TikToker shows the difference between U.S. and French co-workers

Originally published at: TikToker shows the difference between U.S. and French co-workers | Boing Boing


LOVING this, as I type this comment during my daily zoom production mtg…


Try and add Japanese coworkers:

<sucks in through teeth>


The French worker, getting right to living in the être.


As was mentioned in a long ago episode of Law and Order “Japanese have an interesting relationship with the word no”

Americans are completely conflict adverse… Unless it’s on social media.


in Portuguese, “excitado” means something very very different than it does in English…


I knew before moving that the French word ‘ excité ’ was verboten. It is one of the first ‘false friends’ that a student of the language becomes aware of. Most French learners can recall the day that a classmate first uttered the phrase ‘ Je suis excité ’ (which literally translates as ‘I am excited’) only to have their teacher hem and haw uncomfortably before explaining that the word excité doesn’t signal emotional but rather physical excitement. A better translation of the phrase Je suis excité into English would be ‘I am aroused’.

One can only hope that in France this:

was as big a hit as this:


Gitcher gitcher ya ya hyaah


There is a theory in academic circles (in nerdly science, not linguistics) that where-ever the French detect an english usage of a substantially similar term they immediately go about assigning it some embarrassing subtlety (sort’ve a shibboleth via shift of meaning). "You english pig-dog fool you! Don’t you know that ‘plain yoghurt’ means that your grandmother was a whóre!? [sotto-voce] …depuis environ trois minutes snik snik snik"


:thinking:Reading this, I couldn’t remember hearing any native French speaker saying “Je suis heureuse,” only “Je suis content.” When talking about looking forward to things in the future people tend to use prévoir, though. I guess it’s true they’re rarely flippé. Their version of this emoji probably only involves the shoulders. :woman_shrugging:t4: :wink:


Mom’s go to when you got “too wordy” was to cuss in French or German “tais-toi” or “hör auf zu reden”, usually peppered with f@ck in there somewhere.


That reminds me of Charles de Gaulle’s answer to a reporter who asked him if he was happy: “What do you take me for, an idiot?”


Honestly, I think a lot of this revolves around not wanting to say the wrong thing and being taken to HR or court.



and/or risk adverse. We’ve got one person on our staff that we can’t fire (they’ve been written up a lot of times, given every single opportunity to excel, even given opportunities that others would never have been given, refuses to do anything unless given a direct order for it, will actively try to weasel their way out of tasks, etc. basically a ‘jobsworth’*) because they are directly related to someone near the top of the hierarchy, and the drama and politics that would cause.

(* “It’s not my job’s worth to stick my neck out and actually do the task.”)


Definitely a big part of it. But also don’t discount how fucking irritating it is to try to navigate the work landscape as a woman in the US. It’s changing, but I still have to be all gentle and roundabout with most of my same aged and older male colleagues or they either lose their shit or stonewall me. For example, it’s easiest to just make them think an idea was theirs if I really believe in something getting done (rather than try to straightforwardly propose the idea). As they say in France, “C’est la frickin’ vie, man.”


Exactly - the Japanese would probably be even more roundabout than the Americans.

Still waiting for the German version: would it not be more blunt than the French, if that were possible?


It would be about the same. Maybe more businesslike, with less charm. Now the Dutch version on the other hand… They would definitely find a way to make it blunter


My wife took her mom to Paris a few years ago. Apparently, my MIL had learned French a loooooong time ago, and was actually good enough to get around. But the first night of the trip, they are in a taxi and they wanted to get some food and she is wanting to say something along the lines of “Je voux manger” or “I want to eat” but instead utters something about “Menage a trois”.
I just messaged my wife and said it was a good thing her mom didn’t also talk about how excited they were about this trip after learning what “Je suis excité” means.


There is a lot of nuance missing here, but it’s a TikTok video so I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m an American who has been living and working for quite some time in France for a French company with an American subsidiary. In my experience, the “French” conversation in the video only happens when a decision has already been made and there is no discussion to be had; if there is discussion, it is interminable and circuitous, with a lot of cautious talking around the real issues, and then the decision-maker (who probably arrived to the meeting 20 minutes late) leaves to make the decision alone.


That would be…difficult.