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Do you speak French?


letrangere

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I mean REALLY speak French?  And how do you define "speaking French", for isn't it so subjective?  Some people are so modest about their linguistic capabilities whereas others will give the impression they are fluent when in reality they can barely order a baguette.   Yet they are, technically, "speaking French".  It's a curious point.  M

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Enough for your own needs is the most important, isn't it?

If all you ever do is buy baguettes, then that's all you need to know.

I speak French about 90% of the time, and yet there are many many words I just don't know.  I couldn't translate a knitting pattern or a Haynes manual from English to French without a dictionary.  Garter stitch, stocking stitch, overhead cam shaft...... nope!

Do I worry?  No.  If I ever need specialist knitting vocabulary, I'll soon learn it!  

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Considering how difficult it has been for me I get by very nicely.

My french is not good, I will never say it is, but I do my best. I can discuss anything with anyone. My conguating skills are eratic, and much to my amazement hit the cible quite often inspite of myself. But sometimes  I feel like I am plodging in molasses.

I have the weirdest of vocabularies too. And I know that I know and say far too much argot.

Do I speak french? well yes I do.

 

As Saligo said, if you only need to buy a baguette ...... and I would say, saying 'deux tranches de jambon blanc svp' was easy enough to master too, but I just couldn't have lived without full conversations in my life.

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SB, I can't see myself talking about overhead cam shafts in either language (whatever they might be)

Apparently even true "balanced" bilinguals actually don't have the same range of vocabulary in both languages because they probably talk about some things in one language and others in the other.

I don't know much about computers but what I do know is in french. I talk about poste de travail,  clé USB, graveur... But I don't know how to say it in English. On the other hand, I'm happier with english cooking terms. (but I still need enough french to describe what a cooking apple is)

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Mistral, do you know what is a "pomme à couteau"?  I never really got that term, but I think it is an eating apple as you cut it and eat it, and I was never sure if it was a cooking apple, as you cut it and cook it 

Another one is pomme acide or pomme à cidre, I could never tell what they were saying there either.  Lucky I'm no longer in Normandy (where the cider apples grow)...

But I think I speak French  

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[quote]Bonjour !I speak french fluently and for a long time .... because I'M FRENCH ! But only Saligobays knew that !

I knew too, I've seen you at the other forum.

Nice to see you here, your English is better than my French, but as SB says as long as you can say what you need who really cares? I did get my language skills stretched well beyond the limit the other evening when I got interviewed for a French radio station at the ferry port (the chap was interviewing everybody in French cars, and even though I said 'mais je suis anglais' he still went ahead)

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[quote]SB, I can't see myself talking about overhead cam shafts in either language (whatever they might be) Apparently even true "balanced" bilinguals actually don't have the same range of vocabulary in b...[/quote]

Mistral ... of course you can see yourself talking about " overhead cam shafts " ...

You only have to say : " Arbres à cames en tête " !

Simple, isn't it ?
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Welcome to the LF forum, Domy. My criterion is that if I'm talking to a french person they should understand me. Sometimes there's a long pause, then "Quoi?" but not so often these days. Also understanding first time what they say to me - again, more often than before. Pat.
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[quote]"Vraiment, parler français, c'est un morceau de gateau!" Surtout, si t'as une tronche de cake ![/quote]

**"Vraiment, parler français, c'est un morceau de gateau!"

Surtout, si t'as une tronche de cake ! **

I thought it was - Un jeu d'enfant.

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'Tu sais, le KKK, c'est mieux en Français.  Le kaka ka.  C'est juste, tu ne trouves pas? '

I do 'speak' some French but it is pretty is shocking (even I am shocked!) and sometimes I am either misunderstood, or simply not understood at all.

There is often a pause, and an 'attend' while people frantically try to decipher what I have said. I can cobble together an alternative version of what i've said that sometimes gets me somewhere. That is fine on a day to day basis, but in a 'proper' conversation I am nearly always 30 seconds behind and can't keep up enough to join in as I would like to.

