Quacking up

11th October 1996 at 01:00
FRANCE. Anyone who has found French grammar and style hard to get to grips with will be comforted to know that even the French themselves have difficulties with their language sometimes - not excluding those at the apex of the educational elite.

Francois Bayrou, minister for national education, higher education and research, no less, has been mercilessly taken to task in Le Canard Enchaine for his less than perfect prose.

Prominently on its front page, the satirical weekly mockingly dissects a text distributed in the name of the minister to lycees in the Paris area as part of his campaign against violence in schools and intended for inclusion in debates by pupils. The paper quotes five extracts, highlighting clumsy stylistic constructions, mismatched metaphors and basic solecisms.

The Canard proposes that Margie Sudre, minister with responsibility for overseas territories, should organise a debate in the schools "devoted to the abominable violence perpetrated by the minister against the language of Descartes and Moliere".

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