If you are going to France or a French speaking country, it is important etiquette to at least attempt to speak the language. The French respond much more warmly to people who try to speak French rather than those who don’t attempt it at all. Here are some easy French phrases that will help you on your next trip!
1. Bonjour! - Hello!
(Pronounced boh(n)-zhoor where (n) is a nasal n sound)
Use this salutation upon meeting others.
2. S’il vous plait - Please
Don’t forget your manners! Add this phrase when asking for things.
3. Merci - Thankyou
Make sure you show your gratitude with this easy phrase.
4. Comment allez-vous? - How are you?
There are several ways to say and answer this phrase. You might also like to learn:
Ça va? – How are you? (more informal, pronounced sah vah)
Ça va bien – I’m good (pronounced sah vah bee-e(n) where (n) is a nasal n sound)
Et vous? – And you? (pronounced eh voo)
5. Je voudrais … - I would like …
(Pronounced zhuh voo-dray)
Add other phrases to this starter to ask for what you want. Here are some common things you might need to add:
Du pain – some bread (pronounced doo peh(n) where (n) is a nasal n sound)
De l’eau – some water (pronounced der low)
Un croissant – a croissant (pronounced uh(n) kwuh-sah(n) where (n) is a nasal n sound)
Un café – a coffee (pronounced uh(n) ka-fay where (n) is a nasal n sound)
6. Excusez-moi – Excuse me
(Pronounced ex-cue-zay mwah)
Just as in English speaking countries, it is polite to say excuse me when interrupting or interjecting to ask a question.
7. Où se trouve … - Where is …
(Pronounced ew seh troov)
If you a searching for a place such as La tour Eiffel or L’arc de triomphe, you may need this phrase.
8. Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
(Pronounced par-lay voo e(n)glayI where (n) is a nasal n sound)
People may respond with “Oui, je parle l’anglais” meaning “Yes, I speak English”. However, they also may respond with “Non, je ne parle pas l’anglais” meaning “No, I don’t speak English”.
9. Je parle un peu de français – I speak a little French
(Pronounced zhuh parl uh(n) peh der fro(n)say where (n) is a nasal n sound)
Tell people about the limits of your French skills. This way, they will most likely speak slower, or even switch to English for you to understand.
10. Au revoir – Goodbye
(Pronounced or ray-vwar)
This phrase is commonly used when leaving, just as in English.
The French will appreciate the effort you have put in to learn these basic phrases. Learning even just a little of the language shows that you respect the French people and the French culture.