12.3.03

JE NE PARLE ANGLAIS. By way of Joanne Jacobs comes further cocking of the snook at the French including this advice which revisits the fries and chips and proposes instead to annoy the help at French restaurants by mispronouncing the words. Perhaps that last is not such a good idea. The latest Classic Trains has the recollections of a one-time assistant superintendent on the Canadian Pacific Lines in Maine (now property of a regional railroad, but I digress.) Upon arriving at his U.S. base in Newport, Vermont, he discovered that just beyond the Canadian border was Quebec, with a recently passed Language Bill making Canadian French the official language. (Canadian French permits the use of "buffer car" rather than wagon de tampon among other things.) Not everybody took too kindly to the Act. In particular one trainman chose to order foods in English spoken loudly and slowly. Big mistake, when he got his breakfast of cold liver and prunes, whilst the Superintendent (surintenentadjunct) slowly learned his French (which has a strange way of counting by twenties) but got a really good breakfast for his efforts to speak the language.

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