March 2, 2024

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Video.  Bad and “rude” English: Are the French really unfriendly to tourists?

Video. Bad and “rude” English: Are the French really unfriendly to tourists?

Are the French unfriendly? Anyway, it's an idea that comes up a lot on social networks, especially from a tourist's video that has over 7 million views on TikTok. In it, he complains that he never met anyone in Lyon because the French were unfriendly. An opinion splits when leaving social networks. At the foot of the Eiffel Tower, Sergio, a Peruvian tourist, highlights the fact that forming a bond with French people is complicated because “very few people speak French or English”.

What if the French were not just unfriendly but bad at English? France ranks 43rd out of 111 according to a global survey of English skills by EF, a company specializing in language learning. The country is in the “Average English Proficiency” category. The Netherlands, Singapore and Austria top the rankings. But for some tourists, this language barrier does not pose a problem, as trying to speak French in France is a good tool for making connections. Kate, an English tourist, says: “I think it's our responsibility to learn a bit of French.

For foreigners who are not tourists but living in France, this desire to sympathize with the French is very important. For them, integration can be really difficult at times. The international site has ranked the best countries for expats. In 2023, France was not among the best countries, ranking 33rd out of 53 countries.

In this case, language is not the main problem, but more cultural differences. For Henri-Pierre, a Franco-British who has lived in France for two and a half years, the French are not very social at first glance, they have a “shield”. “But if you cross this barrier, the French open up with a big heart,” he assures.

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