Bonjour, hello. Today I'm offering you something a little different. I'm sharing a post written by Rosemary Kneipp from Aussie in France because it's great! As simple as that. Rosemary explains the use of the word "Bonjour" which is far from simple. This little word which we all know so well is actually fraught with complications.
Friday's French - Bonjour
by Rosemary from Aussie in France, an Australian long-term resident of Paris who writes about her experiences of living in France, sharing insights into the French way of life. This comes from her weekly post on French language "Friday's French".
Now you might wonder why I am writing a post about bonjour which everyone knows means "hello".
However, Black Cat and I were having a discussion the other day about WHEN and HOW it is used in French which is quite different from the English use of hello.
If I am in a supermarket in Australia and want to ask the man filling the shelves where the coffee is, the most polite way is to go up to him and say, "Excuse-me, but can you tell me where the coffee is".
Now, if I do that in France: "Excusez-moi de vous déranger, mais savez-vous où se trouve le café?", I am likely to get a nasty look. The person will say, "Bonjour" and wait for me to reply "Bonjour", then I have to ask the question again and will get a helpful answer.
If you go into a bakery or a butcher's shop or even a doctor's surgery, you should always say bonjour to the people present, and it's even more polite to follow it with messieurs, or mesdames or messieurs dames depending on who's present. You can also walk in and say messieurs dames without bonjour. Read more
I urge you all to click through to Rosemary's full post. It's fascinating and I couldn't have explained it better. What do you think?