United States


big, McDonald's, power-hungry
big, obnoxious, accepting
Canada, country
confused, powerhogs
country, patriotism, power
dream, diverse, pride
fast food, George Bush, the constitution
franchise, business
freedom, democracy, dream
home, large, powerful
map, imperialism, diversity of America, home
protective, pluralism, anger
USA, bush-land
world power, pollution

américain, Hollywood
amical, junk food, cool
Bush, grand, Hamburgers, autarcie
bush, irak, dollars
espace, nature, pouvoir
espaces, New- York, grandeur
grands espace, New York,hyper
liberté, ouverte, force brutale
mode, développer
New-York, grands espaces, cow-boys
pays riche, inégalités, extrême
pays, puissance, gendarmes du monde
pétrole, argent, guerre, grand, autarcie, armes a feu, Bush
superpuissance, clichés, grande diversité culturelle
tolérance, fast-food, hip hop
très riches vs très pauvres, mondialisation


Upon reading what both sides have to say about the United States, I found it very interesting that both sides made mention of the power of the United States as well as its role in the as we informally say in the US - "the world's policeman." The fact that the United States has such absolute power financially and militarily in the world is not one that is happy or celebrated on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. I was just curious if someone could enlighten me as to how the youth of France view our role in International Relations and perhaps how they would alter the system if they think a change is possible?

I think that the words chosen by both American and French students viz. the US are colored by politics. The prominence of words such as "Irak", "Bush", "Patriotism", "Petrole", etc. reflects the predominently liberal sentiments of Brandeis students and the anti-Bush political views of Frenchmen. I find this very intriguing, for the reason that most American students couldn't tell you who the president of France is, let alone a nuanced political view regarding the French. I think the associations most Americans have with the France are cultural, whereas the cultural and the political seem to mix equally with the French. As to what the Americans have to say about their own country, it would be almost more interesting to compare a list of words compiled by a group of students from Oklahoma State University versus the Brandeis list. Keeping in mind that Brandeis is a traditionally very liberal campus, and therefore the students here are more likely to be politically active (and politically left) than students in the center of the country, a list from Oklahoma or Kansas would probably have a much smaller proportion of politically influenced words.

Et tu penses qu'il y a un lien entre ça (le fait que vous soyez "liberals") et le fait que vous étudiez le français? Je veux dire, la France a (je ne sais pas si c'est encore le cas maintenant) une très mauvaise publicité aux Etats Unis, non?

Yes, unfortunately I do feel that France has a negative connotation for many Americans, although it has not always been like that. Since 9/11, when people became increasingly crazy about American patriotism, anyone that the Bush administration says is "against" the US is looked down on by many Americans. So for most of America, France is simply associated with the Eiffel Tower, cheese, and supposedly stuck-up people who are not on the side of the US. It's sad to me, because I think that Americans could actually learn a lot from the French government. I might be wrong, because I don't know that much about the French government currently, but I think that they do a much much better job than we do of providing social services to all citizens, regardless of class or race. I think that Americans could learn a lot by being more politically aware of French policies and government.

C'est fou ça!!

Je suis contente que notre pays ait dit non à la guerre, même si les conséquences sont là... Et c'est bien de voir que tous les Americains ne sont pas foncièrement anti-français!!

merci d'être là!! ;)

Je suis bien d'accord avec toi, surtout qu'en France, le même processus opère, Bush est réélu, les medias nous diffusent les messages anti-français des Américains, nous Français avons aussi parfois cette tendance à considérer que tous les Américains détestent les Français et adorent Bush.(d'où une hostilité réciproque!!!) Cependant, on ne doit pas généraliser, j'ai parlé récemment à une Américaine qui vit en France en lui demandant si elle avait trouvé les Français hostiles et elle m'a répondu que tous les Français qu'elle avait rencontré avaient été très gentils avec elle... ça m'a beaucoup rassuré!!! Il y a de l'espoir des deux cotés... heureusement, tout le monde ne généralise pas!!!!

Before I went to France for the first time, I was a little nervous because I had thought that the French don’t like Americans, (what if they make fun of my accent! lol) and we shouldn’t like them back. And I always thought this was stupid, because I didn’t know anyone from France, so how could I not like them? I remember when we got there, I went into a little shop somewhere and I talked to the cashier in French and he could totally tell I was American. And he was so nice, and he was asking how we like France and everything! I never met anyone the whole time that wasn’t just as nice. So I was glad to throw the stereotypes out the window!

