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language barrier - french/english, key phrases

language barrier - french/english, key phrases

Apr 24th, 2007, 08:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 16
language barrier - french/english, key phrases

There are so many good responses to some threads I have been reading and I am learning a lot for my first time abroad to Alsace Lorraine. So for this greenhorn from Texas what are some key phrases I should be able to use to "sorta" overcome the language barrier, being that I do not speak french (and no I do not know much spanish or texmex). Thanks for the help.
Malie_630 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Well, here's a free starting point: http://www.fodors.com/language

And I'm an extremist, but I believe that your trip will be SO enhanced if you make a committed effort to acquire a base grasp of French that goes beyond a few phrases. I read elsewhere that you are going in June/July. That's more than 50 days away. 10 words a day is a realistic goal. You can do it. Today would be a good day to start.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 10:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
The nmost inmportant phrase of all:

Bonjour...ou se trouve la toilette? Every thing else can take time....

(vin rouge, vin blac, coca, coca light, une biere are all very timportant too as well as s'il vous plaint (please), merci (thank you), bonjour (hello) and the famous parlez-vous l'anglais (do you speak English).

xyz123 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,407
Great link, Rex. I liked the Instant Immersion language sets.

Sometimes your local community college teachers also give private language lessons.
5alive is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 11:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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xyz I didn't see your post, but I would say my favorite thing to stumble through in French quickly became "un pain au chocolat, sil vous plait."

(which is a chocolate croissant, warmed and very good for breakfast)
5alive is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 760
This one has some less common, but sometimes quite useful, phrases.

Jake1 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,409
Any good travel book will have the 50 words. The difficulty is to get the assurance and timbre correct. For example on entering a shop you should great every one so

"Hi every one" is wrong
"Madames, Messieurs" or "Bonjour M at M" needs to be muttered firmly but not aggresivley as you join the queue. WHile Bonjour madame or m'mselle as you great the staff who is serving you is the next step" Smiling is good but it needs to be the real thing. Finally i suggest slow down, unless you are in Macdonalds, there is no rush.
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
The one comment I would add is that the "politeness factor" has to be increased compared to N.A.

Every shop and restaurant, when you walk in you say "Bonjour" (during day) or "Bonsoir" (at night), "s'il vous plait" (please) and "merci" (thank you) for any request, and "au revoir" or "merci" or "bonsoir" when leaving an establishment. Acknowledge on way in, acknowledge on way out.

If you get these right, you're on your way.

Also note that restauarants will post their menus outside, so you will have a chance to decide and analyze before going in.

Hope this helps,

Michel_Paris is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 03:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 16
Thanks for all the suggestions.
Malie_630 is offline  

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