Not about traffic...let's not get into that for goodness sake, we'll be here till next century.!(upload://k1n0lNKmfUWrSkSbLjBHkwJApfg.jpg)
It's about speaking too quickly.
I speak French moderately well. I watch French TV every day and am about to go back to university to do a DELF B+2 ; I certainly understand more than 80 percent of the time. So I generally am confident, get by quite well and am often called on by less able ex-pats to help them out with my superior communication skills!!! Ha!
I STILL manage to find more than enough stressed, officious irritable types who deftly ignore all requests to speak slower, however polite or nicely phrased (because despite my best efforts, I am still am having difficulty with the speed and this is normal in any second language unless one is a master of fluency).
In these cases, they become, almost immediately, very impatient and speak even faster, which sets off bouts of "(in french) sorry, I am REALLY sorry but I still don't understand and .." interruption speaking louder and even quicker.."blabblabllfrabelarabatalat". "SVP, pouvez vous repetez la question plus lent-e..."blabblabllfrabelarabatalatmanagarablafarathtratherafarrrraplaterad"
What are your solutions?
And shall we have a Franglais name for these types of people? (thankfully in the minority) I was hoping for some sort of easily identifiable humoristic label to help us all spot them a mile off? (nothing too rude I suppose)
A good friend of mine (who, like like me comes from Dublin, and now lives in Holland + speaks Dutch fluently) recounted visiting her sister who lived in France. The sister had decided she wasn't learning French and would, for example, order two coffees by saying TWO, COFFEE and then show two fingers and make gestures miming lifting cup from saucer. She persisted in speaking only in English but speaking very slowly and loudly. My friend was mortified and told me she had never again visited her sister in France. :-)
Still being followed up for a second opinion at Chartres. Lots of cysts - are they all safe or not- we'll have to wait and see. Thanks for the thoughts.
Ah! I see - well how about "Euh (or Eh! Oh!!), vous faites exprès de parler trop vite? Vous savez bien que je suis étrangère, je fais des efforts mais je ne comprends pas quand les gens vont trop vite" and hope this shames them!! Even if they don't slow down they will look rude and lose face in front of their colleagues one of whom might take pity...(so a double victory, of a sort...)
aaaahhh. Yes, Véronique, but you're not one of "them va-va-voomists". You're just plain, nice.
I think the British version of "them" could be "bra'bra'brooomists"? naff equivalent, I know (all suggestions still welcomed here...come on get your comedy langue thinking-chapeaux on!)
but you get my meaning? I'm identifying people who deliberately use their language as a weapon when it is not needed...so when you clearly ARE making an effort to speak the language but are struggling and need help.
Can I just also add, that those Brits who wave their hands about and shout in english at everyone, who live here, and refuse to learn any French at all, are VERY likely to be "bra-bra-broomists" back in the UK. These are the people Zoe is talking about, I think.
I prefer the short comedy sketch shows, such as "scenes des menages",the one about the neighbours on the landing, who's name I forget, and SODA. they're short enough sketches that if I miss the meaning of one scene, it's "n'import-t-quoi" I can wait for the next one and not get frustrated...and so funny!
am absolutely sure there are equally as many Brits who refuse to slow down for foreigners...I'd like to have a drawer full of alternative possibilities, to cope with what happens when the normal approach, which is what you've beautifully expressed, is not effective. How did you cope with the brits who did the opposite of what you were politely asking?
Hi Frances, just wanted to say sorry to hear your news, keeping everything crossed for you and I'm sure all will be fine. But it is stressful, I know. xx
Frances I'm sorry to hear about your dodgy result - bear in mind though that people will assume that if you live here you will understand them even if you are foreign, most French people understand English better than they can speak it & think it is the same for everyone. I wouldn't have thought the radiologist was being deliberately mean to you. Sometimes you can't explain in simple words and most people have no idea of how fast they speak.
Hell does that sound familiar.
People being rude to colleagues who genuinely don't speak English then, shouting at them, and whatnot... that gets on my nerves.
