Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow’s new book, The Story of French (Knopf, 2006), is a study of the life of the French language, its development, spread, history, and future, and just how the French language has survived despite English’s prevalence, as well as other languages. Nadeau joined Joseph Planta to talk about the book, how he learned English, how Barlow learned French, and their plans to adopt twins from Haiti.
|The Story of French by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow. (Knopf, 2006)
Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: The Story of French
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
This is the Planta: On the Line program here at THECOMMENTARY.CA. The Story of French is a new book from Knopf, which is a study of the life of the French language, its development, spread, history and future. I am joined now by one of its authors Jean-Benoît Nadeau. They reveal much about a language that is made fun of and maligned, but which is robust enough where its speakers have tripled in fifty years. And though its use in global institutions is waning, and its status as the world’s lingua franca has been declining for two centuries, it is the number two choice of students around the world: two million teachers and 100 million students. It’s is the official language of two G-8 countries and three European nations, yet it’s speakers are so insecure that they pass laws banning the use of other languages. It’s rules are rigid and complex, that few master it, and a group of forty ‘Immortals’ are its custodians. Mr. Nadeau and Ms. Barlow, who are married, have researched and traveled the world charting French’s story in this new book, which retails for $36.00. They have written extensively in both French and English, in L’actualite and other publications. Their previous book, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, was a critical and popular success, and I suspect The Story of French will be as well. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Jean-Benoît Nadeau; Good morning, Mr. Nadeau.
Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau: http://www.nadeaubarlow.com/