Date: Wed, 16 Mar 1994 09:24:38 -0500 From: Robert Kelly Subject: Re: French linguistic legislation A word in defense of French attitudes, and against the old canard (surely we don't have to say "duck") about the impoliteness of the French to those who try to speak their language. I have travelled in France now and then over thirty years, and never found anything but courtesy, at least as far as language goes. And this is true of Paris and the countryside both. People have helped me, tried to understand, smiled at my more risible mistakes (as we do at learning-English, ask any teacher), and offered correct or at least usable forms. Maybe what some of the disgruntled comments of tourists really mean is that English is far less current and useful in France than it is in Holland, Germany or Scandinavia --- I know in Holland you have to beg people to speak Dutch to you. And the French do speak French persistently --- is it that we find it so hard to forgive, their uncomfortable (to us) resistance to Imperial Amerenglish? They also speak French in Haiti (and thus vividly and persistently in New York, where there are radio stations that keep the language current and vivid) and in Africa and in islands here and there. And there is a great French speaking nation a morning's drive north of me, whose literature is elaborate. I wouldn't drag out the funeral wreaths just yet. Robert Kelly / kelly[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]