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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nelson

Coucou Circle France

Although English speakers must read the entire show through captions, the first season of The Circle France is so INTERESTING and different from the American version and here’s why.

They are very frank.

Very few times during the first season of Circle America (as I’m going to call it) were contestants forward or vocal about their suspicions to other contestants. They didn’t like to rock the boat too much. But, like any good reality TV, the upfront nature of disputes is what makes it “good” television. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing about or watching this show because of those disputes that turn too heated. Mostly I like the discussions on how we interact with social media and relationships ONLY via messages and pictures we post online. And that’s me being frank. But when it comes to social media as reality TV views it, it’s very different from France to America. The French contestants utilize the Circle to seduce one another, form alliances, and take each other down, which is very different from Circle America. (The Americans were more likely to feign interest or lie explicitly to gain social traction.) Circle France has contestants yelling at each other when they meet irl, private messages calling one another out on their bs, and general anarchy to overthrow influencers.

Even using the phrase “they are frank” got me thinking. Where does that word even come from? Is there some sort of connection between that phrase we use in English and the actual French people?

Etymologically, frank can mean a few different things.

Obviously, an English name, Frank. Female variations are Frankie, Francis, Francine, etc. Or it can mean outspoken. But when did that start and why is it so close to the word french?

Francia (Frankland or the Frankish Empire) actually ruled a majority of Europe (now France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary) in the 5th to 9th century. I imagine this somehow played into how persons viewed the group of conquerers. Whether it was positive or negative, the way they took nations probably played into how language reflected them.

From Etymological Dictionary, frank first appeared in the English language around the 1300s to mean “free, liberal, generous,” which quickly changed into “outspoken” by the 1500s. It’s no mistake that my Protestant brain noted that it was in 1517 that Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses, starting a revolution by being outspoken against the church.

To me, I always associate revolution with the French. I like to think I’m not alone on that thought, but one of the biggest historical events we learned about in school regarding the French was the French Revolution. So maybe it’s the fault of our education system or the fault of my severely associative brain, but either way, being outspoken feels like a very French thing to do. So seeing that done in The Circle France doesn’t feel very off to me.

Has anyone else been told to speak French when traveling to France? They’re not shy about sharing how they feel and I have massive respect for that. They are frank.

In different languages it’s easier to see the frank correlation. France is called this in various languages in Europe:

Frankreich (German) Frankrijk (Dutch) Frakkland (Icelandic) Frankrig (Danish) Frankrike (Norwegian and Swedish)

NOTE: This selection is just a small representation that only include a similarity to the spelling of frank. My favorite one by far is the Finnish version: Ranska. Etymologically, where did they get that? I have no idea. Maybe one day we’ll find out.

Whether or not this proves to a degree that it’s understandable that The Circle France contestants are more direct or not, it was fun to discover that language is just one way we interact with one another. So even though I had to read through the entire season of The Circle France via captioning, I found the experience to be informative and entertaining. I discovered that social media is similar across the globe, but how we approach it varies by person, culture, and language.

The Circle France is also not set up the same. The rules change almost every episode and nothing plays out the same way at The Circle America. Please enjoy!

I am by no means an expert on any of the things said above. I did my best to represent accurately the things I know to be true. So please do your research to confirm or deny the things said above (which you should do anyway because this is the internet).

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