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https://www.duolingo.com/duttagupta35504

Parlez-vous Francais?

I talking somewhere when the mention came up I was learning French and then someone asked me, "Parlez-vous Francais?" I knew what this meant- do you understand French- but I had absolutely no idea how to answer. "Oui," would be wrong as I don't really know French that well. I brooded over this for five minutes before saying, "Je petit parlez Francais." I used this just from words that I knew and my understanding of the sentence, but it's probably totally wrong. What would be the correct way to say "I understand very little French,"?

4 years ago

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
jrikhal
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Hi,

to be accurate, "Parlez-vous Francais ?" means "Do you speak French?" (not only to understand).

I totally agree with pont on her/his two points. And as native speaker I would understand what you meant without problem if you had said it to me (even if it's not correctly said), so the more important is achieved: communication. ;) And also, as said, I will know that I have to speak slowly etc. by having an idea of your knowledge of French due to the mistake.

I would have answered: "Je parle un peu (français)".

- "I understand very little French." - "Je comprends un tout petit peu le français."
- "I understand little French." - "Je comprends un (petit) peu le français."
So note that here you speak about understanding, not speaking.


By the way, FYI, here (in the general discussion section, called Duolingo or General) your post will be quickly lost in the enormous amount of posts so, to have more answers/explanations to your question, it would have been better to post it in the French Discussion section.
When you create a new discussion, there is a drop-down menu on the top, change from the default value "Duolingo" (which corresponds to this general discussion page) for the specific one (French, in your case). But you can change it now, it's not too late : edit your original post then select the French forum.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bolletjeb

I think it was very brave of you to try, even though your level is probably still basic. After 6 years of French in school and more than a hundred stays in France, I never came up with more than "un petit peu", feeling obviously less confident than you did! Besides, your solution was quite creative, which is a good way of learning to speak a language. Keep it up!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/YGlen
YGlen
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I like to use the phrase "Je parle le français comme une vache espagnole!". Literally: I speak French like a Spanish cow.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cecileriphagen

:-)) Really funny, I am going to keep that one in mind "Je parle le francais comme une vache hollandaise! And we are known for our cows!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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"Je petit parlez Français" is not quite right, but it's good because (1) you rose to the occasion and communicated effectively using the words you knew, and (2) the fact that you didn't say it perfectly gives them an idea of what your standard is. Of course there's no harm in learning a set phrase -- I'd go with "Je parle un peu de Français", or perhaps "Oui, mais seulement un peu" (native speakers, feel free to improve it). But I don't think it's vital.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia
0liwia
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I'd go with "Un petit peu". I do agree though that saying it with a mistake is actually a good thing as people will grasp the extent of your knowledge. Funniest thing happened to me, and not only once: I cannot speak german in spite of 4 years of learning it. But somehow I have a good ear and I "mimic" well the accent. Thus when I say "Ich kann nicht deutsch sprechen", every time I get a "of course you do!" (or something like that, can't say it in German.) And they insist on talking to me in German. -_-

;-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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A friend of mine had a similar experience when she first moved to Finland: she has an excellent ear for language, and could parrot out the Finnish for "I'm sorry, but I don't speak any Finnish at all" with perfect grammar and pronunciation, even before starting to learn the language. So if someone tried, for example, to ask her for directions and she replied like that, she sometimes got a very unfriendly response: people assumed that she did speak Finnish and was just refusing, very sarcastically, to help!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SharanIsHuman

And as you get more advanced, you'd want to use ne and que (just like ne/pas) instead of seulement because modern French speakers do that and to sound even more fluent, you'd wanna drop the ne and just say que.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eve1987

I also only have some basic knowledge of French, but what I would say or usually say is: 'Je peux parler seulement un peu de Francais'. (=only a bit of French) or 'je comprends un peu'... If you want to talk to somebody, it might be good to know how to say 'plese speak more slowly for me' (I don't know that one right now). And that usually helps a lot!! AND: People are really happy to see that you TRY to speak their language...I love to get that kind of feedback from them! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duttagupta35504

What would the meaning of 'Je petit parlez Francais' be? Or is it just plain wrong? Just curious. Thanks for all the suggestions! The person had learned French in school, and later I tried to talk to them... not the best decision. They lost me after a minute. Ah well, just persevere and soon I shall reach... hopefully.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jrikhal
jrikhal
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Well it's plain wrong. ;) Some reasons:
- you can only put pronouns between the subject and the (conjugated) verb. So petit can't go where it is.
- conjugaison: je parle not "je parlez"
- petit is not adapted here

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duttagupta35504

So 'Je parle' would be 'I speak' or 'I understand', basically, an agreement or affirmation to the question.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia
0liwia
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Is this what you got from what he said? No, he was precisely pointing out there is a difference between "je parle" and "je comprends"... As far as I know your level of understanding doesn't have to be the same as your level of speaking...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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"juste un petit peu", "un petit peu", "très peu", "juste quelques mots"... can be short answers to that question.

further on in the exchange:

  • "(désolé), pouvez-vous répéter ?" (can you repeat?)

  • "(désolé), je ne comprends pas" (I don't understand)

  • "(désolé), plus lentement, s'il vous plaît" (more slowly, please)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duttagupta35504

Merci! J'aime votre mots. (apologies for errors!)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bolletjeb

Thanks for suggesting "désolé(e), pouvez-vous répéter", Sitesurf!

Adding a "s'il vous plaît" maybe, to make it sound more polite? Anyhow, it's all worth trying,

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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Sure, you can add "s'il vous plaît" to any question!

4 years ago