Sunday, October 12, 2014

French Survival in 5 FAST Steps

Wikimedia Commons: Leon Brooks
Embracing a new language can be very challenging. Visiting a foreign country can be equally, if not more, stressful. Many people believe they have to fully know a new language in order to visit a country whose citizens speak that language predominantly. Actually that is not true. Just knowing basic verbal and cultural concepts will aid anyone when interacting in a new country. Sometimes the best way to learn a new language is to immerse oneself in the culture, learning how the locals of the country speak and pronounce their words. The same is true for Paris and the French language. Here are 5 simple ways to survive Paris when speaking the French language.

1.     Know simple salutations. Know how to introduce yourself. Introductions are the quickest way to get to know someone or to get help. After all you are saying your name and greeting another Parisian. So here we go:

You: Bonjour! (Hello!)

Them: Bonjour! (Hello!)

You: Comment tu t’appelles? (What is your name or what do they call you?)

Them: Je m’appelle NAME. Et tois? (My name is NAME. And you?)

You: Je m’appelle Name. Enchanté! (My name is NAME. Pleasure or nice to meet you!)

Them: Enchanté (Pleasure or nice to meet you.)

You: À plus tard! (See you later!)

Them: À tout à l’houre! (See you soon!)

2.     Know key phrases and small words. Before you say goodbye, you need to have something to talk about, right? Or you can have an awkward silence. It’s totally up to you, though.

                               Je parle français un petit peu (I speak a little bit of French)

Je ne parle pas français (I do not speak French)

Comme-ci, comme-ca (so-so)

Pardon, excusez moi (Sorry)

Je suis content/e (I am happy)

Paris and the Eiffel Tower at night
Wikimedia Commons: Taysaev

3.     Know numbers. This will help especially when buying items in the French market. The Euro is the standard currency in France, so knowing numbers will aid in monetary transactions. In addition, being able to identify and pronounce numbers will help you to recognize items such as the date and time.

                               Zéro (zero)

Un/ une (one)

Deuz (two)

Trois (three)

Quatre (four)

Cinq (five)

Six (six)

Sept (seven)

Huit (eight)

Neuf (nine)

Dix (ten)

4.     Know the basis of the French cuisine. It is good to know a little bit about what you are ordering on a menu. I mean, you don’t want to think that you are ordering chicken and your waiter serves you frog’s legs or snail shells. Your waiter will simply look at you, smile, and expect a courteous “thank you” or “Merci” in return for his service.

Le Petit Dejeuner - Breakfast

Café, chocolat, jus d’ orange (orange juice), pain (bread), croissant, fromage (cheese), buerre (butter), confiture (jelly or jam) 

Le Dejeuner – Lunch

Entrée – Salade de tomates

Plat principal – Couscous et légumes, sandwich au jambon et fromage (sandwich with ham and cheese), riz and poulet (rice and chicken)

Déssert – Glace á  la vanille (vanilla icecream)

Le Diner – Dinner

Poulet frites (chicken and French fries), Steak frites (steak and French fries), soupe á l’oignon (onion soup), fruits, yaourt (yogurt)

5.     Always say “Merci”. Always say thank you. As you are trying hard to speak French, the local citizens are trying just as hard to understand and communicate with you. So if you learn nothing else from this survival guide, please always say “Merci”. When your waiter serves you, say “Merci”. When you buy items from the market, say “Merci”. When people open doors for you, say “Merci”. Saying thank you is one of the key etiquettes that will help an individual to “stay afloat” when visiting any culture. After all, the last thing you would want to do is disrespect your hosts.

Streets of Montmartre
Wikimedia Commons: Albany Tim

Obviously, none of these tips will go into effect unless you try it out; and by “try it out”, yes, I mean go to Paris and interact with the people. However, that is the beauty of it. That is why visiting Paris will be so interesting, as you will be able to relate with the French culture, and build upon your vocabulary. Even, though learning a new language can be uncomfortable, the French will be excited to see that you are beginning to accommodate them and their culture. Now it’s your turn to delve into foreign languages, to expand our brain, and to immerse yourself in other cultures. Will you survive the French language?

By: Jessica Hardy


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