One of the things we’ve noticed about France is an increased emphasis on learning English. It is fast becoming the lingua franca of Europe–when Slovenians and Swedish and Spanish get together for a conference or business meeting, they speak English. And it seems that Parisians, at least, are quick and even eager to switch to English when they recognize our American accent. So the French are learning English. There are billboards all over Paris advertising English language classes and our favorite is “Arretez de massacrer L’Anglais,” featuring an injured English bobby or Scotsman in a kilt with a broken arm.
And then the global financial crisis hits, starting with the collapse of Wall Street. What does one have to do with the other? Well, one of the most prevelant English language advertisements found on subway cars is for a company called “The Wall Street Institute.” The advertisement poses the question: Do you speak English? And it answers the question with: Yes, I speak Wall Street English!
This seemed like good, if goofy, advertising when we arrived in late August. By October it seemed like a parody–it just shows how quickly the financial crisis settled into our consciousness. So I couldn’t resist adding a little annotation to the poster: