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Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Raymonde Carroll presents an intriguing and thoughtful analysis of the many ways French and Americans—and indeed any members of different cultures—can misinterpret each other, even when ostensibly speaking the same language. Cultural misunderstandings, Carroll points out, can arise even where we least expect them—in our closest relationships. The revealing vignettes that C ...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published June 15th 1990 by University Of Chicago Press (first published May 1st 1987)
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Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it really liked it
The book is written by a French anthropologist, who has been living in the USA. Thus, the chapters abound with wonderful examples illustrating various kinds of misunderstanding between the French and the Americans: the differences in constructing conversations, in how one understands friendship, family life, how people interpret the process of getting information, etc. are discussed.
Cultural analysis is a tool with which the author scrutinizes the meaning of these situations, which, of course, h
Aug 09, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it
When I first read Cultural Misunderstandings 18 or so years ago I thought it was an excellent reference because up to that time I had never really seen anything that pointed out cultural differences among people and of course those differences/misunderstandings are the things that trip up our relationships with others. I'm probably going in a circle with that sentence and not saying anything. Sometimes Americans (and maybe other people as well) measure others according to our own standards rathe ...more
Feb 22, 2015 Stephkay rated it liked it
A lot of good food for thought. I appreciate the explanation of everyday behaviors in a greater context of philosophies. YMMV: A lot of her descriptions of American life do NOT ring true to my experiences; I suspect the French readers may have similar reactions (as did I, but with a smaller sample size).
May 15, 2007 Emma rated it really liked it
Just THE book that will explain why an American might be surprised in France and why a French would feel the same in the United States. Just perfectly relevant if you have ever been through any of those experiences. Thanks to this book, I learnt why you had this little flag up on your mailbox when you wanted the postman to take your mail!
Mar 03, 2012 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author, of French descent and now an anthropologist who teaches at Oberlin College, is engaged in studying how underlying presuppositions, behavioral customs, and hidden cultural assumptions can influence communication patterns and create unintended misunderstandings. I am puzzled by the fact that some of her observations and generalizations are very different from the picture of child rearing presented by Pamela Druckerman in her recently published book, Bringing Up Bebe. Carroll’s book was ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Adeline rated it really liked it
p137: The authors tells you why to practice cultural analysis, i.e. why to read this book?

"Because practicing cultural analysis will in no way change the aspects of myself which I consider to be essential but will enrich me with a new way of thinking, will provide me with an additional tool for my apprehension of the mysterious world around me, will give me access to a new type of pleasure, will afford me interesting discoveries both about myself and the other, both about my culture and that of
Steve Stegman
Apr 12, 2015 Steve Stegman rated it it was amazing
A short but fun read about culture clash and misunderstanding between The French and Americans. Some really interesting things about expected norms in both cultures which are perceived as rude in the opposite family....parenting....the home....the telephone....some hilarious opportunities to offend without ever knowing. Having just returned from France makes this even more enjoyable.
Feb 16, 2016 JoJoff48 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books on the subject, this one is the deepest and profoundest. It is not an easy read and some of the smooth flow of language is undoubtably lost in the translation. It is none the less an excellent treatise of the subject of cross cultural communication.
Trevor Yoakum
Aug 05, 2016 Trevor Yoakum rated it liked it
Carroll unlocks the mysteries that confound French and American cultural understanding. Since I live in a Francophone country in West Africa as well as mingle with many French expatriates, I found Carroll's insights to be very helpful.
Aug 24, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
While a bit outdated, I enjoyed learning about the cultural misunderstandings in everyday life.
Sep 19, 2015 Rebe rated it it was ok
Definitely interesting, though much of the second half was outdated. I'd be curious to read a book like this based on present-day American and French cultures.
Apr 18, 2009 Shaina rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-school
Not only is this book very accurate and well thought-out, all the issues and criticisms one might have with this kind of cultural research and comparison are fully fleshed out by the author. The reader understands the limitations of this kind of anthropological study as well as an incredible comparison of two cultures you would assume to be very similar.

I read this work while living in Paris, and it really enriched my experience. I now highly recommend cultural comparison books to any travelers
May 23, 2011 Marion rated it really liked it
Eye-opening!! I recommend this book to all French expats in the US and American expats in France. This really hit the spot: while the book is a little dated, the culture shocks have not changed... I consider myself Americanized but this book made me feel better as it gave a reasonable explanation to every misunderstanding I've found myself struggling with and some more.
Ce livre est très interessant. On y apprend pas mal de choses sur la culture américaine et ça peut vous servir si vous prévoyez de passer quelques temps aux Etats-Unis. En effet, certains agissements, ancrés dans notre culture française, ne seront pas compris ou pas appréciés outre-atlantique. En somme, ce livre aide à mieux comprendre nos amis américains.
Mimi Voyer
Very enlightening! An anthropological hand-quide to understanding the difference (and similarities) between the French and American cultures! This is one of my text books for my French 420 class, and I think it's wonderful. Can't wait to finish it!
La perception de M. Carroll n'est pas claire. Je ne suis pas d'accord avec le point de vue de cet auteur. Il a raison de dire tous qu'il a inclu dans son livre. Mais je ne sui pas tout a fait d'accord avec sa rationale.
Oct 06, 2008 Neva rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the differences between French and American culture, and how to see reality through another person's eyes. A little depressing from the point of view of assimilation.
Sep 21, 2011 Melanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Amazing! A must read if you are French or American going to live in the US or France, also for students studying abroad and above all for people in Franco-American relationships.
Sophie MH
Aug 10, 2009 Sophie MH rated it did not like it
Shelves: education, culture
An absolute waste of time and money! nothing new, nothing interesting, poorly written and researched. Avoid.
Dec 19, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience by Raymonde Carroll (1990)
Princess Leia
Nov 13, 2012 Princess Leia rated it it was ok
Very interesting but very poorly written.
Nancy Schmuhl geilen
Jun 11, 2013 Nancy Schmuhl geilen rated it it was ok
Dry--even for a non-fiction reader, like me.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please merge book pages and fix accents in the title 3 13 Sep 28, 2014 02:44PM  
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