News / Humanity
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Bonjour - The Word To Say 'Hello' in France


In France, there is no better word to use than 'Bonjour'. It literally means good day, when translated to English, and when spoken by the French it becomes a genuine wish to another person to have a good day. Other words are also very strong in France like 'ca va?' (are you doing OK?), and 'au revoir' (goodbye),and 'en forme? (are you at the top of your shape?) and 'à la prochaine' (until the next time). These greetings and departure expressions are used continuously, even with people that are met for the first time, like someone you meet in an elevator, or the person who checks out your groceries.

The French are brought up to say these expressions in a genuine way to each other from the time they speak their first words. 'Bonjour' is one of the first words a French baby learns after 'Mama' and 'Papa'. Other parts of the world conduct equal gestures in their own cultures that are meaningful, and this is not an article to single out the French as superior; but it is sad, that in some parts today, the warm welcome to another person has almost totally disappeared in favour of a blank stare and silence. For some, the other person, not in their immediate family, is just looked at in monetary terms, as a way to make a quick 'whatever currency you prefer' or as a statue that just happens to move as well.

The Cafe in France, is a meeting place in many neighbourhoods where people greet each other to share thoughts, discuss points of view and bond their community together. These words of greeting can be heard consistently as people enter and leave the cafe whether inside, or at outside tables. Key to all of this, from a humanity perspective, is that another human being, regardless of origin, or colour, and just speaking in the language of the French, conveys kindness to another in a meaningful way. For many, these simple gestures make their world go around and put a smile on their face.

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Bonjour - The Word To Say 'Hello' in France
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