Can’t speak French – and whose fault is it?

Despite not generally being up on what’s what in the world of popular beat combos, it recently came to my attention that Girls Aloud, a troupe of singing ladies, have released a disc called ‘I can’t speak French’.
The message is quite clear. As they can’t speak French, they are obliged to let the funky music do the talking instead.
This is a sorry state of affairs. Whilst letting funky music do the talking is sometimes a wise choice, we really should ask ourselves –
a) Why the members of Girls Aloud can’t speak French?
b) Why the Gallic gentlemen they are attempting to converse with cannot speak English?
c) Whether there exists an alternative lingua franca that the group could use?
In answer to a –
Given the average age of Girls Aloud, I would expect them to have been obliged to take a language up until the age of 16 whilst they were at school. Sadly, these days, the Labour Government doesn’t oblige people to take a language after the age of 14. I expect a similar song in a few years called ‘I ain’t never learnt no French, or even English for that matter, innit’.
Having established that Girls Aloud would have been obliged to continue with a language up until school leaving age, I feel it is safe to surmise that the language they studied would have been French. Does their lack of ability reflect poor teaching or a lack of application on their behalves? I suspect a combination of the two.
In answer to b –
I find it far more mystifying that the French gentlemen involved are unable to speak to Girls Aloud in English. Whilst the English are famous for their lack of linguistic prowess, our native tongue is the language of business, technology and popular culture. Not being able to speak English is far more of a handicap than not being able to speak French.
I can only assume that these gentlemen were either let down by their own school system, or were simply unable to understand Girls Aloud’s accents. I believe they hail from Liverpool.
Given Girls Aloud’s general appearance, it is odd that apparently no effort was made at all to speak at least some English. Surely they could have dredged up a sonnet or two from the depths of their memories in order to woo these fine British ladies. Or maybe they simply weren’t interested and Cheryl Tweedy and team were not only misunderstanding spoken language, but body language as well.
In answer to c –
It is possible the Girls Aloud chose classics over French and would have been able to converse in Latin or Ancient Greek, given the opportunity. I find this scenario highly unlikely however.
It seems that these complex questions may never be fully answered, but such is life.
Whilst we ponder further, here are Girls Aloud not speaking French.


4 Responses to “Can’t speak French – and whose fault is it?”

  1. Troy Says:

    To be fair Girls Aloud have pondered many deep and meaning topics – ‘Biology’, a ‘Whole Lotta History’, ‘The Sound Of The Underground’ (which I always imagine was a faint water dripping sound – but may be proven wrong)and of course ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’. That factored in with the sudden realisation that they are ‘Sexy! No No No’… I mean cut them some slack! Linguistics is obviously not their main concern right now.
    BTW – glad to see you posting agin – what was it? A whole week? Poor form!

  2. Robin Wilton Says:

    A very pertinent analysis, Mr Saul… One other point is that, even if the young ladies had stuck with their foreign language studies up to the age of 16, they would still only have had 4 or 5 years of study, and starting at an age which is almost guaranteed to result in embarrassed resentment and a poor outcome.

  3. Chris Says:

    Good points Troy. I had forgotten about the fact they are something kind of oooh.
    Been working from home in the UK this week without too much blogging inspiration, particularly after the financial year end’s usual rush to finish.
    On holiday from tomorrow, but expect some posts along the way!

  4. Chris Says:

    Very true, Robin. They would probably have been able to ask how to get to the station, but would have not have understood the response.
    It’s fortunate that they are now all wealthy superstars who can afford local help when visiting foreign climes.

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