Saturday, 21 June 2014

Juste pour Rigoler aux Français et au Scotsman.

Munguin's Essential French for Tourists

Now, I'd be the first to admit that Munguin's Republic has the odd spelling mistake and a punctuation error here or there (their, they're) to its (it's) credit, and I'm eternally grateful for the help of the proof reader known to us all as Panda Paws, who for what Munguin considers a very reasonable stipend (nothing), points these out to Tris.

But Munguin, for all his self importance, isn't, and doesn't pretend to be Scotland's newspaper. The Scotsman, on the other hand...

I guess this snafu is what happens when you have had to move out of your large central offices to somewhere petit et bijou behind parliament ...and then again to a suite of offices on the outskirts of the town, with just an editor, a laddie and the tea wifie.

Still, as almost no one reads it (shares were at around 30p each in February; now at under 4p), I suspect it's not too much of a problem.

As for the story, I've got to say that I've never really found the French to be particularly rude to tourists. Not certainly any more so than anyone else, although, like most big cities, Paris isn't, perhaps, the most friendly place in the world. But if you get outside the big busy capital, and try a little French, instead of shouting loudly in English (deux bières, s'il vous plaît, monsieur), I'd say they were pretty warm and friendly.


  1. I've been to France, three times, I have always found the French; polite and helpful. Even putting up with my, very, limited vocabulary; learned over thirty years ago at school. They seem to perk up a little, on learning you are Scots.;-)
    As for the Hootsmon, if the share price gets any lower, maybe we should have a crowd fund, to buy it out.

    1. I suspect that rather like us JimnArlene, the French are good and bad, polite and rude. I've always found them helpful if you're asking for help about, whether in the street or in the hotel or in the pharmacie.

      When I was there working at Université Stendhal, I had to ask people for help about loads of things and I never got anyone who was impolite ...

      And yes, like many places, there seems to be a friendliness for Scots even if one café patron thought it was "in" the north of England. I disabused him of that idea!!

      Well, I'm not sure that crowd funding the Hootsman would raise much more than about £1,03, so maybe that's not the best idea...

    2. Friend of ours ran out of petrol once across the Channel, had to go to the police station to see where he could get it, after explaining his predicament he overhear the policeman tell the man at the garage that a Scotsman had run out of petrol and could he sort him out. Somehow the impression given was had he been otherwise he might have had a long wait. Helps we helped out at Agincourt and with Joan of Arc.

  2. The slow death of that part of the information age powered by dead trees has gained in pace through our referendum campaign. It so easy to see this as wholly good when the common political goal is more important than this process.It is hard to understand how we complete this process.

    1. This age gives everyone the chance to comment, not just rich proprietors forcing their views on people...

      Yes, I think it is better. :)

      I think it is pretty much an inevitability that they will disappear over the next 20 years, as people access their news elsewhere.

  3. Not content to slag off the Scots they now slag the French.

    The hootsmon is a ghastly rag and will fold soon . YIPEEE

    maybe we should crowd fund like JimnArlene says and start by sacking the journo's and putting you guys instead . I would greatfuly buy he paper and promise not to use it for the cats tray like i do if i find any other rags about.

    Funny thing is a few years ago the rags were telling us a "new digital age" of the news will take over the papers. Well it here and now.

    1. Munguin says that he'd happily take over running the Scotsman as part of his media empire, but its name would have to change, and Panda Paws would have to work full time as a proofreader!!

    2. "Panda Paws would have to work full time as a proofreader!!"

      We'd need to negiotate an actual pay package for full time work Munguin but let me know when you become a media mogul.

    3. Munguin says he already is a media mogul, and the pay is the same as you get now +20%


    4. That's the problem Panda Paws, they no longer have proof readers from what I can see. Straight onto the computer and straight to you. Hence the misspelling. Something about computers, you can read what you wrote and as soon as you have printed out 50 letters as I have done as a secretary, then you spot the mistake. Grrrrrr!

  4. I telephoned a Paris restaurant and booked a table. The following evening I went with my husband everyone came to welcome us and treated us like royalty.

    1. Do you speak French Anon?

    2. Yes I did, poorly but I gave it a go

    3. I Think that's important... it's the folk who just shout loud and then stare at them angrily when they don't understand that get them miffed...

  5. Replies
    1. Nice work if you can get it. But, remember we are all in this together and it's so they can spend more time with their son.

      Just like the government makes it easy for all parents to spend more time with their children.... or not?

  6. In all the times I've been to France I've never had a rude word said to me, but I have on many occasions heard incredible rudeness from archetypal 'brit-abroad' types.

    Thing is, I don't speak French, but took the time to learn how to say politely that I don't speak French, result being that whoever I was dealing with was generally more than accomodating.

