Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Debunking the Myth about the French

How many times have you heard, “The French hate Americans”? So far we have yet to find even one of those nasty French types.

What we have found is that approaching anyone in French completely dispels any notion of hostility (if it were ever there) and you end up with a delightful exchange of words of both languages.

Servers in restaurants are the most fun. They are invariably 20-somethings who always seem to know English, but who also know a multitude of other languages. A cute young girl replied “Danke” to us at lunch the other day and then broke down in laughter. An adorable waiter at dinner took our orders all in French and then in English launched into a discussion of his passionate love of the Marseille football (soccer) team, which was playing that night. (We could see the TV in the kitchen.)

I had a complete conversation with a precocious 3-year-old in front of our house. Presuming that the entire world speaks French, he asked me, “Ou est le chat?” to which I replied, “Cherchez-vous le chat noir et blanc? Je ne sais pas. Il a disparu.” The black and white cat, the red and white dog are important residents of this little village. Everyone knows them and misses them when they aren’t in evidence.

We ask questions and get directions in French, always repeating what we think we have heard to make sure we got it right.

This is a country which loves its language. And who wouldn’t love something so lyrical? They simply want those who visit to try to speak their beautiful language. They help you along and then smile. Communication takes so many forms beyond words. Vive la France et vive le Francais!


Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Awesome pics! I love the pears on the tablecloth. Quelle vacance!

9:09 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How lovely. I want to be served by adorable French waiters and to chat with precocious 3-year-olds. I'm so jealous/happy that you're having a good time.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'est magnifique ca!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

It is such a beautiful language to listen too..very musical. It is the same in Quebec, Canada, our only French-speaking province. I love Quebec City.

You are probably very interesting to them, especially the little kids!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- The pears pic was taken on a lunchtime picnic. I bought small bottles of pastis, the local drink of choice at 45% alcohol content, as a surprise and packed them at the bottom of a basket of cheese, salami, bread, and fruit. We spread out our tablecloth in a beautiful grassy area, gorged on lunch, and got just a little tipsy on the pastis.

Kristin -- The little boy probably went home and asked his mother who the weird new neighbor was.

Kate -- I quite agree. Travelling agrees with me!

MOI -- It is a beautiful lyrical language. You must enjoy hearing it in Quebec.

12:48 PM  

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