French in France - "Tu" or "Vous"?

Jun 25th, 2012, 10:42 AM
  #41  
 
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Just talk to two people at the same time and there will never be a problem -- it will always be "vous."
kerouac is offline  
Jun 25th, 2012, 11:53 AM
  #42  
 
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I have no problems with that, kerouac.

"vous" meaning you and your friend, Harvey the Rabbit.
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Jun 25th, 2012, 01:59 PM
  #43  
 
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I take the "follow their lead" approach. When I was in Annecy this Spring, I went paragliding and the instructor and I used "vous" for the first couple minutes and then he switched over to "tu" so I did, too. The guy was probably in his late 40s or so--i.e., not a teenager. I asked a French friend about it and he said it was probably because the paragliding scene is generally a cool sporty atmosphere so the people are laid back and tutoie easily and it was also a sign that he thought I was cool, too, so I was happy with that explanation!
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Jun 25th, 2012, 02:44 PM
  #44  
 
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Yes, it is a case of "follow the leader" if you want to. Certain people would probably continue to say "vous" anyway, and the instructor in that case would almost certainly switch back as well. And yes, paragliding is a cool "tu" sport, like surfing or bungee jumping.
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Jun 25th, 2012, 03:08 PM
  #45  
 
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in German [and italian, come to that] there is a plural equivalent of "tu"

And Spanish (as spoken in Spain, anyway).
jahoulih is offline  
Jun 25th, 2012, 03:28 PM
  #46  
 
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I'm possibly (?) a little younger than some (late 20s), which may make a difference, and have lived in France around 3 years.

I would generally tu and be tu'ed with strangers around my age and younger that I run into in bars or at the gym etc. Always tu when introduced to friends of friends. Sometimes tu with bartenders and so on that you're on friendly terms with (can be a tricky judgement call, follow their lead, but I know some bartenders that I do the "kiss kiss" with, so they're obviously tu) but otherwise vous with everyone a tourist is likely to run into.

I must admit I was shocked when BOTH servers (whom I don't know) at the "guinguette" (open-air café) tutoied me recently, I think all the fresh air must have gone to their heads It is funny, since I wouldn't be bothered by an equivalent level of familiarity in English, but these things do get somewhat ingrained with time. I was amused by a young intern at work who protested that he couldn't possibly address us all as "tu" when we told him to
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Jun 25th, 2012, 03:32 PM
  #47  
 
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PS For anyone in the UK or elsewhere who can get hold of the show Engrenages/Spiral (Season 2 I think is being repeated right now on the BBC) and knows enough French to follow along, it's fascinating to see who tu's and vous's whom!
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Jun 25th, 2012, 03:36 PM
  #48  
 
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PPS To remember easier, think about the song : "Voulez-VOUS coucher avec moi ce soir"

I would laugh at anyone who vous'd me while asking to sleep with me! Unless maybe they were addressing more than one person ha ha
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Jun 25th, 2012, 11:23 PM
  #49  
 
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>>it's fascinating to see who tu's and vous's whom!<<

The "tutoiement" is mostly between cops and criminals, or criminals who are about to do unspeakable things to each other: I would hope most Fodorites would be unlikely to end up in that sort of situation (would make for a fascinating trip report, though)!
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Jun 26th, 2012, 12:57 AM
  #50  
 
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The "tutoiement" is mostly between cops and criminals, or criminals who are about to do unspeakable things to each other: I would hope most Fodorites would be unlikely to end up in that sort of situation (would make for a fascinating trip report, though)!

True! However, there are some colleagues like Josephine and the cute prosecutor whose name I forget who vousvoie longer than I would expect, and other little interesting scenarios like when the same guy tells Laure that she needs to keep vousvoieing him at work (after they've slept together) etc. I find it interesting, anyway (plus of course it's worth watching for other reasons too!)
gwan is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 03:47 AM
  #51  
 
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gwan wrote: "I must admit I was shocked when BOTH servers (whom I don't know) at the "guinguette" (open-air café) tutoied me recently, I think all the fresh air must have gone to their heads It is funny, since I wouldn't be bothered by an equivalent level of familiarity in English, but these things do get somewhat ingrained with time."

It is a way of asserting that "I am just as good as you" or, recognizing your accent, taking a bit of the mickey out of you, not knowing you would be aware. I think I might have replied in kind, adding "garcon." Though I would probably have been ashamed of myself later.
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Jun 26th, 2012, 04:11 AM
  #52  
 
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>>there are some colleagues like Josephine and the cute prosecutor whose name I forget who vousvoie longer than I would expect<<

Well (wandering off topic a bit), Maitre Not-Tonight is very much into self-protection. When she's not looking for every trick to get her clients off, she's ticking them off for cheeking her: but she has cause to, bearing in mind their ingrained attitudes to a shapely redhead (and he's into self-promotion and she's bad news for that).
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Jun 26th, 2012, 04:21 AM
  #53  
 
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Just jumping in on the Engrenages/Spiral side of this thread (which I think is superb TV).

gwan - the vousvoie-ing for longer than expected is part of why I love this series. The prosecutor's name is Pierre by the way (as my wife keeps reminding me).

It's all about power, whether presumed, inferred or real and the protocol that still needs to be upheld even if behind closed doors, all manner of dastardly shenanigans are going on. I think with Laure and Pierre, there's also a submissive/dominant sexual element being played out, which just adds to the machinations.

I'm watching the repeats on the BBC at the moment, despite having bought the box set a year ago, and it's still better than 99% of the stuff on TV, even if I know what's going to happen...
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Jun 26th, 2012, 05:01 AM
  #54  
 
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"The same guy tells Laure that she needs to keep vousvoieing him at work (after they've slept together)"

Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000), after rising from Cabinet ranks to become Prime Minister of Canada, told an old friend and Cabinet colleague:

"You can still call me "tu" when we're alone."

His listener was not particularly gratified, as you may imagine.
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Jun 26th, 2012, 06:19 AM
  #55  
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Should we address Kerouac and other FodorFrenchFriends wiht 'tu' or 'vous'?
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Jun 26th, 2012, 07:06 AM
  #56  
 
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It is a way of asserting that "I am just as good as you" or, recognizing your accent, taking a bit of the mickey out of you, not knowing you would be aware.

Nah, it seemed friendly enough, but I was still surprised.

Yep, I can't wait for Saison 4!

That's interesting with Pierre Trudeau, understandable I suppose when it's the PM. I seem to remember Obama and Sarkozy tutoieing in that little clip of them video-conferencing that appeared a while back. Of course Sarko would have adored showing he's on tu terms with Obama!
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Jun 26th, 2012, 07:25 AM
  #57  
 
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And Berlusconi, who was even keener to be photographed with Obama?

I wonder if he said "tu" or if he gave Obama the Lei?

("Dare del Lei" -- I didn't mean Bunga Bunga)
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Jun 26th, 2012, 07:32 AM
  #58  
 
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Playing on my ipod when I woke up this morning: Nat "King" Cole singing "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNzxH3zRU_I
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Jun 26th, 2012, 09:55 AM
  #59  
 
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Cigale, I think you've got it backwards... kids should definitely be vous-ing you.
Kerouac, Really? Teens in small towns still vous each other? That is wild!
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Jun 26th, 2012, 10:32 AM
  #60  
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- words from a popular song!
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