EAGER TO GET LOST IN TRANSLATION, INFORMER IS MINDING HIS LANGUAGE AS HE WRAPS HIS TONGUE AROUND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF THEM ALL
Bonjour, mon nom est Informer et j’ai quelques nouvelles pour vous tous. Or in English … good morning, my name is Informer and I have some news for you all.
That’s right, I’m learning Mandarin. No wait, French. Classes start soon and by the end of 2019 I’ll be speaking frankly Frenchly enough to engage effortlessly with the locals when Les Informers arrive in Paris for a holiday. I’ve been keen to learn French for le yonks, although I’m fascinated by all languages, even those that sound like you’re being coughed on, yelled at or trying to find the right frequency on a short-wave radio. Language, as Barbra Streisand once sang, is the way we word.
French is the most beautiful language, I think, because it makes even the nastiest things sound gorgeous. This is in direct contrast to neighbouring German, which does precisely the opposite.
I’ve visited France a few times and seem to have an aptitude for la lingo. Arranging hotels and transport (le room, le vroom), ordering food and drink (la nosh, le slosh), negotiating the tourist spots (la Eiffel), the Moulin Rouge (les eyeful), the Louvre (la artful) and French restaurants (le offal) are all a le doddle.
My studies will hone these conversational skills through greetings, directions, common phrases and practicalities like the time, days of the week, months of the year and every colour except green, which is conservational rather than conversational.
I will then graduate, hopefully, to a higher “le vel” allowing me to broach more complex concepts avec my French hosts, a la: Why is French pop music so dreadful? What is Marion Cotillard’s phone number? Is that a croque monsieur in your pocket or are you just pleased to see Mrs Informer?
Regarding our holiday, the Informers will be based in Paris and I’m sure will lend the place a certain “je ne c’est quois”, which translates to “I don’t know what”. That’s what I love about French. It perfectly describes even the stuff it doesn’t know. In fact, that’s what I love about language overall, because it means one is never lost for words.
I don’t believe it’s going too far to suggest that language is the pinnacle of human achievement. Nothing we’ve done could have been possible without it. Mind you, Informer can’t help worrying as more and more lovely, lively aspects of language are replaced by soulless, feeble jargon that serves only to make our world less worldly. I’m baffled as to why some would encourage us to become less exotic, less imaginative, less real and, ironically, hardly worth talking about.
As I’ve mentioned many times in this rectangle, it would be a better and wiser world if people simply gave more thought to what they say before saying what they think. Freedom of speech is a privilege, but such freedom is not without responsibility.
Very kind people have occasionally said that Informer has a way with words. Well, I’ll soon be having my way with someone else’s words and I can’t wait.
Accordingly, I apologise to the French for initial clumsiness as I wrap my tongue around theirs, but as they themselves say, nous avons tous nos croissants à supporter. That is, we all have our croissants to bear.
Until next week, arrivederci.
“I’VE VISITED FRANCE A FEW TIMES AND SEEM TO HAVE AN APTITUDE FOR LA LINGO.”