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POLITICS: French , the new Lingua Mortum ?

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posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 07:00 AM
In the latest rear guard action , to protect the French language from its inexorable decline . Jacque Chirac , the French president dramatically left a meeting when a French business man made his address in English , explaining that in his opinion that English was the new language of commerce . When questioned Mr Chirac`s aides were unapologetic , defending their Presidents stance , and confirming that the use of language was the reason for his sudden departure
French President Jacques Chirac showed his temper at the EU summit when a French business leader addressed delegates in English.

He stormed out of a session when Ernest-Antoine Seilliere said he chose English "because that is the accepted business language of Europe today".

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

While it may be fashionable to bash the French , one has to ask . What right does French have to be the lingua franca ? despite the consternations of the French , they are no longer pre eminent in world events . There is no conspiracy to destroy French language and culture , French should be spoken when in France , and tourists and business people who want to operate there should speak French , as a courtesy to their hosts . Surely , the maxim . When in Rome ? Applies ?

But on the world stage , English is now the dominant force , but it seems the French cannot accept this fact . They did not complain when their language supplanted Latin , Russian and Polish , but now the wheel has turned , and this is the time of English

In 50 years we may all be speaking Mandarin , or some other language of the new super power , but for now vive l`Anglaise

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:53 AM
I don't think it would've bothered Chirac if the businessman was from anywhere BUT France. What bugged him was that his own countryman didn't speak in their native language.

Were it a French even, fine, I could understand him getting snappy. But this was an EU event. The speaker chose to make his address in English because quite frankly more people speak English than French and he wanted more of the audience to feel welcome.

Now, I understand national pride as well as anyone, but I believe the choice to leave the meeting because of this was wrong and shows a complete lack of maturity on the part of a head of state.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 10:05 AM
French was the international language for a long time because France was a powerful and influential country in international politics. The kings of england spoke french because they were french and later were simply descended from the french and had lots of deals with them.

English has long been a language of trade. German has long been the langauge of engineering also. For a while Japanese was important for that.

Now, because of Britain, Canada, Australia, America, and perhaps even South Africa, English is simply, practically by default, the language of international diplomacy, and of course trade.

France isn't in much of a position to do anything, its not as if someone decides these things. German was the language for engineering because there was so much spectacular engineering work done by germans, and written about in german, such that an englischer wanting to learn about the science had to learn german to read the papers. There's nothing like that going on with french now, in any sphere. Also, France is presenting itself as a highly nationalist and anti-globalist nation, therefore, its not going to be the mover and shaker in global trade and global politics, so of course its going to decline.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 10:17 AM
i am english but now live in belgium, a country with 3 official spoken languages dutch, french and german (and then there is the flemish dialect on top of that).

europe is supposed to be a uniting of countries in common interests, yet i find that many products here have instructions in many languages that would not technically be considered 'european' but you would be amazed at the lack of english instructions included. the argument probably goes that the product isnt for sale in the uk, but the argument should really be that not everybody in europe speaks dutch, french or german and would most likely understand english before any those languages.

then you have the tv channels... its only the french that dub any foreign programs into french - everybody else uses subtitles. you have no idea how off-putting it is to see classic films ruined by the use of french language, yet they would be the first to complain if somebody dubbed one of their films.

you cannot have a united europe when one country refuses to accept that on average, more people understand english than french, would rather have a common language to be understood by everybody and that it is accepted wordwide that english IS that language.

i could go on but i would be here all day going on about how the french like to put a spanner in the works of the eu (and belgium!)

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 10:29 AM
French is now just a cultural language restricted to its hearthland (France) and pockets of former colonies such as Quebec and a few far-flung islands. It will never be important on the world stage again.

[edit on 3/24/2006 by djohnsto77]

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 01:23 PM
I always get a kick out of articles on this subject and have a heck of time not saying something to rub the noses of the French wrongly. For some reason I feel almost compelled to yank on their chain a little bit.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 01:33 PM
Wow, we deal with this on a daily basis in Canada. This is nothing new and Chirac probably couldn't care less what language his fellow countyman used. This was a political move to garner support at home.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 03:51 PM

Wow, we deal with this on a daily basis in Canada.

I was under the impression Quebec had language police
and French was the sole official language of Quebec?

Oui ou non?

You suppose Chirac is still pissed the Brits won the Olympics bid,
or did he get another bad batch of fried frog legs?

What language you suppose they will speak at the G8?

Cantonese or Mandarin?

[edit on 24-3-2006 by Regenmacher]

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 03:53 PM
As was stated above, the wheel turned in the favor of English... it may turn in favor of Mandarin... or any other language. I am quite ready to recognize that English is the dominant language on this planet and will occupy a prominent place in a large number of international forums. However... both Spanish and French have spawned international organizations that are very active on economic, cultural and social fronts and bring together a got number of countries.

