The official language of the Olympic Games is French, so ceremonies, advertisements and announcements will all be made first in French with EASL (English As a Second Language), but we’re so accustomed to living with our refined cousins that our media haven’t really made much of a fuss about it.
Anyone who has lived or stayed in South Kensington knows that you don’t have to hop on the Eurostar to get un petit peu de Paris. For years we have read articles about how proliferously French cafés, restaurants and boutiques have been popping up on the local high streets of South Kensington, Chelsea, North East Hackney and Islington. Well, they could hardly resist De Beauvoir town. We’ve all become quite accustomed to walking into nice restaurants and being greeted with “Bonjour, Monsieur/Madame…” or listening to the conversation next to us on the tube trying our best to remember the little French we learned in school. Le Monde sits happily next to The Times on the top rack at the local store in the tube station. It is far easier and more common to get coffee and croissants than an English fry-up on your way to work. And let’s not forget our undying love of Marion Cotillard.
But there it is: you will soon see signs around London carrying the Olympic Logo and French writing. With English subtitles. Don’t worry, you haven’t been beamed to Paris; France has come to you.
The Olympic Games were revived by Monsieur Baron Pierre de Coubertin in the late 19th century and thus the IOC, was based in Lausanne, a primarily French speaking town in Switzerland so French became the official language. We must point out at this stage that his inspiration came from an annual Games tradition originally held in the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Seriously! Us Brits do really start the ball rolling with most things.
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Words: © 2011 Victoria Bond Elliot. All Rights Reserved. Via Accommodate London