Learning Basic French With A Native Speaker Before Traveling To France

I hear a lot of confusion regarding the French language.  Some people are erroneously saying that there are “several” different French languages and some even think that if you speak or understand one you might not be able to understand the other.  Well, let me tell you this right off the bat, this is not true.

Saying that there are several French is the same thing as saying that there are several English.  While there are many different accents and some words may vary from one country to another, there is only one English, and there is only one French.  While there may be different accents, words and even local expressions, as long as you speak French, you can understand and be understood by all francophones in the world.

Is French from France the Best?

I would have to say, yes, the most correct French is spoken in France without a doubt.  And, no, I’m not partial because I’m French, but I’ve always been partial to a language that is grammatically correct, because my mother was like a grammar book/dictionary personified, and it tends to stick with you.

I speak with Canadians and Africans on a regular basis and let’s say that they twist the French grammar here and there at times.  At first I thought that it was an individual case by case, until I finally found out that it wasn’t.  It’ more on a national basis, if you know what I mean.

French is Spoken in 30 Countries Around the World

French is spoken all throughout the world in some 30 countries in Europe, North America, North, West and South Africa.  For a francophone it’s pretty easy to recognize where someone comes from by the difference of the accent and speech.

Swiss, Belgians, Canadians, North Africans and South Africans all have very distinct accents.  While France also has its own different regional accents I can always tell if someone is from France or anther francophone country.  I guess you could compare this with English. While there are many different “American accents”, you can tell if someone is from the UK, Australia, Ireland, or if they are from Texas, New York or Boston.  This is the amazing thing about languages!

My Little Video for Basic French Phrases

So, what about learning a few basic french phrases with the different ways to say them and with a native teacher, me.

I thought I’ll do a fun video for this blog for once by creating some quick phrases-slides with French sentences that I am reading and that you can repeat after me. Each sentence has its English translation as well.

NOTE: At the beginning of the video, I’m just introducing the slides and the sound is louder, so make sure you increase the volume when it comes to the slides.

I hope you’ll enjoy and have fun with this. Please, leave your feedbacks in the comment area!




14 thoughts on “Learning Basic French With A Native Speaker Before Traveling To France”

  1. Sylvaine, I think I told you this before but I took French for many years in school – from 9th grade right through college. In fact, in college I took a French history class that was in French! So it wasn’t a language course but it was a history course spoken only in French. That was tough! It’s one thing to know a conversational language but another to try to learn something in another language with a lot of technicalities. I’ll tell you, I had to concentrate pretty hard in that class. And then I went to Paris and when I was there I needed to sew something but I could not figure out how to ask for a needle and thread, lol… I ended up doing charades 🙂

    I’m sure any language has accents from different regions and even different word choices and slang. To be honest, sometimes I can’t even understand people who speak English!! It all depends on how they use the language.

    I enjoyed listening to this so thanks for sharing!
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    1. Hi Carol,

      Wow, history can be hard enough to understand in a language where you’d be fluent in, so I can totally understand why it wasn’t in French in your case. I’m sure you know quite quite a bit if French though, having studying it for so long.

      I understand what you mean by not being able to understand people in your own language, sometimes, that has happened to me as well of course, if the accent is very thick or full of local slang and stuff. Yes, that can happen to anyone 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the video 🙂 Have a great week end and see you on your blog 🙂

  2. Wow Sylviane,

    Using common sense you would think there is only one English language therefore there is only one French language. Now some of the phrases that people use may be different depending on where you live. For instance I’m in Texas so we have a lot of different slang words we use here so I would think it’s the same pretty much everywhere.

    I loved watching your video because as you know I had asked a question on Facebook just this week or what language would you like to learn outside of your own. Of course to me French is just sexy sounding to me. I love the way you pronounce things so I enjoyed just hearing you go through the different phrases. I have a feeling though I could never learn that language. Those things don’t stick with me very well.

