The fact that other people relate to this is hugely validating TBQH.

@InvaderXan I'm sure they'd hate the way I talk even if I had learned French perfectly - I learned Quรฉbรฉcois French.

@InvaderXan We've had people from France complain that they found it easier to communicate in English than on Quebecois French.

In Quebec - where I grew up - language is an active political issue, and no matter how bad your French people prefer you try it first even if they then switch to English. And I understand it, in a province with a French Catholic majority that was run by the English Protestant minority.

@InvaderXan I once tried to order something in French and the vendor just responded in English without missing a beat. Somehow, that felt even more insulting than if he just hadn't understood me.

@InvaderXan
I am currently in France. And yes, that happens to me almost daily. ๐Ÿ˜…

@InvaderXan Many years ago, I went to school in Paris for a while. There was a sandwich shop around the corner and when it was my turn order, I would try my best French. The woman behind the counter screwed up her face and indignantly answered me in English. Finally, one day, I gave up and order in English. She narrowed her eyes and answered me in French.

@alysonsee The funny part is, Iโ€™ve heard stories a lot like this one before. I wonder how often this happens! ๐Ÿ˜‚

@InvaderXan @alysonsee Here's another story: I helped out at an info booth at 2017.rmll.info/. My rudimental French was enough to get the basics across, but when the topic got more complex, I apologized and asked (in French) if it would be possible to continue the conversation in English. On two of such occasions, the person I was talking to just turned around and left without any further word as if I'd magically disappeared.

@InvaderXan @alysonsee I have to add that all others were really nice. Some replied in good English that they can't speak English, so I should continue struggling in French ๐Ÿ˜‚ which I did. :)

@InvaderXan
It happened to me in Paris : I ordered in French, and the woman answered in English... The funny part is that I'm french ๐Ÿ˜…
@alysonsee

@InvaderXan When I was in France with my Boyfriend for vacation, we started out taking turns going to the bakery in the morning to get a baguette, but even though my boyfriends pronunciation of "une/deux baguette(s) s'il vous plaรฎt" wasn't bad in my ears, he always had to resort to vigorous pointing and the person was still confused :D

@Virelai Wow, I'm sorry, my phone posted this from my pocket without me even realising!

@InvaderXan
I had a weird experience in France though last year, I had to sent an express letter to Germany, I had to ask a lot of questions about what my options are, how to fill out the form etc. and I was obviously struggling with my french, yet the woman seemingly didn't notice I wasn't french and then got super confused and angry with me when the home address I had to fill in was in Germany... like you heard me talking, this is not proper french!

@InvaderXan What I got most though was people noticing you're not french and then just continuing on, no reverting to English, not slowing down or dumbing it down for me, they'd just have this irritated look on their face and repeat the same thing with the same words and speed.

@Virelai That's odd. Mostly, I've had the opposite. If I ever need to ask anyone to repeat themselves, they'll immediately switch to broken English instead of repeating in French. Which is unfortunate, because I often need to ask people to repeat themselves if I'm not expecting someone to say anything to me.

Though it seems to be a reflex, because one time someone spoke to me in English, I blinked and said "Pardon?" and they immediately switched to French.

@InvaderXan :D It's possible that there is a geographic side to this, I would expect people in Paris be more ready to switch to English for example than in more rural areas or smaller cities!

@Virelai That is certainly true. With all the tourists in Paris, English is often the default second language. TBH, that tends to be true in most major cities, in my experience....

@InvaderXan I have had mostly the opposite experience. My mother tongue is Flemish and in France I never had much problem with people not understanding me. But in the UK I very often got people misunderstanding me because of (to my ears) slight differences in vowel value or length. I have a British friend who is a linguist and he told me it is because the "Great Vowel Shift" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vo) which led to a big difference in vowel values between English and other European languages.

@wim_v12e Oh, this *is* interesting. I can't believe I've never heard of this before!

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Sunbeam City ๐ŸŒป

Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.