Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back to School for Attali

The Attali report says:
"Find ways to ensure that by the end of the sixth grade every pupil will have mastered reading, writing, arithmetic, working in groups, and computer literacy"

Jacques Attali, on his blog, writes:
"... ce sont des hommes qui, presque à mains nus, ont fait vacillé un pouvoir infiniment puissant : David tuant Goliath et gagnant la guerre ..."

To quote Captain Renault of Casablanca, I am shocked, shocked, to discover that Jacques Attali is the beneficiary of a social promotion and needs to return to the sixth grade. Two mistakes in one sentence ...

Of course he'll probably correct these errors when he sees this post, but I swear this is copied straight from his Web page at 19:16 EST, 1/29/2008.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heh.

Anonymous said...

After ten years of reading a regional French newspaper (the Depeche du Midi)I'm no longer surprised to see such errors. The fact is that many French people spell phonetically, and thus words that sound the same are often misspelled. For example, the confusion of the infinitive, imperative, and past participle of first conjugation verbs (like "vaciller") is to be found on nearly every page. The same goes, of course, for "mains nu(e)s." Still...

Anonymous said...

Time for Attali to take a few more dictees, I guess. It remains uncorrected as of 9h30 Paris time.

Quico said...

On the other hand, excessively punctilious spelling standards run counter to the whole spirit of blogging, with its premium on immediacy.

TexExile said...

Well, Mark Twain said, "I respect a man who knows how to spell a word more than one way." Perhaps Jacques takes a similarly creative view of spelling.

Anyway, I often enjoy the results of mistaken phonetic spelling in French. The vegetarian café in Paris that was offering a "salade de pouces" as its plat du jour one day last spring simply made my week.

Perhaps your other readers can post similarly entertaining examples.

Unknown said...

Good point, Francisco. I've been embarrassed by any number of typos and other howlers I would have thought it impossible for me to commit. The blogger is exposed. Still, I couldn't resist sticking it to M. Attali, whose pretentiousness I find irritating, in case you haven't noticed.

And William--thanks indeed for salade de pouces. It's made my day, too. At least it wasn't une salade de puces.

TexExile said...

Actually, this exchange has reminded me of the following, which appeared in the concluding statement of the IMF mission following its November 2007 Article IV Consultation with the French authorities. Since I am unable to italicise or underline text in this post, I leave it to you and your readers to spot the howler, but that will not be hard:

"6. Improving labor market performance requires a fundamental change in the evolution of the minimum wage (SMIC). The secular rise of the SMIC has priced young and unskilled workers out of market jobs; compressed wages at the bottom end and demotivated effort; and weighed heavily on the public purse as cuts in social security contributions attempted to offset these adverse effects. Hence, the decision to forego this year any coupe de pouce is welcome and should be perpetuated."

(Source: France—2007 Article IV Consultation Concluding Statement, Paris, November 19, 2007, http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2007/111907.htm)

You'll be pleased to know that the French version was correct.

Unknown said...

Je me serais coupé le bras pour avoir cette coupe de pouce, mais je ne bats pas ma coulpe.

Anonymous said...

Swapping phonetically similar words with different meanings is a key ingredient "des jeux de mots à la française." For example shops named "A fleur de pots" et "Aux fleurs du malt" (I let you guess what they respectively sell).

One could hope that the chef is a poet and that his "salade de pouces" was intentional. Since the burden of proof is on the accusation, he/she might get away with it. Personally I find the now widespread use of "que" instead of "dont" or the indiscriminate use of "amener" instead of "apporter" much more displeasing for the ears.

Anonymous said...

"displeasing to the ears" of course. Jacques is not alone to fail due to precipitation...

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd point out that it is still uncorrected.

Another amusing spelling (from English speakers) is "coup de gras". Not as funny as "coupe de pouce", but if you combine them, the hypothetical "coupe de gras" is definitely funny, if not apetizing.