Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Pretend everything was invented by someone French

An idea first thought of by Paul-Henri Innovateur
  (+104, -12)(+104, -12)(+104, -12)
(+104, -12)
  [vote for,
against]

This is a game for one or more people to be played at the expense of those with whom you socialise / associate / work.

The idea is to pretend that any given idea or product was actually invented by a French person who then gave their surname to that concept or thing. This works because pretty much any word said in the correct way sounds like it *could* just be French. Points (for those that insist on that sort of thing) are scored depending on how preposterous the claim is and the number of people that believe you.

So, for example, you might be having a conversation along these lines:

Non-player: "So we've got upgrade to a 54Kbps modem." Player: "Modem. That's one of my favourite words. Do you know where the name comes from?" Non-player: "No, where?" Player: "Well, you see, it was invented by Pierre M'Odem who first had the idea one day when he was messing about with a Swanee whistle, so they named it after him" Non-player: "Really? Is that the time? Gotta' go..."

In the above example the player would do reasonably well on the preposterousness scale, since there's a good chance that the non-player would know where the name "modem" actually does come from. They'd gain extra credit for the semi-plausible supporting details, but they'd lose some points for the, frankly, cack-handed way in which they brought it into the conversation.

Other famous inventors that could be referred to are: Pierre Binomial (binomial theorem), Francois Photocopieur, Marie Le Vitation and, ohhhhh, pretty much anything you can think of.

mark_t, Feb 22 2001

"French invented cricket", according to French guy. http://news.bbc.co....ld_game/2485439.stm
Read the BBC story [hippo, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Did the French invent the halfbakery? http://translate.go...v=%2Flanguage_tools
[stupop, Oct 04 2004]

100 feet platform shoes 100_20feet_20platform_20shoes
An early half baker [DenholmRicshaw, Mar 22 2005]

Maybe some of these people invented something. http://nine.frenchboys.net/randboy.php
[phundug, Jun 20 2008]

"Das Globale Bankensystem Wankt" http://www.bitterwa...ure-not-german/6421
[hippo, Jan 20 2009]

13th Century French Taunting the English (Monty Python) http://www.youtube....watch?v=9V7zbWNznbs
[quantum_flux, Jan 20 2009]

http://blogs.discov...1800-by-the-french/ [Ian Tindale, May 14 2011]

Minitel: The rise and fall of the France-wide web http://www.bbc.co.u...s/magazine-18610692
[hippo, Jun 28 2012]

French Australian Croissant Connection The_20French_20trie...ry_20in_20Australia
[AusCan531, Oct 30 2014]

Marseillaise http://en.wikipedia...iki/La_Marseillaise
French invented bloody agriculture. [popbottle, Oct 31 2014]

'1000 Years of Annoying The French' by Stephen Clarke http://www.amazon.c...annoying+the+french
What was in DrBob's Christmas stocking this year. A true & fair view of Anglo-French relations...maybe. [DrBob, Dec 26 2014]

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       We all owe a big debt to Internét...
hippo, Feb 22 2001
  

       Excellent - bonus points for accents.   

       PeterSealyBot - I would have spelt it "Alfbakeur", but yes, that's the idea.
mark_t, Feb 22 2001
  

       Baked in France, where the French already play this game 24/7. The Soviet Union used to have a version they would play, too, but not so much anymore.   

       Anyway, I love this idea for two reasons:   

       1) I once played a game like this for several months, without the French inventor angle, just making up as preprosterous a claim as possible and seeing how convincingly I could support it. I had to give it up after it began to annoy my friends, but they just didn't appreciate how amusing it was to me.   

       2) The game makes it rather more clear what I invented.
beauxeault, Feb 22 2001
  

       Ah yes, the humble paperclip, invented by Monsieur Cleep, a wise old gent of the small town of Poubelle-sur-le-chein who was held in such high regard by all the other townsfolk that they all called him "Papa".   

       Papa Cleep.   

