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French Language

Parisians would probably argue that they speak French with no accent as opposed, for example, to the strong southern accent of the Midi. Provincials, however, argue to the contrary. The Parisian bourgeois accent (affected) and vocabulary (pretentious) was successfully ridiculed by famed comedians Les Inconnus in the early nineties. Their catch phrase, 'ça va? tu vas bien?' (pronounced with elongated vowels - çar var: tu var bi-ar?) has become part of the national folklore. British words, slotted into French sentences, are particularly prized among this set ('c'est top'), as are hyperbolic adjectives ('c'est absolument magnifique').

At the other end of the social spectrum, the Parisian suburbs have given rise to the back-to-front (envers) coded language Verlan. While most French people are familiar with the basics - woman (femme) becomes meuf, bloke (mec) becomes cem, cops (flicks) turns into cuf - but as soon as whole phrases are turned back-to-front, only clan members stand a chance of comprehension. Those in doubt should attempt to decipher the original French version of Matthieu Kassowitz's film La Haine, which depicts the socially excluded inhabitants of the Parisian suburbs.


Yes - Oui
No - Non
Hello - Bonjour
Goodbye - Au revoir
Please - S'il vous plaît
Thank you - Merci
My name is ? - Je m'appelle ?
How are you? - Comment ça va?
I'm very well - Ça va bien
I feel ill - Je ne me sens pas bien
How much does - Combien est-ce
it cost? - que ça coûte?
Do you speak - Est-ce que vous
English? - parlez anglais?
I don't understand - Je ne comprends pas
Where is ?? - Où est ??
Entrance - Entree
Exit - Sortie
Danger - Danger
Open - Ouvert
Closed - Ferme
Toilets - Toilettes
Doctor - Medecin
Hotel - Hotel
Restaurant - Restaurant
Beer - Bière
Wine - Vin
Menu - Menu
Today - Aujourd'hui
Tomorrow - Demain
Monday - Lundi
Tuesday - Mardi
Wednesday - Mercredi
Thursday - Jeudi
Friday - Vendredi
Saturday - Samedi
Sunday - Dimanche
One - Un (Une)
Two - Deux
Three - Trois
Four - Quatre
Five - Cinq
Six - Six
Seven - Sept
Eight - Huit
Nine - Neuf
Ten - Dix
Twenty - Vingt
Thirty - Trente
Forty - Quarante
Fifty - Cinquante
Sixty - Soixante
Seventy - Soixante-dix
Eighty - Quatre-vingt
Ninety - Quatre-vingt dix
One Hundred - Cent
One Thousand - Mille

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