H Efimerida ton Sintakton, April 9, 2015

Before Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Wednesday, European commentators warned that Greece could become Russia's "Trojan horse" against Brussels. But Greek newspaper H Efimerida ton Sintakton instead described the "revival of Greek-Russian relations" as a "historic opportunity for the two countries" on the front page of its Thursday edition.

Tsipras sought no financial assistance from Moscow, although his cash-strapped country is due to make a $485 million payment to the International Monetary Fund on Thursday. The solution to his country's financial woes "should be European," he said. He blasted European sanctions against Russia, in large part because Greece eager to resume agriculture exports there.

Talks between the two leaders focused on gas and energy, with a joint project to build a Greek extension to the Turkish Stream pipeline project, which could see Russian gas transported to Europe via Greece.

For more coverage of the Greek crisis, read this article from L'Obs/Worldcrunch, Why Syriza's Pledge To Tax Greece's Rich Could Backfire.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: H Efimerida ton Sintakton (The Journal of Journalists) is a pro-government newspaper founded in November 2012.

Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!

Boris Johnson tells France — not so eloquently — to prenez un grip

Bertrand Hauger


-Essay-

PARIS — I'll admit it straight away: As a bilingual journalist, the growing use of Franglais by French politicians makes my skin crawl.

Not because I think this blend of French and English is a bad thing in and of itself (it is!), or because the purity of the French language should be preserved at all costs (it should!) — but because in a serious context, it is — at best — a distraction from the substance at hand. And at worst, well …

But in France, where more and more people speak decent English, Anglo-Saxon terms are creeping in everywhere, and increasingly in the mouths of politicians who think they're being cool or smart.

Not that long ago, Emmanuel Macron was dubbed "the Franglais president" after tweeting "La démocratie est le système le plus bottom up de la terre" ...

Oh mon dieu

They call it Frenglish

It is much rarer when the linguistic invasion goes in the other direction, with far fewer English-speaking elected officials, or their electors, knowing more than a couple of words of French. (The few Brits who use it call it Frenglish)

Imagine then my horror last night watching British Prime Minister Boris Johnson berating France over the recent diplomatic clash surrounding the AUKUS submarine deal, cheekily telling UK media from Washington: "I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break."

Cringe. Eye roll. Facepalm.
Here's the clip, in case you haven't had your morning cup of awkward.
Grincement de dents. Yeux au ciel. Tête entre les mains.

First, let me offer a quick French lesson: Sorry, BoJo, you needed the "infinitif" form here: "It's time for [us] to prendre un grip about this and me donner un break."

But that, of course (bien sûr), is not the point in this particular moment. Instead, this would-be bon mot is not just sloppy and silly, it is incredibly patronizing, particularly when discussing a multi-billion deal that sparked a deep diplomatic crisis in the Western alliance.

The colorful British politician is, alas, no stranger to verbal miscalculations and linguistic gaffes. He's also (Brexit, anyone?) not necessarily one who cares about preserving relationships with longstanding partners. This time, combining the two, even for such a shameless figure as Mr. Johnson, only one word came to my bilingual brain: Vraiment?

Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