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Greg Lyon

Pragmatic terminology

Letter to the Editor of International Herald Tribune

~after William Safire (April, 21) France campaign contribution,


America can keep the new christened way for fried potatoes - I always wondered what made them so French since it is not a typical meal here, and would hardly represent any cooking. I heard it is most eaten in Poland, but let ‘liberty’ be the term for fries, which could allude to the statue, if France is needed. And while we are at it, let’s not forget the dressing named after France because only the cheese in it can be said French, and because what we call, by default, a salad dressing in France is called an Italian one in the US. A ‘blue dressing’ would be good : it still is specific (and WYSWYG) to the food, while avoiding to utter yhe name of who you know. Last but no least, what about the kiss…

I bet Mr. Safire would check that front, and use the momentum to reshape the language, for the better of adequacy. To keep the thrilling of the subject, I would suggest a ‘veto kiss’, which should toggle to a ‘no-SARS kiss’ depending on the epidemic color code. Hopefully the ‘French letter’ is out of usage, I mean ‘condom’ is !

Say those matters don’t matter ! Not so long ago, while European countries were seriously considering to let Mr. Augusto Pinochet (a retired Chilean dictator, held a while in England) be fairly sued by Spanish relatives of his victims; all America was doing, at the time, is using everything up to genetic testings, over piles of legal documents, to check over what kind of a ‘country’ that kiss was Monica L. gave to who you know. You Americans… Pablo Neruda wouldn’t have sung, anyway ?


Greg Lyon, Paris, France (7th of May 2003)

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