French culture: I found my portfolio for my graduate work in linguistics today. One of the projects involved studying a culture of your choice and interviewing a person from the culture, so I chose the French culture and a woman I will call Ms. S who was working in the United States. I read over parts of the interview. Ms. S is currently in France in the suburbs outside of Paris where she lives with her husband and child. At the time of my culture study, she hadn’t worked in France because the unemployment was very high, so she chose to come to the United States in 2002. I was most interested in her political beliefs and if they had changed regarding everything currently going on in France.

Ms. S is a friend of mine on face book, so I learned that she is a person who endorses President Obama and is one of the French people advocating that he run for office in France. In 2002, some of her stated remarks include: “I am more of a socialist and I have always been more of a left wing person. I like their ideology. Our current President, Jacques Chirac, is RPR (right wing). You then have the unions and the extremist party. My family has drifted. While I was growing up, we were socialists until they had fourteen years of it and the President who was a socialist destroyed a lot of the economy, so my mom is now extreme right which I don’t agree with now, and my dad is right wing now.”
I asked her if you go back to France now, will there be more help for you and your husband if you want to own a small business? Her husband at the time was a chef.
Ms. S replied, “Yes, probably.”

She returned but I believe is working in a call center in Paris. She is very private on face book and often communicates in French. She leaves very little open to public profile and some of her friends mention safety issues and concern with being safe. At the time in the states, she mentioned staying and becoming a French teacher. But of course, it was challenging to have her degree translated and then to have to take all the certification testing required in the State of Florida for a professional certificate.

As I read her answers, I try to connect to the early 2000’s and the time now in France. The stories of rioting in the streets and the reports of some of the communities are beyond my comprehension, so I can only reread and enjoy our interview. I read over her analysis of French people: “A Frenchman will devise an intricate Grand Plan before he takes any action. His goal is set when the action takes place. This means that the direction of the action is usually built into French verbs. In English, it tends to be tacked on as an adverb or preposition. For example, in English, he goes down or up the stairs, in French, il descend l’escalier or il monte l’escalier. In French your direction is built into the action, so you have to know exactly where you are going before you start.”
And the point of this is sometimes we don’t know until it happens. Thanks for listening.

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