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French is the one

Posted by Richard Friday, March 02, 2007 , ,

An "elder statesman of French literature" - who fought for the Resistance in World War II - is gearing up to do battle again, this time in Brussels, or so we are told by the IHT. This is Maurice Druon who, at 89 years of age, is campaigning to make French the supreme language of legal documents in the European Union.

He is a member the Académie Française and the author of 60 books – which means most of them must be crap – and has been joined by "an unlikely assortment of Francophiles, politicians, and aristocrats". Among them are Nicole Fontaine, a former president of the European Parliament; Otto von Habsburg, a descendant of the German royal house; Antoinette Spaak, daughter of Paul-Henri Spaak, a founding father of the EU and once a Belgian foreign minister; and Bronislaw Geremek, a Polish historian.

The IHT tells us they support his proposal that French should become the deciding language when there are differences over what a legal document actually means - all the more so in an expanded EU of 27 countries, where French is struggling to retain its historic primacy alongside the EU's 22 other official languages, including Maltese and Gaelic.

"Italian is the language of song, German is the language of philosophy, and English is good for poetry, but French is best for precision," Druon is cited as saying. "French should be the authoritative language for law because it is related to Latin - in which Roman law was written - and it was also the language of the Napoleonic Code."

Right! And the French word for "internet" is?

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