Speaking a foreign language here has allowed some hilarious moments of serious miscommunications that go way beyond basic politeness. Okay, so I get my tu’s and vous’s mixed up all the time, but that is easily forgiven by anyone who knows you’re a foreigner (and believe me they know). However, I recommend you don’t say a few of the things I have said while I am here.
This one is very easily mistaken in any interaction when using your bank card to pay. The French language usually does not pronounce the last letters in a word, and des bits sounds a lot like debit. When you are paying at a cashier, I recommend saying “I would like to pay by card, please.” Par carte si vous plait, instead of “I would like to pay with a bag of dicks, please”. Par des bits si vous plait.
This is more my own difficulty in hearing the enunciation in vowels than a common difficulty. Perhaps I shouldn’t be asking for french lessons from my boyfriend’s parents when I ask questions like “why do people use the word duck so violently?”
If someone is yelling at you in the street calling you a duck; canard, they are not saying duck. They are calling you an asshole; connard.
The french language has a gendered pronoun for every noun, and you have to learn the pronoun with each noun or they will not understand what you are saying. So, diligently, in school I learned my le (male) and my la (female) with each noun, and also how to spell the noun with the feminine pronoun. Le chien, la chienne, both translate to the dog. One is a boy dog and one is a girl dog. What I didn’t know, was all my french classes conveniently left out female cats from all our conversations. I did quickly learn that when you ask your friend how her female cat is; comment va ta chatte it actually translates to: how is your pussy?
Needless to say, you don’t want to make these french faux pas.