Archives par mot-clé : anglais

A 1000 Years of Annoying and (Loving) the French and now Brexit?!

I love you. – Moi non plus

In a presentation of his bestseller, A Thousand Years of Annoying the French, Stephen Clarke writes that “our past [that of the French and the English] is studded with wonderful stories of betrayal, distrust, violence and all-too-rare attempts to be nice to each other”.

Well I have a feeling that if one turns away from the world of politics and statesmanship one may well realise that there are many more attempts at being “nice to each other” than cases of betrayal, distrust and violence between the French and the English.

To illustrate this I would like to take the example of my family history.

In 1892 my French grandfather Léon Belle emigrated to Britain. He was 17 and had just obtained his Baccalauréat at the Lycée de Tournon in the Rhône Valley. I never understood why a young man from a village near the small provincial town of Tournon would up sticks and move to London. I suspect it had something to do with a crush he had on his young English teaching assistant and with whom he would practise la langue de Shakespeare during recreation periods in his last year at the Lycée.

“To mi, ze little anglaises”  – Léon Belle, Londres – 1904

A generation later my parents first met on the ferry between Calais and Dover on their way home to spend Christmas with their respective families. My English-born mother was working for Le Monde Bilingue in Paris and my French-born father was studying business administration at HEC. A week later on their way back across the Channel they met again, by pure coincidence, and that was the beginning of their “idyll” which lasted 45 years. My parents who were a loving couple and the best of friends often saw things differently. In spite of my father’s irresistible Gallic charm he often exasperated my mother with his “Frenchness”, and to this day she still insists that there are far too many rubbing points between the French and English for there to be an everlasting entente cordiale, bizarre, bizarre…

Sur une musique de Francis Lai.

So, I was born in Essex, of a French father and an English mother, spoke French and English from the beginning, went to school at the French Lycée in London, spent half my family holidays in France and half in England, have lived since 1975 in France and have always been considered by my French friends to have un flegme typiquement anglais and by my English friends to be ever so French! I suppose it’s all a question of perception, however, I feel typically Franco-Britannique and fundamentally Anglo-French.

I voted for the UK joining Europe in the 1974 referendum and deplored not being able to vote against Brexit last year (being a resident in France I couldn’t vote).

So the UK is brexiting, what is that going to change for me? Not much because I have both nationalities, but I find this situation deeply saddening and frustrating, not to say downright infuriating. The UK is a part of Europe, it always has been, a slight continental drift which took place a few millennia ago has been made up for with the Chunnel and if the number of people who speak French in the streets of London is anything to go by, the Brits and the French are still and will continue to live in each other’s pockets!


Défi linguistique : This week’s selection of Gordon McCoomb’s challenging Scottish Highland hikes

« L’anglais est une langue facile à parler mal » disait Winston Churchill. Que l’on soit enfant ou adulte, de langue maternelle anglaise ou non, plus on avance dans l’apprentissage ou dans la pratique de l’anglais, plus on se rend compte de sa complexité et de sa diversité. 

Suite à des randonnées estivales en Écosse dans des conditions météorologiques qui ne l’étaient guère, notre associé Xavier Combe a écrit une nouvelle qui s’inscrit dans un genre littéraire anglo-saxon peu connu, celui de la « fake non-fiction ». D’une grande diversité lui aussi, ce genre regroupe des faux modes d’emploi de machine à laver, des biographies détournées, des procès-verbaux de réunions qui n’ont pas eu lieu, des fausses circulaires administratives ou des récits historiques farfelus.

En l’occurrence, le texte ci-après est un extrait d’un faux guide de randonnée.

Ami(e)s étudiant(e)s, vous nous le traduirez pour la semaine prochaine.

This week’s selection of Gordon McCoomb’s challenging Scottish Highland hikes
Complete with editor’s footnotes En savoir plus Défi linguistique : This week’s selection of Gordon McCoomb’s challenging Scottish Highland hikes

Do you speak français ?

Tous les interprètes vous le diront, rien de tel qu’un orateur qui parle sa langue. Le problème le plus courant rencontré en cabine est sans nul doute celui du “globish” : même si des interprètes ont été engagés pour permettre à chacun de parler sa langue, il reste souvent de bon ton de montrer que l’on parle anglais. Le premier orateur à s’exprimer en anglais entraîne souvent tous les autres, qui ne voudraient pas laisser à penser qu’ils en sont incapables. Mais l’anglais n’est pas toujours idiomatique ou grammaticalement correct : les structures, les expressions et les accents français, espagnols, allemands, chinois ou japonais se parent simplement d’une couche de vocabulaire anglais  – choix contreproductif puisqu’il complique le travail des interprètes, jusqu’à le rendre impossible dans certains cas extrêmes. A lot of bread over ze board. En savoir plus Do you speak français ?