Download GPX file for this article

French phrasebook

From Wikivoyage
(Redirected from French)
Jump to: navigation, search
French speaking areas

French (français) is a Romance language, and one of the most widely spoken languages in the world: 220 million people speak French, including 115 million native speakers. The French language originated in France, but in the modern day it is spoken all over the world; it is an official language of 29 different countries, an important business, cultural, or minority language in dozens of other countries and regions, and is used officially by scores of international organisations including the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Olympic Committee. Although it's been largely supplanted by English these days, French was the main international lingua franca well into the 20th century, and at one point, French was the language spoken in most of the royal courts of Europe. To this day, it remains de rigueur for educated people in many societies around the world to have some level of basic French ability.

Aside from France itself, French is widely spoken in many other parts of Europe, including the southern half of Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels), western Switzerland, Monaco and Luxembourg. A significant number of speakers are also found on most of the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark but not Alderney, where the local Francophone community died out some time after the Second World War), the tiny Pyrenean country of Andorra, and the Aosta Valley of northwestern Italy.

Like Spanish and German, but unlike English, the French language is governed by an official regulator - L'Académie française. Headquartered in Paris (shown here), the Académie issues guidance and recommendations on good French, and its occasional spelling reforms are often controversial.

In the Americas, French is spoken primarily in the Canadian provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, the northern and eastern parts of Ontario and around the Winnipeg area of Manitoba. Although Canada is an officially bilingual nation and there are Francophone enclaves in almost every province, it should be noted that outside these four provinces, it's quite rare to encounter anyone in Canada who speaks more than a few words of French without specifically hunting down those off-the-beaten-track French-speaking communities. French is also spoken in a few parts of the United States, namely parts of Louisiana and northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. French is also the official language of Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the northern half of Saint Martin, and French Guiana, all of which are, or used to be, French colonial possessions.

Elsewhere, French is an official language of many former colonies in Africa. It is an important administrative and cultural language in the former French Southeast Asian possessions of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In Oceania, French is the sole official language of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna, which remain overseas departments of France today, as well as one of the official languages of Vanuatu.

The varieties of French which are spoken in Belgium and Switzerland differ slightly from the French spoken in France, though they are similar enough to be mutually intelligible. In particular, the numbering system in French-speaking Belgium and Switzerland has some slight peculiarities that are significantly different from the French spoken in France. Nevertheless, all French-speaking Belgians and Swiss would have learned standard French in school, so they would be able to understand you even if you used the standard French numbering system.

There are many differences between the French spoken in Quebec and that spoken in France. The two main differences are that Quebec has retained many 18th- & 19th-century French words, while in France the language has incorporated many English words. Nevertheless, all Francophone Canadians, including Quebecois, learn standard French in school. This means that while you may not understand conversation among locals, they will be able to converse with you in standard French if required.

Aside from Europe & Canada, many French-speaking regions have incorporated the words of local languages and on occasion have formed distinctive dialects or languages known as Creoles.

The French Wikivoyage has a page that can help you locate French-speaking regions.

Grammar[edit]

French verbs conjugate differently according to tense, mood, aspect and voice. This means that there are many more possible conjugations for French verbs than English verbs, and learning how to conjugate each verb in different scenarios can be a challenge for English speakers.

French nouns are divided into 2 different genders: masculine and feminine. Unlike in English, all inanimate objects have a gender assigned to them (eg. pain (bread) is masculine; comédie (comedy) is feminine), and the article of each noun depends on its gender: le (m), la (f) or l' (before words starting with h or a vowel, regardless of gender). The plural definite article is les, for all genders. Similarly, third person pronouns also depend on the grammatical gender of the subject: il (m) or elle (f), with ils and elles being the masculine and feminine plurals, respectively. When there are groups of mixed-gender people or objects, ils is always used. The grammatical gender of nouns denoting persons generally follows the person's natural gender (eg. mère (mother) is feminine, père (father) is masculine), though some nouns are always of the same gender regardless of the natural gender of the person they are referring to (e.g. maire (mayor) is always masculine even if referring to a female mayor, personne is always feminine even if the person in question is a man).

In French, there are two equivalents of the English word "you". In informal situations, and when addressing children or pets, the word to use will be tu, while in formal situations, or when addressing a group of people regardless of circumstance, the word to use will be vous. It is important to know the distinction, as while addressing a pet dog with the vous form would sound ridiculous and be likely to amuse, using tu in a formal situation would be inappropriate and may offend the person whom you are addressing. After initially using the vous form, a person may say to you "On peut se tutoyer"; this is a polite invitation for you to use the tu form with them.

Pronunciation[edit]

French is often called the "language of Molière". The Parisian playwright is celebrated in stone on the city hall of his hometown.

Like that of English, and unlike almost all the other Romance languages, French spelling is not very phonetic. The same letter used in two different words can make two different sounds, and many letters are not pronounced at all. The good news, though, is that French generally has more regular pronunciation rules than English. This means that with sufficient practice, one can generally pronounce written French fairly accurately. However, the large number of homophones and silent letters make it such that attempting to write down spoken French often results in spelling mistakes, even for native speakers.

One thing to note is that final consonants of a word are usually dropped: allez (go) is pronounced al-AY, not al-AYZ; tard (late) is pronounced tar, not tard. But if the next word begins with a vowel, the consonant may be pronounced; this is called liaison. A final 'e' is also usually silent if the word has more than one syllable, except in parts of southern France, especially Toulouse.

Stress is fairly even in French, but the stress almost always falls on the last syllable.

For many French words, it is impossible to write something which, when pronounced as English, sounds like the French word. Use the transliteration as a guide to liaison and the French spelling to pronounce the vowels.

