3 Magic Words: Parlez-Vous Anglais? Do You Speak English?

“Parlez-Vous Anglais?” is the Da Vinci Code to transitioning from French to English in every conversation.

Beginning with English or abruptly switching to English mid-conversation without these magic words when your French gets spotty usually results in this:

Sans Parlez-vous Anglais

Without skipping a beat, your remarks will be disregarded and the dialogue resumes in French. Insisting on anything other than French will be met with perplexed stares, furrowed brows and a one-sided conversation.

However, utter the 3 magic words: “Parlez-Vous Anglais?” (Do you speak English?) And everything changes.

You’ll often hear “A little”, or “Yes, but not well”, and then the conversation naturally pivots into English. Except for French administration/government, where I’ve received the snarkiest “no” with one part annoyance, two parts disgust, and three parts patriotism. This is the unspoken but just spoken code. A cultural norm. A French tradition.

It’s nearly impossible to bring English to a conversational duel in the French motherland and expect to win. Frenchies will call your conversational bluff and won’t high tail it in a showdown. Only two options exist: circling back to French or waving the “Parlez-vous Anglais” flag. French people are mighty protective of their language.

However, the French can be quite accommodating when speaking French!

Patrick

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle

2 responses to “3 Magic Words: Parlez-Vous Anglais? Do You Speak English?

  1. Pingback: Flat Finding Flashbacks Part 2: Fall | Le French Connection

  2. Pingback: Getting a Residence Permit (Carte de Séjour) in France | Le French Connection

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s