The Bonjour Effect

The Bonjour Effect : The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed

3.91 (765 ratings by Goodreads)
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Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau 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 Julie and Jean-Benoit 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.To understand and speak French well, one must understand that French conversation runs on a set of rules that go to the heart of French culture. Why do the French like talking about "the decline of France"? Why does broaching a subject like money end all discussion? Why do the French become so aroused debating the merits and qualities of their own language? Through encounters with school principals, city hall civil servants, old friends and business acquaintances, Julie and Jean-Benoit explain why, culturally and historically, conversation with the French is not about communicating or being nice. It's about being interesting. After reading The Bonjour Effect, even readers with a modicum of French language ability will be able to hold their own the next time they step into a bistro on the Left Bank.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 25mm | 230g
  • Duckworth
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0715652192
  • 9780715652190
  • 136,097

Review quote

The Bonjour Effect is an indispensable linguistic roadmap. A highly enjoyable romp through French culture and its language, written with wit and aplomb. -- Debra Ollivier, best-selling author of What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart Packed with fascinating insights * 49th Shelf * Very funny * Rudy Maxa's World with the Careys * Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau unravel the mysteries of French conversation. They take readers beyond what the French are actually saying to explain what it is they really mean -- Shannon Broderick * * A lively and informative description of the country's cultural habits... -- Lysiane Gagnon * The Globe and Mail * The ability to speak French doesn't mean you know how to have a conversation in French in France. Journalists Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau break down the 'rules' of French conversation in their new book The Bonjour Effect * CBC * Whether 'bonjour' is the beginning or the end of your French vocabulary, you'll find something fascinating, surprising, or just plain fou on nearly every page. Before reading this invaluable codebook to French language and culture, I feared that I'd somehow insulted every French waiter, shopkeeper, and clerk between Paris and Nice. Now I know I did, but at least I know why! -- William Alexander, author of Flirting with French Whether you're an expat in France, or simply dream of living there one day, The Bonjour Effect is a helpful resource to cracking the arcane cultural code. Engaging and often funny, filled with examples drawn from the authors' experiences, this is a guide to the most essential of French arts: conversation -- Ann Mah, author of Mastering the Art of French Eating An indispensable linguistic roadmap. A highly enjoyable romp through French culture and its language, written with wit and aplomb -- Debra Ollivier, author Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl This book confirms what the English have suspected for many years, that French is not so much a language as a dance, a ritual, a code to be cracked. The Bonjour Effect cracks it -- David Boyle, author of How to be English
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About Jean-Benoit Nadeau

Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau are the award-winning authors of The Story of French, The Story of Spanish, and the bestselling Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong. They live in Canada.
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Rating details

765 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 26% (202)
4 43% (328)
3 27% (208)
2 3% (24)
1 0% (3)
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