Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

A lot of people think they speak French, and sometimes they do (let’s be honest here: sometimes they think they do when in fact they don’t). That said, despite even when they speak good French, they don’t sound French. Why? Because they need to use the right interjections. But fear not: here is a little help…Use without moderation.

  • How to say ‘Yummy!’ in French: ‘Miam Miam’…
  • We don’t say ‘Phew’!, we say ‘Ouf !’.
  • ‘Shhh’ doesn’t exist in French (it sounds like ‘chou’ in French, which means cauliflower. It won’t do the trick and everybody will think you are mad), instead we say ‘Chut’. Got it?
  • ‘Ouch’ is ‘Aie’ in French
  • Yerky or Yuck is Beurck in French (we love to say Beeeuuuuurk!)
  • Achoo is Atchoum (What can I say? wWe are slightly more demonstrative in French)
  • Alas is actually ‘Helas’ . You could almost get away with this one. Almost.
  • If you are really polite, you can say ‘Drat’ of course. In French, it would be ‘Mince’. That said, let’s be realistic, nobody says it any more (especially if, like me, you come from Provence). We use a more colourful language nowadays.
  • Come to think of it, I have read somewhere that people who swear are cleverer (see here, I didn’t dream it: So here it is: we don’t say Sh*t, we say M*rde. And for the f word, we use my all-time favourite P*tain. P*tain is used all the time where I come from. It is part of your survival kit. You’re surprised? ‘P*tain’ You’re angry? ‘P*tain’.

On a different note, I thought that I should actually warn you that Fanny is quite a popular first name in my home country. Le Bolloch is also quite a popular surname in Brittany. And remember: in French, it’s all about pronunciation. I will always remember a British colleague who said ‘Je Veux oune Poule’ when he actually meant ‘Je veux un pull’ -I want a jumper-. People looked quite surprised because he had say ‘I want a chick’, which had a slightly different meaning. Even worse, he couldn’t understand the difference between the pronunciation of poule and pull. I tried, I promise. He thought we were pulling his leg (we weren’t).

Well, you should be more prepared to sound more French now. No more excuses then!