Need quick list of Basic French

Old Feb 24th, 2007, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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CAPH52, I did not have any problem in Paris not speaking French. I did learn my pleasantries, but other than that just tried to be organized ahead of time, so I wasn't in the position of needing to ask someone on the street for directions (or whatever). A good phrase book was helpful for decifering restaurant menus.
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Thanks, suze. I'm really not worried about not being fluent. But would like to be able to say "monsieur" without anyone laughing!

While my daughter wasn't the best French student (nor did she have the best teachers), her four years of high school French should at least help with signs, menus, etc. I hope!
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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As we are on the Fodors site, have you tried the Fodors free language training which includes pronunciation?
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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I lived in France for almost a year, and although many people do speak some English, some important advice: when you enter any kind of shop or establishment, try to find the closest shopkeeper or salesperson, make eye contact, and say "Bonjour Madame" or "Bonjour Monsieur". This is a politeness French folks expect - and since this isn't really an expectation in America - you can see why the French might think Americans come off as rude.

I second the suggestions made by others about a basic phrasebook.

Know how to find the bathroom, how to verify payment, ask directions, etc.

Don't underestimate the power of big smile, "excusez-moi" and "merci beaucoup"!

Hope this helps, happy travels!
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 01:03 PM
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Thank you, robjame! I had no idea that was on this site!

Sounds like very good advice, kas238. And good to be reminded that often we're the ones who come off as rude!
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 01:04 PM
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My apologies to you, gfeibleman, for highjacking your thread!
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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>Author: ira
Date: 02/24/2007, 12:26 pm

> I always start my conversations with "Bonjour Monsieur/Madame" followed soon by "Pardon. Parle vous Anglais?"<

So do I, but I add SVP. <

Absolutely! I just forgot to put that in the post.

I figure that if I'm in someone else's country and asking them to use MY language, then I'd better say "please". I don't know French, but I've learned the key phrases involved in pleasantries and when to use them.

Don't underestimate the power of big smile, "excusez-moi" and "merci beaucoup"!<

That's exactly the kind of thing I mean. People make fun of the French for having all these social conventions, but why should it be otherwise? This is really just about treating people the way you yourself would want to be treated. Practicing these few rules and using these few phrases will go a long way and in 99% of the cases result in a wonderful cultural experience.
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Old Feb 24th, 2007, 04:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 187
the living language link was great
we were visiting a Fodors editor in NYC in last month and he was just telling us about it

That along with the other links give me what I need

I agree and I don't underestimate the power of big smile, "excusez-moi" and "merci beaucoup"!

I survived 10 days in Sicly and found that a buongiorno and Grazie with a smile went a long way. People critizied my bad spelling when I posted by Italian list but sometimes poeple just want a few words to work with. No substitute for learning how to pronounce them but...

thanks all

By the way, on the Italian page a couple years ago, Bobthenavigator said that Fodors had a good list on it's home page but I never found it. Does Fodor's have a separate list other than the living language section?
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