Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Shooting Fish: M. de Villepin, French Foreign Minister, is also a Deep Thinker and a Poet at heart. I'll resist cheap shots. It does bring up a (tangentially related) question I'd been pondering lately: Where did the French language get it's inflated reputation for beauty, music, and all around loveliness? I've spoken with natives (lived with a snotty exchange student for a summer, in fact) and studied the language, and I just don't get it. French, to me, sounds like the honking of a fat goose (or perhaps a Citroen) amplified through a speaker whose case has been stuffed with cold, congealed Vichysoisse. (Think of Charlie Brown's "wa-wanh-wa-wah" teacher shouting for help while being euthanized with a wet pillow.) Oddly, I love to listen to German (an accusation that might be made of the French too, come to think of it) although I'd hate to have to speak it. And Oriental languages are musical, I think. As for romance languages, Italian and Spanash are much more pleasing than French. But when it comes to poetry -- the "music" of spoken language -- French has a great reputation.