After hosting a debate with author Rod Dreher on the virtues of living in a community with shared values in our present century, on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7 at 3PM we will focus on a quite different setting and community, and explore the codes and idiosyncrasies of the French, meant as a language, its speakers and a state of mind. In their acute and funny book, “The Bonjour Effect“, authors Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow offer a retour d’experience, that is, some feedback and comment on what they have learnt in years of travelling or living in France.
Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow spent a decade traveling back and forth to Paris as well as living there. Yet one important lesson never seemed to sink in: how to communicate comfortably with the French, even when you speak their language. In The Bonjour Effect Jean-Benoît and Julie chronicle the lessons they learned after they returned to France to live, for a year, with their twin daughters. They offer up all the lessons they learned and explain, in a book as fizzy as a bottle of the finest French champagne, the most important aspect of all: the French don’t communicate, they converse.
Codes and conventions of a language and the culture it conveys are of course a major topic for anyone with some intellectual curiosity, but it should in particular appeal our students of International Relations and Diplomacy given their penchant and inclination to work on such topics.