I find the way in which people tend to treat the French language in English books and films bewildering.
Today, I finished The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown, which is set in France for the most part, and this is what one of the characters says at one point: "Ne nous dérangez pas sous aucun prétexte" ("Do not never disturb us", roughly). This is grammatically incorrect, as you can’t have the negative auxiliaries "pas" and "aucun" in the same sentence. "Ne nous dérangez pas" is fine and so is "Ne nous dérangez sous aucun prétexte". This is a world best-seller, read by millions of people, couldn’t they have hired a French linguist to check the French in the book?
In a similar vein, I remember watching The American President and being horrified when the French president, who appears in the film, started talking. Here we had the man elected to represent France, and yet he was speaking French with the thickest American accent imaginable. Is it so hard to find French-speaking second-grade actors in Hollywood?
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