What not to do in France

This is pretty good!  Scroll down for some vocabulary items, and then watch the video! (If you’re American: the advice is quite good.  If you’re French: it’s probably pretty amusing.)

  • se moucher: to blow your nose, to wipe your nose.
  • There’s some talking about kissing and hugging–the bise that the French are comfortable with and Americans are very uncomfortable with, and the hug that Americans are very comfortable with and the French are very uncomfortable with.  These words are a potential minefield for non-native speakers, and it is not difficult for an American to find themselves talking about fucking someone when they meant to talk about kissing them.  I can’t actually hear the word that the speakers use in the film, but here’s a quick review.  I read somewhere a joke along the lines of French words for this kind of thing having undergone a sort of “promotion,” so that the word that formerly meant “to hug,” embrasser, can still mean that in a literary sense, but is more likely to mean “to kiss,” while the word that they teach us in French class means “to kiss,” baiser, can definitely mean “to fuck.”  If you want to talk about hugging, it’s probably safest to use prendre dans ses bras (to take into one’s arms).  To say hello or goodbye to someone with a kiss is to faire la bise.
  • la joue: cheek.
  • serrer la main à qqn: to shake hands with someone.

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