French survival phrases

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” said Charlemagne.

You may have heard native speakers ranting “wee” and wondered why they were saying it even though they aren’t on a roller coaster of any sort! If that didn’t get you, maybe you’ve heard them say “mercy” with a smile on their face and no guilt whatsoever! What’s up with these people?

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Well, surprise surprise (or no surprises there for the ones who know)… “wee” is “Oui” which is for “yes in French” and “mercy” is actually “merci” and they are just thanking you in French.

French phrases could sometimes throw you off and sometimes they are just a bundle of pure fun. What with the spellings, added up with their pronunciations and sounds, French will have you at your wits end!  Whether you are a visiting France or are new to the world of French, some phrases are a must know for your survival. After all, you have to be alive to enjoy these fun experiences! Here are your French survival phrases and their pronunciations. Happy tongue rolling 🙂

Hello’s and goodbye’s

Keeping in line with etiquettes, the least one must know to say is a hello “bonjour or salut” (bon-joor or saalut) and a good bye “au revoir” (awe revoar).

Follow through with the typical “How are you”. It’s sweet and simple “Ca va” (sa va). You can also flaunt your French with “Comment-allez vous” (coma-taale woo).

A little please and thank you never hurt anyone.

Just say “S’il vous plaît” (Seeh-il-voo-pleh) for please and “merci” (meh-rcy) won’t surprise you anymore since you know its thanks. You are welcome or it is nothing can be said with “de rien” (the-ri-unn).

Politeness implicated

Excuse me can sound very exotic should you say it like “excusez-moi” (excuseh –muah). Same goes for Pardon me with “pardonnez-moi” (Par-doh-nayh muah).  You can further your efforts with an “I am sorry” by saying “Je suis désolé” (Je-sui desoleh).

Basic cries for help

Can you help me? A question one cannot bypass. Ask “Pouvez-vous m’aider?” (Poo-vay voo meh-day?).

If you live by English then you might want to ask “Do you speak English?” with “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Par-leh vooz ahn-glay).

“I speak little French” is “Je parle un peu français” (Jeh parl uhn peh fran-say) and “I am lost” is “Je suis perdu” (Je swih peh-r-duuh).

Words you may need…

The hotel is “L’hôtel” (Low tell).

The restaurant is “Le restaurant” (Luh-restauaront).

The American Embassy is “L’ambassade américaine” (Luh-ambas-sadh ameri-cane).

The airport is “L’aéroport” (A aeh-ro-port).

Others on the list…

English French Pronunciation
My name is… Je m’appelle… Jay ma-pell-uh…
I am hungry J’ai faim Je- fam
I am thirsty J’ai soif Je-soaf
Where is the restroom Où sont les toilettes ? Oo sohn lay twa-let?
Bless you (after a sneeze) A vos souhaits A-voo-sway-h
How much is this Combien ça coûte Cohm-bian sa coot-eh
It’s great C’est chouette ! Sayh shwet
How do you say it in French Comment dit-on en français ? Com-ahn deet-on ahn fran-say?
I don’t understand Je ne comprends pas Jeh nuh comp-rond pah
I don’t know Je ne sais pas Jeh na say-uh pah
Who Qui? Key
Why Pourquoi Pour-kwah
Money Argent Ah-r-jon
Repeat, please Répétez, s’il vous plaît Repeat-eh seeh-il-voo-pleh
More slowly Plus lentement Plu-lontamon
What time is it? Quelle heure est-il? Que-luh re-til
What is your name? Comment t’appelles-tu? Como t-ah-pell tuuh
Can I have the check? Puis-je avoir l’addition? Pee-je-vo-ahr le-di-shion