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NEWS: Tokyo Governor Sued for Insulting French

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posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
thematrix, it's not necessarily the French government in France per se, it's the French culture. French Canadians that have been in Canada for centuries are exactly the same way.


Care to elaborate on what you mean by that? As a French Canadian myself, I'd really like to know.

I personally think that suing the governor is taking it one step too far - just issuing a public statement or even a public letter to the media responding to the governor's assertions would've been sufficient and gotten the point across.

As for the governor's comments... "French is a useless language", blabla... I've heard that kind of thing pretty often in cases where some people are frustrated with the difficulties of learning the language (in Canada, where a quarter of the population has French as a mother tongue, civil servants get a bonus if they're bilingual). So that kind of comment doesn't ruffle my feathers. People who complain that French is so hard because of the two genders and some oddities in numbers should try German (which has three genders) or master the Cyrillic alphabet in Russian. Or ask the Swiss how they feel about learning other languages - they have four official languages over there.

And regarding the percentages of domestic content on the radio... this is something a lot of Americans can't understand because they have the dominant culture and have never had to protect it... in Canada we have similar rules regarding Canadian content, and French-language radio stations have rules on French music content.

In a world where satellite distribution gives you access to 200 American TV and radio stations, what else can you do to protect your own culture?




posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 08:59 PM
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You know, French culture isn't really the issue here, it's Japanese culture. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if, say, Bloomberg (the mayor of NYC) said something like that in New York? It's kind of shocking that someone in that position would make a comment like that.. it's not like he was a minor backbencher.

Not to get mired down in the mudslinging, but if there's any such thing as a "failed international language" I'd have to say Japanese is a prime candidate for the label... The French culture has been disseminated succesfully in many parts of the world. Plenty of former French colonies speak French as the lingua franca, but how many Manchurians speak Japanese?

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 09:53 PM
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The French Canadians are the same as in they pass all sorts of laws to protect their increasingly irrelevant language.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 11:01 PM
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Originally posted by koji_K

It's kind of shocking that someone in that position would make a comment like that..



Ehhhh.....not really!

This idiot Mayor is famous for saying stupid things. He is hardly a good indication of Japanese culture.

A few of his gems have been directed at foreigners before. He went snorkelling at the disputed island between China and Japan at the height of the tensions just a couple of months ago.

My favorite is when he said if there was a major earthquake in Tokyo that all the foreigners should be shot to prevent them looting. He also asked for money to be set aside during the World Cup in Japan for all the single mothers who were going to be producing gaijin babies from the hordes of raping hooligans that were about to descend on their shores.

He is an idiot who likes to stir things up. I hope they win the case and hit him where it hurts, in the wallet. It wont stop him however. Even at 72 he is going to be around for a while and saying stupid things.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 11:01 PM
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Sticks and stones may break my bones but word's will make me money.


[edit on 13-7-2005 by Veltro]



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 11:24 PM
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I was expecting something along the lines of "French Canadians are like the French in that they're anti-American" or some other cliché like that. I wasn't expecting to have my language called "irrelevant".

Irrelevant to whom? Hundreds of millions of people in the world speak French. 9 million Canadians out of 30 speak French. I think it's normal that there are laws (especially in Quebec, where 82 percent of the population speaks French first and foremost) setting down guidelines to reflect the fact that A) French is the language of life for 23 percent of the population of Canada; B) French is a minority language in North America and, in the name of cultural diversity, should be promoted and reinforced.

Besides, worldwide, the threats to cultural diversity in the Coca-Cola age are widely recognized.

From UNESCO:



50 % of the world languages are in danger of extinction.
90 % of the world’s languages are not represented on the Internet.
Some 5 countries monopolize the world cultural industries trade. In the field of cinema, for instance, 88 countries out of 185 in the world have never had their own film production.


portal.unesco.org...=11605&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

French Canadians are just lucky in that they can take steps to ensure their culture is safeguarded. I know that's a bummer for the hegemony of American culture... that some people won't surrender their language and just speak English... but as we say in French... "c'est la vie".


Besides, be honest... are you aggravated with the language-protection policies because of the policies themselves, or because it's French - the language of America's supposed archnemesis - we're talking about?

EDITED for syntax

[edit on 13-7-2005 by Otts]



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 11:28 PM
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I just don't understand why you need to pass laws to protect your language, if it's as alive and vibrant as you state. English is full of French terms, I just used one on a post tonight rendezvous. English can adapt and likes to adopt nice words from all sorts of languages, why can't French?



