Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul” as Want to Read:
Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  244 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
From getting the best value from the "boulangerie" to ordering a steak without getting sneered at, an A-to-Z guide to fitting in "en Francais"
Englishman Charles Timoney was thrown into French life headfirst twenty-five years ago when he and his wife moved to her native France. He had studied French in school, but his memory of vocabulary lists and conjugation drills prov
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 15th 2008 by Gotham Books (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pardon My French, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Pardon My French

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 22, 2010 Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is slightly more useful as a cultural primer than a linguistic handbook. The author is a Englishman who moved to France with his wife 25 years ago and has numerous little vignettes about Gallic tendencies that he frames around a single French word or grammar point. The thing that prevents this from becoming too tedious or self-absorbed (a la Kristin Espinasse from French Word-a-Day) is that Timoney is genuinely witty and entertaining, tackling subjects of great sociological interest. F ...more
Elizzy B
Dec 23, 2016 Elizzy B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
English review below.

Crítica en español.
Muy divertido libro para enseñarte expresiones y curiosidades de la lengua francesa y del pueblo francés. Evidentemente, debes tener un buen nivel de inglés para leerlo.
Lo más divertido para mí es que siendo española, había comportamientos franceses muy cercanos a los míos, pero que resultan diametralmente opuestos para un inglés.

English review.
Very funny book to teach you expressions and curiosities of the French language and the French people. Obviously,
Jul 14, 2011 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun way to learn about French culture, and maybe learn a few new words, but don't think of it as a language primer (which it is not, and it does not pretend to be).

I found parts of it hilarious and all of it interesting, but I don't know how accurate it is. A few too many comments along the lines of "I still don't know what that means, but it seems to be used..." I really wish a little research had occurred to answer these because I'm left wondering about the validity of the other 95%
Oct 13, 2007 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: expats
Shelves: expat-in-france
You must read this. Maybe not before moving to France and maybe not in your first year. It would be a good reference to have, but reading it through may be info-overload at first. But after your first year, once you have a little Franco-life under your belt, it can really help illuminate and clarify what's going on around you and why. (Why, oh why?) Plus it's a good way to build up a little confidence once you see how much you've already learned and assimilated.
Dec 24, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library_books
I've taken a fair amount of French in school, and in flipping through the book wasn't sure I'd learn all that much new. The vocabulary items are a sort of "hook" for Timoney's quasi-memoir of being an Anglophone among the Gauls. Definitely recommended.
Disclaimer: I'd be more than pleased to read a book (in French if necessary!) along the lines of "Oh, Those Crazy Anglos!"
Celeste Miller
Jan 06, 2010 Celeste Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty hysterical if you've spent any length of time in France or happen to have a crazy French grandmother like I do. My inner Gaul indeed needed some unleashing, so pardon me while I go bouffer avec Vercingetorix.
Jun 13, 2008 Spednic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one
Recommended to Spednic by: ?
This was a very funny book, sorting out the puzzling quirks in the French language and personalities........
I whole heartedly recommend it to any Francophile who has struggled with the French language, French friends, or traveled in the country.
This was a fun read. Would be fine for any level of French learner, from the novice to the undergraduate. Full of the necessary colloquialisms that you just don't tend to get in the textbooks.
Jun 16, 2009 Mripma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so good that it is worth buying. Clear explanation of so many cultural and language subleties in France.
Oct 06, 2014 Graham rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, language
This book, subtitled 'Unleash Your Inner Gaul'(!), is a book that illustrates aspects of French life through words. It is divided into chapters on subjects like Food and Drink, Education, Young Peoples' Slang, Entertainment, etc., 12 in all. Within each chapter there is a list of perhaps 20 words in alphabetical order, with a paragraph or two on each word. The chosen words are ones which have different meanings in French cfd. to English, or describe something uniquely French, or a French way of ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
An amusing little book, full of useful info on everyday life in France. Surprisingly enough for this type of book, most entries were quite accurate too;-) A few entries were quite annoying however and suggested that Timoney's researches were sometimes a bit shallow (his entry on the word "haro" for example: it seems that Timoney was never able to find the meaning of this word, when a quick look in Le Petit Robert would have enlightened him!). This book completed Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, humor, nonfiction
I had so much fun reading this. Having lived in France for a year, I knew maybe a quarter or less of the terms, and it is truly a golden resource to get to the point of real familiarity and fluency. It does come from a businessman's standpoint, so if you are a student or in some other situation you'll have a different set of terms and people to work with. People should read this before they go and perhaps refer to it while there. You know what would be cool would be a website, a la Urban Diction ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Caron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A whirlwind tour of French culture from long-term expat, written in a witty, punchy style. The words and their explanations are presented in categorised lists, so the book is probably best dipped into rather than waded through in one go. I suspect some of the terms are already dated, which is inevitable if you try to chart the development of slang. NB It assumes a fairly solid grounding in the language.
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
A great little book to help us poor, sad Anglophones understand a bit more of French culture. You do need a bit of knowledge of French to get the most of it I think. There are many great insights into the French, the way they think, and what they do. I'm still amazed by learning about book spines- language effects so much of our world, even how we look at a bookshelf! Read my review in full:

