--- Elliott Lash <[log in to unmask]> skrev:
>  I came across a strange usage of the word "they" in
> my speach today.

>  Any other explanations that people might have? Do
> other people have weird ways of using "they"?
In French, we usually say "on", so there are less
problems ("on" can be translated by "they", "you",
"people", "someone", a passive, etc., depending of the

But we have an interesting way of using "ils" (=they):
- Ils ont encore augmenté les impots ! (They increased
taxes again)
- Ils ont dit que l'épidémie de grippe a commencé
(They said the flu epidemia has begun)
- Ils vont fermer l'autoroute ce week-end (They're
going to close the motorway this week-end)
- Ils ont trouvé une nouvelle planete (They found a
new planet)

So, "ils" refers to some obscure, distant and vague
authority, be it the government, the mass media, a
scientific authority, or any other entity or
organization, identified or not, possibly more or less
threatening or hostile, but anyway above normal people
and not belonging to its immediate daily life.

Philippe Caquant

Ceterum censeo *vi* esse oblitterandum (Me).