Vowels[edit]

Vowels in French can have accent marks, which generally have no noticeable impact on pronunciation, but they often distinguish between homophones in writing (ou, meaning or, and , meaning where, are pronounced the same). The only really important one is é, which is always pronounced "ay", and changes the meaning of the word.

a, à, â 
like "a" in "father" (U.S. English) or "cat" (UK English); (IPA: a)
in most cases a central neutral vowel ("schwa") like "a" in "about", sometimes not pronounced at all, sometimes like "é" or "è"
é, ai, -er, -es, -ez, -et 
é is similar to "ay" in "day" (IPA: e) but shorter
è, ê 
more nasal, like the e in "set" (IPA: ɛ)
i, î 
like "ee" in "see" but shorter and tenser (IPA: i)
o, ô, au, eau 
generally like "oa" in "boat" but never with a "w" sound at the end (IPA: o)
u, ù 
like a very tight, frontal "oo" sound (purse your lips as if to say "oo" as in "soon" but try to say "ee") - (IPA: y), uu in transcriptions
ou 
like "oo" in "food", but rounder (IPA: u)
like "ee" in "see" (IPA: i) ; also sometimes used as a consonant, pronounced the same as in English (in 'yes' for example) (IPA: j)
eu 
between "ew" in "dew" and "u" in "burp"; written eu in transcriptions (IPA: ø)

Semi-vowels[edit]

oi 
like "wa" in "walk"
oui 
like "wee" in "week"
ui 
like "wee" in "week", but with a French u instead of the w
œ 
a bit like "eu" but more "open". The distinction between œ and "eu" is very subtle and often irrelevant.

Consonants[edit]

Note: Most final consonants are silent except for c, q, f, l, and r (except in the combination "-er", normally found in verb infinitives). Sometimes, final consonants that are normally silent would be pronounced if followed by a word which starts with a vowel, a phenomenon known as liaison (eg. mes amis would be pronounced MEH-ZAH-MI). Note that the plural ending "-ent" for verbs is never pronounced, though it is pronounced in other words.

like "b" in "bed" (IPA: b)
like "k" in "kill" (before "a", "o", and "u" or before a consonant), like "s" in "sun" (before "e", "i", and "y") (IPA: k)
ç 
like "s" in "sun" (this letter can only be written before "a" ,"o", or "u") (IPA: s)
like "d" in "death" (but a bit heavier than in English, and pronounced on the tongue) (IPA: d)
dj 
like "j" as in "jump", but this digraph is pretty rare. (IPA: d͡ʒ)
like "f" in "fun" (IPA: f)
like "g" in "go" (before "a", "o", and "u" or before a consonant) (IPA: ɡ), like "g" in "sabotage" (before "e", "i" and "y"). (IPA: ʒ)
gu 
like "g" in "goose" (before "e", "i", "y"); if the u is to be pronounced, it will be written with a diaresis (eg. aigüe)
gn 
like "ny" in "canyon". This is particularly difficult when followed by oi, as in baignoire (beh-NYWAR) "bathtub". (IPA: ɲ)
silent, but may sometimes prevent a liaison with the former word
like "g" in "sabotage" (IPA: ʒ)
like "k" in "kill" (only used for loanwords) (IPA: k)
l, ll 
like "l" in "like" (IPA: l); some exceptions for "ll" in the combination "ille" (pronounced ee-yuh)
like "m" in "me" (IPA: m)
like "n" in "nurse" (but see Nasals below)
like "p" in "spill" (unaspirated like the t)
ph 
like "f" in "fun" and like "ph" in "Philadelphia" (IPA: f)
q(u) 
most of the time like "k" in "kill" (not like "qu" in "quick"); in some words like "qu" in "quick" (generally before an "a") or the same but with a French u (generally before an "i")
guttural; kind of like coughing up a hairball (similar to a German "ch") (IPA: ʁ)
like "s" in "sun" (IPA: s); like "z" in "zero" (between two vowels)
ch 
like "sh" in "bush" (IPA: ʃ); sometimes like "k" in "kill" (in words of Greek origin mostly)
t, th 
like "t" in "take" (never like "th" as in "the" or the "th" in "thin") (unaspirated, it should sound dry and on the tongue, like that of a Spanish speaker)
tch 
like "ch" as in chat, but this digraph is very rare. (IPA: t͡ʃ)
like "v" in "value" (IPA: v)
only in foreign words, mostly like "w" in "wise" and sometimes like "v" in "value" (in particular, "wagon" is "vagon" and "WC" is "VC"!)
either ks (like "x" in "exit") or gz
like "z" in "zero"

Nasals[edit]

an, en, em 
nasal a (not always pronounced as a nasal, especially if the n or m is doubled: emmental is pronounced as a normal "emm" sound) (IPA: ɑ̃)
on 
nasal o - distinguishing between this and "an" is tricky, it's a deeper, more closed sound (IPA: ɔ̃)
in, ain 
nasal è (IPA: ɛ̃)
un 
nasal eu (sometimes pronounced the same as 'in') (IPA: œ̃)
oin 
nasal "wè" (thus, coin is a nasalised "cwè")

Diphthongs[edit]

ail 
like "i" in "fight"
ill 
either literally, or like "y" in "three years", with some exceptions (ville is veel, fille is fiy)

Exceptions[edit]

  • When there is an accent mark on "e", it prevents diphthongs. Letters should be pronounced separately, following the rule for the accented letter. Example: énergumène, (rowdy character), réunion (meeting).
  • A diaeresis (¨) may also be used to prevent diphthongs on "e", "u" and "i". Example: maïs (Indian corn or maize).
  • In the combinations "gue" and "gui", the "u" should not be pronounced: it is there only to force the prononciation of "g" as in "go". If the "u" is pronounced, a diaeresis is added on the 2nd vowel in older texts (eg. aiguë (sharp)), or on the u in official texts after 1990 (eg. aigüe).
  • In the combination "geo", the "e" should not be pronounced, it is only there to force the prononciation of "g" as in "sabotage" (in the case the "e" should be pronounced, it is indicated with an accent mark as in géologie).

