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- Bonjour !
- Hello!
Alors aujourd'hui on va s'intéresser (je me permets de lui faire la bise) on va s'intéresser justement à ce, à ce sujet qui peut surprendre.
So today we are going to talk about (let me kiss her) we are going to talk about an unusual topic.
Cette coutume typiquement française, qui peut surprendre, intriguer, et même parfois dégoûter.
A typically French custom which people may find surprising, intriguing, and even sometimes disgusting.
Je vous rassure, moi ce n'est pas du tout le cas : on va vous parler de la bise aujourd'hui.
Don't worry, I am not one of those at all: we will tell you about the cheek kiss today.
- La bise, bah on la fait tous les jours sans franchement le remarquer.
- The kiss on the cheek, well, we do it every day without really noticing it.
Mais d' vient cette coutume si particulière ?
But where does this peculiar custom come from?
Eh bien des Romains.
Well, from the Romans.
Les Romains avaient 3 mots pour désigner des baisers, donc plus ou moins intimes, dont "basium".
The Romans had 3 more or less intimate words to designate kisses, including "basium".
"Basium" c'était un baiser courtois, et c'est de que vient la bise.
"Basium" was a courteous kiss, and that's where "la bise" comes from.
Alors, on constate d'ailleurs que cette coutume de faire la bise est pratiquée dans d'autres pays avec un héritage romain, comme dans le sud de l'Europe ou même en Russie.
You'll notice that this custom is practiced in other countries with a Roman heritage, such as in Southern Europe or even in Russia.
Mais les Français bien sûr, sont les champions du monde de la bise.
But the French are of course world champions.
- Je vous confirme, on pratique matin, midi et soir.
- I agree, we practice it in morning, at noon and in the evening.
En France on connaît implicitement le mode d'emploi pour faire la bise, mais pour un étranger, bah c'est pas toujours évident, ça prête parfois à confusion.
In France we implicitly know the rules of "la bise", but for a foreigner, well it's not always obvious, it sometimes leads to confusion.
- Tout à fait. Déjà, qui se fait la bise ? C'est pas toujours évident.
- Absolutely. First, who kisses cheeks?
La bise est principalement réservée à des connaissances proches : famille, amis, mais tout le monde ne fait pas la bise à tout le monde.
The cheek kiss is mainly reserved for close acquaintances: family, friends, but not everyone cheek-kisses everyone.
Si vous êtes une fille, eh bien si, vous pouvez faire la bise à tout le monde, et tout le monde va vous faire la bise.
If you're a girl, well, you can cheek-kiss everyone, and everyone will cheek-kiss you.
Mais c'est différent pour les garçons, on va y venir.
But it's different for boys, we'll come to that.
Mais après le qui, il y a le comment se faire la bise, parce que encore il y a des règles implicites, que nous, les Français, on connait.
But after the who, there is the how to kiss on the cheek, because there again there are implicit rules, which we the French know.
C'est très très important : les lèvres ne doivent pas toucher les joues de l'autre personne.
This is very very important: the lips should not touch the cheeks of the other person.
Ça c'est assez controversé.
This is quite controversial.
- Ça c'est pour les grands-mères, en général.
- This is for grandmothers, in general.
- Donc on ne touche pas les lèvres avec - enfin les joues plutôt - avec la lèvre.
- So we don't touch the lips, I mean the cheeks with the lips.
C'est joue contre joue et on fait un petit smack, comme ça, un petit bruit parce que sinon c'est très bizarre aussi.
It's cheek to cheek and we make a little peck, just like that, a little noise because otherwise it's very weird too.
- Alors, une autre question qui est évidemment cruciale et que beaucoup de Français se posent d'ailleurs encore selon les régions on se trouve : combien de bises à chaque fois ?
- So another question which is obviously crucial and which many French people still ask themselves, depending on the region where we find ourselves: how many kisses each time?
- Eh bien, c'est très compliqué, et vous l'avez dit : ça dépend de la région.
- Well, it's very complicated, and you said it: it depends on the region.
Et pour vous aider, j'ai trouvé cette magnifique carte de France de la bise.
And to help you, I found this wonderful map of cheek kisses in France.
Carte de France de la bise, vous pouvez voir, le nombre varie de 1 à 4.
A map of "la bise" in France: as you can see, the number varies from 1 to 4.
Au-delà de 4 c'est juste ridicule.
Beyond 4 it's just ridiculous.
Alors vous pouvez voir : jaune c'est deux.
So you can see: yellow is for two.
Donc deux c'est la majorité. La majorité de la France se fait deux bises, comme à Paris.
So two is the majority. Most people in France give two kisses, like in Paris.
Donc autre question épineuse : on commence de quel côté ?
Another thorny question is, which side do we start with?
Parce que encore, ça dépend des régions. Vous pouvez voir...
Because there again, it depends on the region. As you can see...
- On a commencé par la gauche je crois nous.
- We started on the left, I believe.
- Nous on a commencé voilà, on commence par tendre la joue de droite, donc on commence par la gauche.
- Yes we started like that, we start with the right cheek, so we go to the left.
Mais encore, on va voir une autre carte vous pouvez voir : ça dépend des régions.
But then again, we will see another map where, as you can see, it depends on the region.
Vous pouvez voir dans le sud, dans le sud-est etc, on commence par la gauche.
You can see in the south, in the southeast etc. you start with the left.
Alors il faut éviter, ou essayer d'éviter que sa bise se transforme en "French kiss" parce que ça c'est juste horrible.
So you have to avoid, or try to avoid that your cheek kiss turns into a "French kiss" because that's just horrible.
Mais rassurez-vous, nous les Français aussi on se trompe très très souvent.
But don't worry, we the French get it wrong very often too.
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"La bise" in France


Source: FRANCE 24, Youtube, 29 Nov 2019

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Credits: Ilini uses dictionary data from Wiktionary via Wikdict and DBnary licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The following icons from are licensed by CC 3.0 BY: King, Headphones, Geography, Text Entry Box, Winner, Postbox, Info and Rubik icons by Freepik; "File" and "Contract" Icons by Vectors Market; List and Idea icons by Madebyoliver; Cardiogram icon by Pixel perfect; Theater and Gift icons by Pixel Buddha. Hat icon by Dimitry Miroliubov. Award by Vectors Market. Folder by Smashicons.

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