Tags: 'French' | Our | Language

'French' in Our Language

Friday, 15 October 2004 12:00 AM

‘La culture francaise’. Something absolutely special. Today manipulated to put the American way of life into its place. The problem: Only the French pay much attention to it, and that is only 55 million of them plus those in French-speaking Africa. Though the ones interested in business, science, information technologies, progress are all busy learning l’anglais, quelle horreur.

Like la ‘couture francaise’, French fashion. The Italians have managed to overtake it now in design, price, quality, reputation, almost everything.

That brings us to ‘French cuisine’. Without butter and sauce it could and would not exist. Now we must ask leading scientists about the real benefits of butter. About the benefits of olive oil we know already. That is again – sacre dieu! – used in Italy.

Four thousand nine hundred Americans dead on D-Day alone in Northern France. On this day in June 1944 we had to visit there to save the French from having to make German their national language. Let us now compare this to June 2004, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris.

This was a big event, televised all over Europe. Our war veterans were explicitly ordered by the organizers to cut down on the display of the Stars and Stripes. Of all the flags waved there, I saw about one in 500 that was one of ours. History is being rewritten in France. Will travel habits by Americans follow?

‘French Precision’ today. President Jacques Chirac on Oct. 8, 2004, in Hanoi, in Vietnam: “A catastrophe” looms on the horizon if U.S. cultural hegemony is not challenged, he said. U.S. values threaten to “choke” the world’s different cultures.

‘Casablanca’. That was a charming film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the 1950s. That was another France. Sadly, it exists no longer. Now it has become part of the museum.

Today’s use of the expression ‘French’. We all know that linguistic applications change along with the times. The meaning that someone or something is really or a little ‘French’ has now entered our vocabulary and has become popular. Much of what we encounter is either not what it seems or it needs the description. So ‘French’.

Can we ever remove this blemish from the French? After all, we cannot paint all 100 percent of them with the same brush. I should hope that the situation can be slightly improved, but I am afraid that will have to wait until Monsieur Jacques Chirac is gone, and that will not be before January 2007.

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'La culture francaise'. Something absolutely special. Today manipulated to put the American way of life into its place. The problem: Only the French pay much attention to it, and that is only 55 million of them plus those in French-speaking Africa. Though the ones...
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2004-00-15
Friday, 15 October 2004 12:00 AM
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