[Photo] Monique

An Irregular French Letter

President Jacques Canute?

We all know that Jacques Chirac walked out of an EU summit earlier this year because a French businessman addressed the meeting in English and not in French. The President has become concerned about the rising tide of English and the spread of an Anglo-Saxon culture which he fears will eclipse the French.

So when the French government launched a new culture initiative to promote French values and products, called CulturesFrance, it must have hurt him to discover that the model for the new agency is going be based on the British Council! Quelle honte!

The President’s other great initiative is to launch a worldwide news service to rival CNN. This is intended to promote French language and values when delivering news stories round the world. So, with a true Gallic appreciation of the need for snappy marketing, they came up with the name: La Chaine Francaise d’Information Internationale. That’ll roll off the tongue in, Kuala Lumpur, Bombay and Peru.

Imagine Chirac’s anger, then, when he was told by the new chief executive of this rival to CNN that if they wanted anyone to listen to it they would have to broadcast in English! The last I heard they had come up with a solution – effectively there will be two channels, each broadcasting the same stories simultaneously, one in French and the other in English.

Why not share your own thoughts with me and other readers on these topics through my blog.

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