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The following reply was received from Alain LaBont=E9; it
has much intrinsic interest, so I am forwarding it to Conlang.

-- =

John Cowan      http://www.ccil.org/~cowan              [log in to unmask]
        You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
        You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
                Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)
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From: "Alain" <[log in to unmask]>
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Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 12:04:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: OFFTOPIC: What is "francais hexagonal"?
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A 10:35 98-11-17 -0800, John Cowan a =E9crit :
>I ran into this term, and was mystified: obviously "hexagonal
>(six-sided?) French" is not a useful translation.

[Alain] :
You should read "Parlez-vous hexagonal?" You would laugh.

French citizens call their country [ubiquitously within their territory,
even on TV news everyday] the "hexagon" (the current continental frontier=
s
of France roughly have this shape).

"Hexagonal French" is therefore ultra-franco-French-French (to the
exclusion of Belgian, Swiss, Qu=E9becer, Canadian, African, Asian or
Polynesian French -- I'm not even sure if it includes Corsican French
[Corsica is indeed a very near island integrated in the French territory,
and the French don't yet have the habit to exclude it, but it is not with=
in
the hexagon per se]), and it does not even include French as spoken in
"d=E9partements fran=E7ais d'outremer" (French overseas "departments", ev=
en if
these administrative subdivisions [one would perhaps say "counties" in th=
e
anglo-saxon world, with one "member of parliament" each] are integral par=
ts
of France -- St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, inside the Gulf of St. Lawrence [yes,
shared territorial waters with Canada which surrounds the islands], and
Tahiti [South Pacific], are two cases in point).

That said "hexagonal French" is also used as a satiric expression. French
citizens have the habit to use a lot of idiomatic expressions and acronym=
s,
even on road signs, that everybody in the world should know, and which it
doesn't even if they speak excellent French... (see the above-mentioned
quoted book).

An example: instead of indicating "gare [de chemin de fer]" (railroad
station) on street panels in many cities, downtown, in France, they will
only write "SNCF" and you're supposed to know what it means (it means
"Soci=E9t=E9 national des chemins de fer [fran=E7ais]" [or more precisely=
, it is
metadeta to really mean rather "the railway station that is owned by the
state-owned railroad company whose acronym is SNCF"]).

The term "hexagonal" is also "hexagonal French", it simply means "French".
Full stop. You're supposed to know that, like you're supposed to know wha=
t
*the* Pentagon is in the USA (I guess that nowadays the whole world knows
this "secret" place (: )

There are a lot of analogy (extremes often touch each other quite closely=
)
between the American view of the world and the Hexagonal view of the worl=
d
(I could add "and the British way too": if you look at British postage
stamps, the country name is not written, you're supposed to know (; they
invented postage stamps after all, and the others just did not have to
copy, that's all.) =20

Just in case you ask, there is also another dialect (many more exist
indeed) these days in Paris: "verlan" is one of them ("verlan" is "envers=
"
[reverse] in verlan [a made up language where you simply reverse syllable=
s
of a word -- if you have seen the movie "Les ripoux" [i.e. "les pourris",
"the rotten", corrupted policemen], and its sequel, you know what I mean;
this has become prevalent in some quarters of Paris; I guess it is even n=
o
longer "langoxaelly" cryptic to most Hexagonians; "verlan" is fluently an=
d
fluidly spoken in some Paris suburbs).

(: (;

Alain LaBont=E9
Qu=E9bec

(an hexagonophile, peripentagonophile, and nevertheless not
[tri]angulophobe (*) !) (;

(*) I should add "not tetragonophobe": Qu=E9becers used to call English
people "t=EAtes carr=E9es" (square heads), imho an allusion to the cockne=
y
English term "bloke" (a "person"), whose analogy with French "bloc" is
obvious (:

England, "the land of the Angles" (interesting, isn't it?), is also itsel=
f
roughly triangular. That completes the landscape.

My gospel theory in England (known by many people out there): Britain is
the Qu=E9bec of Europe! (;



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