The words "do you speak English" change everything... in saying that, I had friends over visiting, and was both appalled and embarassed when they would just speak English to a shopkeeper or waiter.
I've just come back from the doctor a short time ago. There is a locum on because two of the normal ones have 'flu'. This one did all the blood pressure, listening to heart in more or less silence. Then he exploded into what came out as high speed gibberish. I do not understand the language of medicine in any language, cardiology lingo even less. I said 'doucement' but off he went again and then I asked him about next week when I have my tests. He looked at me as if I am Martian and told me that was what he had just been talking about. I asked him to repeat it in normal language, slowly. He looked insulted but then did what I had asked. For all of that I am none the wiser!
yes, this can be a problem. This week I had a mammogram and it wasn't clear, it's not normal. I couldn't understand what the radiologue was saying. I asked him to repeat slowly. He repeated at the same speed with the same unknown vocab. I asked again and I asked SLOWLY. He said it again slightly differently and this time I caught a couple more words but he seemed incapable of speaking simply and slowly.
MY boyfriend will come with me next time as he's worried I'll miss something important with the ultrasound. It's obvious I'm trying to speak French and I'm a foreigner but many stand on some sort of principle that it's my problem if I'm not bilingual. True but what about a bit of decency, especially in a scary situation suc as this.
I guess it depends on how often it comes up, it is lacking manners but it is also a lack of comprehension of culture. After 4 yrs of working in the wine cellar, my hackles would rise when clients came in to the shop and said 'WINE TASTING?' They had no idea I spoke English but they never said 'Bonjour' 'do you speak English' etc
I would advise them eventually, when they enter a cellar/shop - the first thing - say 'Bonjour', then ' I'm sorry - do you speak English?' Then (if looking for a wine tasting) I'm looking to buy some wine, can I taste before I buy?' It makes such a huge difference than just saying - 'can I taste your wine?'
Because I believe it's lacking manners when someone strolls into another culture and expects everyone to pander to them... then again, maybe my years working in Hotellerie has hardened me to this. You don't see Germans in London asking directions in Deutch.
I am polite, to those who are polite with me, but the day a giant tapped me and breathed onion into my face and bellowed "hey, can you tell me how to get to the big white cathedral that looks like the Taj Mahal".... maybe that did it for me. In otherwords, I will happily walk up to a stranger looking at a map, and turning it every which way, and OFFER them directions, but, it's the types that just waltz around expecting everyone to speak their language, no, I draw a line... and step over it.
Why? I always go out of my way to help anyone - however daft the question seems and whatever language they are speaking? Just making an effort to be polite.... :)
when I lived in Paris, i did say to American and English tourists all the time "deslolé, je ne parle pas anglais". If they would walk up to me, tap me on the shoulder and go "hey, do you know where the museum is.. the one with that mona lisahhh thaynggg". yes, game over for me.
make an effort, bordel.
I like that!!. I know one man (he's my mechanic, and the husband of a friend) who eats his words and talks at a mile a minute... I always ask him if he's had one too many coffees. He can't help it, genuinely, but he is a super nice guy, so I usually just try to hone in on his expressions to know when to nod, and when to shake my head.
Other than that, I do ok.
Years ago I learned that the only way go have a french conversation was to understand a word every now and again, make sure we are on the same subject and details by clarification of the odd word - a classic being "aucun" not "un" i.e. we have none rather than one left or, for example, recently I was rung up about "reseau" and the only subject I thought it might be about was "electricitie" because we had recently had dealings with ERDF so I clarified that. When they finally stop talking I say my bit in bad French and wait for their long winded fast reply and I listen carelfully for "oui" and "non" etc. Do not get bogged down trying to understand every word. I have managed like this with many different organisations and on the telephone and believe me my spoken French is now passable and sounds good to the English but is in fact quite poor.
I haven’t too much of an issue in person, when you can make eye contact, read body language and repeat again the request to speak more slowly. My difficulty is on the phone, when they won’t even let you get a word in edgways…if the person at the other end won’t listen, won’t slow down, i confess I tend to say thank you, no, good day and hang up