       Sorry.
mark_t, Feb 22 2001
  

       What a depressing idea. All right minded people know that everything was invented by the English...and stolen by the French (except for bad breath and terrible toilets, which they invented themselves and eating sausages which was invented by the Germans).
DrBob, Feb 23 2001
  

       Absolutely. The English invented sausages, of course, but never entertained the concept of eating them.
Lemon, Feb 23 2001
  

       Sausages were in fact invented by one Henri de Saussage, a man well-known for his fondness for extremely bland meat products. The only herb he could stand was the dull sage - hence his nickname "sauf sage", "except sage" - sage being a staple of many European sausages. M. de Saussage lost his teeth at an early age and found the best way for him to eat all the bland things he liked (breadcrumbs, pork, sage) was to grind them into a paste and fill up a pig's intestine, then boil. It's true, I assure you.
bker, Feb 27 2001
  

       How can we forget the promising yet sadly unsuccesful music hall comedian Arsène l’eclair who never recovered from a Le Figaro column making fun out of his name which would sound rude when spoken fast.
stickyman, Mar 02 2001
  

       But of course -- le bon Dieu invented tout le monde! (And I was formerly Argeauxhblaux before I anglicized it for you peasants!)
arghblah, Apr 02 2001
  

       PeterSealy: Do I detect the influence of "Late arrivals at the ______ ball" in your last annotation?
hippo, Apr 03 2001
  

       Arghblah - I think some really pithy and insightful comment needs to be made about the irony of you spelling "anglicised" in the American style rather than the British. Unfortunately I'm not clever enough for that, so I'll just have to settle for pointing it out.
mark_t, Apr 03 2001
  

       ...and the MacIntosh rain coat was invented by which frenchman?   

       [-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-]
[ sctld ], Apr 05 2001
  

       When I first heard of mixins in an object-oriented programming class at uni, I imagined that they were named after their inventor, legendary Russian computer scientist Anatoly Mixin.
acb, Apr 05 2001
  

       'ere een sunny Provence we 'ave no neede ovv ze silly raine coate. 'ere wee eeyouse juste ze parasol. But oowat would eeyou know about zat, eeyou silly English (or Scottishe) kahnigghit. Noww go away or I shall taunte eeyou a seconde time.   

       (j/k, [ sctld ])
; º )
beauxeault, Apr 05 2001
  

       sctld: Le Macintosh était inventé par Stephen Travaux.

(I hope I got that right. It's been 17 years since I studied French.)
sirrobin, Apr 05 2001
  

       The Macintosh for summer was invented by Stephen Travaux?   

       [Stephen Travaux, sounds like a stage name]
[ sctld ], Apr 05 2001
  

       Travaux is the closest I could get to Jobs.
sirrobin, Apr 05 2001
  

       Actually, the Macintosh rain coat, the computer, and the apple were all invented by a Scottsman who joined the French Foreign Legion.
sneed, May 11 2001
  

       Non, Le Macintosh Žtait inventŽ par Mssr. Le Pomme
bobzaguy, May 12 2001
  

       That reminds me of another ridiculous part of the French language I should parody with my nom de net. I should rename myself "beauxeault four-twenty ten-eight."
beauxeault, May 14 2001
  

       ...and some who are not so odd, even.
(Touché.)
beauxeault, May 14 2001
  

       I've always liked pronouncing the words "login" and "logout" as though they were French.
baf, Jul 09 2001
  

       But of course the inventor of the Macintosh was French. While resident in Scotland for most of his life and famed mostly for his Art Nouveau architecture and design, that great Gaul could only be a product of the Auld Alliance. Why, just look at his name.... Charles Rene Macintosh.
Guy Fox, Jul 09 2001
  

       I thought it was Jean-Paul Appal McIntosh
po, Sep 09 2001
  

       Of course, the original spelling was "Maquine-Toche".
baf, Sep 15 2001
  

       Bande de crétins! Don't you know that the French also graced us with the ever-popular retail stores "Jacques Penné" and "Target" (pronounce: "Tar-zhay")?! Vive le capitalisme!
Francofille, Jan 11 2002
  

       Few people know that both the Macintosh raincoat and Wellington boots were actually invented in 1813 by Napoleon, and originally marketed as "La combinaison impermeable Napoleonesque". But after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo the Duke of Wellington and his aide, Colonel Macintosh, pirated the idea and were so successful that the true inventor has never received the credit he deserves.
Skinny Rob, Jan 11 2002
  

       Surely you all knew the humble plywood we use every day was invented by the illustrious Monsieur le-Ply, of Parisian Origin. Why, legend has it that he once had a grotesque accident in a laboratory in which he was horribly mutated.   

