old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

December 08, 2006

Pardon the French

This site has now moved to Salut!

Sometimes I back the right horses.

This year's Carpette Anglaise awards, more barbed bouquets than trophies and given to those considered to have done the gravest disservice to the French language, have gone where Salut! suggested they would.

For the main English Doormat prize, step forward the body of august French dignitaries that is France's Conseil Constitutionnel, or constitutional council.

The council's crime, in the eyes of the French language purists who make up l'Académie de la Carpette Anglaise, involved "numerous" breaches of Article 2 of the French constitution, which declares that the language of the Republic of France is indeed French.

Faut-il conseiller le Conseil?

Specifically this year, the council dismayed the judges by endorsing a London protocol agreement on patents that allows text in English or German to have legal effect in France.

This was one of the two co-defendants I tipped for victory. It would have more fun had the judges opted for my other choice - Philippe Baudillon, France 2's director general, for screening programmes called Top of the Pops and Dancing Show - but the Academy is made of more sombre stuff.

For the international prize, I am pleased to reveal the winner as my clear favourite Ernest-Antoine Seillière, president of the European Business Confederation (UNICE,) for delivering a Brussels speech in English.

This minor affront to the la Francophonie became a cause célèbre only because of Jacques Chirac's contrived tantrum, leading a silly little walk-out as M Seillière began his address.

Marc Favre d'Echallens, secretary of the Carpette Anglaise body representing four associations that defend French, brought me news of the results along with a reminder of the criteria.

In particular, to win the main prize, some member of the "French elite" must distinguish himself (or herself or itself) with great efforts to promote the domination of Anglo-American to the detriment of French.

I have yet to see a reaction from the recipients of these 2006 civic dishonours.

But nor have I seen much evidence that the French in general are about to drop anglicised words and expressions from everyday conversation or writings.

Perhaps ça ne roule pas cool after all.

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This site has now moved to Salut!


At December 08, 2006 3:33 PM, Blogger roadsofstone said...

I've been enjoying watching this site develop, and following your words on the world from Paris. Fleeting as they tend to be, I've always loved my trips to your adopted city.

Keep up the good work, in whatever you do next!

At December 08, 2006 4:45 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Perhaps the Québécois are the true guardians of French. They not only have "ARRÊT" on their STOP signs, they're popularly supposed to speak the language of Molière the way Molière himself would have spoken it. They swear ("tabernac'!") exclusively in French and have unique, French slang terms for such things as excessively ornate ice-cream sundaes or dirty sex -- "c'est cochon" for both.

On another topic altogether, I read in the Guardian Weekly today of a 12-year-old Pakistani girl, Misbah Rana, being forced by the courts in Pakistan to leave her father there and go to live with her mother on Stornoway. Misbah has run away from the island once and vows to do so again. Her mother, she says, hasn't contacted her in Pakistan and won't allow her either to stay in contact with her father's family or to follow her Muslim religion. "I will be a prisoner on Stornoway," she says. "They only way they will get me out of here is to drag me kicking and screaming."
Can we expect any time soon to hear a little outrage from Colin over this tragic tug-of-war?

At December 08, 2006 7:17 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Who is to deny the English the pleasure of blowing their own trumpet? They are proud of the pervasiveness of their language. So often are their hopes of success forlorn. But beware; it is a nation of promising starts that never come to fruition. Today, who travels to England to learn of the finer points of rugby, cricket, tennis and soccer? Surely it is not far in the future when an English child, needing a sound basis in English grammar, will be obliged to travel to continental Europe for her schooling. The slob spoke of Albion's crumbling tenements being a handicap to advancement.

At December 08, 2006 7:19 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I meant, of course, IN Stornoway, ON the isle of Lewis. Charming in its own way, of course, but as alien as the moon to a child who will henceforth be known as Molly Campbell.

At December 08, 2006 8:49 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

You're a funny lad, our roo, aren't you?

At December 08, 2006 8:53 PM, Blogger Laviverte said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At December 08, 2006 9:01 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Oh, I'd say funny peculiar, wouldn't you?

