in Texas and Spanish is not a foreign language here. When I was stationed in Germany and returned home for a visit, I commented to my mother how nice it was not to hear all the foreign languages spoken around us, and then realized I was listening to more Spanish than English. But it's not foreign down here.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #18  
pam
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Peter,
Thanks so much for that articulate explanation. I was particularly interested to learn that "Spanish comes more naturally than English to Francophones".
Fodors is still a great place to find your answer because of the many polite and intelligent posters- like Peter.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 10:18 AM
  #19  
Leslie
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This really isn't such an odd question. As an example, when I was in Greece in the early 70s with my family, no one in my family could say many words in Greek, and, many did not understand English. However, my Dad who speaks fluent German found many people in Greece that spoke both Greek and German, so we got by very well asking for information and directions.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #20  
emma
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Pam,
Don't worry so much about your limited French. I got around Paris just fine only knowing how to say a handful of basic phrases. I would always start out in French, and when they saw that I was attempting their language, they would almost always answer me in English.

I also remember one time I was walking down the street and another tourist (who was German) asked me some directions in French. When I told him (in French) that I didn't speak the language that well, he realized I was American and re-asked his question in English. So, you see, you should be fine only knowing a little bit of the language.Don't let this spoil your trip.

Hope this helped. Have a great time.
 

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