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs


OPEN 
Ouvert (oo-VAIR)
CLOSED 
Fermé (FEHR-may)
OPENING HOURS 
Horaires d'ouverture̠ (Oh-RAIR doo-VAIR-tyoor")
ENTRANCE 
Entrée (AHN-tray)
EXIT 
Sortie (sor-TEE)
PUSH 
Poussez (POO-say)
PULL 
Tirez (TEE-ray)
TOILET 
Toilettes (twah-LET)
MEN 
Hommes (om)
WOMEN 
Femmes (fam)
DISABLED 
Handicapés (on-dee-KAP-ay)
EMERGENCY EXIT 
Sortie de secours (sor-TEE duh suh-COOR)
FORBIDDEN 
Interdit, Défendu (ehn-tair-DEE, day-fahn-DUU)
NO PARKING 
Stationnement interdit (STAH-syonn-mon an-tair-DEE)
YIELD / GIVE WAY 
Cédez le passage (SAY-day luh pah-SAHZH)
STOP 
Arrêt (Ah-RAY) / Stop (stop)
Hello. (formal)
Bonjour. (bawn-ZHOOR)
Hello. (informal) 
Salut. (sah-LUU)
How are you? (formal) 
Comment allez-vous ? (koh-moh t-AH-lay VOO)
How are you? (informal) 
Comment vas-tu ? (koh-mahng va TUU); Comment ça va ? (koh-moh sah VAH)
Fine, thank you. 
Bien, merci. (byang, merr-SEE)
What is your name? 
Comment vous appelez-vous ? (koh-moh vooz AHP-lay VOO?); lit. "How do you call yourself?"
What is your name? 
(informal) Comment t'appelles-tu ? (koh-moh tah-pell TOO?)
My name is ______ . 
Je m'appelle ______ . (zhuh mah-PELL _____)
Nice to meet you. 
Enchanté(e). (ahn-shan-TAY)
Please. (formal) 
S'il vous plaît. (seel voo PLEH); Je vous prie. (zhuh vous PREE)
Please. (informal) 
S'il te plaît. (seel tuh PLEH)
Thank you. 
Merci. (merr-SEE)
You're welcome. 
De rien. (duh RYEHNG)
Yes. 
Oui. (WEE)
No. 
Non. (NOH)
Excuse me. 
Pardon. (pahr-DOHN); Excusez-moi. (ehk-SKEW-zay MWAH)
(I am) Sorry. 
(Je suis) Désolé(e). (zhuh swee DAY-zoh-LAY); Je m'excuse. (zhuh mehk-SKEWZ)
What's the time? 
Quelle heure est-il ? (kel euhr et-EEL?);
Goodbye 
Au revoir. (oh ruh-VWAHR)
Goodbye (informal) 
Salut. (sah-LUU)
I can't speak French [well]. 
Je ne parle pas [bien] français. (zhuh nuh PAHRL pah [byang] frahn-SEH )
Do you speak English? 
Parlez-vous anglais ? (par-lay VOO zahng-LEH?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Est-ce qu'il y a quelqu'un ici qui parle anglais ? (ess keel-ee-AH kel-KUHN ee-see kee PAHRL ahng-LEH)/ Y a-t-il quelqu'un ici qui parle anglais ? (ee yah-TEEL kel-KUHN ee-see kee PAHRL ahng-LEH)
Help! 
Au secours ! (oh suh-KOOR)
Look out! 
Attention ! (ah-tahn-SYONG)
Have a nice day
Bonne journée (bon zhoor-NAY)
Good day
Bonjour (bong̠-ZHOO(R))
Good morning. 
Bon matin. (bng) mah-T(G))
Good evening. 
Bonsoir. (bng)-SWAHR)
Good night. 
Bonne nuit. (bon NWEE)
Sweet dreams 
Faites de beaux rêves (FEHT duh bo REV)
I don't understand. 
Je ne comprends pas. (zhuh nuh KOHM-prahn pah)
Where is the toilet? 
Où sont les toilettes ? (OOH sohn leh twah-LET?)
How do you say _____ in French / in English? 
Comment dit-on _____ en français / en anglais ? (koh-moh dee-TONG _____ ahn frahn-SEH / ahn ahng-LEH ?)
What is this/that called? 
Comment appelle-t-on ça ? (koh-moh tah-pell-TONG SAH?)
How is that spelt? 
Comment ça s'écrit ? (koh-moh sah SAY-cree?)
Good 
Bon (m.) (bo(n)) / Bonne (f.) (bon)
Bad 
Mauvais (MO-vay) / Mauvaise (f.) (MO-vez)
Big 
Grand (m.) (gro(n)) / Grande (f.) (grond)
Small 
Petit (m.) (puh-TEE) / Petite (f.) (puh-TEET)
Hot 
Chaud (m.) (sho) / Chaude (f.) (shode)
Cold 
Froid (m.) (frwah) / Froide (f.) (frwahd)
Slow 
Lent (m.) (lo(n)) / Lente (f.) (lont)
Expensive 
Cher (m.) (shair) / Chère (f.) (shairr)
Cheap 
Bon marché (both genders) (bo(n) mar-SHAY)
Rich 
Riche (both genders) (reesh)
Poor 
Pauvre (both genders) (pov-ruh)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
Laissez-moi tranquille ! (lay-zay mwah trahn-KEEL!)
Buzz off. 
Dégage ! (day-GAHZH!) / Va t'en ! (va TAHN)
Don't touch me! 
Ne me touchez pas ! (nuh muh TOOSH-ay PAH!)
I'm calling the police. 
Je vais appeler la police. (zhuh VAYZ a-pell-AY la poh-LEES)
Police! 
Police ! (poh-LEES)
Stop! Thief! 
Arrêtez ! Au voleur ! (ah-reh-TAY! oh vo-LEUR!)
Stop! Rapist! 
Arrêtez ! Au viol ! (ah-reh-TAY! oh vee-YOL!)
Help! 
Au secours ! (oh suh-KOOR!)
Fire! 
Au feu ! (oh FEUH!)
Help me, please!. 
Aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît ! (aih-day MWAH, SEEL voo PLEH!)
It's an emergency. 
C'est urgent ! (seh toor-ZHAHN)
I'm lost. 
Je me suis perdu(e). (ZHUH muh swee pehr-DOO)
I've lost my bag. 
J'ai perdu mon sac. (zhay pehr-DOO mon SAK)
I've lost my wallet. 
J'ai perdu mon portefeuille. (zhay pehr-DOO mon POHR-tuh-fuhye)
My things have been stolen. 
On m'a volé mes affaires. (o(n) ma vo-LAY may-zaf-FAIR)
Someone / This man / This woman is harassing me 
Quelqu'un / Cet homme / Cette femme me harcèle (kel-ku(n) / set om / set fam muh ar-SELL)
I'm sick. 
Je suis malade. (zhuh swee mah-LAHD)
I've been injured. 
Je me suis blessé. (zhuh muh swee bleh-SAY)
I need a doctor. 
J'ai besoin d'un médecin. (zhay buh-ZWAHN doon may-TSAN)
Can I use your phone? 
Puis-je utiliser votre téléphone ? (PWEEZH oo-tee-lee-ZAY vot-ruh tay-lay-FUN)
Call an ambulance. 
Téléphonez pour une ambulance. (tay-lay-FO-nay por oon OM-boo-lo(n)ss)
Call the fire brigade. 
Téléphonez aux pompiers. (tay-lay-FO-nay oh pom-PEE-ay)
Call the police. 
Téléphonez à la police. (tay-lay-FO-nay a la poh-LEES)
Call the coastguard. 
Téléphonez à la garde côtière. (tay-lay-FO-nay a la gard cote-YAIR)
What is it? 
Qu'est-ce que c'est ? (KES-kuh-SAY)

