Language survival 101: Feel local (in France)!

In this questionnaire, we plan to interview Lexiophiles bloggers to get tips on how to learn their native language. Instead of offering run of the mill advice, we tried a different approach, more unconventional, which might even help people NOT be labeled as a tourist in the first 2 minutes!

• Hum or sing along with these three songs in the subway:
[Please name us three songs everyone knows in your native language]

Here are three songs that all French people know (and probably many foreigners too):
– Je ne regrette rien, by Edith Piaf
– Je t’aime moi non plus, by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
– Casser la voix, by Patrick Bruel

• Get by with firing off any of these five swearwords:
[Please tell us the five unavoidable curse-words that are commonly used in your country and what they mean]

Well there are actually two that are used very often: “putain” and “merde”.
If you use them combined with other words, make sure you get the order right. It is “un putain de truc” (more or less “a fucking thing”) but “un truc de merde” (“a shitty thing”).
The three others that are used relatively frequently are:
– Va te faire foutre / allez vous faire foutre (fuck off)
– Connard / connasse (asshole)
– Bâtard (bastard)

• Get the phone number (or a great laugh) with this pick-up line:
[Please share your favorite pick-up line with us]

Not sure this works, but here’s the most famous one: “T’as d’beaux yeux tu sais” (you’ve got nice eyes). It comes from a film with French actor Jean Gabin. It is followed by “embrasse-moi” (kiss me) 🙂

• Cheer to this word with your new local friends at the bar:
[Please tell us what the word for “cheers” is in your language]

Either “Tchin tchin” or “santé”, up to you!

• And for our tip on feeling like a local – how to order a Big Mac menu in your language:
[Please write how you would order a super-size Big Mac menu in your language]

Un menu Big Mac, s’il-vous-plaît !
You will then be asked: « Frites coca? » (French fries and coke?)

• The one thing you should do every day to feel truly local:
[Please describe a truly local thing/tick people in your country do]

Drink wine! (well not every day, but wine is typically French).
Or go on strike (we don’t do that every day either, but France is famous for being on strike all the time).

• Have we forgotten anything? What is in your opinion the most unusual way to learn your language?
[Any ideas, comments, suggestions that we missed.]

If you’re in France, just pick up old magazines and catalogues. The French are very interested in fashion and food, so just reading what you find lying around should teach you the basic vocabulary in these two (very) important fields!

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