Understanding YMMV in France

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Understanding YMMV in France


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Old 11th March 2020, 11:09 AM
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Default Understanding YMMV in France

I have observed a common theme on posts to the French expat form when dealing with official matters: visas, residence permits, driving licenses, health care, etc.

Most of the responses I have seen talk about our different experiences in these endeavors. So, while recognizing the French Experience often does not match expectations, especially from people coming from Anglophone countries, I wondered why this was.

Today being quiet around here - having a COVID-19 induced case of agoraphobia, I decided to see if I could find a basis for these common observations.

What I turned up, and I am quite sure this is a not new discovery and is no doubt a well understood explanation, is: It is due to the difference between Common Law countries and countries, like France, whose legal system is based on Napoleonic Code. I found this brief paragraph that, I though, summed it up fairly well:
Legal systems founded on the Napoleonic Code differ from the Common Law system found (particularly) in anglo-influenced countries. Common Law judges base their decisions on precedent of past decisions and, to a certain extent, common sense as understood at the time of the decision. In legal systems based on Napoleonic Code, however, judges are supposed to rule based on the legal code, and that’s all. Precedent can be used as a reference, but it is in no way binding.
If we just replace the word Judges in that paragraph with bureaucrat, it all starts to make sense, at least to me.

Expats coming from common law countries, like me, want to know what happened in the past and to use that as a guide to what will happen in the future. However, since the interpretation of law can change over time, especially in the case of a changing world, that prediction cannot really be reliably given.

Thus, it is essential to know the rules, and helpful to know recent history about the application of those rules. But, it is bound to lead to problems for those who expect the past will simply repeat itself.

Anyway, that is my small bit of thought for the day.

Thoughts?
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Old 11th March 2020, 02:35 PM
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I think you've got it figured out fairly well.

Definitely jibes with my observation early in my stay here in France that attorneys don't "represent" their clients the way they do in the ango-saxon world. Here, what I've seen of attorneys seems to indicate that mostly they send letters (to other attorneys, to judges, to whoever) citing chapter and verse of obscure bits of law relevant to their client's situation.

Whereas the trial system in the UK and/or US is adversarial in nature (proving conflicts of testimony or precedent), here attorneys seem to find laws and regulations that conflict and then attempt to prove which cited rule takes precedence over the other one. Definitely explains why there aren't really any French "courtroom dramas" like Law and Order or Perry Mason.

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Old 11th March 2020, 08:30 PM
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There's another dimension that I'd like to add to the thread:

I'll throw in "Nul n'est censé ignorer la loi" (nemo-censetur-ignorare-lege) which is a popular adage here.

There's the whole spiderweb of law, rules, regulations and other protocol in France.
Then there's the daily necessity to get things done in spite of all the above hinderances.

I'll take the example of being on time for a rendez-vous in France (and a majority of latin/north africain/middle-eastern countries) - it's just a pious wish, a project to work around.
I'll bring up (again) the notion of "Sequential vs Synchronic time perception" and extend it to suit my argument:

I'd go as far as saying that the whole code pénale, civile, rurale is just a project, a vague and woolly intention and can be open to all kinds of interpretations (in that you're quite right Berkinet, to oppose the anglo concept of binding precedents...)

We well know that in France the same case can get completely opposite results depending on who's doing the deciding today, thus the importance of rapidly introducing the human to human dimension in any attempt at negotiation. The administrative problem can easily become insignificant background noise whilst earnest discussion over trivia takes over in front.

Doesn't always work; even for French people but all the most astonishing waves of magic wands by bureaucrats I've experienced followed those lines.
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Old 12th March 2020, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berkinet View Post
Thoughts?
Shouldn't it be YL100kmMV?

Your-Litres-Per-100km-May Vary...

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Old 12th March 2020, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Peasant View Post
Shouldn't it be YL100kmMV?....
If you use the term in its original sense of fuel consumed per mile, then you would be right. However, the word has taken on additional meaning as in:
a: USEFULNESS
got a lot of mileage left in it

b: benefit derived from something
got good political mileage from the debates

c: INFORMAL
actual or potential benefit from something.
"he was getting a lot of mileage out of the mix-up"

d: wear, use, advantage, or profit:
She won't get much more mileage out of this old coat.

e: informal
the advantage that you can get from a situation:
There's no mileage in complaining to the director - she'll just ignore you.
political mileage

etc., etc.
I'd love to get the OED definition, but I am not a subscriber.

