I woke up today to find a video from RFI about the glory days of French in international diplomacy. It's a curious little video with some interesting bits of information. First you learn that although the peace treaty between Japan and Russia after the 1905 war was written in both French and English, in case of a dispute the French version was to be considered authoritative. Then, a British diplomat relates the story of the UN Security Council Resolution 242, where the pedantic-types can interpret the French and English versions differently because the French version uses the partitive article des in a sentence but definitive articles are absent in the English version. The video is on За что дипломаты любят французский язык?.
Immediately after I finished watching the video, a second coincidence occurred. I stumbled upon Les Français n'ont plus le monopole du français and learned about a more inclusive or international or comprehensive or encompassing dictionary of French, Dictionnaire des Francophones. It might be of use to you if you're looking to use French outside of France. What else caught my attention in the article was the closing sentence: Ces trente dernières années, 1 prix Goncourt sur 5 a été décerné à un auteur qui n'avait pas le français pour langue maternelle ! A cursory look at the Prix Goncourt winners list does reveal five writers born outside Western Europe; Mauritius, Russia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Morocco. It seems that a similar trend is going on in the English-speaking world where five Booker Prize winners in the past 30 years aren't from the UK, the US, or South Africa. Three are from India, one from Nigeria, and another one from Jamaica.
Did you find anything interesting about French today?
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- Orange Belt
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