And I know there’s been some tension politically between our countries in the last few years, but I’ve decided that most of the tension is on a political level and doesn’t change how I feel towards the people in France. ;)

c'est clair que lorsqu'on dit que les américains n'aiment pas les français et vice versa, c'est un généralité et il ne faut pas s'en tenir à cela!!

les gens généralise par rapport à une situation un groupe majoritaire, etc... et parcequ'il est facile de généraliser et de se fondre ainsi dans la masse!!

Mais en réalité je pense que dès lors que nous avons un vrai contact on s'apperçoit, et cest rès rassurant, que heureusement ce n'est pas le cas tous les américains ne détestent pas les Français et vice versa, et c'est pour cela que, ce forum par exemple est une bonne idée!!........

cela permettra d'étouffer certain préjugé!

ce n'est pas la politique qui régit tous les rapports humains, enfin j'espère!!

To answer both questions....

A connection between being liberal and taking French is unlikely, in my opinion. I mean, it happens to describe our class (I think), but it has nothing to do with the fact that all liberals study French. Lots of people on campus are liberal, but it has nothing to do with the classes they take.

Secondly, to my knowledge, France isn't really in the American news that often. Of course, I don't watch tv at school, and I don't check the NY Times as often as I check this forum (sigh)......but, the three times I remember France in the news was 1. the heat wave 2. the racial conflicts and 3. the bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Oui, peut être que maintenant la France n'est plus tant aux informations que ça maintenant, mais bon, il a dû quand même y avoir une crise assez grave pour que des choses qui portent le nom de "French" soient renommées et qu'il y ait un embargo sur les produits français...

Je ne fais pas non plus l'amalgame "Français= liberals", mais j'imagine que si vous aviez été euh... "non libéraux"..., vous auriez surement abandonné le Français par conviction, ou au moins vous n'auriez pas continué ça comme spécialité à la fac...

I did not mean to imply that all of France was liberal, but I do believe there is certainly a strong anti-Bush sentiment in some quarters. I do follow the news and I remember very well the uproar in Europe leading to the war in Iraq, and so the prominence of Bush on the French list I found not so surprising. I also rather suspect that you can be a "conservative" in France and still be anti-Bush, whereas here the two are almost synonymous.

One thing I was wondering about was sort of a litmus test of how politically influenced this list is, if France were the preeminent superpower in the world, and America was in France's position, (in essence, roles reversed), would the American list be more influenced by politics? The French one less? Would the cultural references be the same?

It seemed that the French responses to "United States" were very well-informed, if not a bit mechanical. The answers were so uniformly expressing the same sentiments that I can't help but be a little skeptical as to the sources from where they may have been extracted. I was wondering if there is an obligation that French students might feel to form anti-American beliefs on account of the war in Iraq and the aggressive nature of the Bush administration. I was wondering if any of you had visited or lived in the States. If so, has this experience changed your opinion of the US? Also, are your opinions of American people congruent to your ideas of American politics and foreign policy? I am an American Francophile who is infatuated with French culture, art and music, (though I haven't yet been to France), and it saddens me that our countries are at odds politically.

Je pense que la tendance chez les jeunes c'est d'être systématiquement anti-américain, parce que justement la plupart font l'amalgame entre la politique et le peuple. Dans un sens ça se comprend, c'est le peuple qui élit les dirigants dans une démocracie, donc c'est un peu la manière de penser la plus "facile", et puis la politique de Bush est pas forcément judicieuse non plus.

D'un autre côté c'est aussi complétement idiot, puisque ces gens regardent des séries et des films américains, écoutent de la musique américaine, et sont donc baignés dans cette culture qu'ils doivent donc aimer et adopter (sinon ils ne regarderaient pas).

En fait ce qui se passe, je pense, c'est qu'ils ne se rendent même pas compte que c'est pas français. Et c'est normal, tout est doublé!

ex: Je suis allée voir "La guerre des Mondes", à un moment, Tom Cruise dit à sa fille de ne pas s'inquiéter de l'orage, qu'il compare à des feux d'artifices. Et là le doubleur dit: "C'est comme au 14 JUILLET!" !!!!!!! ah ouais, ok.

Donc ma conclusion c'est que des gens bêtes on en a en France et vous en avez aux Etats Unis... Et comme on dit, il faut de tout pour faire un monde!