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Friday, 9 November 2012

François Hollande - the "friendly" French president

You cannot fail to have noticed that Barack Obama won a second term in office  as US president this week. 

And his victory of course set in motion the usual round of congrats from leaders around the world - including François Hollande.

It was an opportunity for the current French president to break with tradition, grab a pen and a sheet of official paper and zap off a letter in flowing and eloquent English.

After all, when he was just 20 years old Hollande apparently spent the summer studying Stateside, so he must have picked up at least a smidgeon of the lingo.

Sadly though a smudge was all he could manage as he addressed his enthusiastic felicitations in polite French and ended with a one word informal English "friendly" flourish.

Oops.

And just to add the personal touch, Hollande signed it himself and had it posted to the Elysėe Palace's Facebook page.

Very 21st century, and a great opportunity for everyone, including the French, media to pick up on the mistake.

Perhaps an easy error to make when you're translating literally from French to English, but surely one that could (should) have been noticed - if not by Hollande
himself, then at least by one of his staff, n'est-ce pas?

Oh well. Maybe Hollande was using his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, as an example on "how not to get it right" when writing to the US president.

Remember when Obama was first elected in 2008, Sarkozy too sent his congratulations...but with a mispelling right at the beginning when he addressed him as "Barak" without the "c".

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