Re: [langue-fr] L'anglais est-il une langue universelle ?

From: Curtis Clark (
Date: Sat Dec 30 2000 - 20:45:28 EST

At 10:28 AM 12/30/00, Alain =?UNKNOWN?Q?LaBont=E9=A0?= wrote:
>[Alain] Then I can only say that you have never been East of the
>St-Laurent boulevard in Montréal or have traveled in a bubble outside of
>Montréal if you did so.

I'm reminded of an incident in the Jardin de Botanique in Montréal--a
fellow was playing the _erhu_ (a Chinese bowed instrument) and selling
tapes and CDs. He was from China (according to the CD jacket), but spoke
unaccented urban west coast North American English (I'm guessing
Vancouver). He was trying to explain to some Francophone customers that the
CD was a better buy than the tape. His French was if anything worse than
mine (if that is possible), and the customers could not understand his
English. I could have translated what he was saying into Spanish, but that
wouldn't have helped matters. :-)

Lest we forget, French is *the* lingua franca, literally. Darwin, Tolstoy,
and many others include long passages of it untranslated. English nobility
spoke it by preference for maybe 500 years, even when they warred with
France, and IIRC Russian nobility spoke it up to the bitter end. Many
people in Africa still speak it as a colonial left-over. Had things turned
out even a little bit differently, we'd be having this conversation about
the hegemony of French, in French, and the o-e ligature would be part of
the 7-bit character code.

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA        

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