Monday, April 16, 2012

More language and politics ... "he speaks French too"

We started talking about language and politics in the upcoming elections a while back (like here on the English Only leanings of the Republican presidential candidates) and our last post was about a smart point about language and national security by Russ Feingold.

But in correspondence with a regular reader (tip of the big old straw hat to Prof. R!), this video on Romney came up:



The video had made a splash back in the winter. Up to about the 50-sec. mark, it's standard attack ad stuff, but then, the hammer: "he speaks French". "Just like John Kerry".

Want evidence that he can read a prepared text in French before a rolling camera? Then check this out:



I'll leave it to you to determine whether that counts as 'speaking French', but it's depressing to even make jokes (hey, I'm an optimist) about this stuff in attack ads.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not an American but isn't it illegal to run for public office there if you speak another language fluently? I seem to recall something like that.

Jonathon said...

Not illegal at all, as far as I know. There are some municipalities that may have laws requiring sufficient fluency in English, but I've never heard of a law forbidding someone from serving if they speak a second language. I doubt such a law would be constitutional.

Sadly, any stigma against speaking a foreign language in the US is purely social.

Alex Rudnick said...

I'm pretty sure his French accent is better than mine. (Francophones: that's pretty passable, innit?)