Review The Bonjour Effect: The secret codes of French conversation revealed (a review)

original work by JULIE BARLOW and JEAN-BENOÎT NADEAU reviewed by BARRY TOMALIN

There is a feeling among some interculturalists that etiquette and protocol has received too much attention as an indicator of cultural differences. It has obscured the more important influences of attitudes and values, communication styles and above all business and social behaviour. On the other hand, the building of social relations is also important as a business and diplomatic tool and creating the right impression through greetings, showing respect, dress code, gift giving and hospitality all matter. The Bonjour Effect addresses these social relationship-building issues in relation to France but also examines the historical and social roots of language use and behaviour. It is written by two Canadian journalists who have already scored international success with Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong and The Story of French. Their present book, subtitled the Secret Codes of French Conversation divides into two parts, form and content and explains complexities of French conversation and behaviour that often confuse foreigners and will be instructive for teachers of language and culture for all communities.

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