Learning French

Old Jul 5th, 2003, 09:47 PM
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Learning French

I will be travelling to Europe in a couple weeks and a short part of our trip will be in Paris (2 days). Most of the trip will be spent in Italy. Do I need to speak some French or, as I have heard, is it really up to whether the Frogs want to speak English to you or not?
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Old Jul 5th, 2003, 09:53 PM
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Calling them Frogs will not win you any friends!

Take along a French phrase book, and at least make an effort to speak their language. If they are rude, it's their problem. At least you will show that you are trying.
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Old Jul 5th, 2003, 11:28 PM
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One of our favorite spots in Paris is the terrace at Chez Francis. One of the waiters always recognizes us and provides excellent (I speak only a bit of long ago high school French) and friendly service in fluent English.

We love to watch, though, when he pretends not to understand obnoxious folks who make demands in English.

"Whether the Frogs want to speak English to you or not" depends entirely upon you.
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Old Jul 6th, 2003, 12:36 PM
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No disrespect intended but if you have a certain disdain for the French why go there at all. Why not spend the two days in Italy; you'll most likely be doing yourself a favor. To answer your question though; two days in Paris will require little or no knowledge of French as you most likely will not venture far from the most popular Paris attractions where those Frenchmen are very familiar with English since they deal with English speaking tourists constantly.

Larry J
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 11:40 AM
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In a couple weeks you will not be able to learn enough French to be of any use for only 2 days in Paris.

What you CAN do is immediately attempt to improve your attitude and expectations. I can't believe you refer to Parisians as "Frogs" even if you meant it as a joke (& I can only hope you did).
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 05:28 AM
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suze:

how can you say that? If you have zero knowledge of French, i think you can learn alot in 2 weeks. Learning how to pronounce basic words correctly would be useful IMO. As an aside...a phrase book is useless unless you have some understanding of how words are pronounced...even then its difficult.

I have used some Pimsleur cd's which have helped.
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 06:44 AM
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For some reason Americans (and I am one) think they can talk English to anyone/anywhere and that person will just understand. And if they don't, raising your voice will help. If people came to the US and started talking to us in French, German, Italian, Greek - we'd think they were nuts.
That being said, learn how to say "do you speak English" in the native language where you are travelling. Most people will gladly converse (if they can) and appreciate you demonstrated some common courtesy. If you learn more phrases in French - and develop a passable accent, be prepared that you will receive the answer in French - and probably won't understand it.
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 10:43 AM
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For Trav1, Sorry, possibly I overstated my post. Personally I have taken the time to learn basics in French and Spanish, but it took me *way* more than two weeks and I return often to countries where I use the language.

Also I guess I was reading into the OP's intensions (and questioning their sincerity) since Paris-part of trip is only 2 days plus calling the French "Frogs" made me suspicious that a few phrases isn't going to help this person have a more positive experience.
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 10:53 AM
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No, you don't need to speak French in Italy. You need to speak Italian in Italy. But if you don't know how to speak Italian, you might try speaking French when speaking to older Italians who don't know English.

Obviously in Paris you should speak French.
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 12:20 PM
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hey-where the frog-legs at?
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Old Jul 8th, 2003, 03:15 PM
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PLEASE, PLEASE learn the basics: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, do you speak English??? It would be rude to walk up to a French person and speak English, as if to assume they should! Show a little respect!
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