El Espectador

BOGOTA — Call it the South American version of selling ice to eskimos: Starbucks is opening its first store in Colombia on July 16. The shop marks the start of the American coffee giant's operations in a country that grows and produces lots of its own brew, and already has a strong, local but international, coffee brand, Juan Valdéz.

In fact, Starbucks plans to open its first store right next door to Juan Valdéz in the Parque 93 shopping and dining district in northern Bogotá, frequented by the Colombian middle class and foreign tourists. This will be the first of 50 stores Starbucks plans to open in Colombia by 2018.

In August 2013, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that Starbucks would be entering the Colombian market in partnership with Nutresa, a local food and drinks firm. The partnership formula has been used elsewhere by the company. Starbucks entered the Spanish market in partnership with VIPS, a chain of eateries and stores with a very high profile and string of stores, often located in some of the finest districts in Spanish cities.

Schultz said the firm's success elsewhere would not assure the same in Colombia, a country he nevertheless described as "a very big market and ready for Starbucks."

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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?

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