OOps...what did I just say? Check out the most embarrassing mistakes you absolutely don't want to make!
Making (a few) mistakes when speaking in a foreign language is something completely normal. Very often, those mistakes are gender related (eg. le voiture instead of la voiture) or are the result of a bad conjugation. When
conversing with French natives, your mistakes will be politely corrected and the conversation will gently go on.
However, some mistakes might interrupt the flow of the conversation and
even cause some red faces....Indeed, some pronunciation mistakes or wrong usage of a verb can completely change the meaning of your sentence and create some awkward moments.
Here are a few examples of very common 'gaffes' you really don't want to be making.
When being asked how you are. "comment ca va?'. Many learners tend to
answer by using a literal translation from English 'I'm good'.
'Je suis bien' which is incorrect but harmless but another answer could be
'Je suis bonne' (for women) which doesn't mean I'm good but I am sexually attractive.
This answer will probably be followed by an awkward moment of silence..
The correct sentence is : Je vais bien ou ça va.
If you want to comment on the weather and the hot temperature, again using a literal translation of the English ' I'm hot' is not a good idea
Je suis chaude (for women) doesn't mean I feel hot but I am sexually aroused...
The correct sentence is : J'ai chaud (for both men and women)
Going on a holiday is definitely a time for relaxation so if you decide to go have a massage, make sure you pronounce properly the parts of
the body you would like to get massaged.
Je voudrais un massage du cou ( pronounced 'koo') meaning I would like a neck massage. If mispronounced, you could end up saying 'Je voudrais un massage du cul (pronounced 'ku' ) meaning I would like an arse massage!!!! you might just be sent home with no massage at all.
You will probably spend a lot of time in French restaurants and ordering your meal in French would be a nice touch to your immersion experience.
For meat lovers, if you wish to try some duck make sure you pronounce it
the right way or you might get an awkward smile from the waiter.
'Je vais prendre le connard' I'm gonna have the schmuck when you are meant to say 'Je vais prendre le canard' ( i'm gonna have the duck)
At the end of your meal, after enjoying your 'cAAAnard' if the
waiter asks you 'Vous avez terminé?' (Are you done?)
You can reply 'Oui j'ai fini,merci. (I have finished, thank you) and not
'Oui, je suis fini(e), merci. (Yes, I am doomed, thank you)
Feel free to share your awkward moments (moment de solitude in French) so we can all benefit from your experience by not making the same mistakes!
Cosmopoli'French is an exciting new concept language school based in Melbourne.