Occasionally people who have not seen me for a while will say my French is improving, but it's starting to feel like a long haul now.

DOMY, I have seen you on Total France - it's nice to see you here too.

 

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[quote]'T u sais, le KKK, c'est mieux en Français. Le kaka ka. C'est juste, tu ne trouves pas? ' I do 'speak' some French but it is pretty is shocking (even I am[/quote]

That's about the way it is with me too. I found a French expression that pretty well sums up my ability -

'Parler français comme une vache espagnole!'

Teresa does quite well and better each day. Mine is slow because I am rotten when it comes to any other language and I don't have the amount of personal contact that she does. I drive and she does the 'running'.

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I'm like Tresco I suppose, I can speak loads of French, but not many French people understand my French!! Not totally true, but it feels that way sometimes. It is improving though and I can understand most of what is said to me (except for the person on the phone who refuses, or can't, slow down)and respond "intelligently" instead of just saying "eh?". You know that you are improving when you have to help other Brits who can't speak a word of French!

BUT, I don't need to worry anymore! The local brico and supermarkets have employed English speakers to deal with us, and today I received a letter from the Charente Libre (I already subscribe to the paper to help with my French)inviting me to subscribe to the English version of their paper on the internet "to help with my integration... and as an aid to the exiled Charentais" (I presume they mean folks living out in the sticks)!!

So, no worries folks, if you didn't come to France for the language, it's not a problem, you don't need it!!

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So, no worries folks, if you didn't come to France for the language, it's not a problem, you don't need it!!

 

I have laughed at that comment........ don't they say that the best comedy is based on reality.........

Are those sad sad folks who live 'english' lives in France really that rich that the locals really have to leche-cul to cater to their english needs......... It all leaves me feeling particularly ashamed.

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I started writing a long spiel in reply to SB's comment, "as much as one needs" but ended up agreeing with her!

What made me post was the discovery that a dear friend of mine speaks very acceptable French, although she swears blind that she doesn't.  And on the otherhand encountering a chap who boldly claimed he "spoke French" yet couldn't follow a very simple conversation when I introduced him to a French friend. 

So what measure can we use, O level, A level, beyond?

M

 

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I find myself quite nervous when speaking french. For some reason I am perfectly capable of getting my point across but when people speak back to me they assume that I know more than I do,  and I find them very difficult to understand. Usually I start in English, then might add a bit of French at which point I get ' ah you speak french' and off they go.  Its great for my ego that they understand what I am saying but I am soon deflated when I get totally lost. I realise that I need to practice 'listening' to native french speakers but its not always easy.  Besides they use so many words to say even the simplest thing!

Michelle

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Listening to the radio and tv is the best thing. You don't have to answer and you get the music of the language. And one fine day you find that someone who has always been incomprehensible,   you suddenly understand.

In my case it was Yves Mourousi.  I felt like I had seen the light at the end of the tunnel.  My was he  boring rabbiting on about nothing at all for indefinite amounts of time making no point what so ever........ so when I could understand, I chose not to.

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I do get fed up when I go to M do's  with my kids ,give my order in French with English accent and they get it wrong.

I know that I have asked correctly...but I do think they expect me to get it wrong and then they get it wrong...if that makes sense.

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Yes we do - well enough to discuss almost anything, even if we make mistakes - its the best way to learn. I wouldn't dream of addressing a French person in English - after all we chose to live here. I find it helps to have a big dictionary to look up anything new or important in a novel situation. But today I asked if they had peau pour saucisse in Super U. The butcher said yes but it turns out the correct word was boyau (pl. boyaux) - so we learnt something!

The hardest thing is catching what they say on recorded messages on the telephone - which button to press for what. Also when a French person initiates a conversation it is sometimes hard to latch on to the gist of it at first.

All I can say is we're better than when we moved here last June, so hopefully we'll continue to improve.

Graham

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