So, I'm lucky, I'm bilingual due to an accident at birth. My wife isn't and has, in the past, struggled greatly and valiantly with the French language - all sorted now but that's a whole other discussion!
During her struggles I had a brainwave and suggested that, in fact, one only needs very few every day phrases and expletives to survive in France - other than the multitude of cute little pleasantries of course - you know, the ones that make you feel SO welcome when you walk into / out of a shop, bar, restaurant etc (!?).
Anyway - I thought I'd share some of my 'French Made Easy....' tips with you - feel free to add to the list - it can only help! :-)
Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui.....
Non, non, non, non, non ....(whilst shaking index finger of right hand)
Ah, le sang-froid anglo-saxon! Le flegme britannique! Mind you it has a base of truth, I have seen someone with multiple fractures to their arm & collarbone after a riding accident, getting back on & riding back one handed & saying 'I might have hurt my arm' to our riding mistress, no hysterics, no wailing.
I recall hearing of an English-French phrase book which said that if you were knocked down you should say the following to whoever tried to help you. "Auriez-vous l’extrême obligeance d'appeler les secours, s'il vous plait. Je suis gravement blessé" !! Probably apocryphal but it always makes me smile at the thought of this English guy writhing in agony on the tarmac and spouting this phrase.
At the school I taught at briefly in Lozère the headmaster's wife was called Marguerite, this at the time that "Si tu veux faire mon bonheur, Marguerite, Marguerite..." was a hit. Guess what was hummed at the back of her classes!
Note that contrary to popular belief, "sacré bleu" and "ciel, mon mari" are rarely encountered. There used to be a book in print titled "Sky, my husband" which was aimed at poking fun (and incidentally, helping people to learn) at such expressions. Don't know whether it is still in print today.
hmm...having discussed some of the discriminatory words that Jeremy Clarkson has used, for which we agree he should be punished, maybe we should be careful about using the word moron, after all, a moron has feelings too. ;-)
The mark of a moron. Almost all Miss France contestants (noted for their pulchritude rather than their intellects) start every sentence with 'donc' and stick a few in at random intervals. I bet the spokesman was worse-looking so there wasn't even that compensation ;-)
Or possibly imported during the time when part of North Africa was an integral part of France (1830 - 1962). Like words such as toubib for Dr, caïd for gangster boss etc it tends to be army/settler slang (cf juldi, dekko, cushy in English).