A rude person is someone ...

Une personne impolie est quelqu'un ...

behaves with coldness.

condescending, arrogant, obnoxious.

doesn't consider those around them

who interrupts.

spits at you when they are angry

who cares more about himself than his child, who does not support his child and his decisions, who is not part of his child's life.

who disrespect others with no good reason.

who disrespects others without showing concern.

who does not let others speak.

who does not respect other people's feelings and opinions and who insists doing things in his own way.

who does not respect your space, ideas, or presence.

who fails to understand the perspective of others and who imposes his/her beliefs on them.

who has a bad attitude, likes to hurt people's feelings, and doesn't care about the consequences of his actions.

who has no regard for other's emotions, and is not concerned with being polite. A rude person can still have good intentions, just the way he/she says things come across as pointed and impolite.

who has nothing good to say.

who intentionally says or does something offensive.

who is disrespectful.

who is not polite, too frank, or unpleasant to talk or be with.

who isn't polite, who doesn't think about other people except for himself or herself, who isn't easy to interact with.

who refuses to see reason or to sympathize with the pain of others.

who skips in line.

who talks over other people, refuses to compromise, does not use manners and is generally disrespectful.

who undermines others, judges others or just lacks manners.

d'intolérant et sans manières.

désagréable, inintéressante,

de non respectueux envers les autres

de non respectueux envers les personnes qui l'entoure

de vulgaire, de mauvaise foie et égoïste

grossier, incorrect, sans gêne

ne remerciant jamais
n'ayant aucun égard pour les autres
faisant des remarques déplaisantes

non respectueuse d'autrui, et vulgaire.

qui crache, qui ne dit pas bonjour,qui ne respecte rien ni personne

qui dit des gros mots, qui parle vulgairement, qui ne dit pas merci

qui dit des grossièretés, qui a de mauvaises manières et qui est irrespectueuse.

qui est grossiére

qui jure souvent.

qui n'est pas bien éduquée

qui ne dit pas "bonjour", "s'il vous plait", "merci", "au revoir"...

qui ne dit pas bonjour, qui se fiche des personnes autour de lui, qui ne respect pas son entourage.

qui ne respecte pas la personne en face de lui en n'usant pas des règles de politesses basiques.

qui ne respecte pas les règles de politesse.

qui s'impose aux autres

sans gênes, sale, qui ne respecte pas autrui.


It looks like the Americans look at rudeness as a state of mind rather than the manner in which it is expressed, as the prevalent concern is selfishness and egoism: failure to understand the perspectives of others, coldness, arrogance, etc, as well as a lack of respect for people. Impoliteness itself shows up only five times. On the other hand, the French mention vulgarity/manners/etc twelve, only then followed by respect and egoism. We've been talking about the Americans being much more materialistic and objective in looking at things, while the French seem to be more conceptual... yet why do you think Americans look more for the motivations behind people's actions than the French seem to?


I also thought it was interesting to see the words "ininteressante" and "[personne] qui n'est pas bien eduquee" in the French responses. It seems logical to draw a connection to the cultural history. Thoughts?

I think Americans think of rudeness as something more concrete, not really a state of mind but a set of actions. We mention alot of actions such as spitting, cutting in line, judging others, doing offensive things intentionally, talking over other people, imposing our views on others, etc. I think we are concerned, when it comes to rude people, about being hurt or offended, personal and individual pride and well-being, individualistic in a sense.

The French, I thought on the other hand, saw rudeness more as a series of violations to social norms for them. I usually think of European peoples to be more friendly and amiable than Americans. They kiss each other, shake hands, even if they are strangers (or at least according to my French I/II book). The concept of the greeting I feel is more powerful in European societies and French society is no exception. They mention a lot about not saying "hi", or "please", or even "thank you" and these are things that aren't necessarily good in American society either, but the fact that none of us mentioned it means it has a smaller priority among the things we do consider to be rude. That being said, the French place an emphasis on manners and politeness.


I agree with Anton. Americans tend to focus on the thought process behind actions before deciding if a person is well-behaved or not. In contrast, it seemed to me that from the French perspective, there is an unspoken code that determines whether someone is well-behaved or not. I find that French people are easily offended by foreigners visiting France. Is it because they believe that visitors are not well-behaved, based on their social norms?

