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Monday, March 16, 2009

RE: Heard on Oxford St., London W1 - “La Classe” (cc.

Fine point, sir…which might explain why there was no discernible reaction from the herd!

I was actually so struck by the use of the verb ‘accelerer’ that I rather overlooked the diffidence of the construction, given that road signs/directions (for example) are always so much more polite in French than in English.


From: Omotunde

The exhortation - stricto sensu, the question, seems absurdly diffident. Plus précisément, “est-ce que” feels like an inappropriate substitute for the peremptory inverted form of the interrogative that the context demands.  As for the terminal S.V.P. ..!

Dej Mahoney wrote:


“Est-ce que vous pouvez accelerer, s’il vous plait?” - French teacher attempting to herd her ruck-sacked pupils, who were dragging their heels in the middle of the pavement.

This request struck me as being in marked contrast to the “hurry up!” or “keep together and move along!” which one might have anticipated hearing from her English counterpart!

Of course, it could be argued that this is merely a symptom of the French being restricted (or liberated?) by so many fewer words in their vocabulary.

Posted by Dej on 16 Mar around 8am

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