Aristotle Celebrates the Discovery of the Σύνδεσμος—John Miaou and Ann Shen Tgrii-Kearn SpecGram Vol CLIX, No 2 Contents A Night’s Tail, Or, The Foibles of Spell Check—James Coomer

French Sues English

SpecGram Wire Services

Paris, FranceThe Académie Française filed a lawsuit today at the European Court of Language Slights in Brussels against the English language, claiming 650 million euros in compensation. The suit against the English language describes “the intentional misappropriation of core elements of French and imitation of its distinctive sound.” The Académie seeks damages and an injunction that, if granted, would prevent English from being spoken until the case has been resolved.

The Académie spokesman, Eustole Mesmots, PhD, RSVP, in a written statement, declared: “English has long claimed to be merely borrowing these words, but to date, nothing has ever been returned to French, and today is the day for justice.”

Prominent English scholars such as Ignatius Inkhorn deny the alleged plagiarism:

“English has never needed other people’s words. We have no need to borrow from other tongues. English is a complete language, lacking nothing, in and of itself. Besides we gave them back the hôtel and now we’re left with maître d’, which just sounds silly.”

At the preliminary hearing, English called on Dr O. B. Fuscate, Professor of Semantics at Madgalleon College, Cambridge, to speak in her defence:

Richard Turpin’s analysis of despoiled neologization (2001) challenges Heister Filcher’s classic typology of lexical larceny. While Filcher categorizes borrowing into either deduction or abduction, Turpin explores cases of “simultaneous shopping and lifting” in the form of camouflaged borrowing. He proposes a new classification of plundered neologisms, words appropriated and misappropriated at the same time. Examples of such mechanisms are phonetic snatching, semanticized phonetic smashing and phono-semantic grabbing. Phono-semantic grabbing is distinct from calquing.

French lawyers have requested a copy of the brief without the words camouflaged and calquing, so that it can be suitably translated into French by their team of interpreters.

Biff Burgingham, the markedly blasé attorney representing English, was buttonholed by journalists as he emerged from the courthouse at the end of the day and asked whether he felt French had grounds for the case: “Au contraire, while we are of course au fait with the accusations, it’s a load of merde. Franky always was the enfant terrible of Europe. He merely wants a cause célèbre, but he’s asking for carte blanche to do as he wants with our noble language. En effet it is an attempt at a coup d’état. And we are not having it. No laissez-faire from us, no way: they’ve made a faux pas this time. Bloody hellexcuse my Frenchwe haven’t forgotten Trafalgar, you know. We will fight it on the plages, just as we saw off the Germans in the last war. Anyway, in short, vis-à-vis this gauche litigation, it’s déjà vu, really. Passé, even. C’est la vie. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a rendezvous with a chic mademoiselle at the Café Anglais for apéritifs and hors d’œuvres. Adieu.”

The litigation, which seeks class-action status to represent other aggrieved world languages, represents a test of the Vocabulary And Copyrighted Utterance, Oral Unit Sanctions, a decade-old law designed to prevent language identity theft. French attorney Pierre Lesgaulles argues that English shouldn’t enjoy VACUOUS protection, because no proactive steps have been taken to prevent piracy.

In a related case, Greeks have asked for a seven year adjournment in order to compile a full list of words they wish to be returned to them along with the Elgin Marbles.

Aristotle Celebrates the Discovery of the Σύνδεσμος—John Miaou and Ann Shen Tgrii-Kearn
A Night’s Tail, Or, The Foibles of Spell Check—James Coomer
SpecGram Vol CLIX, No 2 Contents