Jump to content

France for non-French speakers


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 Bart.

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:40 PM

My DH and I are going to Lyon for business in two months.

I've heard rumours that the French aren't known to be as civil to those who don't speak their language?  I know it's most likely an unsubstantiated stereotype, but I thought I'd check.

I can speak basic French, so I'll be okay, but my DH has absolutely no ear for languages and even though I'll be teaching him some simple phrases ( "parlez-vous Anglais" and "Non, je ne suis pas et touriste Américain" Tounge1.gif ) but they'll be pronounced terribly and he knows it.

He's really worried about it, especially as I won't be with him the whole time.

Does anyone have experience with this?

Thank you! original.gif

(Edited for grammar)

Edited by Bart., 26 January 2013 - 01:45 PM.


#2 Apageintime

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

I have never had a problem in France using only basic phrases (although i think you'll pick it up quickly once you're there - I did).

Teach your husband at least hello, goodbye, please and thankyou, once he gets there he'll have no dramas.

I also really didn't think the French were rude at all to English speakers, I suspect it's a myth spread by the UK Tounge1.gif

#3 livvie7586

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

my dad found as long as you could get across that you were aussie and not english, then you'd normally find someone to help (as in someone would try to get the point across in broken english, or would find someone who could help).  heaven help you if they thought you were english though (this was 20 odd years ago though, so things might have changed)

#4 IsolaBella

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:46 PM

If you attempt to speak a few basic French phrases (and badly) they will speak English to you. If you go in speaking English to them they will pretend not to understand.

Me I am just oK in my speaking, so will have a small conversation and at the end they say in English that my French is good and what a good effort I made.

My dad on the other and is terrible and they can't switch to English fast enough with him.

As my family friends who are French have all said... They can not stand to hear their language butchered, but do not like it if you just assume they speak English.

I first went to France in 1990 and have been back many times, most recent Dec 2011.



#5 envs

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

They're not overtly friendly, but if you show that you are trying to speak French, they will appreciate the effort.

I believe nearly all of the French speak some level of English so will be able to understand you.

Having said that, I found ppl from Nice and Cannes lovely.

#6 elizabethany

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:53 PM

I found that so long as you made the effort, they will usually speak english to you, even if your accent is terrible.  Going in only speaking English will get you ignored.

#7 Feral Borgia

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

You'll be fine..I found the French to be very friendly...as others have said if you attempt a few French phrases they will go easy on you...


#8 IsolaBella

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

My French is seriously basic. An 8wk beginners tourist course at the local adult education.

Teach ou DH very basic phrases like

Hello, goodbye, excuse me, thank you.

Who much?

That please? (Used in conjunction with pointing).

I am Australian ( not English or American).

And he should be fine.

Edited by lsolaBella, 26 January 2013 - 01:55 PM.


#9 Lil Chickens

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

My first night in Paris my sister and I went to a touristy little bistro on Sacre-Couer.  We both studies french at school (myself till Year 9) and attempted to say the french names for the menu items we wanted.

The waiter cut us short by saying "What do you want?" very curtly.  It has stuck with me and that was in 2004!  We never encountered that again though.  Through the whole of Europe everyone was lovely and helpful if you tried first.  (They didn't like some of the people we travelled with whose attempts to communicate came down to that well practiced (but ridiculous) theory - speak louder and drop your contractions and they will get it).

#10 Bart.

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

Wow, thanks everyone!  I guess the rumours weren't unsubstantiated at all. Glad I checked.

Isolabella: I hadn't thought of, "how much" and "that please".  Will add it to the list.

#11 FeralBob!

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

The rudest French people I found were Parisians, but then I tend to think that the rudest inhabitants of any country are those who live in the capital city.

As long as people know he's Australian, the non language won't be a problem for the majority of people. The myth about the French being rude to people who can't speak their language is mainly due to the hordes ofPoms who live so close by and can't speak their language with any degree of proficiency.

#12 Bart.

