Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Fun and Easy French by FrenchPod101.com. There's one French greeting that makes you sound like a bird. Salut! Je suis Laureen. “Hi, everyone! I'm Laureen.” In this lesson, you'll learn 15 ways to say hello in French.
Hello is more than just a word. It can be the beginning of a conversation or the body language you use. In this video, you’ll learn; first, the most common greetings; second, some slang readings; and third, the body language related to greetings. After watching this video, you'll be greeting both friends and strangers as naturally as any French person. I'll give you all the advice you need to greet people like a native speaker.
Let's start with bonjour &salut. These are two easy ways to greet people at any time of the day. Bonjour literally means “good day”. You can use this with anybody in any kind of situation. It's not too formal, but it's not too relaxed either. Easy, yeah?
salut “hi”
This is more casual and it's something that you can use with your friends. It's short and easy to pronounce. You can also use it to say “bye”.
After saying hello, you can add something with a bit more charm and elegance and say, “Nice to meet you.” The most common way to say this is - Enchanté. “Nice to meet you.” or literally, “delighted” enchanté.
You can also say ravi de vous rencontrer or heureux de vous rencontrer. They both mean “Happy to meet you.”
Now, let's see some specific greetings. Make sure that you only use them at the right time with the right people.
First is - coucou “hey”.
This comes from the sound of a cuckoo bird. As you can probably guess, it isn’t a formal greeting. This is as informal as it gets, and is used between friends, families, or lovers. It's childish and playful.
Next is - Bonsoir. “Good evening.”
You can use this when it's too late in the day to use bonjour. Don't worry, if you get your bonsoir &bonjour mixed up, nobody will be offended.
So, if bonsoir is “good evening” and bonjour is “good day”, what is good morning? Actually, we don't say good morning in French. French speakers in Quebec might say bon matin, but that’s not common in France and it’s best to avoid it, bon matin.
Remember, some form of this might sound like greetings, but they’re not.
These are…
Bonne matinée. “Good morning.”
Bonne journee. “Good day.”
Bonne soirée. “Good evening.”
They’re all used to say goodbye.
Next is - Allô ? “Hello?”
This is only used on phone calls. If you're not sure if the person you're calling can hear you, then you can say, Allô ? You can always start phone conversation with this.
Next, we'll look at how to say, “How are you?” in French. Here are some examples. The first expression is formal.
Comment allez-vous ? “How are you doing?”
The casual version is - Comment vas-tu ?
Other common casual forms are - Comment ça va ? “How’s it going?”
Or - Tu vas bien ? “Are you good?”
If somebody says - Comment ça va ? to you, how should you answer? Well, the common answer is ça va which literally means “it goes”, ça va.
A more personal answer is - Ça va bien. “It’s going well.”
Or, you could even say - Comme ci comme ça. “So-so.”
Now, let’s do slang! Because when you’re in France, you’re not always going to use textbook French. A couple of fun ways to say hi are…
Yo ! “Yo!”
The other one is - Wesh ? “Wesh?”
You can also say - Ça fait un bail ! It means “Long time no see!”
Next is - La Forme ? literally means “The shape?”, but we use it to mean “How are you doing?” La forme ?
Another quick question you can ask is - Bien ? It literally means “Good?” Bien ?
Next is body language, and there’s one pretty infamous way of greeting people in French. We will get to that in a second.
First, handshakes are the most popular greeting in France by far. Make sure that you take the other person’s hands in a firm grip and really shake their hands well. Eye contact is a must. You can shake hands with anyone, whether it’s the first time you’ve met them or the hundredths. We don’t usually hug as a greeting. That's something that's kept for close family members or romantic partners.
Now, it's time to move on to the greeting you might have thought about earlier - la bise “the kiss”. It's a kiss on the cheek. It isn't really considered as a kiss, though. It's just a way of saying hello. Anybody can practice la bise, no matter what gender, age, sexual orientation, or relationship they have.
A similar greeting is - Fair la bise, literally “To do the kiss.” With this one, there is no contact between lips and cheek. You make kissing gestures and sounds but don't actually kiss. Make sure that your cheeks do touch though. It's easy to get stressed out by la bise. What side should I kiss? How many kisses should I do? Don't worry, just go with the flow and see what the other person does. Most French people will do two kisses, but some regions will do three or four. Try and be prepared for anything.
In this lesson, you learned how to greet people in France in different situations. Remember, in case of doubt, you can always just say bonjour! That's it for today. See you next time! À la prochaine!

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