Amazing but true there are people that live in our region that do not speak any French. Well they can mumble hello, good bye and please, but not even a thank you.
Here are some alternative forms of communication that I have seen, and at times had to resort to myself, mostly gestures and drawings with a smattering of english spoken with a French accent. Not one thing to do with a real french word or phrase.
“Where is the rest room?”
The kindergarten hop from one foot to the other while holding ones crotch.
“Do you have a philips head screw driver?”
Standing in the hardware store with a sample screw in one hand and the other hand moving around above the screw, like a magician trying to conjour up the right tool.
“Will I need flood insurance?”
A scribble of a house with a river flowing through it. Or was that a boat out on the ocean?
“I would like that cake in the window.”
Zat one, no zat one, no zat one further over, no no no YES!
Dear reader: try this-- hold up your fingers to show that you want two of something. Now change that to your thumb and second finger, because this is how the French do their fingers for “two”.
Now you see why non French speakers end up with three of everything.
“I would like a cantaloupe, a zucchini, two peppers, a pound of green beans and enough pork roast for three people.”
Point, point, fingers up point, run down the line of people standing at the market stall, point, motion handfuls, and then motion mouthfuls.
Tom’s favorite: In failing to be understood by one Frenchman, The non-French speaker will try to get another Frenchman to understand and to act as a non-French-to-French translator. This invariably ends up with a small crowd forming, everyone having a different understanding of what is trying to be said. Soon everyone is just talking about the weather.
Why would one speak the local language when not doing so gives one the chance to awaken the communicative creative side in all of us?