art, literature, music

arts, habits, activities

Arts, Music, Theater

communication, traditions, values

different, popular, distinguished

diverse, dance, music, food

East, unchangeable, childhood

Food, Music, Dressing

food, music, language

food, music, surroundings

foreign countries, America's melting pot, holidays

Global, diverse,

heritage, life-style, individual

heritage, music, religion, tradition

Important to Understand People

important, food, family

important, interesting, knowledge

individuality, tradition, rules

Language, Way of thought, Customs

languages, travelling, learning

lost, new, different

manners, good, gentle

nationality, values, television

philosophy, cuisine, life, treasured

Preserve, know, beauty, heritage

traditions, self-expression, heritage

unique, diversity, wonderful

Art, nourriture, beauté

arts, histoire, architecture

échange, apprendre, diversité

contraire de nature, épanouissement

héritage, traditions, valeurs

histoire, art, technologie

histoire, passé commun, nation, art

identité, mode de vie, histoire, connaissances

important, en diminution

intéressant, diverse

international, valeurs, patrimoine

inutile, arts, histoire

Moeurs, habitude, traditions

musique, artistes, cinéma

musique, indispensable, littérature

ouverture, intérêt, partager

peinture, civilisation, lettres

Peinture, musique, ouverture d'esprit

savoir, échange, découverte

savoir, intelligence, intéressant



I have an impression that in US culture is something to explore as you go, because it has more fun associations with it, while in France culture is something that you study and "become" a cultured, educated person. What do you think?


Tu as raison. En effet en français, être cultivé signifie avoir beaucoup de connaissances et ce quelque soit le domaine. On parle ici plus de culture générale. 

Est ce qu'aux USA c'est pareil que dans les pays anglo saxons, c'est à dire qu'il est bien vu de faire une année de césure par exemple pour découvrir d'autre cultures?? Est-ce ça pour vous être cultivé?


I noticed that in the USA - we associate food with our culture, as there is a diversity of choices present amongst food. But in France, people do not associate food with their culture, which is slightly suprising to me. Why do you think this is so?

Perhaps the reason for the US association of things like food and language with culture is that we are surrounded by so many different cultures, and so we are constantly seeing/hearing different languages, eating foods from various cultures, etc.  We discussed this in class today -- The French have predominantly one culture throughout the country, and it has established itself over many years.  The US, however, is a younger country and so does not have nearly as much history, and has a population that comes from many more cultural backgrounds.  

I think you got it Fabien. It seems to me that a large part of being cultured in the US includes being knowledgeable about other cultures besides our own, since the US has a population that comes from many cultural backgrounds, as Kate pointed out. However, we don't usually take a year off to discover other cultures - the closest we get to that is studying abroad.

It's interesting how being "cultured" in the US often means being aware of many cultures, not just one's own. When I sang in choirs, we sang music in English, Italian, German, even Korean and in styles that spanned centuries.

In America, people ask, "What is your favorite type of food?" more often than "What is your favorite food?" Many people will say "Indian" or "Italian" or "Chinese" as their favorite type of food instead of saying "pizza" or  "spaghetti." Very, very few people would say their favorite type of food is "American." How do the French view other food?


I see that very few American students associate history with their culture.  However, the French often mention heritage and history in their responses.  I am Canadian, and history is a very big part of our culture.  I don't think that Americans don't value history, but it is part of their identity, not their culture.  To them, culture seems to be part of the present - not the past.  They talk about the Civil War, and the American Revolution, but these are not part of their culture.  History has greatly shaped what the USA is, but appears to have less effect on how they see themselves now.

Et pour nous la nourriture fait partie de notre identité plus que notre culutre! Contrairement à l'histoire.

C'est d'ailleurs pour ça qu'on a parlé de nourriture dans thème France et non dans le thème culture (juste une fois quand meme).

Je pense que c'est pareil pour les langues et je suis plutôt d'accord avec Kate quand elle dit que votre diversité fait que la nourriture et le langage sont de la culture pour vous.


Je pense que tu as raison et que la plupart (mais surement pas tous) des français répondront plutôt par un plat que par un pays!

