mom, dad, kids

everlasting friends, blood bonds

father responsibility happiness

friends, love, support

traditional, brother and sister, marriage

home, mother, distant

love, support

caring, love, responsibility

supportive, sister

mom dad mary

closeness, fun

support, obligation

vacations, home, love, arguments,

comfortable, careing, supportive

Love, Friendship

love, respect


friendship, guidance

enfants - parents

enfants, parents, grande, unité

foyer, soutien


racines, soutien, compréhension, éducation

amour, important

nombreuse, important, ensemble

parent, frère, pas choisie


chaleur confort

père, mère, frère

patrie, frère, groupe

repère, foyer, sécurité

bonheur, joie, important, vie

parent, frère

chaleur confort



Why is it that there is no mention about the word, "sister?" There were parents, friends, mom, dad, and brother. Is it just pure chance that the respondants do not have sisters?

No Title

I just wanted to make the observation that while many MIT students associated 'family' with words like 'love', 'warmth', 'caring' etc., most INT students replied with simple responses like 'brother', 'father', 'parents' etc. It would be interesting to understand why this happened. I am pretty sure that French also have these things in their families, so where not these associations made? Is this just a different mode of thinking or something?


J'ai aussi remarque la difference entre les francais et les americains sur le concept de la famille. A mon avis, les mots de parents, freres et soeurs ne sont pas que de simples mots et englobent implicitement la notion d'amour, ce sont des liens forts et importants (mot qui est revenu plusieurs fois chez les etudiants de l'int) apportant de la chaleur.

J'ai ete surprise par l'association du concept de la famille avec celui de l'amitite pour les americains. En effet, le mot ami n'apparait pas du tout pour les francais. Il y a une difference entre la famille et les amis, ce sont deux "choses" distinctes. Considerez-vous certains membres de votre famille comme des amis, ou des amis comme un frere ou une soeur? Avez vous le meme type de relation avec votre famille et vos amis?

Une derniere remarque, en France, si la famille ne peut pas financer les etudes, il y a un systeme de bourses tres developpe qui fait que tout le monde peut etudier s'il en a envie et la volonte. Les etudes ne coutent pas tres cheres comparees aux prix des universites americaines. Cela explique pourquoi les francais associent moins la famille au soutien financier.

Les notions d'amour, de chaleur, de bien etre sont evidement associees a la famille pour les francais mais implicitement. Effectivement, ces mots apparaissent peu en tant que tels dans le questionnaire. En revanche, pour les francais, la famille est associe aux mots : 'soutien', 'securite', et en particulier au mot 'important'. Et justement, la famille est importante parcequ'elle est source d'amour, de chaleur, ...

Family or friend?

Charlotte wrote:

J'ai ete surprise par l'association du concept de la famille avec >celui de l'amitite pour les americains. En effet, le mot ami n'apparait pas du tout pour les francais. Il y a une difference entre >la famille et les amis, ce sont deux "choses" distinctes.

Like Charlotte, I too was surprised when I first heard people say that their parent/brother/sister/husband/wife is their best friend. Very often, well in movie at least, as a person grows older and has his/her own life, he/she is increasingly reluctant to spend time with the old family. I remember hearing something like this on Jay Leno -- Q: What's the best part of a family reunion? A: Leaving. So it seems that saying "my are I are friends" is a figurative way of complimenting your family member as being so "cool" that your enjoy hanging out with him/her. In other way, some American families seem to be very casual when it comes to formalities. Remember in "Armageddon" when Liz Tyler insists on addressing Bruce Willis as "Harry" instead of "Dad"? (Well eventually she calls him "Dad" but there are better examples which I can't think of right now :)

Several respondents, French and American, described "un bon ami/a good friend" as "someone you can trust", "someone who supports you", "someone you can count on", "someone who's there for you", etc. It seems that these roles can be fulfilled equally well by family members, if not better since they are already so close to you.

Family vs. Family

I thing that any family should be based on both love and friendship. I mean if you are not friends with your family, who can you be friends with. You have a good point in saying that most people unvision role of friends in such a way that family members can fit in just great in there.

However, it is also true that if you ask me who my best friends are, I would probably not name my parents, since the usual meaning of the word friend is 'friend other than close relative'. On the other hand, if someone asks if I am friends with my sister, for example, I would definitely say yes.

Brother and sister

Was it true in the US that brothers and sisters never play together ?

Est ce vrai aux etats unis que les freres et soeurs ne jouent pas ensemble ?