       After this incident it seems, he led a solitary life in the woods outside Paris, which have been ever since regarded as haunted by his ghost by English settlers. A flat board was found in what was thought to be the remains of his clothes, and all wood of that type has been known as 'PlyWood' ever since.
NickTheGreat, May 30 2002
  

       âwwwwww poop.
table, Jul 05 2002
  

       Table, i think 'poop' was invented by the cartoon character Fifi le Pew. And everything in the USSR during the Cold War was invented by just one person, the famous U.S.Patoff.
pfperry, Jul 06 2002
  

       of course, everyone knows that the french were very proud of their own Jacques Commode who invented the first modern toilet in 1722. however, the horrid british imperialists attacked france in 1723, claiming that THEY invented the flush-toilet, and the french immediately surrendered.
miss fern, Jul 06 2002
  

       Interesting topic thanks for bringing it back up, it remind me of that book "Europe in 99 days" and 3 words radio, telephone and communication
postseti, Jul 06 2002
  

       //but a cheap crack at "the frogs"// more irony.
po, Aug 15 2002
  

       Everything was invented by the French... unless, of course, your housemate is Chinese, and you quickly learn that everything was invented there, instead. Perhaps such could be a variation on the game.   

       Sounds like the beginnings of a joke: "A french guy and a chinese guy walk into a bar, arguing about who invented the..."
cswiii, Sep 16 2002
  

       C'mon! Its common knowledge that modem actually is an acronym for MOdulator/DEModulator.
jamesxi, Sep 20 2002
  

       les ƒrançaises invented imagination, mais oui? Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged.
codesushi, Oct 13 2002
  

       I thought it was enough to credit the French with inventing Western Civilization and indoor cooking...
whlanteigne, Oct 13 2002
  

       Heard on the news today that the french are claiming to have invented cricket.
dare99, Nov 17 2002
  

       You said that before.
DrCurry, Nov 20 2002
  

       I believe cricket was invented by Mademoiselle De La Crickette during the reing of Louis XVI. During the Napoleonic wars the English learned the sport from French officers during Napoleeon's brief exilew to Elba. After which they Anglicized the name Crickette and claimed it for their own
demo_nova, Dec 18 2002
  

       Zat ez fonnez az'elle. +++
sartep, Jun 21 2003
  

       looking around my desk, it's hugely apparent just how profilic the French are as inventors. Regard!   

       The PC screen was invented by none other than Yves Moan-Itor I've recently found out. Indeed, I'm using another French invention as I type - Pierre Quai-Bord invented the word processor in 1782.   

       Other inventors I shall doff my cap to :   

       Philippe Sella-T'Ape
Marie "C'est D'Ae" Playeur.
jonthegeologist, Dec 17 2003
  

       And whenever he saw his good friend Monsieur Cetset arriving, he'd say:

"C'est Cetset!"

(go on, it almost works...)
hippo, Dec 17 2003
  

       //I believe cricket was invented by Mademoiselle De La Crickette during the reing of Louis XVI. During the Napoleonic wars the English learned the sport from French officers during Napoleeon's brief exilew to Elba. After which they Anglicized the name Crickette and claimed it for their own//   

       The way I heard it was that cricket was invented as an alternative to execution. Prisoners would be given a choice of watching a complete game of cricket or having their head chopped off. Of course, everyone chose to have their head chopped off.   

       BTW, the instrument used for the executions was invented by a Irish woman named Jill O'Teen.
GenYus, Jan 26 2004
  

       Jill O'Teen, now there's a twist to that "Freench inventing everything" game!
benlevi7, Jan 26 2004
  

       Necessity is the mother of invention.
Tiger Lily, Jan 26 2004
  

       Didn't a Frenchman write that?
krelnik, Jan 26 2004
  

       Man, you miss a lot on this side of the ocean.   

