brother, father, mother
comfort, kind, home
friends, confidents, help
Frienship, Love, Trust
fun, extensive
love, caring, mom
love, closeness
love, comfort
Love, comfort, support
love, friendship, comfort
love, home, together
love, support, help
love, support, strength
meals, culture, together
mom, dad, brother
mom, dad, brothers
mom, dad, zubezube
mother father
mother, father, sister
pain, hurt
parents, home
security, caring
support, home, closest
supportive, loving, important
tension, security
tree, reunion, holidays
values, alternative
warmth, love, parents

amour, irremplacable, clan
amour, liens, soutien
amour, partage
amour, aide, réconfort
bonheur, amour
cercle, cocon
cocon, protection, conflicts
confiance, nombreuse
confort, sécurité
Convivialité, Cocon
distante, solidaire, clan
enfants, parents
enfants, ressourcer, marriage
essentielle, bien-etre, amour
important, bonheur
important, soutien, construire
Imposé désillusion restructuration
joie, soutien
mariage, divorce, enfants
mort, vieillesse, amour
nécessaire, père, mère, frères,
parents, amis
racines, refuge
repères, bases, éducation
Solidarité Ecoute
soutien, protection
soutien, fraternité, liens


Considérez-vous que les amis puissent remplacer une famille? Il me semble que ce ne sont absolument pas les mêmes liens qui nous unissent à nos parents (par exemple) et à nos amis. Une autre petite question : pourquoi limiter la famille aux seuls parents?

- Que veut dire "zubezube" ? - J'ai remarqué que : 1) les Américains parlaient de leur famille actuelle et pas du tout de la famille qu'ils fonderont plus tard, ce qui les opposent aux Français. 2) les Américains ont une approche beaucoup plus sentimentale, sûrement due à leur relation avec leur propre famille, tandis que les Français ont une approche plus théorique, sur la famille en général. 3) les Français ont employé plus de mots négatifs (conflits, imposée, désillusion, divorce).

I agree in general with all of Frédérique's remarks. It seems that "family" is more immediately connected with notions of family structure (kids, parents, brothers, sisters, etc.) in MIT student's minds, while students at the INT appear to think more in terms of family dynamics (divorce, marriage) when presented with the word "family."

One thing I think we all have to keep in mind though is that the differences we notice in our responses to these words may not actually reflect true disparities in our thought patterns. Yes it is interesting to learn that we react differently when presented with the word "family," but it might be even more interesting if we tried to come up with french and american words that precisely addressed specific concepts/ideas, and then had students respond to them. Such precision is not necessarily achieved when we translate words like "work" and "travail," and so what we get back, and hence what we analyze, may not reflect fundamental differences in our values or even our thoughts. Instead, our responses more often reflect what the words have come to be associated with in our respective cultures, which is certainly interesting to learn about, but again such knowledge does not provide relevant information about specific ideas such as "what elements go into making a successful family?" (and of course, we would have to try and limit the interpretation of words such as elements, successful, and family)

In response to Cecile's questions:

Considérez-vous que les amis puissent remplacer une famille? Il me semble que ce ne sont absolument pas les mêmes liens qui nous unissent à nos parents (par exemple) et à nos amis. Une autre petite question : pourquoi limiter la famille aux seuls parents?

If we have strong relationships with our family, I don't think that friends can replace them, whether or not we live with our parents. For me, coming to college puts me five hours away from my home town, so it's very hard keeping in touch with my friends from home, who have themselves gone all over the country for college. And I'm sure when I'm out of college and have a job, all the friends I've made here will be split up (location-wise) also. I've always found my parents the most dependable. I agree, though, that the ties between family and those between friends are different.

How old were you either when you stopped living with your family or when you first felt independent from them? How often do you keep in touch with your immediate family now that you are away? I noticed the word "love" a lot more on the American side; I wonder if French people just aren't as dependent (emotionally) on their parents?

I agree with Frédérique's remarks as well - the French students think in more abstract terms than the American. They also are more aware of their future family whereas, the students from MIT think of their immediate family first. (That might speak of maturity or the nature of college life in the US). In that regard, I wonder why the French students have many negavite associations about their future family? Why words like "conflicts", "partage", "divorce" are so common? Is the family a stable and permanent part of one's life?

To respond to Cecile's question about friends and family: For the past four year I have lived thousands of kilometers away, across oceans from my family and I have found out that yes, friends can be your family. They can be your true family and know more about you than your own parents. But it is also true that friends might have to leave, they come and go, no matter how good they are, and good friends are hard to find. So after four years of fantastic and not as good friendships I have found out that no matter what, your real family will always be there - it never comes and leaves, it cannot be compared to friendship even though friendship is an essential part of it.

I also think that friends can be your family in some ways, but not all. It depends on the experience of different people. At what age do you start living away from your family in France. Are divorces very common and how does it affect the families in France?

I would have to say that the American culture is very exclusive about their family members. I was born in Mexico and eventhough I was raised in the United States since I was six I was raised in a Mexican Household. Mexican culture is more like the French Culture. When we say family, we are including uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, god-parents and so on. I am actually surprise that my own response to the word family was "mother, father, and brother" I'm not sure why I did it, but I did. Our families include much more than that.

In my home back in California, my parents are sharing our house with two of my uncles and their wives and kids. Three of my other uncles and aunts only live a few blocks away from us. So in reality we are all very close to each other. In Mexico there is not an age at which we kids move out, a girl moving out at the age of eighteen is unheard of. When my parents found out I was going to school on the other coast of the country they couldn't believe their baby was leaving at the age of seventeen. But my family is being Americanized and we are changing into the American culture.

I have a question about families and their relation to their neighbors. Why is it that French families tend to see their neighbors as their enemies? In the United States they are seen as part of your friends. Those type of friends that you invite over for a cup of coffee or for a drink. I mean they are the people living next door to you. Are there a lot of disputes between neighboring families or why is it that you don't care much for your neighbors?

I think that a lot of American parents are actually happy when their kids finally go away to college; it gives the parents some privacy that they haven't had for 18 years.

Can you guys tell us your associations with them verses your age? Like when you are 15, how presonal are you with them? How often do you talk to them? Then the same when you are 20, 25, etc. until it stabilizes.

Salut!Pour répondre à Diana: personnellement ma famille et moi nous nous entendons relativement bien avec nos voisins.Cependant on ne se préoccupe pas d'eux à longueur de journée et c'est assez rare qu'ils viennent chez nous.