|White House balcony Photograph by Jim Bourg Reuters|
The visit of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to Washington could not have been more perfect. Watching Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron together, each with her signature look, was a lesson in knowing what works for you and how to put it all together – in short, mastering the elements of style and making it all look natural and effortless.
|State Dinner Photograph UPI Barcroft Images|
|Baise-Main Photograph by Andrew Harnik AP|
|White House Photograph by Carlos Barria Reuters|
May I also compliment President Macron on his English pronunciation? I have no doubt he practiced long and hard on that. The English language is a minefield of erratic syllabic emphases that, by and large, do not exist in French. I can still remember my methodical engineer, French father trying desperately to determine if there were any logical rules that would help him figure out where to place the emphasis in a word. Of course, my brother and I never failed to laugh hysterically when he got it wrong. Bilingual kids can be so cruel! And then there was the dreaded “th” sound, which doesn’t exist in French. Inevitably, the number “three” would always come out as “tree” or “sree” to our raucous laughter. Generally speaking, President Macron is pretty impressive on that score, as well. Of course, in his speech to Congress, the word “multilateral,” which he used several times, came out more like the French pronunciation with the acute “u”, but then my ears are attuned to picking up such things. I wonder if anyone else noticed?
But, we Americans shouldn’t be too quick to laugh. After all, the French words that surround us in our every day American lives are frequently mispronounced and would be unrecognizable if said to a Frenchman.
So, what was President Macron’s linguistic faux pas in Australia?
|Mrs. Turnbull, Wife of Australian Prime Minister|