French debate: Let’s see how the leaders speak French

 Le débat des chefs
If you don’t speak French, chances are you didn’t watch the French debate “Le Débat des Chefs”.
Don’t worry, I watched it for you. I can’t vote in this election because I am not a Canadian citizen. So I decided  to focus not on what the leaders were saying but how they were saying it. Here are 32 thoughts doing so:
(0. Nobody looks like they’re going to cook anything. Apparently we’re talking about another kind of “chefs”)
1. The debate is in French, so your name will be pronounced as a French name.
2. His name is not Mülker! It’s Mulcair!
3. Elizabeth, come see me for some French lessons
4. Gilles Duceppe a.k.a “I’m the only real francophone here”
5. Harper made a lot of progress with his French since the 2010 debate
6. French mayhem!! Tout le monde parle!
7. Trudeau is the only one who sounds the same in French and in English
8. Reassuring fact: Leaders can talk for 2 minutes and say nothing in French, too.
9. This debate looks more like a debate in France: everybody talks at the same time and tries to speak louder than everyone else.
10. This is a French debate, so let’s make it about Quebec. Forget about the rest of the francophones.
11. Gilles just said “Interdire un vote à visage découvert”. Y’all hear that? Cover your face, when you vote. (he obviously meant the opposite)
12. “Moderateur” is apparently the French word for “I am useless”.
13. Elizabeth is talking about aboriginal women when asked about the niqab. Did she understand what they were talking about or just decided to talk about something completely different?
14. It’s not easy to make promises in French when it’s not your first language.
15. Who’s this M. Mülker they keep talking about?
16. Refering to Jean Coutu. This one is obviously not for you francophones from outside Québec.
17. Gilles Duceppe is here to remind you of Quebec. Don’t forget: Je me souviens.
18. – You have 5 seconds. Madame May.
– Nous.. nous.. nous devons…
– Time’s up, thank you Madame May.
19. Debating in your second language is very hard and very frustrating.
20. Elizabeth’s French isn’t bad. It’s just hard for her to jump into the conversation. Spontaneity will come with practice, keep practicing, Liz!
21. Journalist apologized to kids – as if kids were watching this – for using the word “dégoutés” (disgusted). I think that’s okay, monsieur.
22. Gilles just dropped the M word: la monarchie.
23. Justin just remembered it’s actually easy for him to speak French. He suddenly sounds more confident and passionate.
24. 1h07 into the debate: French and English languages are used to oppose different parts of the country.
25. French isn’t Harper’s and May’s first language and they’re getting tired because they have to concentrate harder than the others. So now, they’re talking less.
26. They’re now talking about the environment. Elizabeth, this is your field. I hope you did your French homework.
27. Fun fact: Leaders nod with disdain in French the same way they do in English.
28. “Québec, la belle province” – Gilles Duceppe (every 7 minutes)
29. “Québec” might be tonight’s most-used word.
30. Harper’s body language is the same whether he’s speaking French or English, which is not the case for everybody using a second language. Psycholinguistics shows it’s usually a sign of confidence.
31. First “faux-ami” of the night- used by May: “actuellement” doesn’t mean “actually”.
32. Harper’s accent is getting weirder and weirder. I’ve been there, it’s normal when you’re not used to speak another language. But his accent is really weird, almost Russian sometimes.

French report cards for tonight:

MayYou made some progress. Join a conversation class and practice spontaneity.
You obvioHarpperusly paid attention in French class. Now, work on your prononciation because you sound kind of weird.
TrudeauHesitations on some words at the beginning but after a while you remembered you grew up speaking French.
French or English, that’s not a problem for you. Bien joué!
DuceppeObviously, no issue with the language. Just remember, you can speak French with non-quebecers, too.

One thought on “French debate: Let’s see how the leaders speak French

  1. Typical Frenchman, don’t care what you say or what you do, as long as you pronounce it correctly. I don’t think at any time chefs de cuisine were mentioned. Is your English environnement making you forget that everybiody can be called “chef”? I didn’t see the debate of course here in France.but I especially like your points 9 and 10. I have a Canadian passport but I can’t vote either.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s