Only very formal or written cases call for beginning questions with “Est-ce que … Parisians want you to know that they are far more likely to speak good English than French people outside of Paris, whose English mastery embarrassingly falls behind not just Northern Europe but Eastern Europe, and whose confidence levels about speaking English, accordingly, are also low. As French people talk to you in French you can’t understand, nod your head sagely and murmur repeatedly, “Ah 4. This really will put you in the spirit of the place. — which basically means “that sucks,” but is a great all-purpose bitch. (You can even say it during sex the way you’d say, “Fuck yeah.”) A friend tells you her rent just went up €50? ” In that instance, it takes on the judging but quasi-delighted tone of the New York “Oh, no she didn’t!
(For my life, I can’t figure out why my husband’s 11-year-old niece is learning German in school and not English, but that’s not so atypical in the French provinces.) Also, don’t take offense if someone seems to be almost daring you to speak French. Always start with “Excusez-moi, monsieur/madame/messieurs/mesdames … “ Even if your French falls apart after that, Parisians will soften a bit at your initial effort. Draw it out so it sounds almost Chinese — say shyannnn, sa! ( with a bored blowing of air upward out of the mouth, which sounds like (and, in French, is written as) pffffft. ” For more delightfully spot-on Paris-isms, read the hilarious but sadly defunct Stuff Parisians Like blog, written by a Parisian who, like most Parisians, hates other Parisians.
But if you can’t really talk to Parisians, you will never hit the beautiful, thoughtful, gentle sweet soft spot that lies behind their French shyness and lack of confidence — which presents itself as coldness or crankiness.
Finding that sweet spot, via hours chatting with them in cafés and bars, allowed me to love Parisians after a long period of finding them completely impossible.
If you study English for example, you can find an English or American correspondent who wants to learn French and exchange in English (and French) with him.Indeed, the biggest problem for those learning a language at school or who are self-taught is how to practice it and speak it orally.It is indeed not easy to practice a foreign language orally, especially when you are unable to travel.She also admitted that she hasn’t learned French yet, and leans on Dauriac’s English for communication purposes.Scar Jo is not the first American to convey the impression that you can get by in Paris without speaking French; David Sedaris found plenty of material writing about his dread of learning French when he lived in Paris.
Fortunately, there are tricks like the tandem formula and sites where you can meet people to practice.