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! ;)

dimanche 13 juillet 2014

Are the French afraid to be single?

I was thinking back to all the French friends I made while I was studying French. Some of them were single at the time but most of them were living with their partner.

And now, nearly all of them are married or they have kids (but are not married).

But I get the feeling that:

  1. Many French people are afraid to be single. It's not 'cool' to be single. They would rather be in a bad relationship than none at all.
  2. They don't really value marriage but like to live in a marriage-type situation (PACSé) and have kids (after they have been together a number of years). 
It's true that the birth rate in France is one of the highest in Europe (link)

But I don't think it's just a French thing. I think it's a very European thing to co-habitate from a young age (early 20s) and then live with that person for like 10+ years then eventually think about getting married and/or having kids.  Breaking up seems to be out of the question!

I feel like it's the same for platonic friendships. People just keep the same friends they've always had and aren't really open to the idea of making new ones once they are in their late 20s or 30s.

I also feel that it's kind of similar to religious or 'ethnic' people of certain cultures, where there is this unspoken rule that the first or second person you ever fall in love with, you just have to stick with them for life, no matter what. Now I'm not saying that French people don't get divorced, I'm sure they do... but I was just talking about being in your 20s where it's acceptable to 'try' a number of different partners, I really feel that many French people would rather die than breakup and be single (feel free to prove me wrong! ;) )

No real point to this blogpost, but just some thoughts that were running around in my head...

BTW watch this video.

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