Ça va? Ça va. The French are lazy

I work with a French lady. Out of respect for her language, and in an effort to introduce a little office-based banter, I make a rather trivial attempt to make her feel at home each morning with a standard greeting: ça va?

She always plays back to me my question, without the questioning intonation at the end: ça va.

If you think about it (and I never have before), it’s just plain lazy. And particularly non-committal.

Does it go?
It goes.

It goes is hardly an underlining of one’s joie de vivre, to coin another Frenchism. Yet I suppose we Brits are similarly ambivalent when it comes to stock responses.

How are you?
I’m fine.

But as I said to another colleague recently, rarely does the questioner care much as to the answer to the question. Certainly people are freaked out if you as an enquirer are particularly intent on the answer, and if you continue the conversation with follow-up questions to ascertain more detail.

Get away from me, you freak!

I’m tempted to start using the French approach in the future, informing colleagues on asking as to my general well-being that: it goes.

Comments

One Response to “Ça va? Ça va. The French are lazy”

  1. Stefan on November 14th, 2009 02:19

    You remind me of the conversation between bus conductor (yes, it’s an old story)and passenger:

    “Thank you?”
    [Does anyone need to buy a ticket]
    “Thank you.”
    [Yes, I would like a ticket, please]
    “Thank you.”
    [I have the ticket ready to give you]
    “Thank you.”
    [Here is the money]
    “Thank you.”
    [Here is your ticket]
    “Thank you.”
    [Thank you]
    “Thank you?”
    [Does anybody else need to buy a ticket?]

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