An amusing article from NewsBiscuit (“the news before it happens”) has French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitting that the French language is “a one thousand year old hoax”.
Apparently French is complete gibberish and all French people really speak English, except in front of British people of course. From the article:
During a speech given in received pronunciation, the French President came clean, stating that it all started off as a joke during William the Conquerer’s invasion to make the aggressors seem a bit more exotic. “What was initially a prank snowballed and after a few years we realised we’d look silly revealing the truth, so we had to keep up the façade,” said the Premier. “In the company of any Brits we would try to make convincingly “French” sounds, a mixture of guttural grunts and rapid-fire syllables.
But as soon as we were on our own we’d all heave a huge sigh of relief and revert to English. We developed a heavy reliance on hand gestures to cover up when we ran out of likely noises, and the shrug was a particular boon if inspiration dried up. In the end we became quite the raconteurs, with an impressive array of supposed vocabulary. So what began as a game for the élites, became a hobby across all levels of society, and it shocked us that the Brits were so naïve as to not see through the charade.”
It’s certainly nice to poke some fun at languages for a change!