Thursday, April 03, 2008

It Begins with Bonjour

The Alliance Française, in whatever town or city in the globe, has always been an institution near and dear to my heart.

The Alliance in Boston, which is part of the French Library there, has always held a special spot for me. I love their new slogan for French courses, "It begins with bonjour!" (And the bee-stung pouty lips are pretty alluring/inspiring, too.)

In my humble but experience-laden opinion, merely spouting French words is worthless -- well, almost -- unless you try to grasp the socio-cultural part of the conversation. Tourist guide books giving you pat phrases can unwittingly leave out the most important part of the transaction/conversation -- the Bonjour!

As far as I can tell, every single phrase in an English-French phrase book for travelers should start "Bonjour, madame/monsieur" and then -- and only then-- the "OO AY LAH GAHR MON-PAR-NASS," or whatever you're trying to find.

You can get by in metropolitan areas of France without knowing a lot of French. But you won't have as much fun unless you learn the two basics, "Bonjour" and "Merci," and use them with abandon.
And before you go, visit the nearest Alliance to practice your fancy French knowledge, or learn a little more.

Merci, chère Alliance Française! (pronounced al-yonce fron-sezz, more or less...)


smilnsigh said...

"..."Bonjour" and "Merci," and use them with abandon."

Sounds like a good idea, for anywhere. Substitute local language of course. :-)

Oh and please don't add what is added so much here.... The "and how are you today?" Yish. Sorrrry but, it's such a silly question. Am I going to reply with; "Well, now that you ask ~ I have a terrible headache and my feet are cold/wet from the rain and the bottom of my dress is too and I wish I used 'the facilities' before I went on this errand and I am about ready to scream if anyone else asks me, how I am doing."

Nope, I'm supposed to say "Fine!" and then get on with whatever I'd like very much to ask you. >,-)

Mmmmm, do I sound grouchy today? -chuckle- Yes, I do. And I reserve the right to do so. And if you only said "Bonjour" back to me, I'd be a lot less grouchy. Merci. >,-))))))))


Jay Livingston said...

Bonjour. Of course. Why didn't I think of that? No wonder I never found the White Horse Hotel.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Bonjour, Mari-Nanci!
I get struck by the differences in greetings when I'm back in the states, too. And don't get me started on the differences in wait staff - customer communications...


OMG, Did You use the same French textbook? Where Jean Someone (who is American)is trying to find L'Hotel du Cheval Blanc?

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