       By the way, would this be considered a "list" ? I ask because I just read the rule page (there are a ton of them) and when I got to "list" I thought, "isn't this describing a game that the regs seem to enjoy doing a lot?"
Bamboo, Apr 22 2004
  

       A version of this game was almost invented by a German, Baron von Klaus Bütnau Siegar
snikrepkire, Apr 23 2004
  

       [Bamboo] Later rule changes do not seem to apply to earlier ideas.
FarmerJohn, Apr 23 2004
  

       Actually, they do, I just try not to rain on people's parade too much.
jutta, Jun 01 2004
  

       nice idea and the more banal the item the better. like the biro in my hand could have been invented by "Laszlo Biro" the Fren.. oh. actually... nevermind.
etherman, Jun 01 2004
  

       Moi, je n'aime pas les biros. Je préféres utiliser un Bic...Eh Merde!
gnomethang, Jun 01 2004
  

       Have you ever heard of misour Haf Bakree?
Ebassick15, Jun 01 2004
  

       It seems to me that on the original star trek "Chekhov"  did this regularly with Russian inventors.
macrumpton, Jun 01 2004
  

       ... which was in reference to Soviet claims of "Oh, we did that years ago" when the US would come up with a whiz-banger.
thumbwax, Jun 02 2004
  

       lets not forget the brilliant inventor of sandals..Phillipe Filoppe
flook, Mar 21 2005
  

       One of the best threads on hb.
Soterios, Mar 21 2005
  

       Yes, although it should really be marked for deletion - this idea was posted way before [mark-t] came up with it by some other guy - some French guy, if I remember correctly...
hippo, Mar 21 2005
  

       This could work, except if you put it as everything was invented by an Italian, the Italians seem to have some sort of vendetta against the idea that everything useful was invented by someone who wasn't Italian. Last time I heard, they were claiming that the car was first invented by an Italian - Leonardo Da Vinci.   

       Or you could modify the game so that everyone gets the idea that most things were invented by a character from a novel - like the Discworld novels.
froglet, Mar 21 2005
  

       According to History, Leonardo da Vinci invented _everything_, and was actually French, by way of his maternal grandmother. He would have been French enough to play for their rugby team, but he had to invent the game first. As well as the concept of being French, France, the nation-state, the aristocracy (previously they had merely been known as 'ponces'), cars, Italians, Italy (see above), scooters, pogo sticks, the space hopper, ice cream, beards, paint, women, baldness, helicopters, hovercraft, aircraft generally, air (it should be pointed out that although Aristotle had previously _discovered_ air, it wasn't until da Vinci that it was actually _invented_), tanks, planks, pranks, Franks (an early prototype of the French - see above), banks, cranks, ranks, tranks, microbial life, and, well, everything, basically.   

       And of course, as everyone knows, the diaries were all faked a hundred years later anyway.   

       Incidentally, a related game involves making up Chinese traditions. This is very, very easy. Unless there are Chinese people nearby.
moomintroll, Mar 21 2005
  

       You forgot the Tank Top.
gnomethang, Mar 21 2005
  

       garlic   

       Is Jamie Oliver french?
po, Mar 21 2005
  

       No, but then he didn't invent garlic.   

       (snigger) That was Leonardo da Vinci...
moomintroll, Mar 21 2005
  

       da Vinci can’t be credited with *everything*. Surely some of Jules Verne’s ideas count, and he was... Oh. Never mind.
Shz, Mar 21 2005
  

       (scroll up a bit)   

       Tigerlily, neccessity may be the mother of invention, but who was the father?
DesertFox, Mar 21 2005
  

       And who could forget the 5th Baron de Mibou-Langer who invented the 100 feet platform shoes?
DenholmRicshaw, Mar 22 2005
  

       //but who was the father?//
Frank Zappa.
angel, Mar 22 2005
  

       I think you could convincingly claim that every one of your fake Frechmen was named Jean-Baptiste. It seems to me from my study of European History that between 1600 and 1800 every Frenchman had that name.
discontinuuity, Oct 12 2005
  

       This idea must have been invented by [i n vente' de mark_t frenche']
quantum_flux, Nov 25 2007
  

       My Belgian colleague, Paul de Wool, claims that those heat rub creams that you can get for back pain were invented by a French guy called Marc Fer de Lotion. He also claims that safe electricity was invented by Serge Protecteur.
DrBob, Nov 26 2007
  

       I heard that talcum powder was invented by someone called Malcolm, who made it out of a falcon, he was Balkan, but was made to feel welcome, at his home in the lovely seaside town of Salcome.   

       More importantly, the French were largely invented by the English, to give them something to do during le weekend.
zen_tom, Nov 26 2007
  

       I thought it was an English entrepreneur that invented it.... But no, according to Snopes, it was in fact a French person - A Monsieur Mangetout, I believe
Dub, Nov 26 2007
  

       Halfbakery would not exist without the French. It would not work without croissants?   