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 12:15 AM
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One could find it morally repugnant that people hang on every little insult to their so called "feelings," which are vaccuous at best, while people are being tortured and dying and in fact having their habeus corpus and being insulted directly whereas these same insulted people do nothing approaching the same legalisms about what is really important.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 12:46 AM
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Originally posted by Otts
And regarding the percentages of domestic content on the radio... this is something a lot of Americans can't understand because they have the dominant culture and have never had to protect it... in Canada we have similar rules regarding Canadian content, and French-language radio stations have rules on French music content.



I don't know Otts, America is really a melting pot, and that may the appeal of its culture. Cultures are asimilated into the countries overall culture. Take my family for instance. We identify ourselves as 'Americans" but, we also celebrate Cambodian New year, Vietnamese New Year, Persian New Year, and the regular New year. Four in all as we honor our culture from which we are from Yet we still identify ourselves as "American" . While it is different than say China blocking Internet sites, it is a form of censorship no?



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 02:44 AM
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How come a story about the Japanese turns into a discussion basically resulting in Americans defending themselves. OOPS its that American boogeyman again. It's okay if people in Djibouti rape six year olds as long as there is some American involvement. I hear Saddam Hussein is a friggin' humanitarian now.

I'm Quebcois. My ancestors were fur trappers whose last name was Americanized from Champeaux. I'm ashamed of that and rarely admit it. I speak fluent French but spit on the language.

French Canadians are much ruder and self absorbed than Anglo-Saxon Canadians. The first time I was ever given the finger and sworn at was when I was eleven years old at the Seaway Centre mall in Massena, NY. By a bloody Quebecois. (Taking advantage of our lower taxes.) Just because I was a lesser person (American). I was eleven years old mind you. I had many similar experiences with Quebecois. Should I paint that picture? No.

But the Fifth Estate does. Us freaking American oafs.

It has nothing to do with the French entanglements in Africa, nothing to do with France's oil disagreements in Iraq, nothing to do with France blowing up Greenpeace One, and everything to do with French hypocrisy. Being an American is hard in this world any more, but I'm ashamed to be French. Even at just a quarter. And I'm being honest.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 03:32 AM
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I for one am glad the French are around and so full of their own self-importance.. Who would we pick on if they went away? Back in the fifties (when I was stationed in French Morrocco) I met some delightful French people and later visited some of them in France. I was struck by the difference in the ones who had lived in Morrocco and the ones who had not done so. The people in Paris were reserved and standoffish--almost arrogant, while the others were warm, friendly & outgoing. I used to visit the Paris Chess Club a bit and never did feel really welcome there. By the same token though, the Americans I ran into in Paris were arrogant as the dickens and seemed to look down on everyone not from America. I do think it's a little silly to be so protective of a language though.

[edit on 14-7-2005 by Astronomer68]



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 04:58 AM
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Australia has foreign content laws surrounding its television. Whats the difference? These same laws were tied to free trade agreements signed with the USA.

Would America let English slip to second place whilst Spannish dominates? Or would all the Anglo-Americans take steps to prevent it? Be honest.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 06:32 AM
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This is why he said it failed as an international language.

In French, some numbers can be unwieldy to say, such as 90, which translates as "four-twenty-ten."
He's right, it's unwieldy.

The English system of measures has also failed as an international system.
12 inches in a foot, 36 in a yard..etc..
It is still in use however..stubbornness I guess.
It doesn't hurt my feelings when Metric folks make fun of it.
They are right. It's antiquated.



The lawsuit is a desperate move, an admission, if you will, that French
will probably be gone someday..In France proper, I believe the official language will eventually be a fusion of Arabic languages..



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 06:53 AM
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Originally posted by subz
Australia has foreign content laws surrounding its television. Whats the difference? These same laws were tied to free trade agreements signed with the USA.

Would America let English slip to second place whilst Spannish dominates? Or would all the Anglo-Americans take steps to prevent it? Be honest.



Go to the grocery store in any major U.S. city and find me a major brand product without Spanish on it. Spanish is popping up everywhere in the U.S. and I haven't heard any public outcry. I'm sure there are people here that hate it, but to most of us it's no big deal (as long as the English is printed bigger
).

