Francophonie Follies or Francofolie Phoneys?  

By TD Fuego  

I sincerely hope Nita Chicooree’s wish for an-all English daily comes true soon (MT 28-Nov-10). However, since most of us have been brainwashed into believing that we are all Francophones now and that French is the most important language for our social progress, I am afraid this is going to be a Herculean task. But, why stop at a newspaper? Why not ask the MBC to start screening English films/serials in the original language rather than the dubbed French versions? After all, it does not show French films/serials dubbed in English, does it? It could also start producing some quality English programmes of its own, enlisting the help of the English Speaking Union to fill the cruel gap in good English presenters among its staff.

A couple of months back, our national broadcaster introduced 6, yes six, new channels for our delectation and enlightenment, taking the total figure to 17. Five of the latest channels are dedicated to what are termed ancestral languages. One exclusive 24/7 channel each for Mandarin, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu — on top of the airtime that these languages already occupy on the existing 11 channels.

Why not a proper channel for English, then? Or, does it consider the so-called ancestral languages (as well as French and Creole) to be more important than English? If so, Heaven help us!

I recently asked a Tamil friend whether she had watched the new Tamil channel. “No, it’s not sub-titled!” was her honest reply. I daresay that would be the typical answer of most of the people the new channels are supposed to serve. Whether the leaders of the Cultural Centres like or not, most of their fellow-members have no interest in a language that is of no relevance in their daily lives. English is!

On 08-Oct-10, MT carried an interview with a senior lecturer in English Studies at the UoM. This is what the lady had to say “L’anglais, c’est le véhicule de démocratisation de la connaissance par excellence,” and further “la survie économique d’un petit pays…(like Mauritius)1…. repose sur sa compétence en anglais.”

Do I need to add any more?  

* Published in print edition on 3 December 2010

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