Unfortunately, the negative image prevalent in American circles of French as a "dying language" that is spoken only in France and Quebec is not related to thoroughly researched facts but to lingering anger on France not joining the war in Iraq and - more unfortunately - Chirac's cockiness.

I think that Chirac walking out was ridiculous. However, I can understand the anger - while the European Union and even the United Nations were created on a basis of diversity and respect thereof, there is an attitude by some that since English is prevalent anyway, it should be the common language of Europe and international forums, and to hell with diversity.

The next step is to consider it normal that half of the world's languages are going to disappear in the next 50 years, and to not care about what is lost.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:47 PM
If half the world's languages disappear over the next fifty years much will be lost, but probably much more will be gained.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 11:11 PM
Losing half the world's languages is easy to say when you speak English and know that English will not be lost.

There will always be a lingua franca, but I doubt you will see many languages disappear in the near future.

I'm glad these languages aren't disappearing, because, contrary to popular belief, most people in the world do not speak English as their first language. Let democracy reign, right?

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 11:37 PM
I think Intrepid is spot on IMHO. This was a tempest in a teapot for the home front.

However that being said, France does have laws on the books dictating a percentage of French music and the like on TV and radio stations etc. Often refered to language pollution laws etc.

Wonder what the language of air traffic controllers is world wide? Yep ENglish

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 12:09 AM
I'm sorry but I think this is a hilarious development. I would rejoice if French and the French were to go the way of the dodo.

No pun intended. nudge nudge, wink wink

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 01:39 AM
I see language as a barrier, and nothing else.

Imagine how cultural diversity would thrive and be accepted if everyone could articulate to everyone else...

I believe multiple language serves as a hindrance to the evolution of society.
An unecessary childlike cling to cultural traditions that hinder mankind.

I dont give a damn if it aint english as the standard either...

That would be intellectually lazy to bitch about learning a new language when put into perspective.

That's my opinion...

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 03:26 PM
In actual fact it has been the tradition that English has been the lanquage of business and commerce while French has been the lanquage of diplomacy for at least the past two houndred years or there abouts.

Having worked in international shipping and trade this was widely accepted I don't understand Chirac's objection after all it was a business meeting. This said, it was not stated if this was an international or a national business meeting.

At any rate it seems a very petty objection. Having worked for the French government for more than ten years I'm not surprised, they live for intriques and controversy.

Richard of Danbury

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 03:30 PM
I've always thought French was a better diplomatic language than English, if only for the fact that it just seems so, well, diplomatic. It seems harder to offend in French than English, even if ever so slightly. Even if English does supplant French as the diplomatic language, I think it would be a loss.

Also, let's not forget that, compared to 99% of other languages on the planet, French is still very widely spoken. I'd hardly call it a Lingua Mortem. It covers half of an entire continent and has representation in every other one. Few languages can claim that.

[edit on 25-3-2006 by koji_K]

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 03:35 PM

Originally posted by Nygdan
English has long been a language of trade. German has long been the langauge of engineering also. For a while Japanese was important for that.

You also forget the Chinese, they've been making School's/College's based around teaching English, with their teachers sent to the United Kingdom for training. A trade agreement started back in 1998. They plan to [or are trying to] have everyone speak English [comnig into the education system] by 2020. That's a lot of people to add to those who already can.

You also have the fact, English is the language of the skies. Every airport pilot and controll tower, has to be able to speak English in case of an emergency. [Or so I've seen it reported.]

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 04:58 PM
French is hardly a dying language, either in France or elsewhere, it is spoken in Quebec, Haiti, and several places in Africa as well. The French though are terrified of becoming homogenized as a culture.

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 06:53 PM
Has anyone ever seen a lady of the evening who is well past her prime but still clinging to the idea that she is desired?

France is a second or arguabely third tier player on the world stage. They don't even belong on the UN Security Council anymore. If you were to compare France vs. India then India should be sitting as a permanent Security Council Member. Nuclear power, more population and more powerful economic power when you see the affect their highly trained population has on the world.

One good thing? They have 418 different types of cheese.

posted on Mar, 25 2006 @ 07:45 PM
crmanager: please take no offense, but I think your post is devoid of meaning. There are plenty of countries in Europe (a majority, I would say) who are less important politically and culturally than France. This is not a reason to look down at France or at Hungary, for that matter.

France as a nation does the right thinng to protect its heritage. It's not a small matter. I don't see why anyone has a problem with that.

And by the way, most of 418 varieties of french cheese are delicious. I only wish I could say the same about American cheeses.

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