Thursday, March 26, 2009

Parlez-Vous Français?

It's no secret that the French are proud of their language. They created the Académie Française to be their official language authority, the Alliance Française to teach their language to others, and a month-long celebration to fête French-speaking populations all over the world. Yes, it's true: March is known as Le Mois de la Francophonie, during which 31 days are employed to recognize the fact that French is not only spoken in France, but rather used in countries as diverse as Morocco, Madagascar, and Mali.

But you don't have to be in a Francophone country to enjoy the French-themed festivities. Washington, DC, for example, has an impressive annual lineup for March 2009's bash. Thanks to a behemoth French Embassy, the La Maison Française cultural center, and Washington's chapter of the Alliance Française, Washingtonians have countless opportunities to party down, French style. This year featured a healthy amount of films, concerts, and programs for children. The celebration culminates with a "Soirée Discothèque" to be held at the Smithsonian's Ripley Center. For $30 you can try out your tectonik skills to the beats of Parisian, Evaa Pearl and Swiss DJ, Jay Style. Sounds like it would be a good time, but I'll pass. As an American who greatly enjoys dive bars, I never did understand the European discothèque scene, even if I have partaken in it a time or two...or three or four.

You really can't blame the French for their linguistic pride. It is, after all, a very beautiful language. And despite the rise of English, French still remains important on the internatoinal scene, serving as an official language of the Olympics, the European Union, and NATO. It's the language of love, and for one month out of the year, it's also the language of celebration. Have you be joining in fun?

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