English anybody??

Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:32 PM
Steve Mueller
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According to the current edition of the Economist, violent crime is much more common in the UK and Europe than it is in the US. Murder is the only crime that is more common in the US.
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 04:09 PM
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Dear Can't:
If you don't think America is the Greatest, Please leave. Tell me who you are and I will help pay for your one way ticket to whatever place is your choice.

Some people contnually bitch about America, but inspite of their threats they don't leave permanently, they just hang around and bitch some more.
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 04:20 PM
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What makes you think "Can't" is American? His/her spelling of "dependent"/"dependant" is French.
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 06:32 PM
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I don't understand why someone should either think is country is the best in the world or leave it.

Most certainly, if the climate, landscape and customs were those i'm accustomed to, my family and my friends lived there, my job was transfered, and my language spoken there
(plus certainly a lot of other conditions I don't think of just now) I'd think about living in, say, Denmark. Meanwhile, I stay in my country. It would certainly take a lot of very displeasant events before I would envision moving.

Should everybody consider it's country is perfect or leave? Though a lot of them seemed to be strongly displeased by the result of the recent election, I didn't hear about 140 000 000 americans leaving the US since Mr Bush became president (or being asked to).

I hear everyday here (I mean in france) people complaining about the french society, politics, taxes or whatever, like everywhere else, and apart from extreme right leaders (and for some reason some immigrants) I never hear anybody saying that the country is "the best in the world". However, I never thought about asking all these people to leave...
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 07:02 PM
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I assume you're Italian trying to use English in Paris. I'd do the same if my first language were Italian, knowing that the French definitely don't speak Italian. But I think you've got some gnocchi up your caboodle when you say the French in Paris should speak English because they depend on tourism, and English is the language of tourism. More Parisians speak English than Romans or Florentines or Milanese, in my experience, and in rural France you're much more likely to be able to get by with English than in rural Italy. I've been going to Paris for 30+ years and when I'm there I speak French. When I go to Italy, I speak Italian. I'm a translator, so it's no big deal for me to speak other languages and blend into the culture - but do I expect others to do the same for a once-in-a-lifetime trip? No. Nor do I expect the local populace of Paris to all learn English so they can converse with travelers. Being familiar with all three cultures (American, Italian, and French), I'm inclined to believe you are pouting about the fact that French people think that Italy is an inferior nation, and they have never bothered to learn a word of Italian, which is for the most part true. It's NOT true that they don't speak English and aren't pleasant to English-speaking tourists. You must've had a bad experience in Paris, and I'm sorry, but your impressions are just that - your impressions - and can't be generalized.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 12:02 AM
Santa Chiara
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For the previous poster, "Language": Finally a voice of reason. I thought I was living in a parallel universe. I spent several days in Paris this fall, and I was amazed (and gratified) at the number of people who spoke English, or if they did not, went out of their way to communicate with me in my broken French, or we would speak Italian. In my experience, many more people in Paris spoke English than they do in Rome and Venice. Florence is an exception, at least in the city center.

Old Mar 1st, 2001, 01:35 AM
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I am planning a 2 year live/work trip around Europe, and France is one country I won't be spending time in. As much as I might like to see the art and as much as I appreciate the history of France, I really have no interest in going there because of all the negative things I've heard about the people there. My aunt is well traveled in Europe and she had two things to say about the French that stuck in my mind: They are rude and they dislike Americans. I trust her opinion and I will only be passing through there on my way to Spain and Portugal.

I do think it's important to know at least some language of the place you are going to visit. I'm thankful that English is widely understood in many parts of Europe, but I personally would like to know a bit of the language in a place I am going to.

I took 2 years of Spanish in high school, and 2 semesters of it in college. I will be spending a lot of time in Spain and it will come in handy! It's also close enough to Portuguese and Italian, that I feel confident I will be able to pick up on those languages (even just a rudimentary knowledge) before I visit there.

I plan to spend at least 6 months in the Netherlands and am teaching myself Dutch (no university in my area teaches it). Even if English is widely understood there, I wouldn't think of spending that much time there without knowing a bit of the language.

I won't be learning French though...I am going to visit (primarily): UK/Ireland/Sweden/Netherlands/Germany/Italy/Spain & Portugal.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 03:12 AM
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David, and some others (and not those who made intelligent, balanced comments or criticism on this thread and this board in general),

My uncle, my grandfather, and my boss are well travelled in the US and they had lots of things to say about the Americans that stuck in my mind: They are uneducated, unsophisticated, chauvinistic, and they dislike the French.

Should I trust their advice, adhere to the slanderous generalisation, spread it around and avoid visiting the States ?

Based on your comment and those of some people on this thread, it looks like they have a point. Do you realise the impact of your arrogant opinions on the French who read or hear that kind of garbage ? Do you really think that those of us who have met such obnoxious behavior will have a strong incentive to show consideration to Americans ?

France is a tourist destination for people all around the world, not only Americans. I for one think that we should improve our language ability and our general level of hospitality, towards all and every tourist, be they from other parts of the country or the other side of the World. I was born in Paris, I now live in Switzerland, and I resent the parisian attitude towards the rest of France and the World in general, not only Americans.

But when I read or hear comments to the effect that France, or any other tourist destination, is just a playground for American tourists, who are entitled to expect their inhabitants to grovel in front of them because they consider their economy superior, I'm not surprised to learn that a waiter who certainly heard hundreds of those in his career will have an unpleasant reaction on meeting one more American.

I'm only sorry that it will generally not be the right person who will receive it !

Old Mar 1st, 2001, 04:11 AM
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Je ne suis pas d'accord sur un point. J'ai vecu alternativement à Paris, en province, a Paris, en province,a Paris, en province, a Paris.

Et j'ai rencontré incomparablement plus d'anti-parisiannisme (quelquefois tres desagréable) en province que de mépris à l'égard des provinciaux a Paris. En fait, je ne me rapelle d'aucun exemple du second (depuis que j'ai quitté le collège, en tout cas)

Ceci étant, il me vient à l'idée que vous faisiez peut-être allusion au médias, au monde de la culture, etc... qui sont en effet tres parisio-centriste. Mais pour ce qui est des interactions avec les gens, a mon avis, il vaut cent fois mieux etre un breton en vacances a Paris qu'un parisien en vacances en Auvergne. Non que je pense que les provinciaux accueillent généralement mal les parisiens. Mais c'est parfois le cas. Et surtout, il faut entendre ce qu'ils disent dans leur dos, une fois passé le moment des grand sourires de bienvenue.

Au fond, contrairement a beaucoup de gens, j'ai tendance a préférer les parisiens aux provençaux (par exemple).
Certainement plus froids à l'extérieur mais souvent aussi plus sincères. Ou peut-être est-ce plus généralement les gens du nord par rapport à ceux du sud...Bien entendu, c'est une généralisation.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 04:24 AM
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A la réflexion, je reviens sur ce que j'ai écrit sur les "interactions". Il est beaucoup plus facile d'avoir des échanges avec les gens lorsqu'on se trouve dans un village limousin qu'au milieu du VII°.

Cependant, je maintiens que dans le premier cas, le mépris, voire une réelle hostilité, est nettement plus probable que dans le second.Pour prendre un exemple extrème (mais néanmoins réel), je n'ai encore jamais vu quelqu'un crever les pneus d'une voiture au vu de sa plaque d'immatriculation à Paris.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 04:44 AM
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With the relative ease of mobility, educ. opportunities that result in career moves, etc. are the open-minded Parisians you see these days necessarily NATIVE Parisians, or might they often be people from the provinces (and elsewhere) who've moved to Paris because of jobs, marriage or just preference. And conversely, is it poosible that there are former Parisians who always hated Paris, who chose to move to the provinces and now maybe have a bad feeling (anti-Parisian) about the people they left behind?

P.S. I thought the Parisians were just fine on my most recent visit, which was a very short (2-night) one. Also thought people were polite and mostly friendly in Provence, and polite but a little reserved (though rather "sweet") in the Dordogne. But in all three places (these were just short vacations, not in-depth visits), as I started chatting with people, I found that some of the French people in Provence and Paris were not from wherever it was they were living (except the FRENCH people in the Dordogne did seem to mostly have roots in the Dordogne, but there were a fair number of foreigners who were long-time residents, e.g., a Czech, several British). I'm from the USA and didn't detect anti-Americansim, but did hear quite a lot of anti-British joking.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 05:30 AM
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David, read up on the French and their customs. They follow a set of rules on how to greet people and so fore. We found out what they looked on as rude and then avoided doing those items, such as always opening with Bonjour or Bonsoir. Very easy thing and it worked. My wife and I are just like most of the people in this site, we try to understand and to fit in with our hosts.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 05:49 AM
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And when you do so, Bob, we really like you and try to make your stay as pleasant as possible ...
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 06:03 AM
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Whoa, Bob, are you saying it is considered rude to always open with Bonjour or Bonsoir? I was told that is always the very first thing you say? Am I confused as usual? By the way, I have always suspected the reason that has worked for me is that my pronuciation of even those simple phrases must be so bad that usually they smile and say, "do you speak English?" Although I thought I had finally succeeded when I approached a hotel desk one day with "Bonjour monsieur" and was greeted with a rapid greeting in French. He actually thought I was French, if only for a fleeting moment.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 06:11 AM
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poor wording on my part, it is rude not to open with Bonjour or Bonsoir.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 06:15 AM
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It's very hard to find a native parisian. Everybody seems to claim to be from somewhere else. However, most of them came when they were young and spent the greatest part of their life in Paris or more often in the surrounding area. The younger generation is more likely to be native, though.

In the countryside and even in provincial major towns there's usually a far greater proportion of people who never left their province. French people, on the overall, seems not to move a lot.

The "anti-parisian" attitude I was refering to usually comes from local people, especially in rural areas, not from disgusted parisians who decided to live in some other place. In fact, few of them do that, either because they would miss the parisian life (culture, theaters,shops,etc..) or (mainly?) out of lack of work opportunities.

People who decide to retire in their province of origin aren't rare, but they often have great dificulties to adapt, IME. The place is no more what it used to be, they aren't accustomed to the numerous logistical problems you have to solve when living in a secluded village (especially since they aren't any more young and with a good health), they aren't accepted as well as they thought they would be, they miss the activities, shops, whatever, they benefited from, etc...

Also, there's indeed a difference in the population in Provence and Dordogne, as you pointed out. Provence is at the same time more attractive and much more active economically, since the greater proportion of people from elsewhere in france you noticed there.

I consider people in Dordogne as amongst the most pleasant in France, but I'm probably biaised since I really like this region (no, I'm not from there), and when you like a place you tend to extend your benevolence to the people who live there (and in fact to more or less anything which happens to be there for whatever reason).

Finally, I'm amongst those people who not only don't consider being reserved as a flaw, but tend to suspect some shallowness when confronted with people who seems "too" open and friendly (partly out of experience). However, I must admit that when you stay somewhere for a short time, it's more pleasant to be around friendly people (even if they make secretly fun of you as soon as you leave)than around sincere people who will only begin to chat with you about the weather when they'll have noticed you've been their neighbors for three months.

I would say that on the overall, in France at least(I don't think it's the same in poorer countries, for instance), you'll have IMO the better interactions with people living in places not too secluded (they tend to be suspicious, distrustful and somewhat xenophobic) and not too touristed (they tend to be weary of tourists, dispising and in this case also suspicious).

Old Mar 1st, 2001, 06:35 AM
Parlez Anglais!?
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No wonder that English is the closer you can get of an "universal language". No wonder that, even with the present situation, USA has the greatest single economy in the world, no wonder that USA is the biggest consumer of French Wines and Cheeses (Source The Economist), No wonder that the CE looked for support in the U.S. for their EURO which has lossed 30%, No wonder that if Amricans stop visitting Paris thousand of Parissiens would starve to death including the Taxi drivers that refuse to speak english.

I agree, America couldn't be the best country of all, but If America do not consume French products and do not visit their country... I better not tell.

C'est la vie!!

Au revoir!

Old Mar 1st, 2001, 07:03 AM
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Just to clarify, the restaurant we were in(recommended by frommer's)was a total tourist trap, there wasn't one french person in there, but we were too tired to look for something else...so the waiter knew we weren't french the minute he saw us(by the way, I don't care how you dress,Americans stick out, we're different; bigger, louder, bigger gestures and I don't mean in an obnoxious sense, americans just move differently), my son prefaced with pardon, but none of these phrases seemed to matter, it was not a joking response, because he was very unhelpful for the entire meal. We made a genuine effort to not be obtrusive, keeping our voices down etc.but this didn't seem to matter.
Can someone explain this....my son wanted to buy some "french clothes" he's 17,but every store we went in was wrangler, levi's and even marlboro apparel, one store was called "US Forms" in addition, my sons went to a club and all the music was Chicago House...if parisians hate Americans, why is American stuff everywhere?
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 07:14 AM
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I searched for some figures and found out that the expenses of american visitors in France accounted for 0,2% of the french GNP (1,8% for all foreign visitors). Probably not negligeable but hardly a life or death situation.

By the way, I've been very surprised to discover that the people who spend the most in france (on the overall, not by head) were....the Swiss!!! (twice as much as americans).

Just for the record :

Foreign visitors in France :


Revenue generated (not at all the same order):


Taxis drivers should definitely speak a fluent swiss. Too bad this language doesn't exists!
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 07:19 AM
No Wonder!!
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Yes! Swiss doesn't exist, that's why their parlament are looking to impose ENGLISH as the official language. And I am not kidding, they are actually trying to adopt English.

No wonder is the universal language.

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