how to fake french
The wife of a Frenchman let me in on a secret method of holding up your side in a conversation in French even when you can hardly speak the language. You simply need three phrases:
This mean’s “It’s true”, and can be said in many different intonations for varied effect.
Now this would often be accompagnied by a shake of the head and a concerned look, and it means that “It’s not the same”, or less directly, “but that’s different”. Your final phrase is
This one means “I don’t agree”, and it’s the most daring aspect of the cunning ploy. It seems risky, doesn’t it? Hearing this phrase, I immediately asked the Frenchman’s wife what on earth you do if your conversation partner calls you on this. How on earth are you going to explain why you disagree?
Well, that’s where the utter genius of this three-phrase plan comes into play. You simply go back to your second phrase, shake your head and say
The Frenchman’s wife swears that this simple technique has got her through years of communicating with her inlaws. And if that’s true, I reckon it’ll hold up for my July in France.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’ll actually be able to follow a French conversation without faking it.