For 2017, one of my goals is to learn how to speak French and hopefully be ready to carry a basic conversation with the locals when I get there. Fingers crossed!
Anyway, I just learned something new… here in the US, when we don’t understand what a person says we usually ask them to repeat it which translated in French is “répétez s’il vous plaît”. Apparently, we shouldn’t say that because the person will just repeat exactly what they just said which if you didn’t get it the first time, it’s unlikely you will when repeated anyway. I mean seriously, you better have a good enough grasp of the French language to get what they’re talking about. Yes?
So when do actually ask that question? I guess we can try it one time to just check if we might get it, in which case you should say, “Plus lentement, s’il vous plaît” or, “S’il vous plaît, parlez plus lentement et plus fort” which means, “Slower please” or”Please, speak slower and louder“.
However, if we really have no clue what the French person said then what we should say is “Je ne comprends pas” which means “I don’t understand” or “Je ne comprends pas bien” (I don’t understand everything) . In this case, if the person knows how to speak some English they may try to translate it for you or maybe give you a response in very simple French that you may attempt to understand. 😉
And before I let you go, I just want to add that you may or may not encounter the phrase “Je ne sais pas!” (I don’t know) which could be useful… but chances are you won’t hear it from a local. Apparently, the French are a proud species so they won’t admit that they actually do not know something (it is for me to find out… hmmmn…) Anyways, there’s this short video clip that’s quite entertaining and informative so please watch it.
You see how the French never say they don’t know ? We prefer to speak in onomatopoeia
l’onomatopée qui veut dire “je sais pas, et quelque part, je m’en fiche un peu…” ~ Lullue
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