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 Lucrezia 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 Another one

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 BunnyBob

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 BunnyBob

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 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

Oui!


#16 #YKG

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 HRH Countrymel

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

 

WIN a $500 Visa debit card

Are you a parent? Simply take our survey for your chance to win a $500 pre-paid VISA debit card.

Breastfeeding doesn't make you a better mum - feeding your baby does

Given my immense dislike of Hopkins and her opinions, I was genuinely shocked to discover that last week she actually said something that I agreed with.

'Toni, another baby has died': the anguish of watching governments fail our babies

It has been six years since whooping cough claimed the life of four-week-old Dana McCaffery. Her parents are angry that lessons learnt weren't enough to save other babies.

Longer breastfeeding linked to higher IQ

A study of 3500 infants has found that babies who are breastfed grow up to be more intelligent and wealthy.

The 2015 flu vaccine: what's new, who should get it

For certain members of the community, catching flu can lead to severe illness or death. A vaccination can be lifesaving.

Dealing with a nappy escape artist

I hear about the tots that have a penchant for ripping their nappies off and the odd one that even smears the brown stuff on the walls and fine home furnishings, and I shudder.

Hospital apologises for 'traumatising' baby mix-up

St Vincent's Hospital has apologised "unreservedly" for a baby mix-up that left one new mum traumatised.

Tips for flying with a baby

Travelling with kids requires a whole other set of skills - ones that I have learned through (sometimes unfortunate) trial and error.

How to stay calm in an emergency

I’m not expecting you to be as calm as you might be right now. What I mean is that if your panic levels are through the roof during a stressful situation, let’s bring them down to just under the ceiling.

Toddler gets 'drunk' after cranberry juice mix-up

A toddler was taken to hospital after a waitress served her sangria instead of cranberry juice at a US restaurant.

We need to stop using this word when we talk about childbirth

Is it shaming to point out that women are often being let down in birth?

The certificate helping parents deal with pregnancy loss

For some people, this certificate will offer a sense of validation that their child was acknowledged as being here and now gone, and will help them with life post-loss.

Grieving families give warnings after toddler deaths

Two Queensland families are grieving the loss of their toddler sons after the boys drowned in separate incidents last week.

The phenomenon of phantom pregnancy kicks

'Phantom pregnancy kicks’ are encountered by many mums months - or even years - after their pregnancy is over.

The health insurance advice you can't afford to ignore

There's one simple switch that could save you hundreds of dollars a year in private health insurance.

4D scans show how smoking affects babies still in the womb

The harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy on unborn babies may be seen in tiny movements in their faces using 4D ultrasound scans, research has found.

How to babyproof your job interview

Once upon a time, I was a fan of job interviews. That all changed after I'd switched careers, had a baby and decided to spend the first year at home with her.

Sign up to our 30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Sign up to receive 30 amazing tips and ideas for play with baby during the month of April and submit a picture or tip on our social wall for a chance to win an amazing Fisher-Price prize pack.

The most dangerous toddler food trends

Pete Evans' paleo cookbook for kids caused a storm, but there are plenty of other unsafe food trends for babies and toddlers.

Infection killed new mum of twins

Modern medicine could not save 19-year-old Sophie Burgess who died 48 hours after giving birth to twins in the UK.

Win a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom prize pack

To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, we are giving away five DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Sign up to our 30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Sign up to receive 30 amazing tips and ideas for play with baby during the month of April and submit a picture or tip on our social wall for a chance to win an amazing Fisher-Price prize pack.

Man faces jail after giving woman abortion pill smoothie

A Norwegian man is facing jail after putting abortion pills in his ex-girlfriend's smoothie, causing her to have a miscarriage.

'He's a blessing': family of baby born without eyes

Jordy Jackson was born without eyes. He has anophthalmia, which affects one in every 100,000 babies born.

Win one of 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers

With Easter fast approaching, Cadbury are giving away 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers. Enter Now!

Super fit model Sarah Stage defends her pregnancy body

Model Sarah Stage has defended her pregnancy body after critics claimed her slim figure at eight-and-a-half months pregnant wasn't "normal".

Win a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom and Peppa Pig prize pack

To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, Essential Baby and Entertainment One are giving away five bumper DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!

Why I post breastfeeding photos online

I love to take pictures of my children. In some of the pictures, my younger son is nursing.

The day I broke my baby

There are things I wish I didn't know. I wish I didn't know that companies make tiny braces, small enough to hold necks no bigger than a wrist.

The place just for dads of multiples

When a couple discovers they're expecting multiples, the dad can sometimes be almost forgotten in all the excitement and preparation. But one group offers a space just for dads of twins and higher-order multiples.

Brave mum calls for domestic violence law reform

A brave mum of two has shared details of the harrowing attacks she suffered at the hands of her partner in a bid to help other victims of domestic violence.

Why I had the new test for Down syndrome

Early last year I turned 35, and having just found out I was pregnant, I opted to have the new test for Down syndrome.

Geeky baby gear

If your family is more into Star Wars, gaming and the periodic table than most, you might want to check out these geek-chic baby items.

2015: the year of the sheep

According to the Chinese zodiac, babies born in the year of the sheep are creative and enjoy spending quiet time with their own thoughts.

Breakthrough genetic testing now available in Australia

Pregnant women will for the first time have access to locally analysed, accurate, non-invasive pre-natal genetic testing when the first Australian clinic to offer the services opens its doors next week.

Grandbabies: the babies born looking old

Not a day under 65 and a lifetime of struggle! That's the look of these newborns, who look adorably older than their real age. Social networking site Reddit recently featured user submissions of adorable grandbabies, here are our favourites.

Family kicked off flight after toddler seatbelt drama

An entire family was kicked off a Cathay Pacific flight when a misbehaving toddler refused to put his seatbelt on.

Stolen baby found after 17 years

A baby stolen from her mother's arms shortly after birth has been found through an astonishing coincidence.

53 creative pregnancy announcements

Announcing that you're expecting can be a time to express your creativity, sense of humour and imagination. Check out how other parents and parents-to-be have broken the news to friends and family.

IKEA hacks for the nursery and kids' rooms

Are you one of those that know the whole IKEA catalogue by heart? Love their stuff but want to personalise it? Here's some inspiration to help you realise the potential of IKEA furniture and fittings.

36 baby names inspired by food and drinks

A French court may have ruled out Nutella as a baby name, but that doesn't have to stop you from taking inspiration from the supermarket (or bottle shop). See what parents in the US have chosen for their delicious little ones.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Sign up now!

30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Receive a daily email from Essential Baby during April with great play tips and ideas, then submit your baby at play photos to our Playwall, Instagram or Twitter for your chance to win.

 
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.