Amber + Casey
The book is said to be witty and funny. Maybe I am too American to have discovered the humor in the book, however I did find the book informative of what I can only presume is everyday vocabulary. Just because I did not find the humor does not mean the book is dry. The book is not dry and is not tedious or boring at all and I believe that reason is because Charles Timoney sets each word individualy in its own paragraph in its own section.
Bob Hartley
Apr 06, 2014 Bob Hartley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's true what it says in the blurb: the French you learn in school won't get you terribly far. Not sure how far this'll get me, to be honest, because I don't intend to apply for French citizenship any time soon. Some of the things you say to French kids are nice though. Probably an invaluable collection of information if you actually want to talk to the French.
This was a sort of dictionary of everyday French words that they don't teach you about at school. It was a good insight into French culture as well as the language. It explains things in a simple, conversational manner so it's easy to dip in and out of.
Jul 05, 2010 Crystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a great time with this book! It's probably most interesting, though, for people who have some knowledge of French. It answered some of my long-time questions about odd vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and French culture idiosyncracies.
Dec 07, 2011 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Great range of vocabulary and loved the little stories inserted about how he learned the words. I'm wondering how many of these words are still used now, considering this book was published 4 years ago and language changes so frequently.
Jul 28, 2009 becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
josh and I are planning to visit Dana and family in France -- this was a fun book to read while getting excited about our trip
May 29, 2012 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Witty book about French language - to get any enjoyment from it though you need to understand some French.
Louise Chambers
Nov 16, 2008 Louise Chambers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, linguistics
Real French from an English author who has lived and worked in France for many years. Slang and idioms that you can truly use.
Cute. As I don't see myself ever moving to France, I probably don't need much of anything in here, but it was fun to learn.
Mar 22, 2010 K R N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france-french, advice
Got this (at Black Ink!) because I thought it would be fun, but it ended up really useful. One of the few books I can recall re-reading.
Poussinette (Sophie)
Sometimes funny. The slang is quite dated and there are a few errors (but nothing that should impair your comprehension of french society).
An amusing look at the French language and French people from the English author's POV. It wasn't laugh out loud funny, but a good enough diversion for a snowy night.
Lani Walker
Sep 18, 2012 Lani Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love the French language and have perhaps been away from its idiomatic nuances too long as have I, you will get a real kick out of this fun read
Shannon Marie
Jun 25, 2014 Shannon Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I greatly enjoyed this humorous read. I like Charles Timoney's spunk and dry wit. Very thankful to learn more about the inside of French culture by way of an Englishman.
John Carlisle
Sep 13, 2015 John Carlisle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good little book contrasting French and British culture and the actual use of the French you learned in school. This is the view of a Britain living and working in France.
A lively and often humourous look at the French language and the difficulties English speakers have with it.

Very entertaining and well worth reading.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Corner in the Marais: Memoir of a Paris Neighborhood
  • Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light
  • Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi
  • Metro Stop Paris: An Underground History of the City of Light
  • Dirty French: Everyday Slang from "What's Up?" to "F*%# Off!"
  • All You Need to Be Impossibly French: A Witty Investigation into the Lives, Lusts, and Little Secrets of French Women
  • The Story of French
  • Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips, and Recipes
  • My French Life
  • French or Foe?: Getting the Most Out of Visiting, Living and Working in France
  • Quiet Corners of Paris
  • Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train
  • Paris: The Collected Traveler
  • Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
  • Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages
  • Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience
  • Paris: The Biography of a City
  • From Here, You Can't See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and Its Restaurant

Share This Book