10/18/2008

English Supplanting French At U.N., Journalists Say

UN wire, Friday, February 15, 2002:

Journalists at the U.N. Geneva office have submitted a petition to spokeswoman Marie Heuze denouncing the "marginal" status of the French language there, Le Temps reported yesterday. The petitioners say the use of English is "penalizing significant contingents of Chinese, African, Arab and Eastern European journalists, who have often mastered only French as a working language."

French and English are the world body's two official working languages, but 90 percent of documents produced at the Geneva office are composed in English, and French translations are often slow in coming, according to Le Temps. Vladimir Petrovsky, the U.N. director general in Geneva, does not speak French after 10 years on the job, the Geneva daily reported, adding that French-speaking U.N. employees have taken to writing in English in the interest of their careers.

According to Le Temps, a French U.N. diplomat, upon arriving at a recent World Health Organization seminar in Lyons, France, discovered the working languages were English and Russian (Pierre Hazan, Le Temps, Feb. 14, UN Wire translation).

2 comments:

Globe said...

Chinese journalists who speak only French as a second language? Lots of those, I'm sure...

Unfrench Frenchman said...

"Chinese journalists who speak only French as a second language? Lots of those, I'm sure.."

You've got to marvel at the cheek of those Francophonie liars, now don't you?