soft, quiet, slow (chain_rule) wrote in linguaphiles,
soft, quiet, slow
chain_rule
linguaphiles

VOUS: How weird is it to use it for someone your own age?

I recently started speaking French (my second language) with a French guy I know, and he brought up the possibility of his calling me vous, or vice versa, as a sort of shocking thing, I guess. I jokingly fell into calling him vous for the rest of the night.

I've taken French for several years now, but I want to understand the full connotations/ramifications of this, if we choose to keep it up. I think this is especially important because it's in the context of a relationship.

So what system, if any, of power/dominance does using vous set up? Like I said, he's French, so he's well aware of the full meaning the word carries, and specifically what it would mean for me to call him that, but I want to make sure I have it totally straight.

I know the basics: that it's a formal form of address, and that because we're the same age and are in the same place in life, it's weird for me to be using it.

But to what extent? Is this like calling him sir? I don't want my ignorance to get taken advantage of - is using vous in this situation something that no native speaker would ever agree to take part in? Or might it happen in some context? (What, if any?)
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  • UDDER and WATER

    To the memory of Vladislav Illich-Svitych. This is just to bring attention to something very ‘Nostratic’ (far beyond ‘Indo-European’ languages —…

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