⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

December 1, 2011

Vouvoyer.

Concise French lesson: In French cop television series (highly amusing, Xavier loves them) the cops vouvoient (use the "vous") with citizens until they have committed some sort of "connerie" (wrongdoing), then they start yelling after the person, chasing them in the street using the "tu" - "arrete-toi !" They no longer have the right to be vouvoyed. This amuses me thoroughly.

2 comments:

your neighbor Rebecca said...

I have noticed this too, in other circumstances and I always get a kick out of knowing the difference.

Lucy G said...

Ah, yes, and then there's what actually happens on the street. If you're white & seemingly respectable, a police officer will always address you with "vous". If you're young, black/arab and not wearing a suit, it's an immediate "tu". Conversely, when pulled over on the road for police checks as a white European in the Magreb, the officers begin falling over themselves with politeness, offering directions, or any other help they can. This always makes me sad when I think of the difference.

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