Rosalind Moran: ‘You’d probablement detest this poème’

Rosalind Moran reading ‘You’d probablement detest this poème’

Fondée en 1935, notre mission est de normaliser et de perfectionner la langue française
-Académie française, Twitter

Most languages evolve – and then, we have French
Punished for growing older, going out « le weekend »
To drink socially with friends and imbibe some jeunesse
Through new mots, new argot. But no! Changing blesse.

So an institution formed: l’Académie française
Trailing obsolete grammar rules like so many sickly children
Pedantic, yet inventive; and I am fond of it, I respect it
takes a labour d’amour to carry language losing ground

Indeed, it must be hard being l’Académie française
Its motto À l’immortalité undermined by le franglais
and simplified speech; ’cos like, personne ne dit
« l’accès sans fil à l’internet » au lieu de « wifi »

Oh, Académie. Conservative, proud, and mocked
Eyes wide and staring as you sandbag crumbling shores
L’eau lapping like langues, tongues of water
Breaking over your linguistic seawalls.


le weekend: the weekend
jeunesse: youth
mots: words
argot: slang
blesse: wounds/hurts (verb). [It’s a play on the English word ‘bless’ in the context of this poem]
l’Académie française: the ‘French Academy’, a linguistic institution which presides over the French language and decides which words, phrases, and rules are official and accepted.
d’amour: of love
À l’immortalité: To immortality
le franglais: French/English patois
personne ne dit: nobody says
« l’accès sans fil à l’internet »: access without wire to internet (i.e. wireless internet)
au lieu de instead of/in the place of
L’eau: water
Langues: tongues/languages

Rosalind Moran has written for anthologies, websites, and journals including Meanjin and Overland. She co-founded Cicerone Journal and was awarded 2018 Undergraduate Awards Global Winner for her research into biopics. Learn more at her blog or follow her on Facebook.

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