Ten Vital French Words: A busuu Pronunciation Guide

Whether you’re jetting off to France for the Euro2016 or to the nice beach in Nice, here are a few quintessential French words that you should probably know how to say – correctly. Note that some are pastry type words, making it well worth the vocab lesson for foodies. Happy speaking and sampling!

Bonjour: (bon/zhoor)

  • ‘Hello’ or ‘Good day’ literally. Your first impression – may as well make it good, right?

Croissant: (kraw/san)

  • This flaky, delicious pastry is a staple on many breakfast tables. A must know and a must try. Croissants are instant buttery pillows of goodness that melt in your mouth, true love at first bite.

Salut: (sah/lew)

  • A friendly informal greeting when coming or going.

S’il vous plaît: (seel/voo/pleh)

  • Can’t forget your manners; what would your mother think! Better learn how to say ‘please’.

Crêpe: (krep)

  • A French delicacy. The pancake’s thinner and flatter scrumptious cousin can be topped with whatever your heart desires – sweet or savoury (yes, the French know how to live!)

Boulangerie: (boo/lahn/gree)

  • Meaning bakery, and your one stop shop for all the delicious French baguettes you could ever dream of.

Macaron: (mah/ka/rohn)

  • A popular meringue based French sweet. Colourful edible buttons. Not to be confused with macaroon – another pastry altogether. Although, what’s the risk?… You get a different delicious pastry…oh c’est la vie! 

Merci beaucoup: (mair-see/boo-koo)

  • Knowing how to properly say ‘thank you very much’ will go a long way with native speakers anywhere…Do avoid the phonetic butchery of ‘mercy buckets’ if you can.

Les toilettes: (ley/twah-let)

  • Knowing where the restroom is located is always handy!

Au revoir: (oh/re-vwar)

  • Saying goodbye is your last impression. Although, unlike ‘adieu’, ‘au revoir’ implies you’ll be back (for more macarons of course!).

And a bonus phrase if all else fails:

Je ne parle pas français, parlez-vous anglais?:  zhuh/nhuh/parl/pa/fran-say

I do not speak French, do you speak English?


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