Tongue-in-cheek blitz on franglais
English-speakers left baffled as French mangle words and lose vital business opportunities
FRENCH businesses have been told to dump the franglais in a playful letter that tells them they are missing a fantastic chance to cash in on what is the world’s third most-spoken business language - French.
With her tongue firmly in her cheek, Annick Girardin spattered the letter with franglais words and phrases and said many of the words people used were “incomprehensible” to English-speakers.
As Minister for Development and French-speaking Countries she said she regretted French was losing ground in “business”, perhaps because of “snobisme” or because using French was a fight that was “has-been” or that it was better to think of “cash-flow” than vocabulary.
She added: “I have nothing against ‘drafting’ ‘to-do lists’, freely using terms like ‘benchmark’, to set up ‘processes’ for ‘conf calls’ and to ‘forward’ things enthusiastically, but I have a real feeling: French is an opportunity, an asset that deserves to be exploited.”
The minister, who is from the French islands of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon off Newfoundland, said that when she travelling abroad she met French-speakers who were perfect in business English but who despaired of what was happening.
They wanted to know why French people did not believe in their own language: “The fifth most-spoken language in the world! The third language of international business! A language that will be spoken tomorrow by 350million young people in Africa, the biggest market of the future!”
Ms Girardin said afterwards her letter was “intended to provoke” and that when she started as a minister she often did not understand half of what her staff were saying as they used franglais all the time.
The letter was to mark the international day of French-speaking countries and she closed it by calling on businesses to get back to her with “feedback” so she could “brainstorm” it with them. Read the letter below...
Cher monde du travail,
Ne m'en veux pas si je suis un peu cash, mais...
#Francophonie #FYI pic.twitter.com/16Vvthz7pM— Annick Girardin (@AnnickGirardin) March 17, 2015