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Old 12th March 2020, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peasant View Post
Shouldn't it be YL100kmMV?

Your-Litres-Per-100km-May Vary...
I've always wondered if measuring fuel efficiency "the other way around" is perhaps the reason that French (and the other European languages) don't seem to have a similar expression involving vehicular fuel efficiency.

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Old 12th March 2020, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
I've always wondered if measuring fuel efficiency "the other way around" is perhaps the reason that French (and the other European languages) don't seem to have a similar expression involving vehicular fuel efficiency.
"One disadvantage of living in a country stuck using non-metric measuring systems is that we’re also stuck using a few related measures. One of the most familiar of these is mpg, miles per gallon. Many other countries use a newer standard, l/100km, liters per 100 kilometers. The salient difference between the two is not merely that one is metric and the other is not; it’s that they are multiplicatively inverted from one another. One gives fuel per distance, while the other gives distance per fuel.

When we talk about a car’s fuel economy, what we want to know is how much fuel does it use, not how far does it go. mpg answers the latter question, while l/100km is what gives us the answer we want. When we talk about a car that gets great fuel economy, we tend to speak instead in terms of how far it will go. This is the inverse of what we are trying to communicate.

The problem with using mpg — distance over volume of fuel — is that the relationship is not a flat line. It’s deceptive. Values at the lowest end of the mpg scale — where most of us scoff at all such cars — correlate to consumption numbers that are much further apart than those at the high end of the scale.

For example, imagine two cars that get 14 mpg and 17 mpg. Most of us look at them and say they’re both unacceptable. However, consider two cars that register 33 mpg and 50 mpg. Who among us would not clamor for the 50 mpg car, believing it to be far more fuel efficient than the 33? The fact is that in both pairs of examples, the car with the higher figure saves 1 full gallon of fuel on a 100-mile trip. Going from a 14 mpg car to a 17 saves exactly as much fuel (and carbon) as going from a 33 to a 50."

https://www.skepticblog.org/2012/05/24/mpg-vs-l100km/
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Old 12th March 2020, 03:04 PM
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Interesting explanation. But I can think of a much simpler one: Anglophones like dealing with things where he who has the bigger number wins. Being able to say you get MORE miles per gallon is much more satisfying to the US (and possibly UK) psyche than trying to brag about needing fewer litres per 100 km.
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Old 12th March 2020, 03:43 PM
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I have never heard YMMV in Australia, which has long been on the metric system (for everything). And when they talk about fuel efficiency, they also do so in metric.

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Old 12th March 2020, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peasant View Post
"One disadvantage of living in a country stuck using non-metric measuring systems is that we’re also stuck using a few related measures. One of the most familiar of these is mpg, miles per gallon. Many other countries use a newer standard, l/100km, liters per 100 kilometers. The salient difference between the two is not merely that one is metric and the other is not; it’s that they are multiplicatively inverted from one another. One gives fuel per distance, while the other gives distance per fuel.

When we talk about a car’s fuel economy, what we want to know is how much fuel does it use, not how far does it go. mpg answers the latter question, while l/100km is what gives us the answer we want. When we talk about a car that gets great fuel economy, we tend to speak instead in terms of how far it will go. This is the inverse of what we are trying to communicate.

The problem with using mpg — distance over volume of fuel — is that the relationship is not a flat line. It’s deceptive. Values at the lowest end of the mpg scale — where most of us scoff at all such cars — correlate to consumption numbers that are much further apart than those at the high end of the scale.

For example, imagine two cars that get 14 mpg and 17 mpg. Most of us look at them and say they’re both unacceptable. However, consider two cars that register 33 mpg and 50 mpg. Who among us would not clamor for the 50 mpg car, believing it to be far more fuel efficient than the 33? The fact is that in both pairs of examples, the car with the higher figure saves 1 full gallon of fuel on a 100-mile trip. Going from a 14 mpg car to a 17 saves exactly as much fuel (and carbon) as going from a 33 to a 50."

https://www.skepticblog.org/2012/05/24/mpg-vs-l100km/
What an absolutely fascinating explanation!

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