Oct 20, 2008

Calling all French Dudes...


People of France, unite to answer me this quick question please. I am planning to go to your country very soon. Ok if my question is fucking dumb, by all means insult the hell out of me, but let me tell you something, I have been hearing this line over and over again from all the people I know that have traveled there: learn french because they don't like it when you speak English. So maybe this is a stupid question for you, but for me it seems valid since every damn person who has returned from De Gaulle International has uttered the exact same thing.

So, all french, no english? Ok, I get it. My first language isn't English and I do hate it very much when Gringos come and don't even learn even a basic insult in my language. But... really? Is that a true honest to Buddha fact? Will I get the evil eye if I say meat and potatoes? If I say Wine and Cheese, please? What are my options, spanish or a very badly spoken french instead?

I'm already planning to learn the basics: wine, cheese, meat, bathroom and museum... Maybe fuck off if I get the time. But honestly you gotta tell me because I want to be prepared and most of all, I don't want to offend the good people of Paris.

Svp aidez-moi!

PS: Can you recommend a cool area for us to stay? Not interested in staying near posh stuff like Chanel or Gucci, instead art, music and cool people. Any ideas?????

6 comments:

Halcyon said...

I'm no frenchie, but (in my experience) as long as you attempt to speak french, most Parisians will treat you fine. It's the Americans who just keep talking louder and louder (in English) that drive them bats. It's more important not to act American, i.e. don't get impatient. If the waiter does not get to you in a timely manner, well, it's France. If you know (and use) "S’il vous plaĆ®t" and "merci," then all you need are a few food-words and you're on your way.

Never ask someone if they speak English, unless all other forms of communication have failed. If they speak English, they will usually have bailed you out by then; if they haven't, they aren't gonna.

Spanish is definitely a good option when your mangled french fails you.

Anonymous said...

Hey
I'm French and just relax you'll manage to communicate with Parisians in English. Not everyone for sure but if you stop 10 people in the street 7 will be able to help you in English - Spanish. In shops / transports and tourists places you won't have too much troubles.
However our airports seriously suck ( no sign in English, so damn complicated and so on)
Enjoy your stay in my country :D

RestrictionsApply said...

Try not to come off as too American.

Nicole said...

I went to Paris recently, and I still don't know a lick of French besides "Hello" and "My name is..." and the number "one." As long as you keep to yourself and do not act obnoxious, you should be fine. You may get some withering looks from a few rude people, but most Frenchies (especially those who want your money, like shopkeepers and waiters) are more than happy to speak English to you, and be nice (to your face at least). Don't fear...it would be preferable to speak a different language than to butcher French, anyway.

Lucila said...

Me is you want I can lend you my french book... is like a kinder garden book and has all the basics. :)

What I had been told by my french friends and professors is that, like other people say, don't act "american". You know what they mean by that. And be very, very, very polite.

By the way check this site Livemocha.com

Me said...

Whoa. Don't act american. WTF are gringos doing there?

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