I see how my opinion parallel with the French students because I was also quite surprised by the answers. I would normally think culture as more of the arts and history than food or language, since I come from a country where we eat the same type of food and speak the same language.

Of course, in Korea, the food will differ in different provinces and there are many dialects across the country but we wouldn't normally think of that as "culture." To me, culture is something that we have to preserve and to study like Korean music, dance or literature.

An interesting fact is that in the recent years, many "american" culture have "invaded" our country. People are now very customed to eating american food, learning english, study in the state (like me), listen to pop songs and american movies. In some sense, there are worries that many young people are now avoiding their own heritage while rapidly accomodating that of the american culture.

Although many americans might disagree, to a foreigners view, there exists an american culture. It's a mixed culture but there exists a general theme. So I guess that is why many were surprised to see that food wasn't part of the answers from the French students.

Just to add up to what HyoJeong Choi said, culture invasion is unavoidable. In China as well, hollywood movies occupy the theatre more than Chinese movies. Valentine's day is more important than 7th day of 7th lunar month(that's the only day a mortal man meets a fairy through the whole year according to a old fairy tale. Yes we have our own version of Valentine's day although chocolate and roses are more expensive only on Feb 14th).

It always strikes me how fast the world is becoming 'one country'. Even when I was travelling in the less developed countries in South East Asia, the amount of tourists (mostly white) amazes me.

As much as I don't want this world to have only one language and one culture, I have to admit that this trend is unavoidable, especially with the transportation system and Internet breaking all boundaries. 

Also whoever leads ahead in a field defines that field. For eg, keyboards are designed based on roman letters, and the input of all other languages have to be accustomed to that and get romanized in a certain way.

European culture and civilization has already shaped the world in a different way during World War I and II and it is funny that the term "globalization" only started to appear frequently a few decades ago.

Je me pose une qustion: en France on écoute  beaucoup de musique américaine. Etes-vous au courant de la musique qui marche bien en France? Par exemple, moi qui suis  plutôt port" rock, connzissez-vous frs groupe grouprs commr "Noir désir" ou "téléphone"?

Alain -

I haven't heard of the groups "Noir désir" or "téléphone," but I have heard the TTC song "téléphone" ...  

Most of the French music my friends and I are familiar with is electronic or dance music.  I know a lot of Americans who listen to Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, and Mr. Oizo.  But since all three of those groups use primarily English vocals (when they use vocals at all) some Americans don't realize the artists are French!  That is obviously not the case with Yelle and TTC, both of which I have heard Americans play.

It's interesting that Americans listen to dance music the most of all French music.  Maybe it is because when people dance, they don't care so much about lyrics?  Maybe the French just know how to party better than us.  :P

What American music is most common in France?

J'avais entendu parler du fait que les Américains écoutaient de l'électro française et de la dance, ce que j'avais trouvé étonnant, peut-être parce que la musique que nous écoutons en France est en grande partie américaine ? Nous avons beaucoup écouté de la pop, peut-être est-ce un peu moins en ce moment. La majorité du rock, punk-rock, RnB que nous écoutons est américain.

La musique chantée en français s'exporte bien plus difficilement, c'est pour cela que seule l'electro française est connue internationnalement. De nombreux groupes de rock/hard rock/ metal français (genres que j'affectione) chantent en anglais. Je pense d'ailleurs qu'en dehors de Rammstein, la musique chantée en Allemand ne connait pas un succés énorme en dehors de ses frontières.

Du fait de mes gouts, je n'écoute que de la musique chantée en Anglais, de groupes provenant des USA, et également de toute l'Europe.

La langue Anglaise est une langue chantante qui touche tout le monde.


There are a few French-speaking artists that have gained some attention over here.  The most famous currently is David Guetta, a French DJ who gets many top American singers to sing the lyrics to his song.  Also, Belgian singer Kate Ryan has a some songs that I have heard of, but it is possible that not many others have.  In some recent American songs there have also been a few lines in French, Lady Gaga comes to mind.

I think it is true that most Americans do not listen to music that is not in English, which would limit the amount of foreign music they listen to.  Since dance, techno, electronica type genres do not have many lyrics to begin with, these are more applicable across the board to fans of this type of music.