Sir, – I am writing à propos of Clíona Ní Ríordáin’s complaint (June 16th) of a crime of lèse-majesté against the French language by the use, quelle horreur, of the word “leaders” in a French Leaving Certificate paper.
May I suggest that, au contraire, it was the mot juste in the context of discussing a new generation of young European politicians. Effective communication in a Francophone world requires words which are not necessarily de rigueur with the Académie française.
Rather than being evidence of some fin-de-siècle malaise, I suggest that incorporating foreign words into French shows that it a living, global language. Rather than a coup de grâce, it is a tour de force. The leader of the Irish equestrian team is the chef d’équipe: a soupçon of French adds a certain je ne sais quoi, n’est-ce pas? – Yours, etc,