French Vocabulary: On the Phone

Learn How to Begin a Phone Call in French

Woman at home talking on the phone
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The world of the telephone has its own special vocabulary. When making or receiving phone calls in French, you will want to know some useful phrases. This quick French lesson will help you understand and speak to anyone.

By the end of the lesson, you will be able to begin a phone conversation and understand common nouns and verbs associated with making a phone call. It is a useful lesson for travelers as well as those who do business with people in French-speaking countries.

Note: Many of the words below are linked to .wav files. Simply click on the link to listen to the pronunciation.

A Polite Request Makes the Conversation Easier

It is important to remember that people tend to speak fast in their native language. If you are on the phone with a native French speaker and you cannot catch everything that they are saying, politely ask them to slow down

Pouvez-vous s'il vous plaît parler plus lentement ? (Can you please speak slower?)

You should do the same should the conversation turn to English.

Common Phone Phrases

Every phone call has to begin somewhere, no matter what the subject is. Whether you reach the person directly or need to go through a receptionist, these phrases will be very helpful when you make the call.

In the very least, you can begin the conversation in French and switch to English if the person on the other end knows it.

Hello?Allô ?
May I speak to ____?Pourrais-je parler à ___ ?
I'd like to speak to ____.Je voudrais parler à ___.
Who is calling?C'est de la part de qui ? or Qui est à l'appareil ?
____ is calling.C'est de la part de ___. or C'est ___ à l'appareil.
Please hold.Ne quittez pas.
I'm transferring your call.Je vous le passe.
The line is busy.La ligne est occupée.

French Nouns Associated with Phones

As you learn more French, you will find that these simple nouns are very useful. They are all associated with phone calls and, as you can see, many are very similar to the English word.

This should be an easy set of vocabulary to memorize and you can practice every time you use a phone.

French Verbs Associated with Phone Calls

You will also want to know a few common verbs that describe the actions taking place during a phone call. 

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Lawless, Laura K. "French Vocabulary: On the Phone." ThoughtCo, Apr. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/french-vocabulary-on-the-phone-4078926. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, April 2). French Vocabulary: On the Phone. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-vocabulary-on-the-phone-4078926 Lawless, Laura K. "French Vocabulary: On the Phone." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-vocabulary-on-the-phone-4078926 (accessed November 21, 2017).