But back to the original subject. Sounds like this gov for whatever reason doesn't like French. He may even think it's a stinky poo-head language. That's his opinion, he maybe should have kept it to himself, but it's out there now. So this french teacher living in Japan gets wind of this and it's on! He gets all the french teachers and translators together against this guy. Look at it this way, honor is very important to the Japanese people (at least it use to be, not sure about now), so when these guys says "french is for doodie-heads" he's just dishonored all these people who have dedicated their lives to this language. I can see why they might be upset. But is it really a legal matter. Is wounded Japanese pride worth $94,000 in 2005? What about the wounded French pride? Come on, that can't be worth more than 5 bucks!


All kidding aside, it doesn't seem like a legal matter to me. But I guess that's for the courts to decide.

[edit on 7/14/2005 by yadboy]



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 07:14 AM
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Originally posted by spacedoubt
This is why he said it failed as an international language.

In French, some numbers can be unwieldy to say, such as 90, which translates as "four-twenty-ten."
He's right, it's unwieldy.


Actualy, in the french spoken in ex belgian colonies and french side of belgium and whatever country's got french from belgium instead of france, this is different.

90, instead of being 4-20-10 aka quatre-vingt-dix (which isn't that illogical imho especialy if you know how to count .. :p) is nonante.

80, instead of being 4-20 aka quatre-vingt is octante (sometimes also huitante).

70, instead of being 10-60 aka soixante-dix is septante.

There are other words in which a logical simpler word is used then what is used in baseline FR-french.

[edit on 14-7-2005 by thematrix]



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 08:08 AM
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The French gave us the metric system any way. Should we all ridicule that system as unwieldly?



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 09:15 AM
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I was thinking about posting this myself early yesterday but I decided it would get no hype...

boy wasy I wrong.. Oh well

Yeah I don't know about the suit. I mean sure he insulted them but I sinult the french all the time. although I was going to a classical music concert tonight in celebration of bastile day...

but no one sues me.

How much dammage can an insult really cause?
Are we that big of pus- bags?



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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Originally posted by spacedoubt
This is why he said it failed as an international language.


The English system of measures has also failed as an international system.
12 inches in a foot, 36 in a yard..etc..
It is still in use however..stubbornness I guess.
It doesn't hurt my feelings when Metric folks make fun of it.
They are right. It's antiquated.



The lawsuit is a desperate move, an admission, if you will, that French
will probably be gone someday..In France proper, I believe the official language will eventually be a fusion of Arabic languages..


The Imperial system Sir/Madam!

The UK (including England) went metric some time ago (apart from roads, penises and a few other outposts), leaving young oldies like me marooned "14 inches by 35 mil"(No not .....)

AFAIK it's only the US that clings (in part) to imperial although I believe the 'old ways' are better for precision engineering (??)

Lawsuit is about loss of earnings by Japan-based French teachers of French as a foreign language to Japanese pupils (although why anyone would pay to learn a dead niche language is beyond me!
)

[edit on 14/7/05 by CTID56092]



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 10:14 AM
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Originally posted by subz
\Would America let English slip to second place whilst Spannish dominates? Or would all the Anglo-Americans take steps to prevent it? Be honest.



Hmmmm, It does in parts of the country. Spanish in California is a huge language and there are scores of SPanish only TV and Radio stations. There are no restrictions on content either. In fact there seems to be a whole different set of standards (I mean have you seen the Soaps on Telemundo
)



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 01:18 PM
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djohnsto - actually, it would be false to say that English words haven't entered the French language. "Weekend", for example, or even "parking", or Internet words like "web" - and in France, "mail" is a very popular translation of "email".

There are some purists - a minority - who would like the French language to be purged of English expressions. I for one agree that a language which doesn't evolve dies. And the reality is that despite what those purists say, French does integrate some English words.

That's one dynamic. A completely different dynamic is laying down guidelines on Canadian content or French-language content. The rationale behind this has nothing to do with whether a culture is vibrant and alive or not. The American culture which has an incredible power and immense means to commercialize itself - if anything, it has the ability to be ubiquitous and available in large quantities. A lot of cultures do not have the means to match that. A culture or language might be very alive and vibrant, if faced with another culture which has the ability to churn out ten times as many products, it runs the risk of being swamped.

A big difference of views, from what I've seen, is that for a lot of Americans, marketability is the main value of a culture. For a lot of minority cultures, the ability to transmit the heritage, language and identity to the next generation is a sign of livelihood unto itself.

Pistol Pete - I believe you told that incident once before. I'm sorry you had to deal with some ignorant people... trust me, we're not all like that.

I won't apologize for being French Canadian. I'm proud of my heritage.




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