“Honey, Could You Get The Phone?” or “How to Avoid Answering the Phone in France”


The first time we moved to the South of France was about fifteen years ago.  François and I had just gotten married, and I had a BA in French and was about halfway through an MA in French, so I thought I would be fine.

And now, everyone who has lived through a similar experience takes a moment to chuckle.

How was I supposed to know everyone would speak so fast, and I sure didn’t know the people who live in the South have an accent!  This Louisiana girl was doomed.  Not quite doomed it seems, because it was that year in France that allowed me to gain the confidence to believe in myself and speak.

During the whole year that we lived there, I never got used to speaking French on the phone.  I would take off running across the apartment to lock myself in the bathroom, forcing my sweet husband (or even my seven year old son who was just learning French) to answer anytime the phone rang.

Does anyone else have a story to tell about speaking “book French” once you arrived in France for the first time?





4 thoughts on ““Honey, Could You Get The Phone?” or “How to Avoid Answering the Phone in France””

  1. The first month we were here we were terrified (or I was) to answer the phone. I’m better now, but I still get nervous. The only thing that keeps me picking up is knowing it could be the delivery guy trying to get a hold of me to deliver my package. If I’m not expecting a package then that hesitation to pick up lingers longer than it should. 😉

    1. I totally feel your pain. I don’t know what it is about the phone, but I still don’t like talking on the phone in French…And I’ve been a French teacher for 15 years. Once you pick up the phone and say “Allô, oui?” some of the anxiety lifts, but it’s just getting up the guts to answer in the first place 🙂

      1. Which book would you recommend for French while on travel? I have a BA in French but it’s not the same in speech when you’re on the road!

  2. Soooo, this is my every day life right now! When I leave the flat to do anything (say, the Post), I’ll prep myself with a few jargon terms so I’m ready, but the speed at which everyone mumbles combined with their Belgian accents makes my efforts laughable. “Repetez, svp.” coooonstantly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s