French in France

by Andrea Segura - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The consonants c, f, and l at the end of a word are pronounced; otherwise, don’t pronounce final consonants. R is an exception: The r is swallowed or “gargled” in French; the final r is pronounced in words of one syllable (such as “la mer”-the sea) but not in words of more than one syllable (except, again (!) at the end of infinitive verbs such as: venir, partir.

Polite Phrases/Expressions:

The French typically greet each other at work, in shops or on the streets. In addition, friends kiss each other on the cheeks or shake hands. The handshake is usually a brief grasping and releasing of the hand; a friendly kiss is more of a brush of the lips on either cheek, and NOT a full-fledged smack on the lips. How far you want to participate in this aspect of the culture is up to you. The French will appreciate any effort you put into speaking and practicing your French.

General Phrases

  • Good day – Bonjour
  • Goodbye – Au revoir
  • Can you help me, please? – Pouvez vous m’aider s’il vous plaît?
  • Mrs. – Madame
  • Mr. – Monsieur
  • A group of people with both – messieurs- dames
  • Have a nice day -bonne journée
  • Have a nice evening (after 5pm) – bonsoir
  • Thank you – merci
  • You’re welcome – de rien or je vous en prie
  • Please – s’il vous plait

In a Restaurant

  • Call the waiter by saying Excusez-moi, whenever he/she walks by your table.
  • To order say I would like – Je voudrais – NOT je veux – I want
  • To say the food is delicious or very good – C’est délicieux or c’est très bon

In a Shop

  • Handling the merchandise in any business establishment is considered bad manners; ask a salesperson for assistance.
  • How much does it cost? – Combien cela coute-t-il?
  • How much is it? – C’est combien?
  • Excuse me (if you don’t understand) – Comment?
  • Could I see the menu, please? – Pourrais-jeavoir la carte, s’il vous plait?

Commonly Used Expressions

  • Where is…? – Où est…?
  • Where is the bathroom, please? – Où sont les toilettes, s’il vous plaît?
  • Excuse me – Pardon
  • How are you? (to someone you don’t know) – Comment allez-vous?
  • How are you? (to a friend) – Ça va?
  • I’d like 1(2) beer(s), please – Je voudrais une (deux) biere(s), s’il vous plait.
  • I would like a chocolate croissant, please – Je voudrais un pain au chocolat, s’il vous plait.
  • Can I refill my water bottle, please? – Puis – je remplir ma bouteille d’eau s’il vous plait?
  • I would like a baguette, please. – Je voudrais une baguette, s’il vous plait.
  • I would like a glass of water, please – Je voudrais un verre d’eau, s’il vous plait.
  • I would like Euros, please – Je voudrais des euros, s’il vous plait.
  • Where is the train station, please? – Où se trouve la gare SNCF?
  • I don’t speak French. I’m sorry – Je ne parle pas francais. Je suis desolée.

Phrases for Using the Telephone

  • A call – un coup de téléphone
  • To dial – composer le numéro
  • A collect call – en PCV (pay-say-vay)
  • To pick up the phone – décrocher
  • To hang up the phone – raccrocher

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