At December 08, 2006 9:17 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Sarah how dare you say I am peculiar. With all the weirdoes around I stand out as a shining example of sanity.I am the only one who doesn't spend their whole day up to the arm pits with incomprehensible http.

At December 08, 2006 10:26 PM, Anonymous SH said...

Don't worry, Bill Taylor. The latest news is that the appeal of Misbah Rana's father against the Pakistan court judgement will not now be heard until January. So we might have a peaceful festive season on that score at least.

Molly Campbell, by the way, was living fairly uneventfully in Stornoway with her mother and attending school there. Her older sister met her at the school gates and took her to Glasgow airport, where father was waiting with the tickets to Pakistan. Not so much a running away as an assisted walk. The girl apparently said she was sorry to be leaving her friends there and did not mention any racial persecution, contrary to stories later emanating from Pakistan. I agree that Stornaway can be "gey dreich" but it's not unknown to the child.

At December 08, 2006 10:31 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Thanks for the update, SH. As with the Nathalie Gettliffe case, there's rather more here than meets the eye. But I remain curious as to whether the international intrigue and religious overtones pique Colin's hair-trigger sense of injustice and, if so, which side he comes down on.
Meanwhile, I'm wondering why the comment between Sarah's two was removed by its author? It was, as I recall, something merely to the effect of "what kind of funny?" Talk about weirdoes....

At December 10, 2006 5:25 PM, Anonymous simon h. said...

Colin: the blog's coming along nicely, very thoughtful.

Bill Taylor: what camera do you use? Not a pocket one?

At December 10, 2006 8:36 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Am I right in assuming that Simon H and SH are not one and the same person? Either way, to give it its full title, I have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi -- 10 megapixels. I recently traded up from an 8-meg Rebel. I pair it mostly with a Tamron 28-300mm zoom lens, which I love for its quality and flexibility. I also have a Canon 18-55. I started in digital with a Canon G2, compact but not really "pocket." It's only 4 megs but I've had some good results and keep it as a backup.

At December 10, 2006 9:25 PM, Anonymous simon h. said...

Thank you Bill.

I haven't heard of Tamron. I live outside Paris but next time I'm there I'll look in the camera shops. Perhaps a Christmas present to myself.

My initials are SH but I'm not "the" SH.

At December 11, 2006 7:29 AM, Blogger Benjy said...

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Brrr. It's gone all cold here.
Don't they know it's Christmas ?

At December 11, 2006 7:33 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Don't start on carols, Benjy - anne giblet will be back in a flash otherwise!

At December 11, 2006 8:00 AM, Blogger Benjy said...

Message to all German EU Commissioners (and their PAs):

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy nude year

At December 11, 2006 2:48 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Anne Gilbert/Giblet and her fan club seem to have deserted us for the moment. Perhaps the McGonagall website has crashed. But that's no reason for the festive poetry to dry up:
Twas Christmas Day in the workhouse
The old man sat in his cell.
"Who wants treacle on their pudding?"
He heard the warden yell.
"If you want treacle on your pudding,
"Put it out without delay."
So the old man put his pudding out
And the warden took it away.

At December 11, 2006 6:10 PM, Anonymous the anne gilbert fan club said...

'Twas in the year of 1858, and on October the fourteenth day,
That a fire broke out in a warehouse, and for hours blazed away;
And the warehouse, now destroyed, was occupied by the Messrs R. Wylie, Hill & Co.,
Situated in Buchanan Street, in the City of Glasgow.

At December 11, 2006 10:57 PM, Anonymous SH said...

Oh Bill, see what you've done! They're awake again.

At December 11, 2006 11:44 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Oh dear, so they are. But Benjy started it! And then Louise conjured up the devil.

At December 12, 2006 5:48 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Sorry - not my fault...Benjy started it, and Bill added fuel to the fire!

At December 12, 2006 8:49 AM, Blogger Benjy said...

Ooooh no I didn't....

Which is your cue for .....

At December 12, 2006 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it pantomime season already?

At December 12, 2006 6:48 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Ooooh yes you did ...

At December 12, 2006 11:45 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

What do you think of it so far?


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