Why do Americans prefer FRENCH to Spanish on things?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dontwalkhand, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    My dear sweet Monica (my girlfriend) who is Mexican, got me thinking

    Why did auto manufacturers choose French instead of Spanish on things such as the Airbag warnings in cars?

    What also bugged me was a Samsung monitor that we bought...it had English and French on it, but it was made in Mexico.

    As well as that crappy Dell P703W (which has no Mac drivers, and got me pissed off to end up tossing the thing into a pool) has English and French on the Control panel of the product.

    USPS Packaging puts English and French on all of the boxes, and shipping materials...seriously? Maybe Monica has just got me thinking that there are more Spanish speakers than French speakers in the US, but that could be just me...but still, that dead language (no offense my dear French friends :))?

    Spanish has a lesser chance of dying out as a language than French is, thats for sure. I also would like to clarify that these seem to be the US version of the products, so Canada may have their own...though I have never been to Canada myself to ever think of it.

    I would rather have no second language on the product at all, than French!

    Please solve Monica's curiosity! :):apple:

    No offense to any French speakers here, my girlfriend got me thinking, and caused me to vent to someone about it :D
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It has roots in the historical fact that French was the pre-eminent international language of diplomacy for a long time.
  3. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    I just took a quick look at some manuals for a few different products and noticed most of them are in English,French and Spanish.

    Perhaps your GF is focusing on Spanish a bit too much ? ;)
  4. dontwalkhand thread starter macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Sorry if I didn't clarify, I meant on the packaging :).
  5. juanm, Sep 21, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011

    juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    It probably relates to the region the product is intended to be marketed in (North America, Central America, South America). In this case, North America comprises the US, but also Canada, where French is also spoken (and official).
  6. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
    This, there are 8 million people living in Quebec alone, most of whom (except a few dinosaurs), speak French. There is also Montreal, Canada's greatest city after Vancouver. ;) There are important French minorities in Ontario, New Brunswick (the Acadians cousins of the Cajuns) and Manitoba.

    Come to think of it-and I hate to say it-likely the fact is Quebec is more developed than Mexico and a more affluent market is why there is more French than Spanish on packaging.

    Don't forget it's all one big market now with the NAFTA isn't it?
  7. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020


    Nov 21, 2009
    Up There
    I think Americans prefer ENGLISH to any other language on things
  8. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    They need English and French (even though the translation is sometimes horrid) in order to be sold in Canada and I'm guessing most stuff gets the same packaging to be sold in North-America.

    Oh and come on French is an awesome language :)
  9. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I really don't give a damn - as long as there's English on there for me, if they want to add Pig Latin and Klingon to it, I don't care.
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    If it has English and French packaging/documentation, I am expecting its market to be the US and Canada. Not that being a Spanish speaker keeps me from attempting to read the French. I would rather deal with Portuguese or Italian.
  11. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2007
    Location eh?
    I don't prefer languages on packages, everything I buy in Northern New England is English/French from food to software... a HP notebook I setup for my mom asked do you want to setup Windows 7 Home Premium with English or French? :eek:
    A fairly large number of US Citizens speak French due to the madness of Canadian politics from the 70s to mid-90s. If Quebec had split from Canada, it would require most northern US states to speak/read French.

    I was forced to learn French between grade school and middle school in US public education thanks to the idiot government of Canada & the British who made it impossible to modify the Canadian Constitution without themselves being involved. *cough* Canada Act of 1982/Constitution Act 1982 and the crazy Quebec political parties dragged their own crap until the 90s.

    /shakes fist at the British government :mad:
  12. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Most products are produced by region.

    The United States falls under the same region as Canada and some French and English speaking caribbean islands.

    This makes it highly efficient to produce a series of products with English and French labeling for what is close to 40% of the developed world market.
  13. MacHamster68, Sep 21, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    its only because most english speakers dont speak any other language then english , but there are people around that world who do indeed speak several languages espeacially the people who live close to boarders .
    Yes my dear american and english friends there are countries in the world where the citizens speak other languages then english :D

    Manuals are not only printed for America , so are parcels
    There are approximately 6,000 languages spoken on Earth today. About half of those are moribund, spoken only by adults who no longer teach them to the next generation. An additional 40 percent may soon be threatened because the number of children learning them is declining measurably. In other words, 90 percent of existing languages today are likely to die or become seriously embattled within the next century.

    Yes most speak english as second language, but there are too some who speak as second language spanish and some who speak french as second language , and some who speak chinese (only a few , but you know)
    and here for one who is interested http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0855611.html

    i speak for example German (native ), english (live here )and a bit french ( when i lived in Germany i lived about 50 miles from the boarder ) and a bit spanish and a bit italien , because France followed by Spain and Italy , are my prefered holiday destinations , i even learned latin in school , which helps a lot if you want to learn other european languages and i learned a couple words in arabic and turkish too ,been around the Mediterranean Sea with the motorcycle , and it really helps if you speak a couple words arabic , just enough for a very basic conversation

    Ok i could everywhere get along with english , but it makes it far easier to get in contact with the natives . Helped a lot in my Army days.
    You speak their language, they are suddenly much friendlier , because i feel like they dont see you as a alien , even if you make pronunciation mistakes it can break the ice completely , and even if you run out of words it does not really matter even if you dont find a language spoken by both , hand and feet help a lot too
    Ok i find it even rude if you visit a country and dont even speak the very basic of the language spoken there , but that just me.
  14. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    French seems completely out of place on many things, such as a menu in a Mexican restaurant. Otherwise, I read it in English. If it's written in Spanish only, I can read enough of it to order what I want to eat.
  15. Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2009
  16. WildGuess macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2010
    If you want to market a product in Canada it has to include French. I remember reading that it's the law.
  17. renewed macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2009
    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    Language, debatable. Their women? No way jose. :p
  18. interrobang macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2011
    The Canadian province of Quebec has laws which often require French be given equal status to English on products sold there.

    AFAIK, there are no equivalent laws in Mexico, or anywhere else in North America, that require Spanish, though it makes sense for some products to have Spanish to appeal to Spanish-speaking consumers.

    And depending on what your potential market is, you may just not be interested in the Mexican/Latino market. It may seem discriminatory, but there's no law saying you have to target particular nationalities or ethnic groups equally, and many products are specifically tailored to target only specific ethnicities.
  19. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    You're welcome :D *Rule Britannia playing in the background*
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Not quite correct.

    The French have made bilingualism a requirement for any official matter across the country, except Quebec. You better learn what Nord/Sud means pretty quick, when driving there.

    In other provinces, Private commerce is free to use whatever their clientele prefers.

    But in Quebec the same is not true. English, and "lesser" languages have a problem being used even in
    Private commerce.

    Their Language Police are what I call The French Inquisition.
  21. MasterBSOD macrumors member


    Oct 31, 2010
    Berks, PA
  22. MasterBSOD macrumors member


    Oct 31, 2010
    Berks, PA

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