Distribution of expressions for ‘greeting with a kiss’ in Belgium, France and Switzerland. Author provided

Distribution of expressions for ‘greeting with a kiss’ in Belgium, France and Switzerland. Author provided

Which cheek first?

The second debate relates to the cheek that should be presented first for a kiss. While 15% of the 11,000 respondents said “both” or stated that they didn’t know, the remaining 85% had clearer ideas, as shown in the map below.

Distribution of which cheek is presented first when kissing in Belgium, France and Switzerland. Author provided

We can see that the territory is broadly divided into two parts. In the south-eastern and eastern areas of France, it’s left cheek first. In the rest of the country, it’s the right. There are, however, two islands in each of these broad regions: In the blue zone, the French-speaking part of Switzerland stands out. In the red zone, Haute-Normandie is the exception. Here again, the patterns do not correspond to any known zones that could explain the difference.What do you call it?

It is a less known fact that the way in which French speakers refer to the action of greeting with a kiss also varies. Our surveys enabled us to map with precision the areas corresponding to the use of seven regional verbs and expressions.

Most of the words found on this map 918kiss สมัคร belong to the same family as the contemporary French term “bise” (from which “bisou” is derived). While it has fallen out of everyday use, the informal verb “biser” is found in the writing of authors such as Raymond Queneau) and still appears in some dictionaries. It is still used in western-central France, alongside the variant “biger,” which likely entered regional French by way of the local dialects (Poitevin, Angevin or Tourangeau) spoken by our ancestors a century ago.

The word “baise” is a slang term for sex in France but has no such connotation in Belgium, where one gives a “baise” (to someone). In fact, it’s based on the verb “baiser”, to kiss – also found in the old-fashioned word “baisemain,” meaning a kiss on the hand.


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