Message in a bottle

Message in a bottle

A French love letter was found near Falmouth, Cornwall last week.

The beer bottle was found by Martin Leslie, a coastguard manager, and his family as they walked on Praa Sands, near Falmouth.

The bottle was poking out of the sand; its top was sealed with red candle wax. Inside was a three A4 pages handwritten in French and dated September 28th.

Mr Leslie had a go at translating the letter using the internet but could only decipher words relating to love, death and missing someone.

He assumed that the letter must be a suicide note and handed the letter to Falmouth Coastguards to pass onto their counterparts in France.

According to the Telegraph Mr Leslie said the woman said she and her lover shared magical moments together but that she understood that he had to return to his wife. She finished by saying she hoped to find another man like him with whom she could live a beautiful life.

The letter said ”These magic moments are pure secret. The secret of life and pleasure without limits. In twenty years, it will still be here, the previous moments of happiness, when life will get dreary, we will be able to tap into these memories to remember what it is to live again.”

Mr Leslie plans to keep hold of the letter which is unsigned and has no contact address on it.

Minority Language Activists Protest in France

Historically, protecting minority languages has not been a priority of the French government. The French Constitution states that ““the language of the Republic is French.” According to UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, France is also home to 26 other language communities. In contrast to many other European countries today, in France there is no official recognition for these regional languages.

This weekend, language activists staged a series of protests to draw attention to the problem, as well as to force the French candidates for president to take a position on the issue of regional language recognition. The groups had two main demands: that France ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and amend its constitution to grant such languages official recognition in the regions where they are spoken.

However, as University College London Professor Philippe Marliere told Al Jazeera, they face a deep-seated opposition that dates back to the days of the French Revolution:

“The French revolutionaries wanted one regime over one territory, but they also thought that to make the unity of the nation a reality you needed one language. So language was an important element in the idea of building a French nation of equals and citizens.”

Marliere also told Al Jazeera that he doesn’t think the language activists will be able to change the constitution to provide minority languages with official recognition, though several of the presidential candidates have agreed to support the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. However, even if official policy changes don’t happen, he said that there has still been a cultural change in minority language regions:

“If we talk about languages such as Breton or Occitan, I think there has been a complete shift now. It used to be devalued, now it is very much valued.”

Maela Koareg, an activist from Brittany, has benefited from this shift, as her parents enrolled her in a private Diwan school, where classes are taught in the local Breton language. She told France 24,

“Personally, I’m very grateful that my parents decided to put me in a Breton-speaking school. It helped me build my identity.”

However, she continued, contrary to the fears of the men who wrote the French constitution, that doesn’t mean that she wants Brittany to separate from France:

“Contrary to what some may think, being taught in Breton does not lead to separatist tendencies nor to extreme nationalism. Our activism is peaceful. We’re just asking for politicians to give us the means to protect our language.”

Outrage over French Eurovision Song

French MP Jacques Myard, of the UMP party,was outraged that the song chosen to represent France in last years Eurovision Song Contest had English lyrics.

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest will take place on the 16th of  May in Moscow and the song chosen to represent France will be sung in French (this time). Forty three countries will be taking part; the show is very popular drawing in a television audience of 200 million viewers from Europe and beyond.

The song which was chosen to represent France last year was entitled ‘Divine’,  it combined both English and French lyrics with electro euro pop.

According to the BBC the culture minister in France defended the song saying, the country should fully support his (Sebastien Tellier – Singing ‘Divine’ for France) bid for victory.

Many countries choose to sing in English. Statistically you are more likely to win the competition when singing in English, according to information released by Eurovision.

Why I love the UK

Why I love the UK

Back in the summer of 2004, I left my beautiful homeland of France behind for the prospect of a year in the damp, grey UK. I know what you’re thinking “Why on earth would you do such a thing?” well… picturesque countryside, fantastic hospitality and a pub on every corner (probably called the Red Lion or the Crown), yes please, why wouldn’t I! Now then, I forgot to mention that I came to Milton Keynes, the one and only city in the UK that, well, looks more American than British (or so I’ve been told). But, hey ho, you can add roundabouts to the list of things I love about this place, so there! Read more