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telephone conversation vocabulary

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Monterey Bay area...
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telephone conversation vocabulary

What does one say in French:

1. to answer the telephone

(in English, Hello)

2. to start a conversation when you're the caller

(in English, Hello)

3. to inquire at a business if a person is available

(in English, Is Mr. Smith in/available?)

4. to inquire if a person is available at home

(in English, Is Michelle home?)

5. to end the conversation

(in English, Goodbye)

6. Is there any other telephone specific vocabulary I need

to know in order to manage phone calls with my limited

French skills?

Nosara

Montreal
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1. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

I speak Quebec french, which is quite different from parisian french, as I will soon find out!

1. to answer the telephone

**All�� means Hello, we often say Bonjour, which translates to good day, used as a greeting.

2. to start a conversation when you're the caller

**Same as when answering really. Oui Bonjour, or Oui All��. (Oui is Yes)

3. to inquire at a business if a person is available

**Michelle est-elle disponible? Is a formal way. Est-ce que Michelle est l��? (Is michelle there?)

4. to inquire if a person is available at home

**Pretty much the same as the answer above. Savez-vous si elle sera de retour bient��t? (Do you know if she will be back soon?) Might be usefull here.

5. to end the conversation

**Bonjour (good day). Au revoir (sort of a 'see you next time'). Here in Quebec we say Bye just like in english. There are many other greeting, none are popping into my head right now though. lol

6. Is there any other telephone specific vocabulary I need

to know in order to manage phone calls with my limited

French skills?

**You will get used to these and here new words in return you will be able to use, I can't think of anything else right now, good luck!

Montreal
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2. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

I didn't realise punctuations didn't appear!

Allo has a hat on the O, doesn't make a difference when you say it though.

Bientot also has a hat on the O, same thing.

And La, when used in that manner has an accent on the A. It's more of a flat sound...not like the pronoun la.

Hope that helps!

paris, france
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3. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

1. allo

2. i say like hello name of the person, bonjour name, or if it's friend salut name

3. Bonjour, pourrais-je parler a mr smith s'il-vous-plait? (hello, could i speak to mr smith please). Bonjour, monsieur smith est-il disponible? means hello, is mr smith available

4. the same as above (first sentence), if the person is not there well the person who answers will tell you.

5. merci, au revoir. we don't use bonjour to end a conversation like in qebec, i think what they mean is bonne journee (bonjour is really only used to say hi, bonne journee means like have a good day). so like merci, bonne journee

6. hum i don't know, like pourrais-je laisser un message? (can i leave a message). a bientot means like see you soon, speak to you soon. quand pourrais-je rappeler, or a quelle heure pourrais-je rappeler? (when or at what time could i call back)

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4. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

You can start every phone conversation with, "Parlez vous l'anglais?", after saying Bonjour. That's most helpful if your French is limited. When I answer the phone with an American, "Hello?", there is usually a long pause while the French person on the other end realized that they aren't speaking to another French person. Sometimes they even hang up. At the beginning level of French, it is very difficult to understand French on the phone and you realize how much you depend on facial expressions, hand movements, etc to help you translate. Most people, especially in business situations, will be helpful and will be patient with your French. I am always surprised at how many French people speak English, even when they say they only speak "a little". I sure wish the American school system had done more with me in learning another language.

Paris (20th)
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5. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

Telephone conversations are notoriously tricky things because in language classes you usually learn a script and your parner stays with it - real life just isn't like that. Before you make a call don't just list what you want to say but what you might expect to hear. That way you'll be prepared.

For example if the answer to 3 & 4 is "no", what then ? You'd need to be aware of what they might offer (to take a message/ ask him to call you back etc.) or what you might have tp ask (can I leave a message/ when will he be back etc.). Thinking through all thev possible permutations means that you are less likely to get confused and panic.

For 3 & 4 I'd just say "Je voudrais parler avec xxx si possible or s'il vous plait". THe telephone style for "who's calling?" would be "C'est de la part de qui?' so expect that.

Monterey Bay area...
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6. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

Thanks everyone for the helpful information. I know how difficult telephone conversations are in comparison to face to face conversations. Because I'm an English as a second language instructor I have developed good coping skills for communicating in any language in which I'm not fluent. Also I normally don't panic easily when I'm having trouble communicating in a foreign language.

Some ideas for others who are not yet fluent in French:

It's a good idea to know how to say:

Please speak slowly; I speak very little French.

Please repeat that.

I don't understand.

What does (unknown word) mean?

Can you use different words to explain that?

How do you pronounce this (written) word?

How do you spell (the street, your last name, etc).

Thank you for your patience.

Memorize the French alphabet. Then you have another method of communication when you don't understand a spoken word. Also if your first name or last name will not be easily understood by French speakers you can readily spell your name when making hotel or restaurant reservations.

IMHO visitors to France should make a serious effort to communicate in French to the best of their ability, however limited. After all, French is the national language.

Ask if the person speaks English only after you've been unable to communicate in French. That's my deux centimes.

Nosara

paris, france
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7. Re: telephone conversation vocabulary

hum, i don't think french make the effort to learn hello, how are you and thanks in dutch, german, spanish, italian, indian or whatever language when they travel. it's funny i've read the make an effort only about france ;) well of course it's nice when a foreigner say hello in french, but the most important thing is to be polite.