Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Friday, February 23, 2007


(excerpted from's French For Food & Wine Lovers course)

"S'il vous plaît?"

There was a time in France when it was considered good manners to call the person who served drinks a "garçon de café". Hence the expression "garçon, s'il vous plaît..." But times have changed and manners have changed as well.

Today, the expression "garçon," which literally means "boy," is considered pejorative when applied to waiters. Using the word is now considered a sign of disrespect. These days, it is best to call the waiter with a simple hand motion or by "monsieur". Above all, do not snap your fingers. The same goes for the check - it is unnecessary to call out "l'addition s'il vous plaît". With a discreet hand gesture, mime a signature and the serveur (not the garçon) will understand right away.


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