Even the French need English

French row over English lessons

The main teaching union in France has criticised the education minister's plans to offer free English classes in the school holidays next year.

Xavier Darcos announced the plans on Monday, insisting that speaking fluent English was the key to success.

The Snes-FSU union leader Roland Hubert said Mr Darcos should be concentrating on what happens during school time.

The policy marks a real break from the traditional Gallic strategy of promoting the French language.

Two years ago, the then President, Jacques Chirac, famously stormed out of an EU summit when a fellow Frenchman began making his speech in English.

In 1994, the French parliament passed a law obliging music-orientated French radio stations to increase their French-language programming to at least 40% of their output.


Xavier Darcos said it was a "handicap" to speak poor English.

He said that while "well-off families pay for study sessions abroad, I'm offering them to everyone right here".

President Nicolas Sarkozy is likely to back the plan.

He has already infuriated traditionalists by suggesting that the French should no longer insist on speaking their own language at international negotiations.

The French leader does admit however that his own English needs a little work.

He once made a speech to businessmen in English, telling them they would all be welcome to invest in "Frence".

Source: BBC News

Read (and listen to) the article here about the lack of enthusiasm for Brits to learn languages. It is taken from the BBC "Aprenda inglés" (see regular updates in the left-hand coolumn) . Make good use of this site!

Here's that video of Sarkozy giving a short speech with his laughable English:

Carla on the other hand, seduces as she talks ... who cares what her English is like!

Source: PinkPantherclips (YouTube) Key words: Clouseau interrogates staff

The previous clip of Sarkozy giving a short speech in English reminded me of Jacques Clouseau.

Here is a classic clip of the clumsy Inspector at work.

Read here to find out more about the colourful life and career of this comic genius.


Natalia said…
It was really funny, the Sarkozy's speech!!!! But I think if we listen to a Zapatero's speech in english it would be worse!!!!!
See you tomorrow!
Graham said…
*SARKOZY'S SPEECH was really funny !!!! But I think IF WE WERE TO listen to A SPEECH OF *ZAPATERO in *English, it would be worse!!!!!

* We don't use articles with names of people.

* languages take capital letters.

There is a video on Youtube of Zapatero outside Downing Street. He is asked by a journalist to say a few words in English about the meeting with the Prime Minister. He refuses, saying something like "yo hablo solo español".

Have you seen the vid of Espe's interview with Vaughan? Her English is way above average for a Spanish politician but she still makes the odd mistake.

She says "the responsible of ..." when talking about "el responsable de...". What should she have said?

I notice that Vaughan didn't dare correct her!
Natalia said…
She should have said "I am in charge of"!!! I'm sure that they practiced that interview millions of times so that she didn't look like a fool! I've also noticed that you were right: Vaughan speaks like an evangelist priest! So funny...
See you in a bit!