Monday, December 04, 2006

Inky Dinky Parlay Voo?

Something that struck me about the run-up to the Gliberal convention, and during it was how often the subject of the candidates' command of their "second" language came up. Dion & the Outremonts was criticized for his poor English. Kennedy for his French. Blah blah. (A good phrase, passable in either language.)

Of course, it's clearly an asset for the leader of a national party to be fluent in both official languages. It's the reason why Diefenbaker is not still Prime Minister. But in fact, every candidate did well in both languages as far as I could tell. M. Outremont's English is really very good. M. Kennedy's French sounded quite good to me. Better than Iggy's. He might not be able to keep up with the French lads in a pub. But then, who can except French lads in a pub? Brasserie. Pardon me. Moi. Pardonnez.

I learned a new word today. Punditocracy. And what I say is, all these supercilious members of the punditocracy should be thinking to themselves before they open their mouths, "Gee, I wish I could speak French as well as Dion & the Outremonts speaks English!"


Anonymous said...

I am always amazed how little French I can speak considering I am Canadian (sounds like a beer commercial...), and I took so many years of French at school.

However, I don't want to feed into WT's theory that school makes you stupid (*smile*) - I can think of teachers and courses that inspired me and helped me to learn to think. Mais moi parle francais? NON! Je suis Canadienne? Oui.

Larry Keiler said...

I managed to get good enough by fort' year université to carry on a conversation wit' my professeur. Not a great conversation, mind you, but at least I didn't 'ave to break out into ze Eengleesh.

Purty much all gone now. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Professeur Trudelle was his name. Fourteenth child in a family of tirteen out of the wilds of the Eastern Townships. Gay as a cavalier. Mais très raffiné. Introduced us to the films of Lina Wertmuller. Swept Away.

Didn't keep up with that either. Now that I remember this, maybe I'll see if I can find some of her films.

(The woman who taught me French in first year at Lunchbucket U was stunningly beautiful, and also not much older than her students. No reason to tell this. It just popped out of the memory cage.)

(The unofficial slogan of my second université, being a bilingual school, was "Mad Frogs & Englishmen". I forget what it was in French, but I'm pretty sure it included the phrase, "Maudits Anglais...")

Larry Keiler said...

Mostly, I can't remember which way the accents go anymore.

So I just make it up.

I think that's what the French did anyway.

Anonymous said...

Larry, I should know this, but what did you (or your inner friend) study at university? Hey, I'm impressed - the guts to go to a bilingual school... in Montreal, no less. That's far-off from Lunchbucket, and would have been like going to a foreign land.

I am presently reading John English's book about Pierre Trudeau. The exuberance/intensity of youth and the energy of intellectual gymnastics -- a lot of what Pierre did/thought as a very young man - 18-22 or so - he denied in later life - or downplayed politically. The memory does strange things... new concerns take the place of old ones.... and we shift perspective and details of what happened.

Larry Keiler said...

Aha! I did not say this bilingual school was in Montreal. It was in fact in Hawgtown. I studied political science there. Many of my classmates were hard-core separatists at the time. René Levesque spoke at the College, and earned my respect as a leader & politician. (To me, one of the most honest I have ever seen.)

Chantal Hebert, who now works for Mothercorp and one of the Montreal papers, was also a classmate, but I don't really remember her. She doesn't remember much about me either.

The War Measures Act was a great topic of discussion in those days.

Now I would write more, but I must go off into the falling snow.

Anonymous said...

/ accent ecu
leaning the other a way accent graphe
^ accent circonflex

May or may not be spelled correctly.

wild thing showing off her high school French.

L'oiseau est dans la cage.

Le chat est sur la chaise.

Le chien est sous la table.

Pierre et Marie sont a la maison.

Les amie de mes amie sont mes amie.

Chose Sauvage est stupide avec Francais.

Her only French -she doesn't know where it came from, except that it was a gorgeous fall day, she came back from a walk, and the French radiostation was on- masterpiece:

La Rue D'or

dans la rue d'or
je chante
une chanson d'automne
dansant avec
les feuilles

nous tombons nous tombons

je suis rouge
je suis brun
je suis jaune et vert
dans la rue d'or
ah dans la rue d'or

OK, she just showing off. Text of this blog mostly over wild thing's head. If it wasn't for some French, it'd be all Greek to her.

Au revoir.

Hey X, I can think of teachers that inspired me. There are exceptional teachers. As for the school systems... in spite of highlights, they suck.But I guess, with so many people and so many opinions, t'aint easy to get it right. Whatever right is.

Larry Keiler said...

Well, it seems that what the Ontario Government thinks is right is to deny dropouts a drivers license.

Makes perfect sense to me. Doesn't it make perfect sense to you?

If ya ain't goin' ta skool, ya gotta work. Damned if yer gonna drive there, though.

Larry Keiler said...

w.t. your French is pretty good. I wonder if most Canadians actually know more French than they're ready to admit?

Help! I've written and I can't get up!