    It is one of the great disgraces of education in the UK that languages are not taken seriously. One of the first acts of a Scottish Government should be to make the learning of a second language mandatory. I've found that in most cases multilingualists are more understanding and accepting of other cultures.

    1. Well I certainly agree with that Anon.

      The assumption that people will speak English is all very well, but not everyone does.

      If I go out of the Anglophone/Francophone world that I'm comfortable with, I take a phrase book with me and make an effort to learn what to say.

      I remember in Spain going into a shop looking for a adaptor so I could plug my shaver in. I had practiced "Que será un adaptador por favor" outside the shop. The girl thought I spoke Spanish and rattled off a great length, I know not what about said adaptador. I managed "Lo siento, no entiendo. No hablo espanol." and we had a bit of a laugh... but \at least I tried, and she spoke French anyway!

      The right time to learn a second language is as early as possible, but most assuredly not at 11/12 which is what many schools here do.

      Puberty is not the right age to ask kids to make funny noises in front of their classmates.

      I have a pal who just left uni a couple of years ago, fluent in Chinese and pretty good in English. he was employed within a couple of weeks in China, and is after nearly 2 years, CEO of a division of his company in China.

      Language opens up the world.

      I have another European friend who learned English to do her masters in Scotland and is now going to Poland to do her PhD...having taken a year out to learn Polish.

      If only British kids took that attitude.

  7. Replies
    1. Goodo. maybe they will listen to the Londoners?

  8. tis and assorted Nationalist scum

    I could off should off wrote this............the snp are still the enemy

    The tragedy of the Labour party is not so much the deficiencies of Ed Miliband's leadership (Labour must confront the 'Ed problem', 20 June), but the absence of any meaningful dialogue with the people it claims to represent. Rather than engaging in discussion with its traditional supporters, listening to them and taking their problems seriously, the party revolves around Westminster gossip, is in thrall to the media, and rewards the bright young things from Oxbridge who regard a seat in parliament as a career rather than a commitment to serve others. Week after week the Labour leadership boasts of how it will be tougher than the Tories – on immigrants, on welfare benefits, on public spending: in a word, the poor. What we never get are thought-out policies and political principles on social housing, higher taxes on the rich, rolling back the privatisation of the NHS, the abolition of nuclear weapons and returning the railways to public ownership. The list is almost endless. What does the Labour party stand for? Unless the answer is something better than a vacuous belief in "fairness", why should anyone vote for it?
    Jacob Ecclestone
    Diss, Norfolk

    1. We are not the scum, that we have to say must land on the people who think making a list of people pursuing a democratic aim. That think name calling is a good sport.

  9. Thanks for sharing it.

    It's bang on the money Niko

  10. Oh, the horror of agreeing with niko. Seems like hes a puir wee lost soul looking to throw off the chains and finally admit we actually have a point.

  11. tris & anon

    its painful believe me

    1. Aye Niko. But it's true. It's what so many have been saying for so long.

      It's a problem for them. I sympathise with Ed Miliband. If they appeal to their working class traditional electors, there isn't enough votes to get them into government. The only way (as mandelson famously said) is to appeal to the middle class vote in southern England.

      Unfortunately that middle class vote thinks that it will never have need to social security or bus passes or anything else, and doesn't see why it should pay for them.

      Whilst that's maybe not reasonable, it is understandable.

      One of the main reasons for me being so vociferous about independence is that I sit there looking at the likes of Curran, Lamont, Baillie and their ilk, with starving children in their constituencies, and listen to the blethers that come out of their mouths, all designed to make sure that they have a chance with the voters of Surrey, Gloucestershire and Huntingdonshire...

      They want to spend money on keeping Britain (London) great (Trident) while folk are queueing at food banks. They are scared stiff to say: "look... you rich people...if only for a few years, you're going to have to pay your tax. We just can't take it out of the sick any longer, so at least for a while, pay up.

      All I see is Tory policies. They will match the cuts. They will be harsh on the unemployed and the old. They have no plans to roll back on NHS England privatisation.

      It was them that brought in the faith schools that are teaching Muslim values and that teach that God created the world in 6 days, which are now causing such problems.

      It was them that caused the problems in the middle East which look like blowing up into all out civil war across a huge section of the region. (Incidentally, did no one see this coming?)

      Where is socialism in any of that?

      The two parties are so alike now that no outright majority looks likely in a FPTP system. Astounding!.

      I don't see that ever righting itself in a united kingdom.

  12. On the subject of Grandparents, my niece is off to Thailand visiting her relations there. they have not seen her for six years, thanks to the austerity we have been suffering. They are foreigners, I am sure, but still her Gran, Granddad and Aunty. What bleeding rubbish.

    1. Yes, even foreigners can be family...

      I dunno... I never notice people's nationality or their colour, or really anything else, except whether they are nice or not.