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Thread summary:

Female French women visiting New York; differences between America and France, healthcare, religious views, standard of living, US French relations

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Old 10-13-2007, 06:16 AM
Location: Brusssels
1,936 posts, read 3,630,341 times
Reputation: 1910


There is one cultural difference which people from English speaking cultures often misread about the French. Specifically it has to do with French willingness to speak another language and French reactions to foreigners who do not speak French so well.

In English speaking cultures, which are quite diverse and consist of many immigrants, we are not so strict about the perfect use of our language. This then often translates into parents not insisting their childrn I don't think many people are aware of just how strict French parents are with their children to speak the language properly. As a society, you hold a high standard for the use of your language. Someone with poor grammar is often laughed at (whether foreign or French).

I've noticed that this often means that French people are hesitant to use another language unless they know they can speak it with perfection - all because they think they will be laughed at. After awhile they realize that English speakers won't laugh at them and they become more open.

I think it is wonderful that you are here having a discussion with us. I would write something in French for you but as I've learned on CityData, the moderators will just erase it (since it is against the rules).

Last edited by Xpat; 10-13-2007 at 06:44 AM..
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Old 10-13-2007, 01:27 PM
Location: St. Louis, MO
63 posts, read 186,699 times
Reputation: 43
Originally Posted by AudreyFromFrance View Post
I have not a bad opinion of the United States, ij not, I would not go in a few months! Also you ace say "caricature" , but caricature it's not the reflection of exaggerated reality??

I'm agree with you when you say that the media influence...since alaways... The westerners don't see you like idiots, but more like influencable people...

" I hope you can have the same happy times in my country" by Xpat
---) Thank you very much!

All characatures and stereotypes are based in some shred of reality, however, once you've stretched the limits of that reality, it can distort the original intent.


Stereotype- Americans are gun nuts and have stockpiles of automatic weapons stashed away in their closet....

Reality- Firearms have had a presence in our country from its inception. It bears mentioning that America was a vast, untamed, frontier at the time of its discovery (and many places continue to be). In order to survive, individuals had to have firearms...out of necessity to eat and survive. I would say that the vast majority of guns owned in the United States are used for outdoor sports (hunting, marksmanship competitions) and not to wave at people from our front steps. America is a land of huge, uncolonized spaces where the recreational use of firearms for peaceful, safe, and regulated/legal means (aforementioned hunting/shooting competitions) is common.

Do I own a gun? no. I don't really have any friends that own guns, because they mostly live in urban areas.

Stereotype- The typical French citizen is a lazy, baguette waving snob who spends all day complaining about all things that aren't French and how they shouldn't have to work more than 35 hours a week.

Reality- The French are a people very proud of their cultural past, as they should be. Having been a dominant force in world culture and affairs for the majority of the last 1000 years, it is a heritage that anyone must recognize when studying the history of western civilization. As the world globalizes, I have heard that the French are often at conflict with themselves over how to remember and perpetuate their heritage while remaining competitive in today's modern economy. English is the new Lingua Franca (google the term if you don't know why that statement is significant), and the US has become the face of US world commercial culture.

I would assume that any American would feel the same conflicts if put in the situation of the modern French.

Two stereotypes/characatures that simplify and muddle the reality that they are drawn from. Two proud cultures that should spend more times sitting around a table and discussing their differences, and their collective philosophies than firing broadsides at one another on TV and in print.

Are the majority Americans ultra violent reactionary christians? Of course not.. Are the majority of French citizens jaded, rude, spiteful, and lazy? Of course not...do we both have elements of that in our culture? We sure do..but its unfair to make judgments about the individual based on those extremes.

After all, both of our contries have liberated the other from the oppression of a foreign power...let's not forget that..that's a bond that we both can be proud of.
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Old 10-13-2007, 07:47 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
59 posts, read 330,564 times
Reputation: 46
Dear lord, jhassler. That's one of the best posts I've read in awhile, on any forum. Bravo!
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:13 AM
Location: St. Louis, MO
63 posts, read 186,699 times
Reputation: 43
I just think that making generalities is an easy way to avoid thinking about a certain issue...If people everywhere did a little bit of thinking, beyond what is readily percieved, the world would be a better place.
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