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[Fwd: OFFTOPIC: What is "francais hexagonal"?]

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 17, 1998, 20:54
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The following reply was received from Alain LaBont=E9; it
has much intrinsic interest, so I am forwarding it to Conlang.

-- =

John Cowan    
        You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
        You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
                Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)
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From: "Alain" <alb@...>
To: Unicode List <unicode@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 12:04:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: OFFTOPIC: What is "francais hexagonal"?
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A 10:35 98-11-17 -0800, John Cowan a =E9crit :
>I ran into this term, and was mystified: obviously "hexagonal >(six-sided?) French" is not a useful translation.
[Alain] : You should read "Parlez-vous hexagonal?" You would laugh. French citizens call their country [ubiquitously within their territory, even on TV news everyday] the "hexagon" (the current continental frontier= s of France roughly have this shape). "Hexagonal French" is therefore ultra-franco-French-French (to the exclusion of Belgian, Swiss, Qu=E9becer, Canadian, African, Asian or Polynesian French -- I'm not even sure if it includes Corsican French [Corsica is indeed a very near island integrated in the French territory, and the French don't yet have the habit to exclude it, but it is not with= in the hexagon per se]), and it does not even include French as spoken in "d=E9partements fran=E7ais d'outremer" (French overseas "departments", ev= en if these administrative subdivisions [one would perhaps say "counties" in th= e anglo-saxon world, with one "member of parliament" each] are integral par= ts of France -- St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, inside the Gulf of St. Lawrence [yes, shared territorial waters with Canada which surrounds the islands], and Tahiti [South Pacific], are two cases in point). That said "hexagonal French" is also used as a satiric expression. French citizens have the habit to use a lot of idiomatic expressions and acronym= s, even on road signs, that everybody in the world should know, and which it doesn't even if they speak excellent French... (see the above-mentioned quoted book). An example: instead of indicating "gare [de chemin de fer]" (railroad station) on street panels in many cities, downtown, in France, they will only write "SNCF" and you're supposed to know what it means (it means "Soci=E9t=E9 national des chemins de fer [fran=E7ais]" [or more precisely= , it is metadeta to really mean rather "the railway station that is owned by the state-owned railroad company whose acronym is SNCF"]). The term "hexagonal" is also "hexagonal French", it simply means "French". Full stop. You're supposed to know that, like you're supposed to know wha= t *the* Pentagon is in the USA (I guess that nowadays the whole world knows this "secret" place (: ) There are a lot of analogy (extremes often touch each other quite closely= ) between the American view of the world and the Hexagonal view of the worl= d (I could add "and the British way too": if you look at British postage stamps, the country name is not written, you're supposed to know (; they invented postage stamps after all, and the others just did not have to copy, that's all.) =20 Just in case you ask, there is also another dialect (many more exist indeed) these days in Paris: "verlan" is one of them ("verlan" is "envers= " [reverse] in verlan [a made up language where you simply reverse syllable= s of a word -- if you have seen the movie "Les ripoux" [i.e. "les pourris", "the rotten", corrupted policemen], and its sequel, you know what I mean; this has become prevalent in some quarters of Paris; I guess it is even n= o longer "langoxaelly" cryptic to most Hexagonians; "verlan" is fluently an= d fluidly spoken in some Paris suburbs). (: (; Alain LaBont=E9 Qu=E9bec (an hexagonophile, peripentagonophile, and nevertheless not [tri]angulophobe (*) !) (; (*) I should add "not tetragonophobe": Qu=E9becers used to call English people "t=EAtes carr=E9es" (square heads), imho an allusion to the cockne= y English term "bloke" (a "person"), whose analogy with French "bloc" is obvious (: England, "the land of the Angles" (interesting, isn't it?), is also itsel= f roughly triangular. That completes the landscape. My gospel theory in England (known by many people out there): Britain is the Qu=E9bec of Europe! (; --------------273C93C97BEA0130100DE703--