Numbers[edit]

zéro (zairro)
1
un/une (uhn)/(uun)
deux (deu)
trois (trwah)
quatre (kahtr)
cinq (sihnk)
six (sees)
sept (set)
huit (weet)
neuf (neuf)
10 
dix (deece)
11 
onze (onz)
12 
douze (dooz)
13 
treize (trayz)
14 
quatorze (kat-ORZ)
15 
quinze (kihnz)
16 
seize (says)
17 
dix-sept (dee-SET)
18 
dix-huit (dee-ZWEET)
19 
dix-neuf (deez-NUF)
20 
vingt (vihnt)
21 
vingt-et-un (vihng-tay-UHN)
22 
vingt-deux (vihn-teu-DEU)
23 
vingt-trois (vin-teu-TRWAH)
30 
trente (trahnt)
40 
quarante (kar-AHNT)
50 
cinquante (sank-AHNT)
60 
soixante (swah-SAHNT)
70 
soixante-dix (swah-sahnt-DEES) or septante (sep-TAHNGT) in Belgium and Switzerland
80 
quatre-vingts (kaht-ruh-VIHN); huitante (weet-AHNT) in Belgium and Switzerland (except Geneva); octante (oct-AHNT) in Switzerland
90 
quatre-vingt-dix (katr-vihn-DEES); nonante (noh-NAHNT) in Belgium and Switzerland
100 
cent (sahn)
200 
deux cents (deu sahng)
300 
trois cents (trrwa sahng)
1000 
mille (meel)
2000 
deux mille (deu meel)
1,000,000 
un million (ung mee-LYOHN) (treated as a noun when alone: one million euros would be un million d'euros.
1,000,000,000 
un milliard
1,000,000,000,000 
un billion
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
numéro _____ (nuu-may-ROH)
half 
demi (duh-MEE), moitié (mwah-tee-AY)
less 
moins (mwihn)
more 
plus (pluus) / no more : plus (pluu) so this time, the "S" is mute

Time[edit]

now 
maintenant (ment-NAHN)
later 
plus tard (plew TAHR)
before 
avant (ah-VAHN)
after 
après (ah-PREH)
morning 
le matin (luh mah-TAN)
in the morning 
dans la matinée (dahn lah mah-tee-NAY)
afternoon 
l'après-midi (lah-preh-mee-DEE)
in the afternoon 
dans l'après-midi (dahn lah-preh-mee-DEE)
evening 
le soir (luh SWAHR)
in the evening
dans la soirée (dahn lah swah-RAY)
night 
la nuit (lah NWEE)
in the night 
pendant la nuit (pehndahn lah NWEE)

Clock time[edit]

(Note on time: the French use the 24 hour clock, with midnight being 0h00 (note that, except on digital clocks, in France an 'h' is used as a separator between hours and minutes as opposed to a colon in many other countries). However, the 12-hour clock is making some inroads and saying 1-11 in the afternoon or evening will be understood.

