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Monday, 19th February 2018
Is the French language about to become ‘inclusive’ ?
‘Inclusive language’ in a new school textbook has sparked outrage at the Académie Française, who claim that such innovations are putting the French language in ‘mortal peril’. It is safe to say, they aren’t happy!
‘Inclusive language’ refers to new ways of writing aimed at making French less biased towards the masculine. For example, if there is a group of 10 women and one man, the standard French would be, ‘ils sont arrivés.’
The Acadèmie Française are worried that changes to make the French language more inclusive would make the French language more complicated to learn. To my befuddled mind, the French language couldn’t get more complicated!
The issue becomes even more complicated when past participles and adjectives are thrown into the mix, where traditionally the masculine form ‘takes precedence’. This dates back to the 17th century when writers used the arguement that, wait for this staggering piece of reasoned logic ’the masculine is more noble because of the superiority of the male.’
Various options of inclusive writing are being considered such as combining il and elle to give a more neutral iel.
However the French language develops I cannot see it getting any easier.
Thursday, 15th February 2018
Knowing when you are Priority!.
No apologises. This is a VERY boring subject, la priorité à droite (giving Priority to the Right).
I am writing about this because giving Priority to the Right is increasingly being used in towns and villages to slow down traffic.
The “priority to the right” rule on the roads of France is very complicated.
My simple rule is, if I am unsure as to who has priority, which is pretty much all of the time, I slow down, look right and if there is a vehicle coming towards me, I GIVE WAY!
I am not, as you have probably gathered an expert on this subject, but my understanding is that if you refuse to give priority to a car entering the main road from the right you will be responsible for the accident. If you have a French Drivers licence you will receive 4 points, a €135 fine and a 3 year driving suspension. I don’t know what the rules are if you have a UK licence.
So here are some examples of this rule in action!..
1) Simple crossroads.
Here, the red car 1 must give way to the green car and red car 2 must give way to red car 1.
The only car that does not need to stop is the green car.
2) Crossroads with Priority to the right.
In this example the red car 1 wants to drive straight on, but he must give way to red car 2. BUT, red car 2 must give way to the green car.
The only car with priority is the green car.
3) A ‘Y’ junction.
The red car must give way to the right.
The green cars can both continue without giving way.
There are many many roundabouts that still use the Priority to the Right Rules.
When you approach the roundabout you can enter it immediately but once on the roundabout you must let cars onto the roundabout from the right. So, red car 1 must give way to green car 3.
However, some roundabouts give priority to the vehicle already on the roundabout.
If in doubt, give way!...
I think the most dangerous situations when the priorité à droite rule applies is when you are driving along a main road at 90km/h and cars from small side roads can join the main road without stopping, because you have to give way. This rule certainly does slow the traffic down.
Now for the road signs :-
1) A black cross in a red triangle means that you have to give way until further notice.
2) A yellow diamond means that you have priority.
3) The third sign in the picture below indicates to the user that those who arrive from the right and from the left are not a priority.
Saturday, 10th February 2018
French Women pressurised to be slim.
French women are among Europe’s lightest, but there is still pressure on them to be even slimmer.
A doctor may say that a French woman has a ‘normal’ healthy weight but the ‘ideal’ weight for most French women is way below the ‘normal’ healthy weight.
All countries have certain body shape norms but in France there is a very slim ideal for women. I have to say here, that there isn’t such an ideal for French men! They can get away with carrying a few extra pounds!
In France, slimness is like an extra qualification. The slimmer you are the more you will earn and you are more likely to be promoted.
Although obesity rates have risen in France, they are still relatively low compared with Britain, Germany and Greece.
Monday, 5th February 2018
Chickens reduce landfill waste.
A town council in the Alpes-Maritimes is giving free chickens to its residents in order to reduce the amount of refuse heading for landfill sites.
As well as reducing organic waste the chickens also help the families save money by providing eggs.
Not sure how this scheme would go down in the average UK town, so you have a recycling bin, a landfill bin and 6 chickens!... a bit tricky of you live in a flat!
Tuesday, 30th January 2018
Over 65’s return to Driving School.
Older drivers in France are voluntarily returning to driving school to relearn the ‘Code de la Route’.
Classes in major towns are becoming very popular as older drivers learn new signs and relearn rules they once learnt over 40 years ago!
The Pantarlier course is typical of those being run across France. The course consists of four two-hour sessions, costing €15. There is no risk of anyone loosing their licence if they take part in a course such as this, as in France Drivers Licences have no age limit.
So if you see a car with a sticker like this, you are following an older driver!
Wednesday, 24th January 2018
French café charges by the hour.
I have often wondered how some cafés can be profitable. I have been into many Starbucks / Costa’s and have struggled to find a table as students/workers quite unashamedly work on their laptops, some are even plugged in to the cafés electricity whilst nursing a 2 hour old latte.
A café owner in Bordeaux has the answer. He charges his customer by the hour. €5 for the first hour and then a few cents for every minute thereafter, up to a maximum of €24 for a whole day. For this fee, you can eat and drink as much as you like.
Thursday, 18th January 2018
Smoking in French schools.
Headmasters of French lycée (6th form colleges) and collèges (secondary schools) have asked the government if pupils can be allowed to smoke within the school grounds.
French headmasters argue that when pupils leave the premises to smoke there is an added terrorist risk.
The French government has rejected this request and has told French headmasters that it would be better if their pupils stopped smoking!