What is 'Frenchness'?
Today, my French teacher set a homework task to write a paragraph about what it means to be French and what 'Frenchness' is. At the moment, I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to answer the question, although I'm certain that I'll write about the typical French values of "Liberté, egalité, [and] fraternité".
I was wondering if some of you kind people would share your opinions on this so I can gather some ideas :)
You can write that French people have been always fighting for liberty, democracy, people's equality, freedom of speech (here you can mention the recent events in Paris), that French people are reputated to be against racism and xenophoby. You could also add that the French state, education and policy is laïc, which means that it's a state of religious tolerance where everyone has to respect others' religions and believes. You could mention the importance of the French influence in the arts too. You should write about the French influence in the arts, in painting, architecture, sculpture, cinema, music , etc ... Don't forget to write that the French language is one of the most important languages of the world!!!
Hope that this helped :D
Thank you so much! I hadn't even thought of half of that :o This is really helpful ^-^
always? well, recently France has been been more popular:
- for banning poor citizens to badly connected outskirts of towns (Banlieue f.x. - but not just Paris)
- protests against same sex marriage
- homophobic, antisemitic and anitmuslim sentiments
- strong support for uber-nationalist parties like "Front National"
- philandering presidents
- basically whole governments educated in the same elitist schools and universities
I like France and French culture - but let's not paint everything in pink, please
music, dance, architecture, art, castles, gardens, canals and riverboats, fashion, etc..
Perhaps this could be a chance to talk about current events. What does the phrase "Je suis Charlie" imply about French unity, and what do all these related demonstrations tell about French ideals?
Not quite sure what these have to do with Frenchness, but they are French things which I think of.
Setting a homework task about the national characteristics of a people is bordering on asking for writing about national stereotypes ... it's almost unavoidable. =/
Here is an interesting article based on the findings from the pew research about perceived personality of nationalities.
I find it really funny that the French consider themselves both the most and least arrogant.
- eating frog legs while having a baguette under the arm
- refusing to learn or speak English
- drinking red wine for breakfast
- they make great movies
I'll expand the list as new items come to my mind!
It's right. I love to see French movies, it has a way so different of narrating the daily life.
Frenchness means anything relating to France; culture, language, inhabitants, ect. So I think writing about France's values and the values of "Liberté, egalité, [and] fraternité" would make a great paragraph!
Thanks for your response! I was thinking about talking about the things that we would associate as being 'typically French' too :) Just need to think of a starting point haha x)
Oh, don't full your text with clichés!!! Some of them may be true, but please don't write such things!!! Everyone knows clichés and reputations about French people, but only some people studying French know the values of France and the importance of the French language!!!
However, you could make a paragraph where you'll write about such clichés, if you want (don't forget to mention tha this is not your personal opinion, but what people think about France). Here are some ideas: French people don't wash themselves, they eat crepes, cheese and croissants all the time, they are unfriendly with tourists, they don't speak foreign languages, they are thin, in Paris a lot people live in the same appartment, French people kiss themselves everywhere, Parisians go for a walk in the centre of Paris to enjoy the view of the Eiffel tower every day, etc.
Frenchness = speaking French and feeling French.
Foreigners would add that lots of arrogance is also a prerequisite, and they aren't necessarily wrong ;p
I think you were on the right track to start with. Your teacher is looking for you to explore ideas of cultural and national identity, "frenchness" meaning, "what does it mean to be French?" Start by thinking about your own nationality and what makes you who you are and why, then apply that to people from France and what answers they might give. The idea of mentioning "je suis Charlie" is a good one as it an example in with how one group of French people may not agree with another group on what national identity means. Hope that helps!
Thank you so much! I hadn't thought of it like that. This seems like a really good approach, so I'm going to try this :) Thank you for taking the time out to respond :)
For this type of writing assignment I would suggest writing about opposites. So say at first the French are like A+ and give examples. And then say but the French are also like A- and give more examples that show the opposite of the first set of examples you gave.
This demonstrates that you understand that culture and nationality is a complex thing, not easily pigeonholed, while also demonstrating that you have a broad and nuanced understanding of French culture, from the examples you gave.
As a beginner, I already understand that in French no two vowels and two consonants pronounce together(correct me if I am wrong). This is definitely something "frenchness" because in most other languages this rule doesn't obtain.