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

laughing2.gif  So the first thing I teach him before even "bonjour" is "je suis Australien."   biggrin.gif



#13 FeralBob!

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

And Bart, je suis australien & kangourou are good phrases to know as well  original.gif


ETA Bart snap, yes,very much so!

Edited by HappyNewBob!, 26 January 2013 - 02:07 PM.


#14 IsolaBella

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

Yes!

Paris on our last trip was fine. I probably spoke the least amount of French on any trip.


Edited by lsolaBella, 26 January 2013 - 02:07 PM.


#15 Feral Borgia

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

Oui!


#16 YellowKittyGlenn

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:10 PM

Too never had an issue in France with very very limited French. TBH like any other country I haveen to where English is second or non existent language that they appreciate at least the effort. A greeting in French and combination of hand gestures and drawings can help a lot.

I found it fun as after the greeting it was like playing cheraids lol

#17 BetteBoop

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

QUOTE (lsolaBella @ 26/01/2013, 01:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you attempt to speak a few basic French phrases (and badly) they will speak English to you. If you go in speaking English to them they will pretend not to understand.

Me I am just oK in my speaking, so will have a small conversation and at the end they say in English that my French is good and what a good effort I made.


While I was trying to piece together a sentence from my highschool French, I had someone say to me "you speak very good English".

QUOTE (Bart. @ 26/01/2013, 02:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wow, thanks everyone!  I guess the rumours weren't unsubstantiated at all. Glad I checked.


I found French people very friendly. They just don't appreciate people coming into their country and screaming at them in English with no attempt whatsoever to speak their language.

I doubt Australians would be any friendlier if someone came here and yelled at them in another language.

#18 IsolaBella

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:35 PM

QUOTE
I doubt Australians would be any friendlier if someone came here and yelled at them in another language.


very true. I have seen Germans try to speak loudly and slowly to the French and get nowhere.

Charades is always fun overseas. That and a few phrases in native language work well.

Favourite travel memory was a group of Italian boys just outside Venice try and pick up a group of German Grils..... Both groups using pigeon English as common language.






#19 au*lit

Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:21 PM

The French value good manners. If you show yourself to have bad manners (by French standards) you may encounter rudeness.

One of the biggest things is using a greeting before launching into a conversation or request. So if you walk in to any place of business (hotel, shop, restaurant) it's very important to greet the person you're dealing with. Always say 'bonjour monsieur/madame' (bonsoir in the late afternoon & evening) before asking for anything. It demonstrates to them that you aren't a barbarian and gets things off on the right note. Similarly, always say good bye when leaving.

So before he asks 'parlez-vous anglais?' he should always say 'bonjour' first.

#20 CountryFeral

Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

Yeah... it isn't English speakers they don't like it is 'the English'!

I spent several months tootling all over France in my rust van and received nothing but charm. Neither I nor my travelling companions spoke beyond the basic one worders...

However I have a wonderful memory of visiting Paris as a child with my parents - Mum (with a British passport) spoke rather good French, my Dad (Australian passport) has the broadest strine imaginable and is also an epic mumbler - unless you know him very well and have your 'ear' in he is virtually impossible to understand and that is for native English speakers.

Every hotel we stayed at they refused to understand my mother when she was speaking French and would instead converse in English with poor old Dad instead.

It became the running joke of the trip.

Interestingly people on the street that we met (who hadn't seen Mum's passport) could all understand her very well and seemed to find her charming!


#21 dolcengabbana

Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:42 PM

DH and I went to France for our honeymoon and Italy, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands, Greece.

The French were so wonderful to us as we're the Italians so helpful and kind DH uses a manual wheelchair and the would rush to assist us and free entry to every attraction we went to as a side bonus but our total lack of French or any other language wasn't an issue in fact they appreciated our very humble attempts to try and speak French but were gracious and invite us to speak English with them.

