Dec 292011

Hello everyone,

This is a pretty full and eventful year that’s coming to an end these days, and it’s time to indulge in an usual cliché of reminiscing and ranking the year that’s ending.

And here on Ask a Frenchman, I won’t do things any differently as I’m going to tell you about the 10 most popular posts of the blog for this year 2011.

Here they are:

1. Of course, the most read post this year is the same as every year (apparently Google really likes this post, or at least liked, as with the technical issues from last fall, my rankings have been a little messed up, but more on that another day or never), I’m talking about “How do you date a Frenchman?” I never really know what to think about the popularity of that post. Is it just linked to the fact that for a couple of years it was very well ranked by Google? Or are there so many women out there fantasizing about Frenchmen?

2. The second most popular post this year is “Do French men really find American women fascinating?
If you wonder why I am disillusioned with my own blog at times, there you have the answer; just look at what are the two most popular posts on this blog. When I started Ask a Frenchman, I had two goals: try to be funny and offensive at the same time as well as teach English speakers about my culture. But this is what people care about when they think about France instead…

3. What do French people think of American accents in French? I’m surprised by the success of that rather trivial question, but once again, we all know that success on the Internet has often more to do with being well ranked in Google rather than an actual larger number of people interested in the topic.

4. Why do a lot of French people still smoke? Ah! Finally an interesting topic. I predict a bright future for this post.

5. And we’re back to more relationship/sex questions with: How do you recognize gay men in France?

6. Same old same old: What does it mean to hold hands for a French?

7. A spin-off from “Why French Women Do Not Ask Men Out?” Yawn… Maybe that Top 10 thing was not such a good idea after all…

8. What do the French think of Asian people? Always a tricky type of question…

9. Why don’t French people wear deodorant? Wow, I’m surprised to find this question in the top 10. It’s actually one of the very first posts from Ask a Frenchman and it was asked by a friend just for kicks.

10. What’s wrong with those people? In which I explain that you will find rude people everywhere even in France.

And special mention to: What is the Gallic shrug? because I like it and I think it should be ranked higher.

And that’s it for today (and this year). Have fun and enjoy…

I’ll be back soon (hopefully) with more questions…


More Questions Answered:

  5 Responses to “What was popular on Ask a Frenchman in 2011?”

  1. i guess relationship-related questions are one of those old-age curiosity/dilemma that many faces and the complexity of frenchness drives the reader out in throng?

    bonne année!

  2. The real question is: what will be popular on Ask a Frenchman in 2012 ?

  3. Just so you know…. I wasn’t quite surprised about the list…….. YES there are that many ladies with a “thing” for the French. (At least where I am in America) And I definitely include myself in that one.

  4. Regarding the popularity of the post about what French people think of American accents in French… I found this site by Googling something very similar to that. Yes, this site is ranked highly by Google, but I also was specifically searching for insight into this issue.

    It’s not really all that trivial. Yeah, the whole, “Americans find French accents sexy… do French people find American accents sexy/cute?” narcissistic aspect is pretty stupid. But, I think there are a lot of us learning the French language who want to know how our less-than-perfect French is perceived by native French speakers. French can be a particularly difficult language for Americans to pronounce (especially when the language is learned by adults or older teens.) People want to know if their French comes off as incomprehensible babbling, as stupid-sounding, or whatever. People who aren’t at a conversational proficiency yet, and/or haven’t travelled to French-speaking regions haven’t had the opportunity to find out, first-hand, whether they can be understood. And no matter what, even if they know for sure that French people can understand them when they speak French, they can never really take the perspective of the native Frenchman. Without asking, they can never find out exactly how they are perceived.

    When I hear foreigners speaking English, I have different impressions, depending on the native language of the person speaking. Accents from certain countries can sound more “dumb” than accents of other countries. That sounds like a terrible thing to say, but my theory is that this is so because somehow, some element of the native language makes the pronunciation of English sound similar to what “dumb” or “mentally challenged” native English-speakers sound like. Or, it makes the pronunciation of English sound similar to what native English-speakers with speech impediments sound like. (People with speech impediments do not necessarily have limited intelligence, but they are unfortunately often thought to be less intelligent.) Combine this with the typical limited vocabulary and grammatical errors of someone who isn’t fluent in English, and there you have it… the “dumb” sound. Rationally, we know that these foreigners are not any less intelligent than anyone else, and that they would most likely sound perfectly intelligent when speaking in their own native languages, but that doesn’t negate our first impression.

    So…. I have wondered if the same is true for Americans speaking French (the language I am learning.) Do we sound particularly “dumb” to the ears of the French people? Does our general inability to perfectly pronounce the French ‘r’ and certain vowel sounds truly interfere with the ability of native speakers to figure out what we’re trying to say?

    These thoughts/questions is why I googled and found the post about American accents in French.
    (I also admit to having a long fascination with accents in general. American often think of themselves as “accent-less” and everyone else as having accents. Then it dawns on us… wait a minute, to OTHER people, WE have accents! It’s hard to picture how “foreign” we may sound to other people, so we ask. I have, in particular, often wondered what the American accent sounds like to English and Australian people. The consensus seems to be that it sounds “stupid,” but I often think this comment is largely a reflection of the general attitude of others to Americans, and not the true sound of our accent.

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