       There has been similar argument going on in New Zealand. Some Maori activists want to claim the country back to Maori's like it was some 200 years ago. That would mean English taking away the Rugby, Cricket sausages and beer. French would take back Metric System, White bread and wine. Finnish people would take away saunas and Nokia phones. So fellow Halfbakers, get used to tolerate French or they take away your breakfast croissant.
Pellepeloton, Feb 22 2008
  

       Zut alors and merde de la plume de ma tante! I 'ave only just noticéd zis idée, and I 'ave to tell you that I am shockée and, fronkly, 'orrified.   

       Monsieur 'Mark-T', 'ee should be ashamed of 'imself. 'is idée is clear, 'ow you say, plagiarisme. Why, eet is virtuellement identical to the idée "Pretendens-nous que tout les choses sont inventée par un Anglais". Zis idée was originally postée on zee famous French website, "Le Demi Pattisserie".
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 22 2008
  

       i love it, im going to do this at work. im sure i can find a way to make a game out of this.   

       i can see us fooling customers all day long with lines such as.   

       "of course the internet was french invention....."
sooriir, Apr 22 2008
  

       //spelling "anglicised" in the American style rather than the British//   

       I thought it was all just a joke! I've been replacing my z's with s's the whole time, and I thought it was just an ongoing HB joke ...
MikeD, Apr 22 2008
  

       It is a little known fact that fire originated in the cave of a French neandrathol. Mr. Afa was quite cowardly, you see, and when he saw a sabre tooth tiger edge away from a burning branch he just had to take it home. This, of course led to him running about the burning branch and shouting "Douleur"("pain") many times, which, by the way, was the origin of modern dance.   

       But anyway, Mr. Afa prounounced the word "Douleur" differently. He pronounced it, "Doh" Fa's Doh, the first domesticated dog, (A drunken graduate student would later mistakenly write it down as "fido") heard his name being called and jumped up onto Mr. Afa.   

       Mr Afa was pushed into the fire, caught on fire, ran into his villiage, and began rolling around on some dry grass which also caught fire. Afa's Douleur was called Fa's Douleur, but the "Doul" was lost from the word in an unfortunate accident involving a Feu candles and a man named Dolle. The etemology from that point was FaLeur, Faiur, Feua, and, finally, "fire."
Voice, Apr 22 2008
  

       I'm working on a private equity journal and found a French firm called "Ouest Croissance".   

       So, it's a business that invests money in companies that develop and manufacture innovative technologies and products and its phonetic English translation is, "Where are the croissants?"   

       [Jutta], you're not a French businesswoman are you?   

       [EDIT] - actual translation is "West growth", but I still think it's amazing that
(a) everything was invented by someone French,
(b) the French eat croissants,
(c) croissants sounds like croissance (which means growth),
(d) this site uses croissants as a positive vote for a good idea, and
(e) Ouest Croissance is a French firm that sounds like "Where are the croissants" and is a private equity company that invests in good ideas.
theleopard, Jun 20 2008
  

       C'est un Conspiracy, je vous dites!
gnomethang, Jun 20 2008
  

       74 buns for this relic since the big crash? Hmmm...
bungston, Jun 20 2008
  

       *Le* "big crash", Shirley?
4whom, Jun 20 2008
  

       Even French people were created by someone French - see this new link, programmé par Monsieur LeGrand Générateur...
phundug, Jun 20 2008
  

       I got to use the phrase nodal turion head cheese just recently   

       verdery is french, maybe. Its also english Turion sounds french, its the nodal form of duckweed   

       nodal turion head cheese is a loaf of turion parts that are microtomed to create griddable genetically engineerable plantlets   

       the idea is to create a system to genetically engineer duckweed to make ethanol   

       Zut Alors
beanangel, Jun 20 2008
  

       //the idea is to create a system to genetically engineer duckweed to make ethanol //
..And the pilot project Team Leader is one M. leCanard, right?
gnomethang, Jun 20 2008
  

       Eh, here in USA we did invent everything. Why would we engage in this silly game?   

