Ten Vital French Words: A busuu Pronunciation Guide

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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?

 

Eloy is the Senior French Language Expert at busuu. He was born in the French-speaking part of Switzerland but his parents are both from Galicia in Spain. He grew up speaking Galician and Spanish at home, and French at school and with friends. Later, he went to university in Brussels. After he graduated he spent two years living in the Caribbean. He loves nature and travelling and can’t go a day without going swimming!

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