Je suis aussi d'accord avec Anton pour dire qu'il y a une sorte de "code" sous-entendu de politesse en France. Ceux qui ne le respecte pas sont généralement très mal vus. Cependant je ne suis pas sure que nous reprochions aux étrangers venant visiter la France de ne pas avoir ce "code",e ne tout cas je ne le ressens pas comme ça. Peut etre que l'offence que ressent Evita est juste une arrogance naturelle de notre part (après tout les français sont connus pour être fiers)

It's interesting what Anton said. I was wondering why many of the French students wrote down that a rude person doesn't say bonjour or merci. But it seems true that the custom of greeting someone is very important in France.

I find it interesting how swearing and vulgarity is considered rude by some French commenters. Indeed, it brings up the importance of motives and not actions for Americans. I think it's generally a mark of many Americans to be (sometimes uncomfortably) frank without any intent of being offensive or rude. Many people find the offensive and rude language and actions to be hilarious (our stand up comedians for the most part...)

I hope this isn't a silly question, but is there a lot of swearing in French entertainment? Or even, is there much swearing in the average day to day conversation of a young person in France? (English speakers seem to enjoy dropping the f word regardless of mood or situation).


Je ne pense pas que le mot "inintéressant" décrit bien une personne impolie. On peut tout à fait être poli et n'avoir rien à raconter d'intéressant! En quoi relierais-tu ça aux faits historiques?

To quickly clarify before I have to go to my next class >.>

What I mean to say is that a lot of what the Americans were saying about politeness was looking at the motivations and thoughts of the person doing the action: Americans think that a polite person is someone who has respect and tolerance of the ideas of other people. They mention more specific examples of manners with less frequency, and don't mention cursing at all. The French, on the other hand, talk mostly about these rules, and say little about what would motivate them: it is almost as if politeness is something that is independent of what the person thinks of those around him, but is just the way that he speaks to them.

This is very interesting to me because in the previous forums, the French have mentioned that they think more in terms of ideas and abstractions, and that indeed their education is much more abstract, and yet here the idea of "politeness" is something that is very concrete and phsyical, in comparison to the more abstract concept of respect for someone. I am wondering if you think this to be the case?

I am also wondering if you would consider these rules of politeness of be social relics of the aristocracy, as they are in effect a set of rules based in tradition.

Do you think that having verys et rules of politeness makes it harder for people to express their negative sentiments to eachother? People say that Americans are hard to read because they are always smiling and saying hello even if they don't like you, but from these responses, it seems like the French would be more likely to do that. What do you think? Do rules of politesse change depending on your regard for the person you encounter?


Going back to the question that you ask, Josephine, I draw reference to the tradition of interesting conversation as something that is considered necessary for a person to be considered well-mannered. I don't know much about French culture of the 19th and 18th centuries, but from what I know about English and Russian culture, upholding an interesting conversation was considered an art and a skill that was just as important to being well-mannered and polite as was anything else. Being able to do that of course required a certain level of education and world view. Do you think this still, to some extent, holds true?


Je ne connais pas vraiment grand chose de la culture française au 19ème et 18ème siècle non plus. De ce que je connais, la culture française devait être semblable à celle des anglais pour les manières et la politesse. Je pense qu'en France, ces manières sont restées. Elles sont même exagérées de mon point de vue... Il y a énormément de façon de se montrer poli en France qui n'existent pas dans ma culture d'origine (je suis néerlandaise). Cependant j'ai grandi avec, donc je m'y suis habituée. Ici, il faut faire la bise le matin, voir le soir avant de se quitter, il faut attendre avant de s'assoir d'y être autorisé quand on va chez quelqu'un, il faut systématiquement demander aux personnes comment ils vont...

Vu comme ça, oui, ceci existe. C'est tellement imprégné dans l'éducation des français que ça leur semble naturel.


pour répondre à ta question, je dirais que pour nous, la notion d'impolitesse passe beaucoup par le langage et par la bienséance; si je comprends bien vos remarques, quelqu'un d'impoli est celui qui ne respecte pas les autres.


