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Francaise Lingua

First posted on FB. Brought over in order to expand upon it.

Here's an idle thought. Some may find it interesting. My linguist friends, Shabnam and Will come to mind. As does my fellow francophile, David. I can almost speak and read French. Know the lit better than I know American or English lit. and going back to the 12th C. Just speaks to me. I have no tolerance for Americans who look down on "frogs." Been known to rub there faces in certain, selected, historical fecal matters, such as the fact that the Battle of Yorktown, what ended the Revolutionary War in 1781, was a Franco-American, not an American victory. French naval blockade, French army. Washington's troops rag tag. The revolutionaries would have lost the field that day. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, they all knew it. Any American who looks down on the French, put colloquially, is an ingrate. Everybody knows that, once upon a time, and well into the 19th C., French was the universal language. It's what the term Francais Lingua means, a universal language. But the French, with their hyper-penchant for the rational, and for classifications, made a huge and suicidal mistake. It started in 1635 when Cardinal Richelieu, an exquistely unimaginative control freak whose arrested development speaks of someone anally retentive in my opinion, established the Academie Francaise. What a dumb move that was. The Acadamy's purpose being to keep the language classic and pure. To define usage, to keep out, or keep in what the academicians allow or don't allow. That was the French language's death knell. It stems from the misunderstanding that language is a rational product. It is not. It is an organic thing and bound by morphological rules. It grows, it maturates, finally it dies. As much as I love most things French, here, at least, they have proved to be their own worst enemies. Will, Rimbaud knew this and at such a tender age. So did so many other of the so-called Symbolist poets. Their fight amounted to a rear-guard attempt to resuscitate the patient. In contrast there is the English language, the current Francaise Lingua. Only one way to classify English. It is a mongrel language. Starting out Germanic (Anglo-Saxon), then to Chaucer's Middle-English latinates, then to Shakespeare's fusions, along the way the Norse, most recently African-American usages. I take that back. Most, most recently there is Spanglish, what might prove to be the perfect union between the Latinate, the Germanic, and the African. English will never become classically defined the way French became. It's a mongrel. More like a holy prostitute who does not turn away anyone at her door. I'm so in love with this language. Just a big bottomed kind of gal. And it should be for any poet who, when you think of it, is or should be a linguistic foot soldier. As I began, an idle thought.
May/25/2014, 8:43 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson

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