Monday, February 8, 2010

Lingua Non Franca

French has found its defender in the person of Jean-Pierre Raffarin:

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the former prime minister who is President Nicolas Sarkozy’s special envoy to promote French, was in New York at the end of last week to insist that its status as one of the two working languages at the UN must be respected.

French sensitivities about the declining role of the language were emphasised mid-week when Gérard Araud, France’s multilingual ambassador to the UN, declined to outline the programme for his country’s presidency of the UN Security Council in English, even as aides scurried to set up translation facilities. “I don’t speak English. Point [full stop]!” Mr Araud told the UN’s mostly English-speaking press corps. “It’s unacceptable,” he said.

Blame Lady Ashton for this latest crisis of French confidence:

Her faltering French, once unthinkable in a senior EU official, has been seized upon by the French media, reflecting concerns in Paris that the diplomatic machinery she is building will be Anglophone.


Passerby said...

This is a regular controversy in a number of international organizations.

For the Atlanta Olympic Games, the organizing committee didn't want to bother with all the translations in French (an official language). There was a big fuss for a while.

Day - 4 to Vancouver games but it seems that this won't be an issue this time. The official website is in both languages:

Anonymous said...

The winter game's website is billingual as expected, because French and English are Canada's official language, no surprise there

Sepela said...

If English was good enough for Jesus Christ it is good enough for the UN