Jump to content

France for non-French speakers


  • Please log in to reply
30 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 Veritas Vinum Arte

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 Brutta 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 Veritas Vinum Arte

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 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.

#10 ComradeBob

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.

#11 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



#12 ComradeBob

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.


#13 Veritas Vinum Arte

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.


#14 Brutta Borgia

Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

Oui!


#15 #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

#16 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.

#17 Veritas Vinum Arte

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.






#18 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.

#19 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!


#20 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.

#21 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.

#22 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.

#23 blackcat20

Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:59 PM

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

#24 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

#25 Weirdly Sane

Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

I was about to mention the importance of greetings when you enter a shop etc but aulit beat me to it.
If you are polite and make an effort, your effort will be recognised and they'll go out of their way to help you.  Provided you can say Je viens d'Australie!

Have a great time, OP!  Lyon is a great place to visit - I had the privilege of living there for a couple of years and DS was born there.  Make sure that you check out the traboules and visit the Croix-Rousse.

Edited by dogged, 26 January 2013 - 05:30 PM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Mum shares hilarious story about attempting shower sex

As most parents know, finding time for sex post-kids is one of life's not-so-little challenges.

16 things you'll learn on the preschool party circuit

Kids birthday parties sound fun in the abstract but the reality is they often end up an introverts worst nightmare – forced social interaction in the name of good parenting.

The 92-year-old who's a great-great-great-grandmother

A 92-year-old Canadian woman has become a great-great-great grandmother this week after the family welcomed a baby boy.

The Pramrolla mimics a walk in the park to help your baby get to sleep

Simply put the pram brake on, set the wheels on top of the Pramrolla, plug it in and off they go ... or so they think.

Beyonce shares surreal pregnancy photo shoot

Pop superstar Beyonce on Thursday released a slew of photos of herself posing pregnant and nude.

Airport staff order mum to squeeze her breasts to prove she's lactating

A Singaporean mum of two has spoken about her humiliation at the hands of German airport security guards who ordered her to prove she could breastfeed.

How to keep your baby or toddler safe at home

Child-proofing tips that will ensure your home remains a safe haven for curious toddlers and babies on the move.

Told to get rid of their dogs, this expectant couple took the sweetest photos instead

When the couple conceived their first human child they came under enormous pressure to give up their dogs.

Bereaved parents take baby home for 'family time' after death, thanks to cuddle cot

A bereaved mother has spoken about her decision to take her daughter's body home to spend time as a family before her funeral.

'Get off your phone!': the daycare note that's got people talking

A note posted by a US daycare facility has urged parents to get off their phone when collecting their children:

Babysitter's creative 'hands-free' baby carrier hack

We've all been there – you need to hold the baby, but you also need to eat.

Will these be the most on-trend baby names of 2017?

Nameberry has crunched the numbers, predicting which monikers will see a rise in 2017.

Firefighter adopts the baby he helped deliver

Five years ago firefighter Marc Hadden took an emergency call that changed his life.

Mum shares graphic image to highlight importance of rear-facing car seats for kids

A British safety blogger has shared a graphic photo of the damage a seatbelt can do in a car accident in a bid to persuade more parents to use rear-facing car seats for as long as possible with their kids.

Pharrell Williams and his wife welcome triplets

Now that's a good way to start the new year.

Turn yourself into a child's climbing gym with this wearable vest

It's such a neat idea for those living in high density apartment blocks where children may struggle to get enough physical activity.

Bugaboo unveils its new Bugaboo Bee5

The lightweight and compact Bugaboo Bee has been on the scene for a decade now.

The first few weeks of pregnancy: surreal, scary, exciting

It is okay to be worried, nervous, anxious, in love and happy all at the same time.

 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Articles

Advertisement
 
 
 

From our network

Essential Baby & Toddler Show, presented by Blackmores

3-5 March 2017, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Get your FREE ticket now. Save $20.

Your child's fine motor skills: what you should know

There is less of a focus on fine motor skills, but they're just as important as others. (SPONSORED)

5 ways music helps your toddler's development

There are at least five other compelling reasons to get musical around your toddler. (SPONSORED)

 

Free ticket offer

Essential Baby & Toddler Show, presented by Blackmores

3-5 March 2017, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. Get your FREE ticket now. Save $20.

 
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.