Monday, May 26, 2014

The Very Basic Guide to French

This is a very basic guide to French. You might have read my very basic guide to Spanish, Russian, Japanese or Mandarin; if not, please look for the reference / link part at the end of this blogpost.

Pronunciation is harder than Spanish, but easier than Russian, Mandarin or Japanese. Moreover you don’t have to acquire knowledge in a new writing system like Chinese characters, hiragana, katakana, or the Cyrillic alphabet. Best would be listening to some French chansons to get an idea of the different vowels. Or you can listen to pronunciation examples on Wikipedia: Words are stressed on the last syllable. So some words, you already know from English or other languages, might sound strange.

Thanks – merci
Many thanks – merci beaucoup
Please – s’il vous plait
I am (very) sorry – excusez-moi or je regrette (you might have heard the chanson “Non, je ne regrette rien”)
Good morning – bonjour – used during the whole day
Good evening – bonsoir
Hello – also bonjour (makes it easier)
Goodbye – au revoir
How much? – combien?
Please write it down- écrivez-moi s'il vous plaît
I don’t understand – je ne comprends pas
Where is – où ce trouve
Where are the toilets? – où sont les toilettes?
What is your name? – comment vous appelez-vous (I recommend using the vous form (formal) and later learn the tu form)
I am LMK – je m'appelle LMK
Left – gauche
Right – droite
Straight ahead – tout droit (!!!)
To the right - vers la droite
To the left – vers la gauche

Numbers are a bit tricky as 80 is quatre-vingts (four twenties), but 40 isn’t double-vingt but quarante. 75 is soixante-quince (60 + 15). Guess, what’s 30? No, it isn’t demi-soixante but trente. Enough jokes! Here are the numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4 … Sorry numbers have to be learned or write the numbers down or let the bill be shown to you.

PS. Mistakes are my mistakes!

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