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-   -   Correct greetings in Paris (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/correct-greetings-in-paris-924628/)

StCirq Feb 20th, 2012 08:59 PM

I'm pretty much bilingual, too, and I have always instinctively said "Bonjour Madame"or "Bonjour Monsieur" or "Bonjour Mademoiselle" upon entering a store.

NOT at a checkout in a grocery store. Never. That would be really weird.

NEVER said "Ca ca?" That would be totally weird too.

And absolutely never "les gars" or "les mecs"; that would be just insulting.

I think in large cities like Paris shopkeepers are more used to just hearing "bonjour," without the "Monsieur" or "Madame" than in villages and towns, but that may be a mistaken impression because I think they deal with more non-French-speaking tourists than in the provinces.

Ackislander Feb 21st, 2012 02:10 AM

This has been a fascinating discussion.

On the serious side, it is interesting to find that one can be considered too formal in what is a very formal (lots of rules of form) country. Even in the US, what is done and what is polite varies significantly by region and size of city and, dare one say it, by social if not economic class.

On the other hand, mecs et minettes, many of you did not recognize my attempt at humor :-) in my query about American waiters. Their manners, addressing a table full of people old enough to be their grandparents as "guys", is both appalling and sad because they really don't know any better and because no one has trained them. At MacDo's perhaps, but not when you are asking people to drop $75 or $80 per person for dinner.

Enough rant. I shall try to restrain attempts at humor in the future, but I can offer no guarantee.

Aduchamp1 Feb 21st, 2012 03:41 AM

Enough rant. I shall try to restrain attempts at humor in the future, but I can offer no guarantee

Just raise your right hand when you are telling a joke, so we will know.

DonTopaz Feb 21st, 2012 03:49 AM

<b>Pvoyageuse</b> asked: <I>Should I tutoyer them if I speak to a group, or do I have to say "Vous mecs?" to be polite?</I>

The question does not arise. Even if you decide that you're on tutoyer terms, it's still <i>Vous mecs</i>.

PatrickLondon Feb 21st, 2012 03:55 AM

>>Just raise your right hand when you are telling a joke, so we will know.<<

That too is ambiguous. It might be asking permission to leave the room.

I would suggest donning one of those hats with a rotor on top. Or a whirling bow-tie (but not on entering Hermès - Pylones, possibly).

Pvoyageuse Feb 21st, 2012 05:10 AM

Pvoyageuse asked: Should I tutoyer them if I speak to a group, or do I have to say "Vous mecs?" to be polite?

Why am I quoted? Did I ask this question? really? :-))



"The question does not arise".
The question certainly arises because addressing a bunch of people as 'vous mecs" is vulgar and rude and should be avoided.

kerouac Feb 21st, 2012 06:00 AM

The feminine equivalent for <b>mec</b> is <b>nana</b>.

Michel_Paris Feb 21st, 2012 06:11 AM

What about "mon pot"? Heard that in few movies.

Jay_G Feb 21st, 2012 06:23 AM

I think 'pote' translates more closely as 'friend' rather than being gender specific.

Also, how about 'meuf' for a feminine equivalent of 'mec'?

kappa1 Feb 21st, 2012 06:25 AM

> Why am I quoted? Did I ask this question? really?

Pvoyageuse, your post at 5h37pm is confusing. It's hard to tell which are quotes and which are your comments. Putting > to the quoted lines would have made it easier to understand.

Ackislander Feb 21st, 2012 08:42 AM

Kerouac, 'nana' is what my son would have called a girl, but then he was most interested in 'Supernana's' before he married and had one of his own! ;-)

Michel_Paris Feb 21st, 2012 08:56 AM

Jay..

Verlan!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verlan

kerouac Feb 21st, 2012 01:55 PM

The masculine equivalent of <b>meuf</b> is <b>keum</b>.

kerouac Feb 21st, 2012 01:56 PM

<b>Pote</b> = <i>buddy</i>

Michael Feb 21st, 2012 02:41 PM

<i>it's still Vous mecs.</i>

No, it's <i>Eh les mecs</i> and that is used only among pals.

DonTopaz Feb 21st, 2012 04:27 PM

And then there is the southwestern U.S. cuisine for guys who are computer experts -- <b>techs-mecs</b>, bien sur.

laurie_ann Feb 23rd, 2012 02:45 AM

Not that it's the same thing but those who enjoyed this thread might enjoy this article from today's New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/23/wo...ef=todayspaper

In case you don't have an electronic subscription the article begins with "In a memo addressed to state administrators across France, Prime Minister François Fillon ordered the honorific — akin to “damsel” and the equivalent of “miss” — banished from official forms and registries. The use of “mademoiselle,” he wrote, made reference “without justification nor necessity” to a woman’s “matrimonial situation,” whereas “monsieur” has long signified simply “sir.” "

kerouac Feb 23rd, 2012 02:53 AM

It will be interesting to see how quickly the 'mademoiselle' box disappears from official forms -- and whether commercial forms will follow.

avalon Feb 23rd, 2012 03:02 AM

The French have ruled Mademoiselle as sexist!!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...official-forms

Coquelicot Feb 23rd, 2012 04:25 AM

Apparently they are going to use up the old forms before printing new ones.


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