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Thread: Question for those who want to answer questions

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    Sanity? What's that? Ninja Zolen's Avatar
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    Default Question for those who want to answer questions

    I am basing a story in London of the United Kingdom, as well as in the story travailing to Sweden, Norway, Iran, Côte d'Ivoire (also known as the Ivory Coast), France, Canada, and my own country of the USA.

    While I know enough of my own country I am at a level lacking in knowledge of Culture, popular phrases and even thoughts both negative and positive in (and about) those country's listed that are used in your country, even possibly telling your own thoughts about those country's or you own.(other then my own the USA the one that I know the most about since I live there).

    While I learned a bit from looking around myself, there are large holes in my information that only the people of that country can fill at times (or going over there and living there for a few years or more)

    Any information you can tell about those places about culture, less commonly known political problems, or what ever else you see as relevant please share.

    Thanks for reading
    Last edited by Zolen; 05-06-2010 at 11:18 PM.
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    Is not French The 5,000 Club M. LeRenard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    Well, I lived in France for 6 months some time ago. Plus, I studied French history and culture in college. So I know a bit about them. What, in particular, do you want to know? Because when someone comes in and says, "Tell me about the French," it's hard to know where to start.
    Ohhh... there's a book I read basically comparing and contrasting French culture with American culture. I wish I could remember the title of it. I'm not even sure if it's been printed in English, actually, because I read it in French. If I think of it, though, I'll be sure to let you know so you could reference it.

    Also, it's too bad you didn't pick Finland.
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    Sanity? What's that? Ninja Zolen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    Quote Originally Posted by M. Le Renard View Post
    Well, I lived in France for 6 months some time ago. Plus, I studied French history and culture in college. So I know a bit about them. What, in particular, do you want to know? Because when someone comes in and says, "Tell me about the French," it's hard to know where to start.
    Ohhh... there's a book I read basically comparing and contrasting French culture with American culture. I wish I could remember the title of it. I'm not even sure if it's been printed in English, actually, because I read it in French. If I think of it, though, I'll be sure to let you know so you could reference it.

    Also, it's too bad you didn't pick Finland.
    Hm, I guess as a start on France I would like to know things mainly as aid above but that was set very open but it might be hard to think from that even so umm, the main areas I need to know, are common phrases used, and a bit about political views(strangely I can't find all that much on France in that area...maybe I am looking in the wrong places or something).



    As for that book
    I can not admit to much of the language but I have a basic knowledge of the french language. (only took the first and half of the second class on it before the school got rid of it and replaced it with a Spanish class)
    So while I may stumble while reading, but I have read some French books before. So don't worry to much about if its printed in English. But I would like very much to read this book, that would be awesome.

    As for Finland, maybe if I ever get around to finishing the book then I might need information on Finland for the sequel, I have not yet decided on what country to base the next story mainly around.
    Last edited by Zolen; 05-07-2010 at 12:12 AM. Reason: forgot something
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    Most Interesting Man on FAF The 5,000 Club Term_the_Schmuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    I wrote a short story a few years back about the Easter Uprising in Ireland in 1916. I knew very little of Irish culture going into it and even less about the details surrounding the event.

    I was lucky in my research mostly because I had a clear-cut idea on what aspects of Irish culture I needed to know, ie relationship with Great Britain, weapons, socio-economic make-up, etc. You need to come up with a list of things that are actually important to the story you're writing and then base your research off that. By your OP, it just seems like you want to know everything there is to know about French culture or whatever and, to me, that doesn't seem completely necessary. Just go with what's most important for the purposes of the story.

    Politically speaking, you could probably just look up a foreign politics professor at a university and get a quick interview with them about what's going on in world of French politics.

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    Sanity? What's that? Ninja Zolen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Term_the_Schmuck View Post
    I wrote a short story a few years back about the Easter Uprising in Ireland in 1916. I knew very little of Irish culture going into it and even less about the details surrounding the event.

    I was lucky in my research mostly because I had a clear-cut idea on what aspects of Irish culture I needed to know, ie relationship with Great Britain, weapons, socio-economic make-up, etc. You need to come up with a list of things that are actually important to the story you're writing and then base your research off that. By your OP, it just seems like you want to know everything there is to know about French culture or whatever and, to me, that doesn't seem completely necessary. Just go with what's most important for the purposes of the story.

    Politically speaking, you could probably just look up a foreign politics professor at a university and get a quick interview with them about what's going on in world of French politics.
    In a way of saying it, yes I kinda do want to know as much as I can. When working on real places I always feel more free with my words when I know as much as I can about them is one reason. As well as the simple fact that I like to know this kind of stuff even if its not needed admittedly, on the idea that it might be needed later.

    The second is, your right while I know I am going there, I don't really know what information is vital to the story and what is not. So I am left having to try to learn as much as I can.


