I'm one of THEM, Jeanette ;-) I have to say if someone speaks English at me (note choice of preposition, it is deliberate) without any attempt at speaking French & I happen to be feeling bloody-minded, I very often don't let on I speak English.
IF, however, someone at least says bonjour or makes an effort in French I will ask them if they prefer to speak French or English (because you also get people who are hurt or offended if they get an answer in English as it might seem their French is being pooh-poohed). Tricky.
I hate labels too, at where I worked in mental health especially.
By far the majority of French people are nice and helpful and respond positively when you ask them to slow down and mostly even switch to english without being asked. I usually carry on in French anyway unless they are in a real hurry and I know that I will be wasting their time unless I allow an English chat. This is vary rare for me I'm glad to say.
But I like to use humour to counter stress if possible and I think a nice label or two wouldn't go amiss here, because really I'm only talking about a small minority of closed-minded people in positions of temporary or permanent authority who are incapable of empathy.
I'm talking about the few who deliberately speed up because and in spite that you have asked them to slow down. They use their superior knowledge of language as a weapon against foreigners.
What a shame I did not meet you slow people when I first lived in England.
My memory of it all was that when I said, sorry, please can you repeat, please do not rephrase, all I got was a rephrase(which meant I was starting from square one again) same speed, louder. I then took to increase greatly my already strong French accent, that actually did work quite well.
It is worth trying: "S'il vous plait, moi pas comprendre bien, parlez plus lentement, merci beaucoup enormement, they will be startled and start speaking Pidgin, it is slower.
I like vavavoomist, because it's easier to remember
perhaps I need to brush up on my school German...oh yes, sweet revenge
I love this and am going to try it out ...will post here to let you know the results I get x
am glad you asked this because I do, (always try to find out how best to communicate) and because I can do this so well (am not boasting, honestly, well, am a bit I suppose, because almost all the training to be an RMN involves improving communication skills) but perhaps it is a skill that just comes naturally to some and other just can't do it, or perhaps it requires empathy, which some people just refuse to have for foreigners (discrimination). Hope your hospital stay was useful x
I am a slow, hesitant speaker of habit, so have no idea what people do.
You say firmly but nicely & without smiling - as it is not a favour you are crawling for but a reasonable request - "N'allez pas si vite s'il vous plaît, veuillez répéter DOUCEMENT (poss saying DOU- CE- MENT) si vous parlez lentement je peux vous comprendre. If they continue to speak too fast you launch into "hephephep STOP vous allez encore trop vite!" if this fails suggest they have had too much coffee for breakfast & it has made them over excited. You never know it might work...
Dont like to be put into a labelled group - and dont like to label anyone.
I Studiously avoid all refs to any 'them' & 'us'.
Certainly - I have a solution if people show no enthusiasm to help me to understand - by speaking more slowly. (Of course I cannot expect them to try, and cannot complain or demand anything) - I can balance it out so peacefully by switching to *all English* -
then nobody has a clue what anyone is saying -
a bit like Brians idea but I dont want to confuse anyone ...
all the stress goes because you will be doing as they are doing, as well as doing the best you can do in a hopeless situation. As long as you smile, and speak kindly - no one has anything to complain about.
When it turns into a one interminable word blabber I start to witter on in paraphrases of other languages I can use. I chuck in bad Italian with Spanish, German, rotten Dutch, even lousier Norwegian and English. When they ask what I am saying I explain that I have the same problem with them, so slow down a bit and then we can talk. OK, now the bad bit - it rarely works, they are soon back to speed! At least I have the sweetness of revenge.
Va-va-voomists or boreaucrats :)