Going to France in 3 months!
So, I'm going to France in 3 months, which is June! I just needed some information, like should I have an accent to fit in with the people in France, or any tips! I just wanted to get extra early! Wish me luck!
How long have you been learning French? After 600 hours class time I could understand a lot of what people said while booking into hotels, buying stuff etc but most appeared not to be able to understand my French. However, in Switzerland they could.
Yes, with due respect to Duolingo (and Memrise, etc.) speaking and understanding spoken French could be quite difficult, no matter the amount of time spent on these apps. I had French in high school and college (years ago...) and then was super diligent with Duolingo, for months, before going to France last year.
I found that I could comfortably read fairly well - certainly at displays at museums, menus at restaurants, road signs while travelling, etc. But for the life of me I struggled to make out even the simplest of spoken sentences, and when I'd speak in French - even slowly and carefully, and with words that I was certain were correct - it was usually greeted with a pained expression by the local listener.
In other words - do make an effort on the front end to speak and listen, but don't be concerned (or embarrassed) if you have problems with the spoken word.
Learn some phrases.
- Memrise official French 1-7 series (from English UK): https://community.memrise.com/t/new-year-new-courses/32043/23
- Hacking French: https://www.memrise.com/course/46239/hacking-french/
- FL3M Language Hacking French: https://www.memrise.com/course/1249871/language-hacking-french-official/
- Minimum Viable French (306 "words": https://www.memrise.com/course/47/minimum-viable-french/
- Shorter French user-created beginner / introduction courses (native audio)
- 100 days "50 languages" (native MP3 recordings): http://www.50languages.com
For the "50 languages" Memrise course you have to use on the web portal Cooljingle's Tampermonkey userscript "Memrise Audio Provider" to activate the TTS for those words (phrases/sentences) which have no uploaded audio
Don't fake an accent. They will assume you're making fun of them. Do the best you can when talking to them, and realize they will laugh at you.
Don't worry too much about an accent. Try to improve your pronunciation, but at the same time realize that you will likely speak with a foreign accent, and that is okay.
I recommend that you learn some cultural aspects to avoid misunderstandings. If you make an effort to understand them and practice basic polite manners, than I suspect you will be charmed both by the people and the country.
The most important advice I can offer: on entering any shop, store, restaurant or before approaching any person be sure to say "Bonjour (Madame/Monsieur) !", or if after 6 PM, "Bonsoir !" One of the three pillars of French society is égalité and to overlook greeting someone properly before interacting with them is a terrible slight, a snub. On leaving, be certain to say "bonne journée/bonne soirée".
Ha, I came here to say the same about "Bonjour" (and also using liberal sprinklings of "Merci"). Make an effort on the front end, and you'll frequently be rewarded (albeit, often by the French person switching to English...)
Yes, I once saw language students in a shop who neither greeted nor thanked the shop assistant - even though they were at a reasonably high language level. Very rude - in any culture.
Learn some idioms. And konw what is condisdered inappriote language in France, so you don't say the wrong think and end up provoking someone.
Hope you have fun! I love France so much. :) I agree with FredrikVC, when people came to France while I was still living there some of the younger people would try to fake the French accent which was really annoying.
The accent part is a key issue in France. It hapens to me so often that I am saying the right thing and either understood wrongly or not at all. Then I speel my sentence, which is a real headache. If you can improve your accent, do it
Hey ! For the language, it depends on where you go, which city you plan to visit. I assume that you learn french with the standard accent, so you should be understood pretty much everywhere, even if your sentences are not exactly what they should be, you don't need to take any accent. However, you might have a hard time understanding some people in some regions, because some of them have a strong accent... But don't worry, I'm pretty sure they'll adapt :) And good luck :)
If you go in the south, just don't forget suncream and the "g" at the end of each words.
Don't worry too much about your accent, you can't fake it and people will understand you. I would focus on idioms rather than vocabulary. Listen to realistic dialogues, so that you know what to expect in different situations, what you'll hear and what to say. One resource that helped me to feel more confident is the "50 daily life French conversations" album (you can find it for free on most streaming platforms I guess). It covers most of everyday life topics, but you can make your own playlist if you want to focus on some topics in particular. Good luck and enjoy your stay !
If it's clear you are making an effort, most people will respond in a supportive manner. Telephones can be a problem. Stick with simple phrases, and don't be afraid to ask people to speak simply and slowly. And don't be afraid, either, to repeat back to them, what you think they have said. Appearing to be less than fluent is actually helpful, people will respond - if you appear to be trying.