Lingua France!

One of the most nerve wracking things about going abroad is speaking the language. You vaguely remember picking up bits and pieces from secondary school yet the instant you open your mouth, it drifts away in a soap bubble. Since you don’t want to come across as a Benidorm tourist who speaks English ultra loudly and points at everything, your metamorphosis into a puddle of sweat is complete. Take French, for example. Most of us learned French at school, many French phrases and concepts have infiltrated our culture, and it’s the second most popular holiday location for we Brits (Spain pips it to the post). So why does our French turn into a soggy, mispronounced mess, reminiscent of Officer Crabtree in Allo, Allo? It’s time to change this. Forget stodgy old sentences about uncles opening windows or aunts holding pens. Let’s find French phrases you might actually use during your stay. (I’ve missed out the pronunciation; it varies from source to source and can be ropey to say the least).

Meetings and Greetings Welcome (to greet somebody): Bienvenue! I’m alright (so-so): Comme-ci, comme ca. You’re welcome! (for thanks): Il n'y a pas de quoi I missed you so much!: Tu m'as tellement manqué!

General Conversation What have you been up to? (informal): Quoi de neuf? I’ve been really busy: J'ai été très occupé(e) Same as usual/not much: Comme d’habitude/pas grand-chose Do you smoke?: Tu fumes (informal), vous fumez (polite) I’m trying to give up: J'essaye d'arrêter

Directions

Where is the ....?: Ou se trouve/Ou est ... It’s next to: a cote de Behind/in front of: Derriere/devant Up/down: en haut/en bas Near to/ far from: Pres de/loin de

Flirting (Some of these were very direct! I’ve opted for the milder ones). Do you come here often?: Est-ce qu tu viens ici souvent? Can I buy you a drink?: Puis-je vous offrir à boire? Text me later: Texte-moi un peu plus tard. My place or yours?: Chez moi ou chez toi?

Hotels I don’t know how long I’ll be staying: Je ne sais pas combien de temps je vais rester Does the room have air conditioning?: Y a-t-il la climatisation dans la chambre? I’ve lost my keys: J'ai perdu mes clés Please may I have a towel?: Puis-je avoir une serviette de bain, s'il vous plaît? May I have a room with an ensuite?: Je voudrais une chambre avec salle de bain? (NB: Our sense of the word ‘ensuite’ means absolutely nothing to them!)

Shopping No thanks, I’m just browsing: Non, merci, je regarde (tout simplement). I’m looking for: Je cherche Are there any sales?: Y a-t-il des soldes? I don’t like it: Ça ne me plaît pas. It doesn’t fit/suit me: Ça ne me va pas.

Do you take credit cards?: Est-ce que vous acceptez les cartes de crédit? I’ll take ...: J'en prendrai comme ça. Please may I have a receipt?: Est-ce que je pourrais avoir un reçu?

Health I need to see a doctor: Je dois voir un docteur Have you any pain killers?: As-tu un cachet? I feel sick: J'ai la nausea I’m on medication: Je suis sous traitement I’m pregnant: Je suis enceinte I have diarrhoea: J'ai la diarrhée

For further information, follow these links! BBC Languages: French: With a mixture of sound bites, video clips and exercises, it’s probably the most comprehensive language tool online! Affinity Holidays: Looking for a holiday home for your French retreat? Try Affinity Holidays, suppliers of gorgeous villas in the south of France! Go South France: In some respects the South of France is an undiscovered gem. Find out the best things to see and do during your trip.

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