Need quick list of Basic French

Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:12 PM
  #1  
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Need quick list of Basic French

I'm headed to Val d'Isere and Geneva next Friday and my french is 35 years out of date.
Since most people speak englsh I know it's not a big deal but does anyone have a short list of basic words and phrases so I can be polite. I don't need the Berlitz course or even how to get my room, just the basics like asking where the bathroom is or asking for the check, asking for a table for 4, etc.

Thanks

Merci Beaucoup
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:14 PM
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I like Lonely Planet's French phrase book. It has exactly what you need, and is a perfect small size for travel.

BTW not everyone in Geneva speaks English, not by a long shot!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:19 PM
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"does anyone have a short list of basic words and phrases so I can be polite" - as President de Gaulle sid to Marget Thatcher "Non"
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:22 PM
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http://www.francethisway.com/culture/frenchphrases1.php
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:28 PM
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FlyBob
Reminds me of my trip to Paris in 1973. I lost my eurail map and it could only be replaced at the French Natl. Railway station. Got to Paris and found the right window.
I asked politedly for a new map and the guy behind the window said "Je ne parle pas anglais"

So I asked in French and he leaned down and said in perfect english "your french is terrible" and he shut the window.

Been gun shy ever since.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:35 PM
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cigalechanta
the francethis way site was perfect

actually, in Geneva I have so far gotten along by butchering german, frencha nd italian (usually in the same sentence)
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 02:42 PM
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gfeibleman
Great storey - i can believe it!!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Now you know why Americans are oftentimes intimidated by the French - I haven't figured out why so many of them are unkind to Americans, yet in the areas where you find them the most rude...they certainly are counting on benefiting from our tourist $$. And I'm not talking about the "ugly American" tourists who deserve a cold reception. I too tried to use my French in Paris as much as possible to show my eagerness to at least try and I many times was either totally ignored or given the impression they had no idea what I was trying to say and didn't want to help me out either. We're taking a trip to Provence i Spring and I'm hoping for a warmer hospitality in that region. We'll see!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 05:27 PM
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French-speaking Swiss (Geneva area) are kind about tourists butchering the language... it's very different than Paris, in my experiences.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 06:10 PM
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carolitis, I stop in Provence every year, speak little French and still have made many friends there.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 07:26 PM
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For those who've experienced a cold shoulder, did you open your remarks with a "bonjour monsieur" type of greeting..?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 07:55 PM
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nbujic
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good for you travelnut
In my 20 plus visits to Paris I have never experienced " a cold shoulder" or rudeness (o.k.: one waiter).
Several times when I used my ( poor) French the sales people ( often young ) switched to English. One sales girl said she needed the practice.
 
Old Feb 23rd, 2007, 08:38 PM
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I've been to Paris and parts of northern France twice, with my next trip starting next Tuesday. I always start my conversations with "Bonjour Monsieur/Madame" followed soon by "Pardon. Parle vous Anglais?". I've never had a rude response, but instead have found French people to very friendly and helpful. When the person does not speak English, they have always been willing to find someone who speaks enough for us to accomplish what we need. I always make a point of complementing them on their English and telling them that I wish I knew even half as much French as they know English. With every encounter I end up feeling like I've made a new friend.
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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I honor and respect residents of whatever country I visit and France is the only place that I have received less than a warm reception even though I was being polite. But as I said earlier...I've only been to Paris and I would hate for travelers to the US to base their opinions of the whole country on having interacted with Americans in only one city. Trust me, I'm anxious to give it another try this April...I'm not going with a chip on my shoulder but rather I'll do as I usually do and understand that I am their "guest". Seeing that many of you have had nothing but good experiences gives me hope.
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Reading this thread was starting to make me a bit nervous about my upcoming trip to Paris. I'm one of those people who has no facility for languages. My kids both took French in high school and laugh at me when I try to pronounce monsieur. I really need to find a list of basic French phrases that are spelled out phonetically.

But this thread also made me think about the fact that, even in my daily life, in the course of running errands, etc., I run across some store clerks, bank tellers, etc. who are friendly and helpful, some who are rude. Is Paris really any different?
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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ira
 
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> I always start my conversations with "Bonjour Monsieur/Madame" followed soon by "Pardon. Parle vous Anglais?"<

So do I, but I add SVP.

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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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ira
 
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Hi CAP,

Go to www.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php
to hear the words properly pronounced.

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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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Thanks, Ira!
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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We used a Rick Steves phrase book, which does give pronunciations. The book isn't always organized for the way you need it, but does provide sections for use in restaurants, hotels, etc. It served us well enough - We found Parisians very friendly and helpful. The only rudeness was at a pharmacy when I forgot to begin politely with "Bon Jour, Monsieur."
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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elnap, was this part of a guide book? Or a separate book? Sounds like just what I need!
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