Letters Of Credit Issued In French

Mr. Old Man's blog received the following question from a Korean reader:

Dear friends,

How do you deal with Algerian banks which insist on
issuing their letter of credit in French ?

With warmest regards,

You need to have drunk oodles of the Francophonie koolaid to believe that a Korean bloke will read anything you write to him in French. Heck, not even the Vietnamese will read it:
During my eighteen years working for Vietcombank, I saw only one L/C issued in French. The issuing bank had to re-issue another in English as the beneficiary refused to take up the L/C issued in French.

Best regards,
Nguyen Huu Duc

Then comes another guy who apparently did not get the memo about the dominant role of French on all five continents and shows understanding of the Korean querent's perplexity. To make matters worse, he is from Belgium of all places:
Working with LC's in French causes no big problems for most banks in Western Europe as it is still an important language and many bank employees know sufficient other language. However, the use of French is declining also in EU.

If your staff does not know sufficient French (which I can understand) there are several possibilities to cope with...

Ouch! Our French friends' pride smarts. Methinks we'll hear more of their calls for the internet to come under UN control, allowing the French-speaking group of nations to stop any such talk of decline being published. What a beautiful world that would be!


John said...

What are your thoughts on this article, published last month?


Unfrench Frenchman said...

Just check the figures stated: "the world’s 328,000,000 Anglophones", "They estimate that there are 200 million French-speakers in the world".

Everybody knows that the spread of French is nowhere this close to the spread of English. It is interesting to observe that when it comes to counting how many speakers of English there are, the criteria employed are very strict and would certainly exclude yours truly because English is not my first language. Yet anybody who can say, "bonjour, comment allez-vooooo?" is deemed a French speaker for statistical purposes. The traditionally liberal intellectual establishment likes to diminish the importance of English and to exaggerate that of the French language, France being a sort of Mekka for leftists, especially US leftists.

Nothing new here.

The Francophonists are hoping that French as a global language will be saved by Africa's exploding demographics. Yet the real reason why France's former Subsaharan colonies still have made no indigenous languages official is that they have yet to conquer real political sovereignty and pry away true independence from France. When that time comes, then the African Francophonie will be exposed for the sham that it is.

The story to which you linked also fails to mention the fact that French as it is spoken in Africa is rapidly decaying into a variety of mutually unintelligible slangs and creoles. You can hardly call those patois French anymore.

Last but not least, I am convinced that rising African demographics will benefit English-speaking countries such as Nigeria, much more than the French-speaking nations, for such fertility rates as exist in Africa are usually accompanied by strong migratory movements. Such mass migrations have already been observed in Africa, but only in one direction: a lot of people from Togo or Benin and other French-speaking places move to Nigeria to find a job, so that Nigeria's population is already growing at a much higher rate than its neighbors'. Nigeria's demographic importance threatens to become a destabilizing factor in the long run. When the French army is gone, which is in the cards, Nigeria will be able to invade and conquer any neighboring country it pleases, provided that the right kind of leadership assumes power in Lagos.

In short, there are more arguments that speak for a dwindling influence of the French language in Africa than reasons to think it will expand. The main weakness of the article you linked to is that its author didn't deem it worth his time to conduct independent research or to look for different opinions.