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Do You Want To Speak French?

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Learning a foreign language is a daunting enterprise.

It’s brain exercise to the max and requires patience and most of all, time. Babies learn language through repetition. They listen like crazy until they can start forming words. Then it’s all about saying something over and over again until it’s comprehensible. It’s not easy as an adult to get your head into that space.
Do you know anyone who is a native French speaker? Can you barter a service of your own for a few lessons? It’s fine, learning the basics of grammar from a written source, but getting the accent going is another matter.


Oui (pronounced we) Means Yes

Vowels and consonants have very specific sounds in French, just as in any language. For English-speakers, the most difficult part of learning French is figuring out where the sounds emanate from, the diaphram or the throat or the back of the palate…how to sound the r’s correctly with that rolling/gurgling ripple that just doesn’t exist in our language. The mouth forms unfamiliar shapes…best learned in the company of a Frenchman (or woman). It would be a shame to arrive in France and not understand a word that’s being spoken because nothing sounds like it looked on paper! Plus, how satisfying it is, to be able to exchange a few pleasantries in this beautiful language, while bopping around Paris. I have selected some vocabulary to get you started and hope it sparks the desire to learn more.

Always say hello when you enter a shop.

Bonjour, Monsieur (bohn-jure, muh-seeyuh)
Hello, Sir

Bonjour, Madame (bohn-jure, mah-dahm
Hello M’am (a salutation to a mature woman)

Bonjour, Mademoiselle (bohn-jure, mahd-mwah-zel)
Hello, Miss (a salutation to a girl or young woman)

Always say goodbye when you leave a shop.

Au revoir (ohrr-vwah), merci (mair-see)
Goodbye, thank you.

When asking a stranger for help, always say please first. The French are very polite and respond well to respectfully addressed requests.
S’il vous plait, parlez-vous Anglais? (see voo play, par-lay-voo-aangh-lay)
Please, do you speak English?

Excusez-moi, je ne parle pas Francais. (x-cue-zay mwah, juh nuh parl pah frahn-say)
Excuse me, I don’t speak French.

Je m’appelle…(juh mah-pell)
My name is…

A votre santé! (ah voe-truh-sahn-tay)
To your health! or, Cheers!

Bon Appetit! (bohn ap-uh-tea)
Enjoy your meal

Pardon, pouvez-vous m’aider? (par-duhn, pooh-vay-voo-may-day? )
Excuse me, can you help me?

Ou est une patisserie? (ooh eht oon pah-tea-sayr-ee)
Where is a bakery/tea salon?

J’ai soif et j’ai faim. (jhay swahf ay jhay faahm)
I am thirsty and I am hungry.

Ca va? (sah vah) An informal expression…
Are you okay (is everything to your liking)

Oui, merci, ca va. (we mayr-see, sah vah)
Yes, thank you, everything is fine.

De rien (duh ree-yen)
You are welcome

Ca va tres bien. Ca va mal. (sah vah tray beeyen, sah vah mahl)
I am very well (everything is good). I am not well (this is not good)

Bien sur, d’accord. (beeyen-soohr, daah-core)
Of course, okay.

Je suis heureuse. Je suis triste. (juh sweeze hurh-uzh, juh swee treest)
I am happy. I am sad.

J’ai froid. J’ai chaud. (jhay fwah, jhay show)
I am cold. I am hot.

Voila! (vwahl-ah)
There!

Excusez-moi, monsieur, ou est le metro? (x-cue-zay- mwah, muh-seeuh, ooh ay luh meh-troh)
Excuse me, sir, where is the metro?

C’est tout droit, (say too dwah) a gauche, (ah go-sh) a droite (ah dwaht)
It’s straight ahead, to the left, to the right

Allons-y! (alohn-zee)
Let’s go!

Je t’aime. Bonne chance! (juh tem Bun-shonce)
I love you. Good luck!

Je voudrais de l’eau et du vin, s’il vous plait. (juh voo-dray duh low eh doo van, see voo play)
I would like some water and some wine, please

Il fait beau! (eel fay bow)
It’s a beautiful day!

Go online and check out these sites to get started:

www.freelanguage.org
www.bbc.co.uk/languages
www.ilovelanguages.com



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