hour 
heure (er)
minute 
minute (mee-NUUT)
From 1 minute past to 30 minutes past the hour
[hour] + [number of minutes]
Example: 10.20 or "twenty past ten" = 10h20; "dix heures vingt" (deez er va(n))
For 31 minutes past to 59 minutes past the hour 
[next hour] + moins (mwa(n))
Example: 10.40 or "twenty to eleven" = 10h40; "onze heures moins vingt" (onz er mwa(n) va(n))
quarter past 
[hour] et quart (ay kahr)
Example: 7.15 or "quarter past seven" = 7h15; "sept heures et quart" (set er eh kahr)
quarter to 
[hour] moins quart (mwa(n) kahr)
Example: 16.45 or "quarter to five" = 16h45; "dix sept heures moins le quart" (dee-set er mwan luh kahr)
half-past 
et demie (eh duh-MEE); et demi (after 12 midnight or 12 noon, eh duh-MEE)
Example : 10.30 or "half past ten" = 10h30; "dix heures et demie" (deez er eh duh-MEE)
Example : 12.30 or "half past twelve" = 12h30; "douze heures et demi" (dooz er eh duh-MEE)
one o'clock AM, 1.00 
1h00; une heure du matin (uun er duu ma-TAN)
two o'clock AM, 2.00 
2h00; deux heures du matin (dooz er duu ma-TAN)
noon, 12.00 
12h00; midi (mee-DEE)
one o'clock PM, 13.00 
13h00; treize heures (traiyz er)
une heure de l'après-midi (uun er duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
two o'clock PM, 14.00 
14h00; quatorze heures (KAH-torz er)
deux heures de l'après-midi (duz er duh la-preh-mee-DEE)
six o'clock PM, 18.00 
18h00; dix-huit heure (deez-weet ER)
six heures du soir (seez er duu SWAR)
half past seven PM, 19.30 
19h30; sept heures et demi (SET er eh duh-MEE)
dix-neuf heures trente (DEE-znuf er TRAHNT)
midnight, 0.00 
0h00; minuit (mee-NWEE)

Duration[edit]

_____ minute(s) 
_____ minute(s) (mee-NOOT)
_____ hour(s) 
_____ heure(s) (er)
_____ day(s) 
_____ jour(s) (zhoor)
_____ week(s) 
_____ semaine(s) (suh-MEN)
_____ month(s) 
_____ mois (mwa)
_____ year(s) 
_____ an(s) (ahng), année(s) (ah-NAY)
hourly 
horaire (oh-RAIR)
daily 
quotidien / quotidienne (ko-tee-DYAN / ko-tee-DYEN)
weekly 
hebdomadaire (eb-doh-ma-DAIYR)
monthly 
mensuel / mensuelle (mang-suu-WEL)
yearly 
annuel / annuelle (ah-nuu-WEL)
How long is your vacation? 
Combien de temps restez-vous en vacances ? (com-bee-AN duh ton res-TAY voo on VAH-kons);
I am in France for ten days 
Je reste en France pendant dix jours. (zhuh rest on frons pon-don dee zhoor)
How long is the journey? 
Combien de temps le voyage dure-t-il ? (com-bee-AN duh ton luh vwoi-YAHZH dyoor-TEEL)
It takes an hour and a half 
Cela dure une heure et demie. (suh-LAH dyoor oon er ay duh-MEE)

Days[edit]

Unlike English, the names of days are not capitalised in French:

today 
aujourd'hui (oh-zhoor-DWEE)
yesterday 
hier (yare)
tomorrow 
demain (duh-MAN)
this week 
cette semaine (set suh-MEN)
last week 
la semaine dernière (lah suh-MEN dehr-NYAIR)
next week 
la semaine prochaine (lah suh-MEN pro-SHEN)

Note: French calendars normally start on Monday.

Monday 
lundi (luhn-DEE)
Tuesday 
mardi (mahr-DEE)
Wednesday 
mercredi (mehr-kruh-DEE)
Thursday 
jeudi (juh-DEE)
Friday 
vendredi (vahn-druh-DEE)
Saturday 
samedi (sahm-DEE)
Sunday 
dimanche (dee-MAHNSH)

Months[edit]

Unlike English, the names of months are not capitalised in French:

January 
janvier (ZHO(N)-vee-yeh)
February 
février (FEH-vree-yeh)
March 
mars (mar)
April 
avril (av-REE)
May 
mai (may)
June 
juin (zh-WA(N))
July 
juillet (zh-WEE-eh)
August 
août (oot)
September 
septembre (sep-TOMBR)
October 
octobre (oc-TOBR)
November 
novembre (no-VOMBR)
December 
décembre (deh-SOMBR)

Colour[edit]

Note: Like in other Romance languages, nouns in French are either "masculine" or "feminine"; adjectives vary accordingly.

For instance, a lady may be « blonde » or « brunette » while a gentleman with hair of the corresponding hue is « blond » or « brunet ».

black 
noir/noire (nwahr)
white 
blanc/blanche (blahng/blahnsh)
gray 
gris/grise (gree/greez)
red 
rouge (roozh)
blue 
bleu/bleue (bluh)
yellow 
jaune (zhawn)
green 
vert/verte (verre/vehrt)
orange 
orange (oh-RAHNZH)
purple 
violet/violette (vee-oh-LEH/vee-oh-LET)
brown 
brun/brune (bruh/bruhn); marron (MAH-rohn)

pink 

rose (roz)

Transportation[edit]

Bus and Train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
Combien coûte le billet pour _____ ? (kom-BYAN koot luh bee-YEH poor)
One ticket to _____, please. 
Un billet pour _____, s'il vous plaît. (ung bee-YEH poor ____ seel voo pleh)
Where does this train/bus go? 
Où va ce train/bus ? (OO va suh trahn/boos?)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Où est le train/bus pour _____ ? (OO eh luh trahn/buus poor ____)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Ce train/bus s'arrête-t-il à _____ ? (suh trahn/buus sah-reh-tuh-TEEL ah _____)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
Quand part le train/bus pour _____? (kahn par luh trahn/buus poor _____)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
Quand ce train/bus arrivera à _____ ? (kahn suh trahn/buus ah-ree-vuh-RAH ah _____)
the/this shuttle 
la/cette navette (lah/set nah-VET)
a one-way ticket
un aller simple (uhn ah-LAY SAM-pluh)
a round trip ticket
un aller-retour (uhn ah-LAY ruh-TOOR)

