Every culture has its mores: what is socially acceptable and what is not, just like we have in Nigeria. Each tribe and culture with its beliefs, communication and what is acceptable or not acceptable. French people are no exception!
To put that in perspective: would you dare call the Oba of Lagos or Ooni of Ife here in Nigeria by their name?
Travelling to France is a dream come true for many. You will get to explore and discover their culture, fashion, artworks and of course, their cuisine. As you prepare to travel to France, it is paramount that you attempt to learn some French phrases that will aid your communication.
French people are proud of their language and would rather speak and communicate with you in French. So don't be left out on some simple phrase that might just help you.
There are thousands of French phrases to choose from while you develop your French conversational skills. However, you only need a small percentage of those French words to have a compelling conversation with a person in French.
Thus it stands to reason that, in thinking about some of the must-know phrases, the crucial element would be to whom those phrases would be addressed. We also have to consider the circumstances under which those phrases would be uttered.
Would you be a traveller, holidaying in Paris? A student at university, talking to mates? In Lyon, representing your company for business? Or shopping in Champs-Élysées?
Nevertheless, we're up to it, so here we present some French expressions you must incorporate into your vocabulary as soon as possible to help in your communication.
By taking the time to learn some of these French phrases that will be discussed in this article, you will build some confidence that will help you to interact with people in different areas.
No doubt, the best way to learn the language is to immerse yourself in the culture. However, some of these French phrases you will learn while reading this article will deeply help you in your early stages in France.
Basic Phrases For Nigerian Tourists Or Travellers in France.
You may already know how to say simple things from your French lessons with a tutor at Superprof Nigeria, however, understanding a little French sometimes might not be enough to communicate especially since you just started learning.
You have an upcoming trip to France and you hope to know enough basic French to get by even though you may have been taking some French lessons. Not to worry yourself, we have compiled some phrases and words to help you.
Here are a few helpful words and phrases in French to add to your journal:
One sure-fire guarantee: you should always say bonjour and merci, no matter what the circumstances of your encounters are.
- Bonjour - meaning hello. This word can be used to get the attention of anyone especially if you need to ask some questions.
- Excusez-Moi... or Pardonnez Moi – excuse me or pardon me, both to precede a question or should you jostle someone on a path.
- Parlez-vous Anglais? -Do you speak English? - This is a question that would help know how to continue a question or conversation you may want to have. If the person speaks English, there is no need to continue in French.
- Je ne parle pas français - I do not speak French. A way to communicate that you do not speak French. You might be lucky to get a translator just because you have communicated in French that you do not speak their language.
- Ça Fait loin? means is it far? If you need to ask for directions, you may need this phrase.
- Allons-y! Going on a tour? Your tour guide may urge you on with this common phrase that means let's go!
- Je ne comprends pas – I don't understand. Help you communicate that you do not understand what you are hearing or what a person is saying to you.
- Merci - Thank you. Some just helped you out. It is a polite and respectful thing to say the word thank you.
Using just these phrases, you could have an entire French conversation.
Just by saying Bonjour, comment allez-vous? meaning Hello, how are you doing? you will have mastered the art of French greetings.
Although you may have noticed that many French words and phrases appear in English that are commonly used in our daily conversation. You should understand the context in which they are used differs from one country to the other.
Here are some examples of French words commonly used in English here in Nigeria.
- Champagne – from the French word champagne
- En route – on the way (to somewhere), from the French en route
- Expatriate – from the French word expatriar
- Jubilee – from the Middle French word jubile
- Souvenir – from the French word souvenir (memory)
The French people are proud of their language and you would surely earn a lot of their goodwill by at least attempting to address them in French.
Basic French Phrases For Nigerian Students in France
A lot of international students even Nigerians apply yearly to further their education in France. So as a student in France, there are some words, slang and phrases you should familiarize yourself with.
Let us start with the ultra-informal Tu Fais Quoi?
It translates to you're doing what?, and is much easier to say than its more cumbersome formal counterpart: Qu'est Ce Que Tu Fais? – What is it you're doing?
English students can address themselves by saying whatcha up to? of course, this is an informal way of asking a question which of course you shouldn't use in a formal setting, with your boss or an elderly person.
Unless you have a hip grandmother or boss for instance that enjoys being addressed informally.
Here are a few slangs, words and phrases in French you can use to communicate with your fellow peers and students:
- Salut! – Hi! - This is more of an informal greeting. You can use it in place of Bonjour to address your mates.
- Ça Va? – How are you? This is also an informal way of inquiring about how someone is doing. It is a much more informal way of saying comment Allez-Vous?
- Ça Roule? – How’s it going? This is a much more informal way to ask the same question, to be used with people you are on very informal terms with.
- Ouf -Awesome. This is to express something as being awesome or illustrating likeness for something.
- C’est Nul – that sucks - to express when you are displeased with something.
- Ouais, Enfin; Yes well. Translating this ubiquitous space filler into English makes it sound contentious, but really, there is no bad intent to it. Ouais, enfin... je fais le vélo depuis tout petit comes out as Yes, well... I've been riding bikes since I was little.
Using just these phrases, words or slang, you could sound hippy in an informal gathering.
Ca Me Donne le cafard – that gives me the cockroach.
I am sure you are wondering the circumstances under which anyone would use this delightful idiom?
You can use this cockroach phrase to express how gutted you are about things not going well.
Speaking French can be so much fun!
French Phrases for Business
Passons Aux Choses Sérieuses
I am sure you are wondering what Passons Aux Choses Sérieuses means? It simply means let us get down to business.
If you get assigned to the France office of your company's concern, it would most likely mean you already speak fluent French.
Learning the language of business can be an intricate affair because such dealings are normally conducted in a very formal manner in France.
However, business in this context for French phrases for business doesn't only have to do with how your earn your living. It is also a formal way of communicating like going to the bank or even having an appointment with the doctor.
Here are a few phrases you can use for business or in a formal setting:
- Monsieur, Madame, Messieurs dames!: which means Mister, Missus, and Ladies and gentlemen. These French greetings are used on every formal occasion.
- Je Vous en prie – I beg of you: used to ask someone's opinion, or to acknowledge when someone wishes to speak.
- Les Honoraires -it concerns collecting fees!
- Combien ça coûte? - How much does it cost
- Je voudrais regarder l’horaire - I would like to look at the schedule.
- Je voudrais annuler ma réservation - I would like to cancel my reservation.
We would recommend asking for the meaning of any phrase you do not understand, especially in business environments.
It would be so useful and helpful if you can take the time to familiarize yourself with some of these important French phrases before your next big trip to France.
After studying some of our collated phrases, you will surely say merci beaucoup!
Always remember that if you need a private french tutor, you can always get the best ones on Superprof Nigeria especially to learn more about these phrases and words.
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