    Loved this post so thank you for sharing this with us. I learned some new things for sure.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I wanted to make that point, because I’m so tired of hearing people even seeing ads where they are looking for “French Canadian” or “European French” What the heck is that? Giving the example with the English language I think will help whoever is going to read this to get the point 🙂

      I’m Glad you enjoyed the video, Adrienne, it was fun doing it. Why are you saying you couldn’t learn. If you have a brain, you can learn 🙂

      thanks for coming and have a fantastic week end!

    1. Hi Abhishek,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the video. If you’d learn French I’m sure you’d have fun doing it. I will be posting more videos like this one.

  3. Hi Sylviane,

    I’m not sure i agree with your take on how the French Canadians “Twist” things here and there. It’s almost like saying that American english has twisted the way english from england is spoken. If you speak to an American they would not think that..

    Having said that, i can tell you that French from Canada has been largely an isolated language. Many of the words used are old words that were once used in France.

    “The origins of Quebec French actually lie in the 17th- and 18th-century regional varieties (dialects) of early modern French, also known as Classical French, and of other Oïl languages (Saintongeais, Norman, Picard, etc.) which was brought over by the French colonists brought to New France.

    There are actually so many english words here in France. For instance, i would say Stationement in Quebec but in France it is common to say “le parking”.
    In Quebec we don’t say “LE POP CORN” we call is “mais souffle” which you know is translated directly from english into French.

    C’est cool or C’est fun is often said here in France. Not so true in quebec.

    Anyways, these are a few of the differences and of course there will be some things that are said differently since the two have evolved on two different continents. French canadians don’t consider their version of French wrong or incorrect just as Americans don’t consider their version of english wrong.

    My daughter is able to switch back and forth between quebcois and France French. We of course prefer to speak Quebecois..

    Having said that, it did take me a a few weeks to acclimate to the French accent in France. My husband and i went to scotland where they speak english and he could not understand any of the scots….

    à bientôt
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    1. Hi Annie,

      I knew that if you saw that post you have something to say, Annie, and I totally agree with you.

      Yes, I’ve learn about 10 years ago that Canadian is an old French from the 17th century from Normandie and around it. I so agree that people from Quebec use more French words while French people have this terrible habit to use English words, too much if you ask me 🙂 The word parking is so common in France that’s the only one they use. I know the word cool is very common too, and so is pop corn. But yet Americans use “deja vu”, “voila”, “encore”, “femme fatale” and more… Crazy world 🙂

      What shock me the most when I speak with Canadian is when they say “je suis travaillant” instead of “je suis travailleur” which is the correct way, or “tu sais c’est quoi?” instead of “Tu sais ce que c’est?”, and a few more that I can’t recall right now… That’s why I said a bit “twisted”. However, the accent, I love it… it’s so cool 🙂

      Thanks for your great comment just as I like them.

  4. I think its a good idea to learn some French when visiting France. I am not sure how hard or easy it is to learn French but personally I would make some attempt to some learn some common phrases and words. Thanks for the great video.
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    1. Hi Shalu,

      Well French grammar is definitely more difficult than English grammar, but it’s totally possible to learn French. Especially if you want to learn some basic phrases to be able to get around more easily.

      I’m glad you like the video 🙂

      Thanks for coming, dear.

  5. Great video on the French phrases, Sylviane. It was really fun listening to it. We have the habit of making things that way like Indian english, American english or British english. The same I guess people do with French. Loved your post.

    1. Hi Abhishek,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, English is English and French is French!

    1. Hi Rusty,

      Well, you should NEVER decide what you want to do based on what people say, but on what YOU want to do. People say a lot of stupid things, you know.

      Yes, French is not an easy language, but it would be a lie to say that is one of the hardest ones, because that would depend on what langages you already speak.

      I mean by this that if you’d already spoke Spanish or Italian, French would actually be easier to learn than English if English wasn’t your native language for example.

      Many people have learned French, so if they did, you can do it too, right?

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