overcoming average(?)

because it’s something the world just needs less of

dec 13, 2010

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I haven’t really talked about Amanda and I’s recent vacation to Europe. for time’s sake today, I’ll just mention one quick thing about it.

the nicest people we came across while traveling through Ireland, France, Italy, and Germany were the French. that’s surprising to most people when we tell them that, and I have to say that it was surprising for us, too. we all know the stigma that French people hate Americans and are really rude. that wasn’t our experience, but I think I may have stumbled across a couple reasons why there’s an apparent misconception. the first is that the French language is very different from English in a key way: the accents in every word almost always happen on the last syllable. basically, properly pronounced French ends on a higher tone, which to english speaking ears sounds like you’re asking a question. so if you hear someone with a French accent talking to you in English it tends to sound like they’re sarcastically asking you a question. that’s why they sound rude to us even when they’re maybe not trying to.

second, the formal greeting. no one in the u.s. goes into mcdonalds and says to the person behind the counter, “good day, sir,” waits for them to say, “good day,” then gives their food order. they do that in Paris. even for the smallest most informal thing, they follow that protocol. if you do it too, and also try your best to speak French to them, you’ve just made a new friend. if you fail to follow this unspoken protocol through either neglect or ignorance, you’ve awoken the wrath of the stereotypically rude French person. fortunately, we got tipped off about that ahead of time and, as a result, had great experiences interacting with the locals.

I hope I’ve pointed out some insights that will ultimately strengthen Franco-American relations.

p.s. the Romans were the most rude that we encountered


Written by matt

December 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Posted in decemberblogging

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