Directions[edit]

Where is / are _____? 
Où se trouve / trouvent _____ ? / (oo suh tr-OO-v _____)
...the train station? 
...la gare ? (lah gahr)
...the bus station? 
...la gare routière ? (lah gahr roo-TYEHR)
...the nearest metro / subway / underground station? 
...la station de métro la plus proche ? (lah stah-syon duh MAY-tro lah ploo prosh)
...the airport? 
...l'aéroport ? (lehr-oh-POR?)
...the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy? 
...l'ambassade américaine/australienne/britannique/canadienne ? (lahm-bah-SAHD a-may-ree-KEN/ka-na-DYEN/os-trah-lee-EN/ahn-GLEZ)
...the (nearest) hotel? 
...l'hôtel (le plus proche) ? (loh-tel luh ploo prosh)
...the town / city hall? 
...l'hôtel de ville ? (loh-tel duh veel)
...the police station? 
...le commissariat de police ? (luh com-mee-SAHR-ee-ah duh po-LEES)
...the tourist information centre? 
...le syndicat d'initiative ? (luh SAN-dee-kah dee-NEE-sya-teev) // l'office du tourisme ? // (Quebec) le bureau touristique?
...the nearest bank / ATM / automated teller? 
...la banque la plus proche ? (lah bonk lah ploo prosh) / le distributeur de billets le plus proche ?(luh dees-tree-buu-TEUR duh bee-YAY luh ploo prosh) / le guichet automatique? (In or near Quebec « la caisse » may refer to a credit union, « la caisse populaire » is the Désjardins group of credit unions specifically.)
...the market? 
...les halles ? (city or large town) / le marché ? (small town or village) (lay AL-uh / luh MAR-shay)
...the beach? 
...la plage ? (lah plaazh)
...the best bars? 
...les meilleurs bars ? (leh meh-YUHR bah)
...the best restaurants? 
...les meilleurs restaurants ? (leh meh-YUHR res-toh-RO(N))
Please could you show me it on the map? 
S'il vous plaît, pourriez-vous me l'indiquer sur la carte ? (SEE-voo-PLEH POO-ree-yeh-voo muh la(n)-DEE-keh syoor la cart
Is it far? 
C'est loin ? (seh lwa(n))
No, it's quite close. 
Non, c'est tout proche. (No(n) seh too prosh)
Straight on 
Tout droit (too drwah)
Turn right 
Tournez à droite (TOOR-neh a drwaht)
Turn left 
Tournez à gauche (TOOR-neh a gohsh)
Towards the... 
Vers le / la / les... (vehr luh)
Past the... 
Après que vous passiez le / la / les... (ap-REH kuh voo PASS-see-yeh luh / la / leh)
Before the... 
Avant que vous arriviez au / à la / aux (av-O(N) kuh vooz-a-REEV-ee-yeh o / a la / o)
Next to the... 
À côté du / de la / des (a COH-teh doo / duh la / deh)
Opposite the... 
En face du / de la / des (o(n) fass doo / duh la / deh)
The north 
le nord (luh nor)
The east 
l'est (lest)
The south 
le sud (luh suud)
The west 
l'ouest (loo-WEST)
Road 
Route (root)
Street 
Rue (ruu)
Intersection 
Carrefour (car-FOOR)
Traffic lights 
Feux (fuh) de circulation
Roundabout 
Rond-point (ro(n)-pwa(n))
Motorway 
Autoroute (oh-to-ROOT)
Railway 
Chemin de fer (shuh-MA(N) duh fehr)

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
Taxi ! (tahk-SEE!)
Take me to _____, please. 
Déposez-moi à _____, je vous prie. (DAY-poh-zay-MWAH ah _____, zhuh voo PREE)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
Combien cela coûte-t-il d'aller à _____ ? (kahm-BYENG suh-LA koo-TEEL dah-LAY ah _____?)
Take me there, please. 
Amenez-moi là, je vous prie. (ah-MEHN-ay-mwah LAH, zhuh voo PREE)

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Acceptez-vous les dollars américains/australiens/canadiens ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO leh doh-LAHR ah-may-ree-KANG/aws-trah-LYAHNG/kah-nah-DYAHNG?)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Acceptez-vous les livres Sterling ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO leh leevr stehr-LING?)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit ? (ahk-sep-tay VOO leh kahrt duh kray-DEE?)
Can you change it (the money) for me? 
Pouvez-vous me le faire changer ? (poo-vay-VOO muh luh fehr SHAHNZHAY?)
Where can I get it (the money) changed? 
Où puis-je le faire changer ? (oo PWEEZH luh fehr SHAHNZHAY?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Pouvez-vous me faire le change sur un chèque de voyage ? (poo-vay-VOO muh fehr luh SHAHNZH suur ung shek duh vwoy-AHZH?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Où puis-je changer un chèque de voyage ? (oo PWEEZH shahng-ZHAY ung shek duh vwoy-AHZH?)
What is the exchange rate? 
Quel est le taux de change ? (KELL eh luh TAW duh SHAHNZH?)
Where can I find a cash point / ATM? 
Où puis-je trouver un distributeur de billets ? (oo PWEEZH troo-VAY ung dees-tree-buu-TEUR duh bee-YAY?)

