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I was in Montreal last week gathering French books and newspapers. I also explored several neighborhoods to get a feel for the local culture. I was wondering how to say "I am a tourist." because I wanted to make it clear that I was not a native anglophone.

I'm not certain if I should say "Je suis un touriste." or "Je suis touriste." I know you leave out the indefinite article if you are indicating your profession but a tourist is not a profession. I've searched the Internet but did not find a clear answer.

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je suis un touriste sounds fine to me. –  yms Jul 31 '12 at 16:40
    
but one the other hand je suis touriste doesn't sound unfine –  Joubarc Aug 1 '12 at 9:24
    
"Je découvre", ou "je suis en train de découvrir" Montréal ; "je visite cette ville" ; "je me promène dans Montréal" peuvent être des réponses acceptables : vous n'êtes pas résident, et, normalement vous ne maîtrisez pas toutes les tournures québécoises, donc vous êtes un touriste. –  cl-r Aug 11 at 6:30

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It depends on what you want to say.

It's perfectly acceptable to say : "Je suis touriste ici", meaning that you have a "tourist" status, as opposition to a "resident" status. However, this is really situational, and the most commonly used sentence is "Je suis un touriste".

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A late answer but anyway I wouldn't recommend in your case either Je suis touriste which isn't idiomatic or Je suis un touriste which can be perceived as slightly amusing as already stated.

What I would suggest would be to simply say Je suis en vacances ici. I'm sure your accent will implicitly show you are not a native French speaking person. Note that many tourists in Montreal are still native French speakers (eg from France, Belgium, Switzerland or other areas).

PS: I guess you really wanted to make clear you are not a native francophone, not anglophone as you wrote.

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As far as I know, touriste is a noun not an adjective. So "je suis un touriste" should be preferred in my opinion.
It can also be used as adverb in "en touriste".

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Je suis touriste doesn't use touriste as adjective, compare with je suis avocat –  Joubarc Aug 1 '12 at 9:25
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On the other hand, I agree with you on Je suis ici en touriste being a very valid alternative –  Joubarc Aug 1 '12 at 9:27
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@Joubarc, agreed on the rationale. Still, I find "je suis touriste" not sounding as natural to me as "je suis un touriste" (probably because I don't find touriste being a qualifying enough characteristic). YMMV... –  François Aug 1 '12 at 18:26

@Al_th, that's funny. For me it's the opposite.

"Je suis touriste." perfectly fits the situation.

"Je suis un touriste." is more used to tease poeple, to say that you're some kind of amateur, beginner or something. For instance, if I play badly soccer/football, my friends will tell me "T'es un touriste!". Just teasing for fun.

So if you say "Je suis un touriste" to someone in France (I don't know about Quebec), I think people will laugh a little.

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3  
I disagree (and I'm French). “Je suis un touriste” means what it says on the tin. “T'es un touriste” sounds strange. For me, while touriste can be disparaging, it specifically means unprepared, not generally bad at a particular endeavor. And there is no possible confusion between the derogatory meaning and the literal meaning. –  Gilles Jul 31 '12 at 23:13
    
I, too, find Je suis un touriste as possibly understood with a slight amusement. But let's be honest : here it strongly depends on what we feel like about touring. Both ways seem acceptable, actually. –  Romain VALERI Jul 31 '12 at 23:53
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The "T'es un touriste" is actually totally right, and is indeed used to tease in this specific context. However, i feel that this is more of a young people way to tease. I don't remember old people ever said this to me. –  Al_th Aug 1 '12 at 8:17

Both are acceptable.

They are almost interchangeable, but I personally perceive them a bit differently:

« Je suis un touriste »: I'm a person who is a tourist. The kind of people who wear short pants, crocs, take many photos and buy a lot of garbage. Also an easy target to rob.

« Je suis touriste »: I'm here as a tourist. Kind of voluntarily lost, flying in the clouds. Doesn't belong to this place, doesn't plan to stay in it. Easy target to rob, too.

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