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Re: The use of NON in French.....

Pourriez-vous m'aider?

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Re: The use of NON in French.....

“Pourriez-vous m’aider...”. [Weegie got there first!]
Excellent phrase, Mac. Definitely should get them on side.
And +1 to Judith and others above.

The trick is to make the fonctionnaire feel clever, and NEVER to wrong-foot them.
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Re: The use of NON in French.....

Pourriez-vou m’aider, s’ il vous plait, monsieur/ madame, ( the last bit being optional in case of doubt!).
Too thick for a PhD!
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Re: The use of NON in French.....

No definitely priez from the verb prier- to ask someone to do something-is the definition I believe.
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Re: The use of NON in French.....

Thanks Loiseau.  I also find that, saying I don't know if there is a solution, helps, if things get sticky .. and look puzzled.  They always know I am not French, though they say I speak good French, when I apologise for my poor French (it''s not perfect though by no means idiomatic or quite correct, I mix up vous and tu, all the time and use them interchangeably as well!, but they get the gist), but that is also a good way to get them on your side ... they can take the upper hand ... though the lady in Beziers in the old days when I tried to change my driving licence (oh, if only!), did not play ball .. but that's Beziers for you, isn't it NormanH???

Judith
ex W1, via 47 and 11 and now [just] in 34, equidistant from Carcassonne, Narbonne and Béziers, where I hope we'll finally stay!!
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Smile [:)]

Re: The use of NON in French.....

I have a little bit of a problem with the construction of "priez-vous m'aider".  It is rather standing it on its head.   If you want to use prier I would suggest, "Je vous prie m'aider" ie "I beg you to help me".

The main consideration, no matter whom you are dealing with, fonctionnaire, shop assistant etc, it is always wise to start with "Bonjour".  It isn't necessarily considered rude in UK to address a question without preamble and relying on tone and inflection but not so in France.

All above IMHO

BTW this isn't really my second post.  I was a contributor previously but a change of email address and forgotten password meant I ended up rejoining.

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Re: The use of NON in French.....

That's a very good point about Bonjour, Weegie. And it can be followed up by ca va? Or comment allez-vous? And a handshake in many situations. Occasionally a kiss, before asking what you came about.
It took me some time to learn that - we british have the habit of rushing into the main issue with no formalities.

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Re: The use of NON in French.....

Even better, "Bonjour Monsieur/Madame” (as appropriate). A plain, unadorned, Bonjour can be considered impolite.

EDIT. I don’t think a proffered kiss would go down too well with a tetchy fonctionnaire, though! ;-)
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