Sunday, March 05, 2006


Bard's English not up to snuff

An Associated Press story, written by one Jenny Barchfield and appearing in various media, not least the Washington Post, tells of a ruling by a French court requiring the French subsidiary of a US multinational to communicate with its French employees in French:
English may have been good enough for Shakespeare, but in linguistically defensive France, it is just not up to snuff - even for corporate memos and instruction manuals
I'd have liked to have seen Jesus Christ in there instead of Shakespeare, but you can't have everything. She must have seen that Mel Gibson movie where He spoke Aramaic.

Added later:

It occurs to me that the line actually works very well in the context of the article - although the premiss is still silly - if you take the opposite perspective:
French may have been good enough for Molière, but in [insert appropriate cliché about US multinationals], it is just not up to snuff - even for corporate memos and instruction manuals
Perhaps that's the idea the writer originally had in the back of her mind and she simply turned it around to conform to the, um, house-style.

An interesting analysis of American Francophobia (at the time of the Iraq crisis) can be found here.

I suppose 'If English was good enough for God, it's good enough for Texas' is apocryphal, is it?
Hadn't heard that one. I wonder if a similar expression exists in other languages. It would work well for Muhammad and Arabic.
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