Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Word Of The Week

fleuron

I heard this word in Chicago. I was at the gate, waiting to board my Air France flight for home, and there was an older man who was having trouble communicating with the ground crew.

He really had a problem with the fact that none of the ground crew spoke French. This was an American airport, but still, it was an Air France flight. Somebody should have been able to communicate in French, and yet, nobody seemed able to do so.

At one point he looked at me (I don't know why) and asked, "Vous parlez français?" I replied yes and he launched into his complaint. He was a senior citizen and had phlebitis, and needed to walk periodically. He didn't know if he was allowed to leave the gate area to walk or not, and wanted to ask. His partial English exchange with one of the ground crew, which I overheard, indicated that he was indeed free to walk about, but he didn't understand.

Not to mention that the security ropes and frequent announcements and guards hanging around made people feel uncomfortable, as if they weren't allowed to do anything other than to sit still. Not a good atmosphere.

I told him that it was ok to walk around, and he was happy. Then he told me he how he was scandalized that nobody at the gate could speak French. I agreed with him. For an Air France flight, there should have been someone there who spoke French to deal with francophone customers. It's only right.

He then said that Air France was a fleuron of la technologie française, and that not to have a French speaker at the gate was scandalous. I agreed. But I wasn't exactly sure what a fleuron was, even thought I kind of got it from context.

Come to find out, it's the crown jewel, the finest piece of a collection, or in his context, Air France represented the best of French technology, yet they couldn't have someone there to speak French to their own customers.

Live and learn.

9 comments:

  1. Yes, for you eagle-eyes out there, this is indeed a photo taken at LAX and not O'Hare. Since I swiped it off the web, I didn't have much choice!

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  2. I hadn't noticed it was LAX... but fleuron was a great enhancement to my French vocabulary.

    Merci buckets!

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  3. Cool. And, it's booo-kay!

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  4. Walt, welcome back. Maybe the man was being sarcastic--here is
    Air France, this technology wonder, and they don't have anybody on the ground who speaks French. Cheers. Gabby.

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  5. it's booo-kay!

    Hmm, do you mean "c'est le bouquet", lol ? Bises. Marie qui est toute contente de vous revoir en ligne sur vos blogs qui sont le fleuron du net ;-)

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  6. Pourquoi Cheryl a-t-elle dit merci buckets ? Je n'avais pas vu sa remarque finale... @ + Marie

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  7. Marie, les ricains disent merci buckets parce qu'ils n'arrivent pas à prononcer le mot beaucoup.

    Et c'est la chère Hyacinth Bucket qui dit que son nom se prononce Bouquet (booo-kay).

    Walt, qui regard trop les émissions de la BBC.

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  8. Merci pour ta réponse, Walt :-) Il ne me reste plus qu'à surfer pour voir à quoi ressemble cette "chère Hyacinth Bucket" ! Bon samedi soir en Touraine ! Ici, il a fait beau, je me suis fait un tour de vélo en dépit du p'tit vent frais ! Bises. Marie

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  9. Merci pour ta réponse, Walt :-) Il ne me reste plus qu'à surfer pour voir à quoi ressemble cette "chère Hyacinth Bucket" ! Bon samedi soir en Touraine ! Ici, il a fait beau, je me suis fait un tour de vélo en dépit du p'tit vent frais ! Bises. Marie

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