Are nous still enchantés?
November 19, 2017 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Do French speakers still say enchanté(e) on first meeting or is it outmoded? What are possible (more) casual alternatives?

Hello, I'm being introduced to a good friend's current person tomorrow, we'll probably be talking
a mix of English and French and while I can read French fine I've hardly spoken it to an actual "native speaker" in ages. What do you say just after names are exchanged these days, is enchantée appropriate or is it odd? Demographic: forty-odd, liberal, queer. Prefer to avoid sounding gender-specific or flirtatious. Merci buckets!
posted by runincircles to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The answer is oui in Quebec, both in French-speaking contexts and in French introductions taking place in mostly English contexts. It's non-gender specific and non-flirtatious as far as I'm aware. (I am a non-native speaker; my French is solidly conversational intermediate, and I am a bit younger but otherwise exactly your demographic.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:57 PM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oui, in Francophone West Africa! And the Haitians I've met recently.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:21 PM on November 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Enchanté(e) is fine. Alternatives can include:

- Un plaisir!
- Avec plaisir!

If they say it to you first, you can say "de même" to mean likewise, or "pareillement" as well. :)
posted by juliebug at 7:06 PM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Totally common in Paris, as a response you can also say également.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:55 PM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Enchanté/e or Ravi/e are both fine and current. And at least, the pronunciation is not gender specific.

But I suggest you take your cues from the French speaking person. Since you’re not a native speaker, he/she will probably opt for a simpler Bonjour / Bonsoir runincircles, to which you should reply Bonjour or Bonsoir.

This question reminds me of being taught (British) English introductions at age 11, with the How do yo do? to which you were supposed to reply How do you do? Well, it’s been 40 years since I started learning English and I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say How do you do in return, not in Britain, nor anywhere else. Then again, what do I know?
posted by Kwadeng at 10:36 PM on November 19, 2017

Parisian here : yes, you say "Enchanté.e" when someone introduce themselves, or "Ravi.e de faire ta/ votre connaissance" but it's a little (little) less formal.
posted by Ifite at 12:48 AM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yes, I (female) have gotten this from both male and female native speakers in Quebec. Non flirtatious unless you're waggling your eyebrows at them seductively while saying it.

(and be prepared for cheek kissing if at least one of you is female!)
posted by randomnity at 7:32 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Francophones are usually less uptight in informal social meetings than Anglos. Speak some French imperfectly, and they might giggle and tease you, which is fine. In some casual social scenes, a nuanced bit of flirtation is not unheard of. This advice may not apply on formal occasions.
posted by ovvl at 7:06 PM on November 20, 2017

Francophones are usually less uptight in informal social meetings than Anglos.

As an Anglo who's lived in France for 8 years I beg to differ. (Unless perhaps you're referring to a Canadian Anglo/Quebecker divide? If so disregard.) In the context of metropolitan France OP's question is totally understandable, and relatable for anyone who's been thrust into an all-Francophone social situation as the sole foreigner. Anyone who said "ravi.e de faire ta connaissance" at a casual party would be openly mocked by most of my French friends/co-workers, especially if the person was foreign (and thus a fun example to use for an on-the-spot object lesson in etiquette). Social rules and practices are extremely important here and there is very little patience for anyone who might misstep, even if said misstep might be totally understandable. This goes double for bourgeois Parisians of the type you're likely to meet if you're here for, say, work or graduate school.
"Enchanté.e" is a great, all-purpose default from which I have rarely if ever seen French people deviate except in the most formal of settings (e.g. meeting a public official at some sort of function). Use it without hesitation!
PS: Smug references to the stereotype of French men as persistent horndogs in any and all social settings, and the idea that this is a charming illustration of some sort of laid-back social attitude vs Anglo Saxon prudery, are as useless as they are tiresome: insofar as it exists this habit is an example of ingrained sexism, and in fact indicates a strong insistence on conformity to traditional gender roles, not a carefree "anything goes" attitude towards social interaction in general. Ask me how I know.
posted by TinyChicken at 3:11 AM on November 21, 2017

marvellous, thanks all! the answers were totally reasurring.
posted by runincircles at 6:26 AM on November 21, 2017

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