mardi 15 juillet 2014

French: To vous or to tu?

You might have seen this chart already, it's from the LA Times. Somebody made this useful (and funny) flowchart to help you figure out whether to 'tu' or to 'vous' someone.

I usually wait for the other person to see what they call me and I use the same word back. If they don't use either as it hasn't come up in the conversation yet, I would tend to use 'vous' UNLESS we are of a similar age or they are younger than me. I've met people younger than me who wanted to 'vous' me and I asked them to 'tu' me and they still 'vous'ed me!  I dunno... for me it's kind of like being called Madame instead of Mademoiselle. It makes me feel old!

I had also read that online, people tend to 'tu' each other.

Another interesting thing to do is to watch French films and see whether the characters use vous or tu depending on their relationship with each other.

tutoyer - the act of calling the other person 'tu' (informal 'you')
vousvoyer - the act of calling the other person 'vous' (formal 'you')
tutoiement / vouvoiement - the manner of addressing the ther person

Have fun! ;)


Frank Eon a dit…

Hello to all readers

For French, it is not a method, it is not confusing, it's not complicated.

For French, the "tu" or "vous" is simply a choice to speak to someone. This is absolutely brilliant because, dice the first sentence of a casual conversation, everyone instantly knows you want.

This is a choice based on a context and a sensitivity. (Variability in feeling)
This is simply to choose, to more or less, a distance with an unknown person. (Meeting at the restaurant, at the museum, in a garden or a park)
This is simply to choose if you want to be, more or less, a person familiar with your surroundings. (Family, friends, neighbor, colleague)
Is to choose, in certain circumstances, to more or less respect for a speaker. (A teacher, a doctor, a scientist, a hero, an artist)

For me it is absolutely wonderful to express subtle, my emotional state, to someone so easily, without offense and without justifying myself.

Saying "tu" or "vous" has a boss depends on the proximity or distance of the relationship. It was a question not of power or social status.

A child needs an adult to evolve and the "tu" familiar, is used by the adult and the child, and corresponds to adopt an attitude, maternal and comforting for the child.

By default, you must, absolutely, use the "vous" respectful and distant, for a teenager or an adult, during a first contact. By convention, the oldest that invites to say "you" friendly for conversations. The youngest can accept or refuse without causing problems. but generally it accepts politeness.

My wife and I use "tu" familiar during the work week, and used the "vous" respectful during the weekend. It creates a relationship expansion in the couple, another way to enjoy the right time, is wealth. It is not relaxed or snobbish. Only an additional choice.


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