Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie.
We hope that Mr Sarkozy will bring an interpreter with him on his visit to Washington this week, rather than try to express himself in English. But if he does intend to rely on his independent linguistic skills, we would like to offer him a short lesson in English, free of charge:
France (Eng.) = (La) France (fr.)
French (Eng.) = français/e
The reason why we think it is necessary to point out that distinction is that when he spoke to a group of American investors, he invited them to invest in French. He told them that he would be uppy to elp them make monny in French. You can see an excerpt of his address on
In fairness to Mr Sarkozy, we know of no American politicians who speak French. The British are a little better. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks a respectable French:
The Queen of England is said to be fluent in French, but she knows her limitations. In welcoming President Sarkozy and his wife to England in 2008, she said “Monsieur le Président, Madame Sarkozy”, before switching to English.
The last resident of the White House who spoke French was Jacquie Kennedy, almost 50 years ago. But President Obama does believe it is important to know French:
Vive le Président de la France. Vive la France. Long Live the Queen. And may President Obama survive in office for the next seven years.