D'autre part, oui, les jeunes utilisent beaucoup de mots d'argot dans la vie de tous les jour.


tes remarques sont très justes, c'est vrai que les Français attachent beaucoup d'importance à la manière dont les choses sont dites, mais cela ne me semble pas contradictoire avec le fait que nous pensons de manière plus abstraite. Ta question sur l'origine de ce comportement est intéressante: cela n'a rien à voir avec des restes de l'aristocratie, comme tu le dis, c'est plus lié à la tradition et à nos modes de communication; nous disons souvent que c'est difficle d'avoir des vraies relations avec les américain parce qu'ils sont très exhubérants et vous parlent facilement, ce qui n'est pas le cas en France; mais c'est peut-être encore un stéréotype...



je pense que tu a parfaitement raison, tu as bien saisi notre pensée; quand tu dis cutting in line, c'est vrai! les français essayent toujours de se débrouiller pour ne pas faire la queue et passer avant les autres!

One question, why do you think swearing considered impolite in France? And under what contexts/circumstances are most swears used?

I'm trying to think if we think the same way about swearing. For people you've just met, it would definitely not be well-received if you swore, especially from older people. I feel that swearing as Johanna mentioned, may be used regardless of mood or situation. Oftentimes, swearing is used to be funny, to add emphasis, not necessarily to hurt or insult. There are times when I drop the f-bomb to show an affectionate or playful kind of disagreement. I feel like it might be a young people thing, which begs my next question, do French adults feel that French teenagers and young adults are rude? What are some things that you, as university students, would consider to be okay (not impolite), but would be received by an older Frenchman as impolite?

I think swearing is considered impolite and crude in most parts of the world, not only in France. I grew up in Ghana but have lived in the US for the last 8 years. While I do realize that Americans swear a lot and I try to be tolerant of this behaviour, I still find it offensive and do not think highly of anyone who swears a lot. The reason is that I was taught that swear words are bad words and a sign of improper upbringing. So I am curious to know why Americans use swear words so frequently.

I don't think that swear words are considered really impolite for most "liberally-minded" people. I used to think that swearing was really bad when I got here too (I'm from Russia), but I got used to it somewhere around 9th grade. I think it's become a part of our mode of expression now, for emphasis... if you feel particularly bitter, you can attribute this phenomenon to the decline of language in general :-p.

What interests me, though, is the duality that was mentioned in class today- that parents let their children do whatever they want because they are confident that they are still polite to their elders, etc. To me, this implies that a person has two modes of interaction: the formal, when all manners are followed, and the informal, when one does pretty much whatever. As far as I know, for instance, colloquial French is no less curse-heavy than English. I'm wondering if manners are followed also during this informal interaction? Which ones are neglected and which ones kept?

I'm just thinking that the separation between these two personalities, though obviously extant, is somewhat less in Americans, and that in general, polite people tend to be polite all across, and rude people rude. Also, I think we are a good deal less formal in our interactions with strangers, people we don't know well, people older than we are (perhaps because they want to feel young :-p), which may contribute to a greater merging of these personalities. What do you think?

Ce que les français plus âgés que nous n'apprécieraient pas et qui ne nous choque pas:

1 manger du chewingum en leur parlant

2 ne pas leur céder la place dans le bus

3 ne pas les laisser passer devant nous à la caisse d'un magasin

4 utiliser nos téléphones portables en public

5 parler fort dans une salle d'attente

6 que les filles boivent auatnt que les garçons

c'est ce que mes parents pensent...

Entre amis si les "codes de bonnes conduites" ne sont pas respectés on ne se formalise pas!

Par exemple si un ami arrive et qu'il ne dit pas "Bonjour" personne ne lui en voudra! Ça permettra même de créer une sorte de familiarité qui fait qu'on devient finalement amis...

Vous ne vous faites pas "la bise" quand vous croisez une fille que vous connaissez? Et vous serrez la main entre garçons?

Et simplement pour revenir à ce que tu proposais Martine à propos de ce que des personnes plus âgées trouveraient choquant et pas nous,

je ne considère pas le fait que les filles boivent de l'alcool autant que les garçons comme une impolitesse.

Pour moi, il s'agit simplement d'une question de comportement dans notre génération plutôt qu'une atteinte aux codes de politesse!

Est-ce que vous les américains vous trouvez ça impoli que des filles puissent boire autant d'alcool que les garçons?

Anjela, je suis d'accord avec toi, je parlais de ce que les personnes âgées considèreraient comme impoli...PAS de ce que je pense!