Eating[edit]

fixed-price meal 
menu (muh-NUU) à prix fixe
à la carte 
à la carte (ah lah KAHRT)
breakfast 
France: petit-déjeuner (ptee-day-zheu-NAY); Switzerland/Belgium/Canada: déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY)
lunch 
France: déjeuner (day-zheu-NAY); Switzerland/Belgium/Canada: dîner (dee-NAY)
tea (meal
thé (tay)
dinner/supper 
France: dîner (dee-NAY); Elsewhere: souper (soo-PAY)
I would like _____. 
Je voudrais _____. (zhuh voo-DREH _____)
I would like a dish containing _____. 
Je voudrais un plat avec _____. (zhuh voo-DREHZ ung plaht ah-VEK _____)
chicken 
du poulet (duu poo-LEH)
beef 
du bœuf (duu BUFF)
turkey 
de la dinde (duh lah DAND)
venison 
du cerf (duu SEHR)
veal 
du veau (duu vo)
duck 
du canard (duu can-AR)
rabbit
du lapin (duu lap-ANG)
fish 
du poisson (duu pwa-SONG)
salmon 
du saumon (duu saw-MONG)
tuna 
du thon (duu TONG)
whiting 
du merlan (duu mehr-LANG)
cod 
de la morue (duh lah moh-RUU)
seafood 
des fruits de mer (deh frwee duh MEHR); literally: "fruits of the sea"
dulse 
de la dulse (duh lah DUULS)
lobster 
du homard (duu oh-MAR), de la langouste (duh lah lan-goost) (rock lobster)
clams 
des palourdes (deh pah-LOORD)
oysters 
des huîtres (dez WEETR)
mussels 
des moules (deh MOOL)
snails 
des escargots (dez es-car-GOH)
frogs 
des grenouilles (deh gruh-NOOEY)
ham 
du jambon (duu zhahng-BONG)
pork 
du porc/cochon (dü POHR/dü coh-SHONG). cochon is much less formal.
boar 
du sanglier (dü sahng-GLYAY)
sausage 
des saucisses (deh saw-SEESS)
cheese 
du fromage (duu froh-MAHZH)
eggs 
des œufs (dehz UH)
one egg 
un œuf (un UF)
salad 
une salade (uun sah-LAHD)
(fresh) vegetables 
des légumes (frais) (deh lay-guum FREH)
(fresh) fruit 
des fruits (frais) (frwee (freh))
bread 
du pain (pang)
toast 
rôtis (roh-TEE)
coffee 
du café (doo kah-FAY)
tea (drink
du thé (doo tay)
juice 
du jus (doo zhuu)
fresh / sparkling water 
de l'eau plate / gazeuse (duh loh PLAT / gah-ZUHZ)
Note: If you ask for "water", you will get mineral water. To specify "tap water", say "eau du robinet" (OH doo roh-bee-NEH) or ask for a carafe of water "une carafe d'eau" (OON cahr-AHF doh).
beer 
de la bière (duh lah byehr)
red / white wine 
du vin rouge / blanc (doo vang roozh/blahng)
May I have some _____? 
Puis-je avoir du _____ ? (pweezh ah-VWAHR duu)
salt 
sel (sel)
black pepper 
poivre (pwavr)
garlic 
ail (aigh)
butter 
beurre (bur)
Excuse me, waiter / waitress? 
S'il vous plaît, monsieur / madame ? (seell voo PLEH mong-SYUH/ma-DAHM)
Note: "garçon" (boy) is offensive and should be avoided.
I'm finished. 
J'ai terminé. (zhay TAIRH-mee-NAY)
It was delicious. 
C'était délicieux. (seh-tay de-li-SYUH)
Can you please clear the plates? 
Pouvez-vous débarrasser la table, s'il vous plaît ? (poovay voo DEH-bahr-a-seh lah tah-bluh seel voo play)
The check (bill), please. 
L'addition, s'il vous plait. (lah-dee-SYOHN seel voo play)

Dietary requirements[edit]

I am _____. 
Je suis _____. (zhuh swee)
...vegan 
végétalien (vey-zhey-tal-YENG) (m); végétalienne (vey-zhey-tal-YEN) (f)
...vegetarian 
végétarien (vey-zhey-tar-YENG) (m); végétarienne (vey-zhey-tar-YEN) (f)
I do not eat eggs, milk, or cheese. 
Je ne mange pas d'œufs, de lait ni de fromage. (zhuh nuh monzh pah dehz, duh lay nee duh froh-MAHZH)
I do not eat meat, chicken, or pork. 
Je ne mange pas de viande, de poulet, ni de porc. (zhuh nuh monzh pah duh vee ahnd duh poo-LEH nee duh pohr)
I do not eat _____. 
Je ne mange pas_____. (zhuh nuh monzh pah)
...honey. 
de miel. (duh mee ehl)
...animal products. 
de produits animaux. (duh pro dwee ah nee mo)
...dairy. 
de laitage. (duh lay tazh)
...wheat. 
de blé. (duh blay)
...seafood. 
de fruits de mer. (duh frwee duh MEHR)
I do eat _____. 
Je mange _____. (zhuh monzh)
...grains. 
des céréales. (deh say-ray-ahl)
...vegetables. 
des légumes. (deh lay-guum)
...beans. 
des fèves. (deh fehv)
...fruits. 
des fruits. (deh frwee)

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
Servez-vous des boissons alcoolisées ? (sair-vay VOO day bwa-songz al-co-ol-ee-SAY)
Is there table service? 
Est-ce que vous servez à la table ? (Ess-kuh voo ser-VAYZ ah lah TAHBL?)
A beer/two beers, please. 
Une bière/deux bières, s'il vous plait. (...)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
Un verre de vin rouge/blanc, s'il vous plait. (...)
A quarter liter of beer, please 
Un demi, s'il-vous-plaît. (...)
A pint, please. 
Une pinte, s'il vous plait. (oon peent, seel-voo-PLEH)
A bottle, please. 
Une bouteille, s'il vous plait. (...)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
_____ et _____, s'il vous plait. (...)
whiskey 
whisky (...)
vodka 
vodka (...)
rum 
rhum (...)
water 
de l'eau (duh loh)
club soda 
soda (...)
tonic water 
Schweppes (...)
orange juice 
jus d'orange (joo d'or-AHNJ)
Coke (soda
Coca (koh-KAH)
One more, please. 
Un/une autre, s'il vous plait. (oon OH-truh, seel-voo-PLEH)
Another round, please. 
Un autre pour la table, s'il vous plait. (...)
When is closing time? 
À quelle heure fermez-vous ? (ah kell ER fer-MAY voo)