    As for the professor, maybe that would be a good idea. I didn't really think of that.
    If you are reading this, that means you are the chosen one planned by fate to stop the evil and madness bringing-

    Sorry wrong person, your not cool enough.
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    Is not French The 5,000 Club M. LeRenard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolen View Post
    Hm, I guess as a start on France I would like to know things mainly as aid above but that was set very open but it might be hard to think from that even so umm, the main areas I need to know, are common phrases used, and a bit about political views(strangely I can't find all that much on France in that area...maybe I am looking in the wrong places or something).
    A bit about political views... well, I guess to start, as a country they're a bit more left-leaning than Americans. One of the main moving forces in France is the unions. Actually, if you live there for any length of time, you'll notice that right away, because there's always a chance you're going to wake up and try to get to school or work on the bus, only to find out that they're on strike... AGAIN. Happens to a lot of things. Trains, buses, trash pickup (that was fun), automotive workers, dairy farmers, etc. 'La grève' is a big factor in French life.
    Um, what else. So far as religion is concerned, because France has had really close dealing with the Catholic church over the centuries, the current policy toward religion is one called laïcité, or secularism, which is a lot more harsh than ours here. This is where that whole Muslim head-scarf controversy came from (well, that and a bit of racism). Kids aren't allowed to wear any kind of religious garment or icon in school, because school is a public institution. So no crosses, no shirts with the Buddha on them, no headscarves, etc. And the French are mostly okay with this, because religious Frenchmen are becoming rarer and rarer as time goes by. Last I heard, something like 50% of the French considered themselves to be atheists or agnostics. Though I might be wrong about that, so don't use that figure like it's fact.
    The French also have way more active political parties than we do here. Here's a list. And every one of those gets some number of votes each election, and depending on the current political climate, they all could end up with parliamentary seats or even the presidency. The French are way more active politically, as well. It's not rude to bring up politics into polite conversation over there. Religion, yes, but politics, no.
    Uh, what else. They're proud of their heritage. And actually (and this is just my point of view; I'm sure some French people would think differently), they can be somewhat xenophobic. I read an article a while back in Le Monde, written by a French-Arab, basically detailing the kind of bullshit he has to deal with because of his race. He had trouble getting an apartment, people call him ethnic slurs as he walks down the street, he has to set up interviews via telephone because people can't believe an Arab could be a writer for such a prestigious newspaper, etc. etc. It seems to stem mostly from the French wanting to keep their country's culture pure, and the tensions that thus result from all the Arabic refugees piling up into Europe. The French actually right now are pushing their culture worldwide through L'Institut de la francophonie in an effort to offset the influence of American culture (which is predominating in some areas even in France... particularly in the film industry, which pisses some people over there off to no end). So there actually currently is a kind of culture war between the French and the Americans, though you'd never know it. But anyway, the point is that the stereotypical proud Frenchman does indeed exist.
    Speaking of which, no one but old Frenchman wear berets anymore. It's out of style. Cigarettes aren't, though, except now it's illegal in France to smoke in public buildings, which put a damper on the whole coffeehouse industry.
    I don't know. I could go on for a while yet, but does that help get you started, maybe?

    So far as 'popular phrases' are concerned... well, they're not the same everywhere. Where I lived (Franche Comté, which is in the foothills of the Alps), everybody started practically every sentence with en fait. I guess one thing you should know in general is that the French language doesn't like absolute statements very much. When you argue, you want to avoid saying things like "It must be so," or "The only logical conclusion," or what have you. I learned this from my writing instructor, who told us that the perfect French essay ends with a lead in to a new possible topic of discussion. Which is totally opposite what we do in America, which is to end with a definite conclusion. So another popular phrase you might want to include is "Je dirais que..." (I would say that...), because it alleviates the definitiveness of the statement following it. And I heard that one all over the place as well.
    Aside from that... look up French curses, would be my advice.
    As for Finland, maybe if I ever get around to finishing the book then I might need information on Finland for the sequel, I have not yet decided on what country to base the next story mainly around.
    I only say that because there's a certain Fin who inhabits these forums who you could glean a lot of information from.

    PS: I found it!
    http://www.amazon.fr/Evidences-invis...3256771&sr=1-1
    And I'm not sure, but this looks like it might be the English version:
    http://www.amazon.com/Cultural-Misun...3256890&sr=1-1
    Hey folks. Go check out Weasyl.

    Dear writers, go check out the The Furry Writers' Guild forums, or join the Guild, if you have what it takes.

