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Old 02-02-2012, 05:05   #16
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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I thought Afrikaans was just a dialect?
it has been said before,"i don't speak french, i inflict it!"

afrikaans though a bastard language is still a bastard,i mean language...................
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:21   #17
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Just cruised through both St Lucia and Martinique, having no French other than greetings and courtesies you will find it tough but it's part of the adventure Just keep a thick skin on for the occasional Frenchman who will appear rude at first because if you persevere they open up quite warmly once they see you are trying.

Three tips from me, 1st "Customs" in French is "Douanes", you won't see English translation on the door! 2nd do your research on the Internet before going and have a good pilot so you know you way around anyway. 3rd apart from a spectacular beach at St Anne, St Lucia is much more interesting and naturally beautiful in my opinion. Martinique feels more like Meditteraen France than the Caribbean.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:50   #18
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pirate Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

In the old days the French would only speak English to English speakers without English accents...
Today maybe they've spread the ban since folk started smashing their wine bottles... very touchy about their wine are the French....

Naah... don't sweat it you'll be fine... all you need is to be good humoured and greet everyone with 'Au'revoir...'
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:12   #19
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

They all speak English in Martinique. My sister' s neighbour was the bankmanager of B.I.C. overthere and although his English is not particularly fluent, it is understandable.
I think that people make it worse than it in reality is. A friendly attitude opens many doors - even in France.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:18   #20
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

Since French is one of Canada's official languages, we were warned before touring Quebec years ago, that the french would be rude and hostile to english speakers, especially in more rural areas. We left with great memories of a beautiful Province, French-Canadian culture, and the warmest, friendliest people on the planet. I usually take such warnings now with a grain of salt.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:28   #21
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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...if you persevere they open up quite warmly once they see you are trying.
That's the key. Try. Learn to say "hello," "please," and "thank you" and you can get along passably in almost any country. (In French those would be "bonjour," "sil vous plait" [pronounced seel-voo-play], and "merci."

Better yet, go to the library and get the CD set "Speak French" by Michel Thomas. With a few hours of listening and practicing you will speak enough words, and speak them well enough, that any French speakers you run into will see that you are trying, will take pity on you (or perhaps, on themselves), and will admit that they speak English.

One tip: In French countries it is customary to always start with "bonjour." In America if you walk into a McDonalds, go up to the counter, and say "big mac and fries, please" everyone will think you are very polite, because you said "please." In French territories they will think you are quite rude, because you did not start with "bonjour."

Bottom line, make a little effort and you will have no problem.

Oh yeah, one other thing... I read sometime back that "okay" is the most universally recognized word in the world. You can use it almost anywhere on the planet and people will understand what you mean. So that's always a good word to fall back on when it is appropriate.

Good luck!
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:49   #22
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

If you know people a bit, or meet them on a regular basis, say bonjour and shake hands. Common habit in all Francophone territories. If you leave, "a bientot" or "au revoir" if you won' t come back soon.

Key sentences are: "Bonjour madame, voudriez-vous me donner" .......... continue with what you exactly require.
Just an example. Learn the most common expressions.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:11   #23
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

We found that outside of Fort de France and the touristy areas, very little English was spoken. As others have suggested, it helped to have learned a few key phrases in French. I found that by trying to speak the language, all but one person we met were friendly and helpful. I suppose they took pity on me. Other than Les Iles des Saintes, even less English is spoken in Guadeloupe, but the same technique works fine there, too.

Don't avoid these islands because you're concerned about the language barrier--they're well worth visiting.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:36   #24
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pirate Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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Don't avoid these islands because you're concerned about the language barrier--they're well worth visiting.
Never let a language (lack off) put you off going anywhere...
The Locals will always understand you... more or less... just need patience and good humour... being able to laugh at one's self is a major asset..
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:48   #25
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

I speak fluent French-- almost without a foreign accent, I hear-- and yet I've often been completely exasperated by rude French customer service types all over the world. Who knows... They can be almost as rude as the maitre d' in an expensive New York restaurant

And yet the rudest treatment I can remember while cruising was from an English-speaking guy from St. Vincent. He was so nasty my wife and I complained vociferously to his boss. The boss said that particular guy was usually his most reliable and even-tempered employee. Anybody can have a bad day, he said. You don't know what's going on at home, whether someone's sick, etc.