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
Avez-vous ceci dans ma taille ? (AH-veh-VOO say-SEE dan sma THAI)
How much (is this)? 
Combien (ça) coûte ? (COMM-bee-yen (SAH) coot)
That's too expensive. 
C'est trop cher. (say-TRO-shair)
Would you take _____? 
Pourriez-vous accepter _____ ? (poor-yay-VOOZ ahk-sep-TAY)
expensive 
cher (shehr)
cheap 
bon marché (bong mar-SHAY) (not declined. Elles sont bon marché.)
I can't afford it. 
Je n'ai pas les moyens. (zhe nay pah leh mwah-YAHNG)
I don't want it. 
Je n'en veux pas. (zhe nahng veu pah)
You're cheating me. 
Vous essayez de m'arnaquer. (vooz ess-ey-YE duh mahr-na-KAY)
I'm not interested. 
Je ne suis pas intéressé. (zhen swee pahz-ann-tay-ress-SAY)
OK, I'll take it. 
D'accord, je le/la prends. (dah-kor zhe luh/lah prahn)
Can I have a bag? 
Pourrais-je avoir un sac ? (poo-REHZH ah-VWAR ung sahk)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Livrez-vous (outre-mer/à l'étranger) ? (leev-ray-VOO ootr-MEHR/ah lay-trahn-ZHAY)
I need... 
J'ai besoin... (zhay buh-ZWAHN)
...toothpaste. 
...de dentifrice. (duh dahn-tee-FREESS)
...a toothbrush. 
...d'une brosse à dents. (duun bross ah DAHN)
...tampons. 
...de tampons. (duh tahm-POHN)
...soap. 
...de savon. (duh sah-VOHN)
...shampoo. 
...de shampooing. (duh shahm-PWAHN)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...d'un analgésique (aspirine, ibuprofène);. (dun ah-nal-zhay-ZEEK (ahs-pee-REEN/ee-buu-proh-FEN))
...cold medicine. 
...d'un médicament pour le rhume. (dung may-dee-kah-MAHNG poor luh RUUM)
...stomach medicine. 
...d'un remède pour l'estomac. (dung ray-MED poor less-toh-MAHK)
...a razor. 
...d'un rasoir. (dung rah-ZWAR)
...batteries. 
...de piles. (duh PEEL)
...an umbrella. (rain) 
...d'un parapluie. (doon pah-ra-ploo-ee)
...an umbrella. (sun) 
...d'une ombrelle. (doon ohm-brehl-ee)
...sunblock lotion. 
...de crème solaire. (deh crehm so-LEHR)
...a postcard. 
...d'une carte postale. (doon kahrt post-AL)
...postage stamps. 
...de timbres. (duh TAHM-burs)
...writing paper. 
...de papier à lettres. (duh pap-YEH ah LEH-TR)
...a pen. 
...d'un stylo. (doon STEE-loh)
...English-language books. 
...de livres en anglais. (duh LEE-vruhs ehn ahngh-LEH)
...English-language magazines. 
...de revues en anglais. (duh REH-voos ehn ahngh-LEH)
...an English-language newspaper. 
...d'un journal en anglais. (doon zhoar-NAL ahn ahng-LEH)
...a French-English dictionary. 
...d'un dictionnaire français-anglais. (uhn deect-shee-ohn-AIR frahn-SEH ahng-LEH)

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
Je n'ai fait rien de mal. (zhuh nay fay ree-AHN duh MAL)
It was a misunderstanding. 
C'est une erreur. (set uhn air-UR)
Where are you taking me? 
Où m'emmenez-vous ? (ooh mehm-en-EH voo)
Am I under arrest? 
Suis-je en état d'arrestation ? (SWEEZH ahn EH-tah dahr-es-ta-SYONG)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. (m) 
Je suis un citoyen américain/australien/britannique/canadien. (zhuh sweez uhn see-twa-YEN a-may-ree-CAN/os-trah-LYEN/bree-tah-NEEK/ka-na-DYEN)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. (f) 
Je suis une citoyenne américaine/australienne/britannique/canadienne. (zhuh sweez uhn see-twa-YEN a-may-ree-CAN/os-trah-LYEN/bree-tah-NEEK/ka-na-DYEN)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy or consulate. 
Je veux parler à l'ambassade ou au consulat américain/australien/britannique/canadien. (ZHUH vuh pahr-LAY ah lahm-ba-SAHD oo oh kon-soo-LAHT a-may-ree-CAN/os-trah-lee-AHN/ahn-GLEH/ka-na-DYAN)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Je voudrais parler à un avocat. (ZHUH vood-RAY par-lehr ah uhn AH-vo-caht)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Pourrais-je simplement payer une amende ? (poo-RAYZH sampl-MANG pay-AY yn ah-MAHND)
[offering bribe] Will you accept this in place of my fine? 
Acceptez-vous ceci au lieu de mon amende ? (accept-eh voo suh-see oh LOO duh mon ah-MAND)
Note: Only consider attempting this in third world countries. DO NOT try to do this in European Francophone countries or in Canada as it will get you in worse trouble!
This French phrasebook has guide status. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. Please contribute and help us make it a star!