#22 Fabulous

Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

I spent 1 week in an apartment in Paris in 2011 and I didn't speak one word of french whilst I was there. I found everyone to be very helpful and happy to speak English to me. Lots of people at the supermarket would start speaking to me in French but when I responded in English they appeared happy to change over.

#23 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:58 PM

Some of the "French are rude" thing comes because they don't consider it socially obligatory to smile at everyone automatically.  Also it's polite to greet the shopkeeper with a Bonjour Madame/Monsieur so when tourists skip that it put things on the wrong foot.

#24 blackcat20

Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:59 PM

Suppose I'd better keep my very English surname to myself by the sound of it.

#25 Bart.

Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

Thanks again, everyone who responded!

au*lit, will be sure to do that and will remind my DH, too.  He'll say, "bonn-joo-wah" but it's better than nothing. Tounge1.gif  I suppose when you think about it, I always greet everyone with a "hi" so it makes sense.

CountryMel, that trip sounds fantastic!  Would have loved to have done something like that.  Maybe for retirement. biggrin.gif




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Share the little things that make you smile

We're giving away a Mountain Buggy nano, the ultimate travel stroller - and here are some of the great entries so far.

Toddler pleads for return of "stolen" nose

A two-year-old's reaction to a game of "got your nose" shows it doesn't take much to make a toddler cry.

The 15 photos new parents share (and five they don't)

From the first scan photo to the baby covered in cake at their first birthday party, there are 15 photos most parents seem to share - and some they don't.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

Breastfeeding friendly café goes viral

A photo of a breastfeeding-friendly sign in a cafe has been posted to Facebook and shared by hundreds of mums around the world.

First look at the Bugaboo Bee3

The newest Bugaboo Bee ? the Bee3 ? offers a variety of improved features, including a much asked-for bassinet and a rainbow of colour combinations.

Childcare costs, not paid leave, the real issue for parents

Given the choice between maintaining their wage for six months to have a child, or having a reduced rate of pay for a time but a better deal on childcare when returning to work, there are no odds on what most working parents would choose.

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

We lost three babies in two years

Our first pregnancy ended the way we all expected it to - with a healthy, happy baby in our arms. What a true blessing he was, for we were not to know the heartache we were about endure.

Family turned back from doomed flight MH17

'There must have been someone watching over us and saying, 'You must not get on that flight,' says mother who narrowly avoided boarding the Malaysian Airlines flight which exploded in mid-air over the Ukraine last night.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Adorable Skeanie loafers for kids

Your little toddler or preschooler can now get their nautical on with a new range of classic loafers by Australian show brand Skeanie.

My baby is hypermobile

For months, I have been telling myself not to worry that Jasmin isn't crawling or walking. This week I heard the term hypermobile for the first time.

When you don?t bond with your baby

They say that there is no bond greater than the bond between a mother and her child. But for some women, the mother-baby bond takes more time and effort to develop.

Yumi Stynes: Having a baby after a 10-year break

After a long break, Yumi Stynes gets a reminder of the pain - and the pleasure - of giving birth.

Grieving father asks for help to Photoshop his daughter's image

When Nathan Steffel's daughter Sophia died from a liver condition at just 6 weeks old, he reached out for someone to create a beautiful image of his little girl.

Raising kids in a 'low media' home

Can you imagine a life without TV or computers? Some parents are opting for a low-tech, screen-free life for their kids.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

The beautiful moment a baby was born at the side of a road

It's not where she expected to give birth, but mum Corrine Cinatl is delighted that her daughter's roadside arrival was captured in a series of beautiful photos.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

The Nappy Collective starts new drive

It's that time of year when the dedicated volunteers at The Nappy Collective do their bit to help out mums and children in need - and they need your help.

Baby shower cake wrecks

From misshapen cake babies to questionable text, from odd colour choices to internal organ recreation, these are the baby shower cakes that taste forgot.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

Pregnancy progression photo ideas

Want to record your pregnancy as your belly grows? Here are some creative, fun ideas for photo shoots along the way.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Tin can craft and DIY ideas

Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.