Most political leaders struggle to speak fluently in a foreign tongue. Only the exceptional manage to mangle their own. Step forward France’s president Nickolas Sarkozy. Last year in a written parliamentary question, Francois Loncle, an opposition deputy, said the president “mistreated” the French language with his endless grammatical slips and “vulgar expressions”. He urged the government “to take all the necessary step to put an end to the president’s attack on culture of our country and its reputation in the world”.
When he was first elected in 2007 Mr. Sarkozy’s fondness for verbs over abstract nouns, and colloquial phrases over official waffle, felt refreshing. He may not have a literary mind, a virtue prized by Paris elite.
An article by the weekly The Economist entitled, “Sarkozy can’t speak proper” seems worth pondering over in the implication it invites for whom claiming to be guardian of their language and culture.
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