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  • Saturday, March 25, 2006

    In some way you can understand what Chirac is saying

    In some way, I can understand why someone would be unhappy about the influence of another language in worldwide terms, however, this isn't only a problem outside the english speaking world, within the "english speaking" world itself there are serious cultural questions to be answered.

    For example, if we look at the term "9/11" (a snappy, headline friendly phrase), used around the world to denote the terrible events of the 11th September 2001. In Britain, we use a date/month/year approach to express dates. Now, this may seem like a trivial matter, but some would say it isn't, it's a matter of the distortion of a language, and it also shows laziness on the part of editors, rather similar to them dropping "on", "the" and so on from reports, presumably to bring down their word counts?

    The internationalisation of the media means that, increasingly, British media uses reports from the US. Now, in itself, that is not a bad thing, but, if British media outlets are going to do this, then they need to ensure they adjust the language accordingly for our own readership.

    I'll give you an example, reports from the US describe the Labour party as "Labor". Now, because "Labour" is the name of an organisation, not a noun, or verb the original spelling of "Labour" should be used and respected as the organisation is based in Britain. However, very often that is not the case.

    Some may claim these things aren't important, but, here I would disagree, a language is part of an identity. (ID Cards aren't a part of an identity, however much people tell us to love them as if they were)

    Indeed, language is constantly changing and developing, but, and this is a serious point, the gradual distortion of our language, in my humble opinion equals the gradual erosion of our very identity into something entirely different, perhaps this is a representation of something bigger? For this reason, I can understand Chirac's point.

    See all recent "A Logical Voice" posts


    At 3/25/2006 03:30:00 pm, Blogger Jez said...

    While I agree with you on the dominance of english and the laziness of english speakers, I don't think that was Chirac's real point. What he really intended to point out, in my opinion and in the opinion of many french commentators, was his support of economic nationalism, to which Mr Seillière, the boss of bosses, is opposed. The only way Chirac found to voice his position was to act like a spoilt kid. Chirac is virtually absent from everyday politics in France. He is virtually a figurehead. In that sense, he should take a leaf out of the Queen's book, and act with dignity!

    At 3/25/2006 07:06:00 pm, Blogger Truth Seeker said...

    Oh, thanks for that comment Jez, I had no idea that's what may have been on Chirac's mind. That's what's so good about these blogs don't you think - that people of various nationalities can provide input, and raise points others may have overlooked.

    At 3/26/2006 12:02:00 pm, Blogger Astral said...

    France's president Jacques Chirac walked away from the last european council in protest over M.Seilliere talking english.
    To be precise, Chirac did not walked away from the European Council because M.Seilliere spoke english (Chirac is fluent in english and has certainly no problem with the language), but because M.Seilliere, who started his speech in french, suddendly turned to english because he said "english is the language for business".
    English is no more the language of business than french is the language of poetry, italian the language of arts or spanish the language of flamenco dancing
    Any speech can be given in any language; a language is not used according to the content of a speech but according to your audience. In this case, the audience was the european council and as far as I know, the very vast majority of attendants don't have english as their mother tongue. All speeches are translated anyway and english was absolutely not necessary.
    M. Chirac was right to point out this anomaly, but wrong to walk out, he should have said to the audience "Et maintenant, mesdames et messieurs, we are going to hear M.Seilliere speech". That would have had much more impact... Anyway, the wrong thing to do would have been to do nothing.

    At 3/26/2006 01:23:00 pm, Blogger Truth Seeker said...

    Thank you Astral, I certainly would agree that Chirac had a right to do "something", perhaps your proposal would have had much more effect.


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