complexes, tight-knit, crazy
couch, warm
dinner, Christmas
father, problems
happiness, work
home, happy
home, relatives
kids, dog, soccer
love, eating, sharing
love, home
love, loyalty, caring
love, support
love, vacation, affection
mom, dad, older brother
mom, dad, siblings
mother, father, dog
nucleus, strong
parents, holidays
Parents, support
support, friends, celebrations
Table, sibilings, parents
tight-knit, supportive
vacations, traditions, love

amour, proches
Amour, solidarité, repos,
chaleur, amour
de l'or
important, amour
le plus important, le gens que j'aime
parents, conjoints
parents, frères, soeurs, cousins, cousines
plusieurs membres, un trésor
première institution
privilégié, cocon
securite, bonheur
unité, fondamental
valeur, amour, enfant
éducation, amour, force
éducation, solidarité,


Le mot love revient beaucoup pour les américains quand il s'agit de la
famille. Pour les français le mot important revient le plus souvent. La
notion de famille est différente pour les américains et les français.
Les sentiments ressortent davantage chez les américains. Pourquoi
observe t-on autant de différence ?

I agree that Americans associate the word love with family, whereas the
for the French, the word 'important' comes to mind. I think this is
because the French depend on their family for support and associate
family with other emotions such as happiness and strength. Americans
also associate traditions such as Christmas with family.

I agree with both comments that preceded mine. I see ideas like support,
love, parents, and vacations determine the feelings toward the family in
The United States. The French, in contrast, mention more often the word
important, although the words parents, racines, securité, soutien,
solidarité, repos (all synonyms of support) in a similar proportion.

Being from México, I notice Americans tend to be more independent from
their parents. They see college as the perfect opportunity to run away
from their families, and hence the words vacations takes such
importance. Having discussed how individualism is a positive quality for
Americans, it is naturally for college students to feel for the need of
"support" from their families in a place where nobody else will support

I'm not sure to what extent, but I have the impression that the cultures
of México and France are more alike. Even young adults stay close to
their families year-long and hence words like vacations don't have any
presence in relation with family. Support is also not as important
because we do receive support from many other people, at least compared
to Americans. In the absence of those relations, the word that takes the
mainstage is "importance." We tend to stay closer together to our
families and we usually include in the word "family" what Americans call
the "extended family," like uncles, aunts and cousins. We tend not to
break relations with our families as easily as Americans do. I think it
is now time to ask the French if my experience with family is similar to
theirs. So, is it? Other comments?

Like my colleague Alejandro, it is difficult for me to identify myself
more with the responses from the U.S. side, since I am Mexican too. I
definitely identify more with the opinions of the French, despite the
fact that I have inevitably seperated myself from my family and have had
the opportunity to observe the American stand point.

It is interesting to notice a couple of allusions to implications within
the family on the American side, like "crazy" and "problems." The French
side does not contain anything like this. This may be a few people's
experiences within their family, but it is something that could imply
how close American's are to their family, and how important they
consider them (especially since "important" didn't come up at all on the
U.S. side).

Bonjour, je suis un étudiant argentin de l'IUP MNT, qui habite et étudie
en France dépuis 2002, j'ai lu tes commantaires sur la notion de
"famille" et je suis largement d'accord avec cette reflexion, car je
trouve une grande similarité dans les rapports familiaux entre les
latino-américains et les français.

When I see the word "vacation" in the word-association list for
families, I view it more as someone thinking about the vacations they
take with their families and not that a vacation would be time spent
away from family. Perhaps I am misunderstanding Alejandro's
interpretation though.

I agree that for many American students, going to college is viewed as
an opportunity to become more independent, but I don't think that it is
necessarily to "run away from" their families.

It was interesting to me that on each side, "happiness" was only
mentioned once.

To be honest, just going by the lists and not adding opinions based on
observation of American culture as compared to any other culture, the
only significant difference I see is the American students' emphasis on
the word "love" versus the French students' emphasis on the word
"important." Otherwise, I think the lists really are about the same.

I agree with Frances in that both French students and American students
feel the same about their families. I would even go one step further and
say that "love" and "importance" are equivalents. I also found it
interesting that "problems" and "crazy" were mentioned only on the
American side. Is this because only American families are dysfunctional
at times? Or is it because family problems are not talked about in France?

As far as Alejandro's comments on the American extended family, I agree
that in the US, there is a greater emphasis on the nuclear family -- as
far as the word associations, there were more references to "mother",
"father", "brother", etc on the US side, where relationships between
extended family can often be strained due to both relational issues as
well as proximity to one's extended family. Regarding Marie's equating
love with importance, I'm not sure if I agree. To me, importance seems
to carry a greater obligation. Perhaps this is again due to the American
emphasis on the nuclear family -- as children get older, they're
supposed to break away and form their own nuclear families.

This is in reponse to Aurelie's message. I think that in America, the
notion of family differs from that Europe because of our history.
Americans were always moving, expanding, exploring new territory, and
very rarely stayed at home back when this was happening. This is true,
today, where living in such a large country means that if a company
wants to relocate some of its employees, it can send people 3000 miles
away and they'll still be in the same country.

Speaking from an American perspective, I was always raised to be
independent. I would buy clothing and meals on my own from the age of
14. Also, in America it's considered somewhat pathetic to live in your
parents' home after you graduate from college, where I know that in
Italy, it's completely expected for children to remain in their family's
home for some time - even for the rest of their lives.

Je suis contente de voir que les américains, les français et les
personnes venant d'amérique latine sont d'accord plus ou moins par
rapport au mot famille, à l'idée que nous avons de la famille. Ce terme
regroupe le mot "LOVE", mais aussi le mot "tradition" et "important".
Tout ceci se rapproche, nous avons une même idée mais nous la traduisons
de façon différente.

Dans les définitions données, les américains et les français ne voient
pas le mot "famille" de la même façon. Les américains définissent la
famille davantage par rapport aux personnes qui la constituent : père,
mère, frères, soeurs... et la comparent également à une fête (dîners en
famille, Noël...). Les français quant à eux en ont une vision plus
"spirituele" : ils en parlent plus dans un contexte d'aide et de
soutien. Ils traitent la famille davantage par rapport à ce qu'elle leur
apporte qu'en fonction de ses "composantes". Cependant, la notion amour
est très présente pour les américains comme pour les français.

Je pense que nous avons tous la même notion de la famille, elle
représente quelque chose pour nous. Nous avons dans la majorité associé
les même mots comme "amour", "importants", "parents".Mais par rapport
aux commentaires, je réalise que nous nos mode de vie sont différents.
Les jeunes américains ne vivent pas forcément en famille à cause de
leurs études ou du travail éloigné de leur parents mais ce n'est par
pour autant qu'ils en sont moins attachés. Ca ne m'a pas choqué de voir
les mots problèmes dans les associations alors que nous ne les avons pas
mentionné. Il y a des problèmes dans toutes les familles mais pour moi
cela est secondaire.