I used French! But I got it wrong...
So today I spoke French to some French (or native French speaking) people who came into the little shop I work in. I only spoke one sentence in french before saying au revoir and I managed to get one word wrong!
I told the lady that I liked her purse (j'aime ton portefeuille), I used the word for wallet (which I may not have spelled correctly here, sorry!) because I was unsure of the word for purse. She corrected me with the correct word, 'portemanteau' or something of that ilk. Could someone please tell me the correct spelling and gender?
Good for you for speaking French! I seem to remember hearing "sac" (masc) for purse. Technically, purse (or handbag) is "sac à main." However, I'm fairly sure that many people say just "sac" even though that can be any bag and not just purse.
I think that "portemanteau" is a coat hanger. Maybe is was porte-monnaie (coin purse)?
porte-monnaie was it! Do you know what gender it is? Thank you soooo much!
Porte-manteau is indeed a coat hanger. The difference between "un porte-monnaie" and "un porte-feuille" is that you can only put coins and bank notes in the first and in the second you can put money but also ID cards, credit cards, a driving licence, your fidelity cards, etc...
Well done, it takes a lot of courage to do something like that (for me, personally) and even if you messed up one word, you were corrected which is great!
If I may make another suggestion - you wouldn't normally use "tu" toward a customer in a shop, unless she was a regular. French speakers go to "tu" fairly quickly in social situations, unless there's a substantial age gap, but in shops, cafes etc. the default is "vous."
Okay, whoops! Sorry to the random French tourist I was weirdly casual to! :)
As a general rule the French seem fairly surprised when English speakers attempt their language when in France. I would imagine that they were quite impressed at your attempt. Well done.
Portmanteau - as it's used in English actually means a large travelling bag or a noun composed of two separate nouns - carpark for example.
But yes, in French it would mean coat rack.
Wow, I am scared to talk to anyone in french, even to my french teacher at school!!
I'm 100% impressed that you used French. I can read it fairly well, and I can read subtitles on films well enough to understand the movies, but I'm still scared to try talking. My son took French and I'm going to try working with him, but he gets this look on his face that makes me think my accent and pronounciation must be terrible. Well, eventually I'll improve. I think he actually likes my sending him e-mails in French.