  7. #7
    Sanity? What's that? Ninja Zolen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    Quote Originally Posted by M. Le Renard View Post
    A bit about political views... well, I guess to start, as a country they're a bit more left-leaning than Americans. One of the main moving forces in France is the unions. Actually, if you live there for any length of time, you'll notice that right away, because there's always a chance you're going to wake up and try to get to school or work on the bus, only to find out that they're on strike... AGAIN. Happens to a lot of things. Trains, buses, trash pickup (that was fun), automotive workers, dairy farmers, etc. 'La grève' is a big factor in French life.
    Um, what else. So far as religion is concerned, because France has had really close dealing with the Catholic church over the centuries, the current policy toward religion is one called laïcité, or secularism, which is a lot more harsh than ours here. This is where that whole Muslim head-scarf controversy came from (well, that and a bit of racism). Kids aren't allowed to wear any kind of religious garment or icon in school, because school is a public institution. So no crosses, no shirts with the Buddha on them, no headscarves, etc. And the French are mostly okay with this, because religious Frenchmen are becoming rarer and rarer as time goes by. Last I heard, something like 50% of the French considered themselves to be atheists or agnostics. Though I might be wrong about that, so don't use that figure like it's fact.
    The French also have way more active political parties than we do here. Here's a list. And every one of those gets some number of votes each election, and depending on the current political climate, they all could end up with parliamentary seats or even the presidency. The French are way more active politically, as well. It's not rude to bring up politics into polite conversation over there. Religion, yes, but politics, no.
    Uh, what else. They're proud of their heritage. And actually (and this is just my point of view; I'm sure some French people would think differently), they can be somewhat xenophobic. I read an article a while back in Le Monde, written by a French-Arab, basically detailing the kind of bullshit he has to deal with because of his race. He had trouble getting an apartment, people call him ethnic slurs as he walks down the street, he has to set up interviews via telephone because people can't believe an Arab could be a writer for such a prestigious newspaper, etc. etc. It seems to stem mostly from the French wanting to keep their country's culture pure, and the tensions that thus result from all the Arabic refugees piling up into Europe. The French actually right now are pushing their culture worldwide through L'Institut de la francophonie in an effort to offset the influence of American culture (which is predominating in some areas even in France... particularly in the film industry, which pisses some people over there off to no end). So there actually currently is a kind of culture war between the French and the Americans, though you'd never know it. But anyway, the point is that the stereotypical proud Frenchman does indeed exist.
    Speaking of which, no one but old Frenchman wear berets anymore. It's out of style. Cigarettes aren't, though, except now it's illegal in France to smoke in public buildings, which put a damper on the whole coffeehouse industry.
    I don't know. I could go on for a while yet, but does that help get you started, maybe?

    So far as 'popular phrases' are concerned... well, they're not the same everywhere. Where I lived (Franche Comté, which is in the foothills of the Alps), everybody started practically every sentence with en fait. I guess one thing you should know in general is that the French language doesn't like absolute statements very much. When you argue, you want to avoid saying things like "It must be so," or "The only logical conclusion," or what have you. I learned this from my writing instructor, who told us that the perfect French essay ends with a lead in to a new possible topic of discussion. Which is totally opposite what we do in America, which is to end with a definite conclusion. So another popular phrase you might want to include is "Je dirais que..." (I would say that...), because it alleviates the definitiveness of the statement following it. And I heard that one all over the place as well.
    Aside from that... look up French curses, would be my advice.
    __________________________________________________ ______

    I only say that because there's a certain Fin who inhabits these forums who you could glean a lot of information from.

    PS: I found it!
    http://www.amazon.fr/Evidences-invis...3256771&sr=1-1
    And I'm not sure, but this looks like it might be the English version:
    http://www.amazon.com/Cultural-Misun...3256890&sr=1-1
    Hmm, This is very helpful. If you don't mind I am going to copy and paste this to a file I use for quick information that I need.

    Anyway, hm, It looks like they might be different books, but I might be confused simply by the cover's I think. Anyway, thanks again, I will probably buy one of them. (If I can ever get a steady pay at one point...kinda hard to do since I mostly work freelance.)

    Over all that may about cover all the information I need that I have been unable to get otherwise about France in particular. But of course anything else I would enjoy learning.
    Last edited by Zolen; 05-08-2010 at 10:20 AM.
    If you are reading this, that means you are the chosen one planned by fate to stop the evil and madness bringing-

    Sorry wrong person, your not cool enough.
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    Mysteriously Foxy Lone Wolf Maestro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    As far as the French are concerned, I've always seen the USA and France to be sister nations, from a historical perspective. We both walked pretty much hand-in-hand through our own revolutions fighting for our own freedom, a country ruled by its own people. Our revolutionary leaders would burn though late nights scribbling out fervent notes to their revolutionary leaders and so forth.

    Sure, this past while we've been bickering and calling each other names, but it'll pass. What siblings don't fight?

    P.S. unlike our educated foxy friend here, my education is limited to listening to Gotan Project and learning how to cook Crepe Suzette from Alton Brown, so forgive me my ignorance.

    Just thought I'd put my two cents in.

    You know I'm a thoughtful person.
    After all, my picture is in black-and-white.

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    Default Re: Question for those who want to answer questions

    Feel free to ask me if there's anything you want to know about Sweden.

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