Jan 28, 2017

10 Phrases I survived on in Paris

In Europe, French is one of the most spoken languages. In France itself, it is particularly helpful if you know a little French. On my very first day in Paris I was a little culture shock because the locals hardly speak English. Communication was one huge problem I had there. To solve my problem, I took half hour to learn very basic French in my hotel room at night. The next day, I practiced it on breakfast.

Here are the phrases I use the most and have it at the back of my head at all time:

Good morning. Pronounced as bon-jur. I bet you know this greeting. It helps if you end it with a higher pitch to sounds more enthusiastic and also a sign that you are happy to meet the person. This is probably the most used phrase.

Good evening. Pronounced as bon-sua. Same concept as bonjour but use it in the evening.

Je ne comprends pas 
I don't understand. Pronounced as je-ne-kom-prom-pah. When the conversation goes awkwardly too French, I will use this phrase and immediately they will switch to English.

Parlez vous Anglais?
Can you speak English? Pronounced as par-leh-vu on-gleh. They will try their best to speak in English, but there is still very thick French accent.

C'est combien? or Combien ca coute?
How much is this? Pronounced as seh-kom-bien. I use this so many times when paying for my shopping or food.

No. Pronounced as non. Whoever approach me I will just say Non, especially when those souvenir sellers coming to me. Whatever they say, my answer is always no. Never yes.

Thank you. Pronounced as meh-si.

Sorry. Pronounced as pah-don. When trying to get through the crowd, the French always say sorry (pardon) and not excuse me (excuse moi). I don't know why it is like that, but it works everytime you're trying to squeeze through the sea of human in those tourist attraction places.

Un deux trois quatre cinq six sept huit neuf dix
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. This is so important whenever I'm asking for the price of the item I want to buy and also when ordering food or buying tickets. 

Au revoir
Good bye. Pronounced as uh-reh-vua. 

In a typical shopping scene, my conversation went like this.

Me: Bonjour! 
Shop keeper: Bonjour! 
Me: Combien ca coute? (Pointing at the item I want) 
Shop keeper: C'est huit euro.  
Me: (Pay 8 euros) 
Shop keeper: (mumbling some French). 
Me: Pardon. Je ne comprends pas. Parlez vous Anglais? 
Shop keeper: (starting to speak in English).

I learn my French from Youtube. The very basic video that I learn from is from <<this link>> and I learn my numbers from <<this link>>. I took half hour to master the two videos and French isn't that hard, to be honest.

Learning new thing is one of the things I look forward to everytime I travel. And now I'm wiser with the additional French that I know.  

Au revoir! 


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