You are cashing a personal check at a bank, the employee reads your name on the check and addresses you with your first name.

Vous touchez un chèque dans une banque, l'employé lit votre nom sur le chèque et vous adresse la parole en utilisant votre prénom.

I address them with their first name, too.

I blink and make sure to bank checks with machines in the future.

I don't care.

I let her cash the check as usual.

I say, "yep, that's me, dude"

I wait until he gives me the money and then ignore him

i would be fine with it

I would be surprised and react nervously, probably with a smile or a laugh, and leave quickly.

I would become more friendly with the employee.

I would probably not notice, especially because they are more likely to correctly pronounce my first name rather than my last.

I would read their name off of their badge and address them by their name.

I wouldn't have a problem with that and would continue making my transaction.

I'd be a little shocked, but it wouldn't affect me much.


Reply. I am indifferent to strangers addressing me by my first name.

thank him or her for being friendly

That wouldn't bother me at all.

Think nothing of it

(on a pas elever les cochons ensemble. )Je lui informe poliment que j'ai un non de famille et que moi je ne l'appel pas avec son prenom.

c'est un peu trop familier à mon goût.

Cela ne me gênerait pas mais je la tutoierais aussi pour voir sa réaction.

Et alors ? Il est joli mon prénom !

je lui demande pour qui il se prend , et qu on ne se connait pas ; je le prie de m appeler Madmoiselle!!!

Je lui demande pour qui il se prend et lui explique que son âge ou sa position ne l'autorise pas à une telle pratique. S'il persiste, je le tutois aussi, dans la mesure où il sera mal à l'aise, il cessera de lui-même. Par contre, si cet employé de banque est jeune et sympa, pourquoi pas ?!

je lui demande si on se connait, et je lui parle en l'appellant Georges.

je lui dis "ça va marcel ? ça fait longtamps, hein ?"

je lui fait comprendre qu'on "n'a pas garder les moutons ensemble", il me doit le respect de m'appeler par mon nom de famille

je rigole

je récupère mon chèque, fait un petit scandale, et vais à une autre banque

je suis surpris, mais après tout pourquoi pas ? :-) cela ne me gène pas outre mesure

je trouve ca lamentable surtout si il est plus agé

je trouve cela sympatique, tout dépend du ton qu'il emploie

ça ne m'énerve pas mais je le trouve un peu trop amical.



It seems that there is a much higher level of formality in France than there is in America when it comes to
interactions with people we don't know. I think, in general, America has pretty informal traditions when it comes
to addressing people. For example, my employer asks me to call him by his first name. Also, many people will
address their step-parents by first name instead of calling them "Mom" or "Dad." So, for me, it isn't strange for
others to address me by my first name. I was wondering, what kinds of formalities exist in France? Do you
automatically address people by their family name? For example, if you go over to your friend's house, do you
address their parents by first name or by last name? (In America, a lot of people would address friends' parents
by first names).

Form of Address

As I thought about this situation, it occurred to me that normally, I am very used to people addressing me by first
name. I think that is because in school, growing up, teachers would always call on students by first name. Thus,
we become very accustomed to being addressed by our first names. Even now, in college, my professors will
always address me by first name. The question then becomes, when do we transition from identifying with our first
names to identifying with our last names? I think in America, this transition slowly happens during college and the
years following that. What about in France? When is it that you transition from being called by your first name to
being called by your last name? Is there a marked moment? Also, is there a time when people transition from
addressing you with "tutoier" to "vousvoyer"?

Strangers to Friends

As Susanna and Alicia previously stated, it seems that the code of address between strangers and friends is quite
rigid. It is definitely more formal than in the US. And, as I spent most of my life in the US, I was wondering when
one transitions between the formal "vous" address one gives to strangers and the informal "tu" address one gives to
friends. That is, when is it okay to call someone by their first name and use "tu"? For how long do you have to
know them?

Does age matter?

I noticed that some French students mentioned the age of the bank teller as something relevant. I guess that
nowadays when people have the same age it is fine to address each other using first names? Is that correct?

Le tutoiement

En France, Alicia a raison, nous sommes assez formels quant à notre discours envers des inconnus. Nous nous
addressons tout d'abord, nous appelons nos professeurs Monsieur ou Madame. Ce phénomène est d'ailleurs
présent dès la petite enfance où nous appelons nos instituteurs : Maître ou Maîtresse. Concernant les parents de
nos amis que nous n'avons jamais vu, il est vrai que le vouvoiement est souvent de rigueur.Je pense que la
transition entre le vouvoiement et le tutoiement d'effectue quand la personne ne nous est plus inconnue, que la
différence d'âge n'est pas trop élevée, et que la fonction n'impose pas un respect particulier. Cependant, quand 2
personnes de même âge ou presque, le tutoiement s'impose souvent automatiquement. Et vous, tutoyez vous vos
professeurs? Et les personnes agées?


It really depends here in the US. I know that I have a tendency to call my professors by their first name if I know
them well enough. By well enough I mean outside the classroom on non-academic matters. However, in class, I
believe that most people simply call their professors "Professor -------" (the blank is for the last name). Or simply
skip the title and go directly to whatever question they wanted to ask. With people who are much older than you
are, I believe that most people will address them with a Mr. or Mrs. and their last name. Unless you know them
very, very well. For example, I have a neighbor who's around two to three generations older than I am and I
address her by her first name. However, not only do I know her very well, she asked me to. Actually, that brings
to mind a question I have: how do you address a person who you've known a long, long time (say your whole
life), but is a great deal older than you? Does the close relationship signify an end to the "vous" and a beginnning to
the "tu" despite the age gap? Or does the age gap form an impenetrable barrier nonetheless?

My experience with formality

In my experience, people will usually let you know how formal you need to me. Amongst people of around the
same age, I automatically refer to them by their first name, even if I don't know them well. Is this the same in
France? When you meet someone of the same age for the first time at college, do you refer to them with tu or
vous? For older people, I usually call them Mr./Ms./Mrs. (last name) the first time we meet, and they will usually
ask me to call them by their first name if they want me to. This happens not necessarily to be informal, but some
people simply prefer to be called by their first name. Does this situation ever occur in France?

first name preference

Although we are all students, we deal with younger children every now and then, and I was wondering if anybody
feels strongly as to how they are addressed by them. With me, I would far prefer to be called by my first name
over my last name. I would feel somewhat pretentious not to ask someone to call me Nick, instead of Mr.
Cordella ( for instance when I worked at a summer camp). I don't see any time in the near future when I would
prefer my last name, either. I guess it'll come in time, especially if I become a teacher or professor. How about
among the French (don't be shy): Do you insist on being referred to in the formal sense by young children?

Culture Difference

I think people here value being able to call each other by first names because it signifies that we are all friends. I
also think that in general AMericans are quite apathetic towards things. I was wondering if any of the French
students have every been to the states and experienced something similar to extreme informality and how you feel
about it.


Alors, tout d'abord, je voudrais dire que les français, notamment à mon age ne demandent pas que les enfants les
vouvoie. Pour ma part, je préfère que les gens qui me connaissent m'appelent par mon prénom. Cela ne me
dérange pas. Généralement, ce sont les individus plus agés qui demandent à ce qu'ils soient vouvoyés.

Familial addresses

What about your family? How do you address cousins, sisters, brothers? Hmm...that's not very clear, is it? What I
mean is, do you address family members as Little Sister, Big Brother, etc or Clara, Andrew, etc? I know that, in
some American families, one addresses one's siblings by their name. In some Asian families I know (particularly
the Japanese), one addresses one's family members by their relation (Big Sister, Big Brother, etc.). How do they
do it in France?