That's probably the biggest factor. Boy, I've been a blue-perfect ass myself to a few people who didn't deserve it over my lifetime. If I could only go back and retrieve the words.

I don't remember folks in Martinique being particularly rude. It's just a very French place. It is, after all, a part of France, like Hawaii is part of the U.S.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:16   #26
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
One tip: In French countries it is customary to always start with "bonjour." In America if you walk into a McDonalds, go up to the counter, and say "big mac and fries, please" everyone will think you are very polite, because you said "please." In French territories they will think you are quite rude, because you did not start with "bonjour."
Bonjour (hello)

Un Bierre (a Beer), sil vous plait (please)....pause....a pression (draught)....pause...Grande (big! - a fair chance will get you a litre ).

Merci (thank you)

You get more fluent as the night wears on .....ooh la la! .



I have mangled a few languages in my time .....Apart from please and thank you (and whatever additional customary politeness the locals use)....IMO the most important next thing to learn are the numbers.........it's the money!

Playing the idiot tourist also seems to help, not always a need to try hard .....but whenever money is being paid out the locals tend to be a bit more fluent in your lingo.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:35   #27
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

This will make me sound like a big ego American, but I'm not really. Like it or not, the reality is that English is the universal language. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but you can't argue the truth of it. It's the language of business and the language of science. It's the common denominator. The reality is that in most of the civilized world you can get by with English. Between the history of the British empire and the American influence of the last Century, English is learned by school children all over the world.

Example. We were in Portugal a few years ago and watched a German tourist couple trying to communicate with local residents. Neither could speak the others' language. But they realized that they could communicate in English.

Personally, I've found that a friendly attitude and a simple phrase book can go a long way to getting around in a country where you are not fluent. We always try to learn a few simple greetings and common courtesy type phrases. It helps a lot, even if you end up using sign language....

Scott
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:13   #28
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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connar! on parle frances moie bien,jus' suis anglais n pas americaine!

chuvaniste! ton que,toutes les francais je conais in martanique parle anglais tres bien,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,sakit fete la,parle oci patois la!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your french sucks... I wonder if any body in France can understand you...
Best keeping it in English you'll have more success...
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:17   #29
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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If you know people a bit, or meet them on a regular basis, say bonjour and shake hands. Common habit in all Francophone territories. If you leave, "a bientot" or "au revoir" if you won' t come back soon.

Key sentences are: "Bonjour madame, voudriez-vous me donner" .......... continue with what you exactly require.
Just an example. Learn the most common expressions.
Sorry but you can say "au revoir" and be back in a couple of hour
if you say "adieu" you're not supposed to come back soon
BUT in some places in southwest France you can say "adieu" in stead of "bonjour" !!!!
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:21   #30
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Re: Martinique: Do you speak english?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
That's the key. Try. Learn to say "hello," "please," and "thank you" and you can get along passably in almost any country. (In French those would be "bonjour," "sil vous plait" [pronounced seel-voo-play], and "merci."

................................
One tip: In French countries it is customary to always start with "bonjour." In America if you walk into a McDonalds, go up to the counter, and say "big mac and fries, please" everyone will think you are very polite, because you said "please." In French territories they will think you are quite rude, because you did not start with "bonjour."

................
Good luck!
Quite true , I've been in the USA for more than 30 years and a US citizen by now but I'm always taken back by people addressing me directly without: Good morning, hello or excuse me" before asking some thing
It's cultural and profoundly in the subconcious
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