So is un machin. He died. Literally, he left us. Also: Il a dis- paru. Literally, he disappeared. The Dead Poets Society. She went to the bathroom. Lit- erally, she went to the little corner. Quick Fixes 15 4. Liter- ally, he thanked his employees. Elle a la langue bien pendue. She will talk your head off. Literally, she has a well-hung tongue.
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Il brillait par son absence. He was conspicuously absent. Literally, he shone by his absence. Il se regarde passer. Literally, he watches himself go by. Ils peignent la girafe. A jug of water, please.
Also, un pichet. Tap water is usually drinkable, if you want to save money by not ordering mineral water. The house wine. A self-respecting establishment usually has a very good inexpensive house wine. This excellent expression deserves to be better known and used frequently. Un vin du pays. A local wine. Un petit vin. Inexpensive but good. Un petit vin is not necessarily pejorative even though it suggests its oppo- site, un grand vin, a great wine.
Une pression. A draught beer. On va manger au bar. On va prendre le menu. On prendra la formule. Vous avez un plat du jour? Do you have a special? It may not be the least expensive main course, but it will probably be especially good and less expensive than the regular menu. Un dessert pour deux.
On peut partager? Could we possibly share a dessert? Bonus: On peut faire la vaisselle? Can we do the dishes? Does a smile mean the same thing in France as it does in the United States? How should you interpret a pout in response to a question? Do the French tend to stand closer to or farther away from each other than Americans do when having a conversation? How would you gesture that someone is drunk? When do you knock on a closed door before entering? What gesture indicates that someone is nuts? What gesture indicates skepticism? How is a French handshake different from an American one?
If you are not very familiar with French culture, with whom could you initiate cheek kissing? What gesture expresses indifference? What sound expresses indifference? What sound would you make in French if you stubbed your toe but not badly enough to swear? What sound do the French make to silence someone who might otherwise wake a sleeping baby?
Do the French shout Encore! The key to using French effectively is the ability to com- municate with gestures and sounds as well as words. Observe how the French say what they say. Do they make eye contact? What tone of voice, pitch, speed of delivery, and facial expressions do they use? Are there pauses in their conversations? How do people stand, and how close are they to each other? What kind of gestures do they make?
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In what ways do they touch each other? What do they smell like? What do they like to eat? What style of clothes do they have and how do they wear them? Communication involves understanding what people really mean as well as understanding the literal meaning of their words. Every- one thinks about the role of nonverbal communication when going for an interview. Mime Mime is not the typical type of nonverbal communication because it is conscious. You can point, as politely as possible, and use props to communicate.
Or you can just act out your idea. While mime is inter- national, there are a few points to keep in mind in French. The hands provide excellent props for mime. You can use your hand to mime a telephone.
17.07.02, Mikhaïlova-Makarius, Amour au miroir
You pretend to write on the palm of one hand with the other hand. Eye Contact The French tend to like direct eye contact, except for staring. Eye contact establishes complicity. If you look a waiter in the eye, he or she may take you more seriously as a customer. When a smile is not prompted by anything in particular, the French may see it as a sign of stupidity rather than of friendliness.
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Or worse, they may consider it un sourire de circonstance, an ingratiat- ing smile. The French tend to smile when there is a reason to smile.
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A smile can thank someone for a service or express empathy. The French tend not to smile for a passport photo. A French smile is intended to show that you have made a connection.
A smile remains, in any case, one of the most positive forms of international body language. The response when it comes may be positive. But wait and see. American annoyance in a similar situation may be considered puri- tanical rather than enlightened.