Sunday, March 14, 2004

Lost in Translation

Over at Andrew Coyne's uberblog, there is some discussion about this Montreal Gazette story. Seems that the Office de la Langue Francaise wants the Quebec Bar Association to censure language-rights twit Brent Tyler for telling Premier Jean Charest to "call off your dogs" on a client the OLF had taken to court.

See, calling someone the French word for dogs -- "chiens" -- is roughly equivalent to calling them "pigs" in English. So, the OLF is upset that Tyler seems to have called its inspectors "dogs" -- which again would be like calling them "pigs" in English.

Whatever... Worth a roll of the eyes, nothing more.

This is par for the course for the OLF, of course. But it's silly for them to attack Tyler, a man who is the best thing that ever happen to them. Tyler, an aggressive narcissist, marginalized and then destroyed the English-language rights group Alliance Quebec while he was president. The OLF should be thanking him for his dedicated service...

Anyway, go ahead and scoff. But it's not like tête-carrée English Canadians are any better.

Remember when former-Premier Bernard Landry, then merely Quebec's finance minister, said -- of the federal government's now-discredited Sponsorship Program -- that the Quebec people would not prostitute themselves for "des bouts de chiffon rouge." (Twas, January 2001.) Well, CP literally translated that as "bits of red rag" and then the English-language media when all nuts on Landry for calling the flag a "rag."

Clearly, the media missed the boat on that one while they were busy working themselves up into a patriotic fervour. Turns out that Landry was right on about the dubious nature of the Sponsorship Program, father of AdScam...

[Landry, by the way, took the high road and immediately apologized for the "effect of that choice of word" and explained that he was referring to the red flag that toreadors wave in front of bulls during bullfights, and that the phrase "chiffon rouge" was an old French expression for provocation." Tyler simply said the OLF was "barking up the wrong tree" and added "I don't think they understand the English language."]

Post-script

Hey, a quick question to y'all out there: Can you see the accented letters when I write words in French, ie. tête-carrée? They appear as question marks on the computers I use... Doesn't anyone know how I can solve this? Or should a file a complaint against Blogger with the OLF?

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