       :)
Noexit, Jun 23 2008
  

       I load the page and the tagline is "invented by someone French." Nice.
Bukkakinator, Jun 26 2008
  

       Did you know the buffet was invented by a guy named Jimmy in Key West? (am I getting this?)
r_kreher, Jun 26 2008
  

       Did you know that basketball shoes were invented by Pierre Jordan???
r_kreher, Jun 26 2008
  

       Jimmy was a Cajun.
4whom, Jun 26 2008
  

       //Sausages were in fact invented by one Henri de Saussage// that may be true but the game "Hide the sausage" was invented by an Italian butcher. Or was it his wife?
theGem, Oct 19 2008
  

       The french invented the USA.   

       el dueno
el dueno, Oct 19 2008
  

       sp. Freedom Fries ... jeez.
jonthegeologist, Nov 03 2008
  

       The French were invented by the English.
xenzag, Nov 03 2008
  

       Je ne sais pas.
Bakin_News, Nov 03 2008
  

       //The French were invented by the English.// There's a disturbing degree of truth in that (think of the cultural effects of the 100-years' war) - although some credit (?) is due to Julius Caesar for making a big deal of the previously rather vague separation of Gauls from Germans.
pertinax, Nov 04 2008
  

       Grrrr! Everything was invented by Quantum_le_Flux Inc., and I just happen to be a Mustard Pastry American.
quantum_flux, Nov 04 2008
  

       The corollary of "Everything was invented by the French" has to be "Dire financial news sounds better in German" - for example the headline "Das Globale Bankensystem Wankt" (see link)
hippo, Jan 20 2009
  

       better?
po, Jan 20 2009
  

       //The French were invented by the English//

I'd just like to back up UB's assertion that the French were, in fact, invented by the Germans (Franks).

There is an argument (a controversial one) to say that the English, however, were invented by the Iranians (the theory being that the Saxons were actually descendents of the Scythians (or Saka), the Iranian nomads who, amongst other things, were complicit in the destruction of Babylon & Nineveh. It seems that old habits die hard with the English!
DrBob, Jan 20 2009
  

       At what point do nationalities undergo 'speciation' events? If we've all been migrating, conquering and interbreeding since pre-historic times, at what point do you draw the line and say "From this point forward, you can identify with, and adopt the stereotypical character-traits of ethnic group X"?   

       100,000 years ago? 10,000 years ago? 1,000 years ago? 100 years ago? Each baseline is liable to provide very different results.
zen_tom, Jan 20 2009
  

       I think that your baseline date is governed entirely by whatever prejudices you may harbour about the particular nationality under debate and the 'facts' that you want to call upon in order to prove to the rest of the world that your bias is entirely reasonable. Unless you are the Duke of Wellington, of course, who reputedly said "The French have always hated us, they hate us now and I hope that they will always hate us". You can't argue with that!
DrBob, Jan 20 2009
  

       It's when the language speciates (or specifies) into a situation where the new speakers can't understand the old speakers and the old speakers can't understand the new ones, because it's a different dialect or language, or a differently composed creole or pidgin on its way to becoming a different language.
Ian Tindale, Jan 20 2009
  

       If it's language related, then a nation can only be a fleeting thing. e.g. If I find it difficult to read Chaucer, does that mean Chaucer and I aren't bound by the same nationality? (The Past being a Foreign Country and all that - [where is that reference from by the way?]) It also suggests that Americans, Canadians, Australians and other Anglophones are all English - a notion that some of them might not be too keen on embracing.   

       But I can see how language can specify, over enough time - the same as a population of creatures might share a common pool of genes that specifies/speciates over time and distance, so too the pools of active words in a language.   

       What about shared ideals and values - those things we import during our socialisation - being kind to pets, brushing our teeth, doing what our fathers/husbands /priests/police tell us to do - those things that make us feel either at home, or foreign in a particular place. These things could be said to go through specification/speciation type processes.
zen_tom, Jan 20 2009
  

       [-][-][-]
quantum_flux, Jan 20 2009
  

       //where is that reference from //

It's part of the opening line from a book, 'The Go-between' by L P Hartley (not that I've ever read it but I compiled a book quiz for the people in the office to do at Christmas, in which that was one of the questions). The full quote is "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."

Taking the nationality question seriously for a moment, I think the real answer to your question about 'speciation events' is that they never happen really. All you can ever do is take a snapshot of an ever-changing political, linguistic & geographical situation and hang a handy label on it called 'Nationality' .
DrBob, Jan 21 2009
  

       //'The Go-between' by L P Hartley //
Didn't he also write "Fly Fishing" in that Yellow Pages ad?
coprocephalous, Jan 21 2009
  

       Nah, that's J R Ewing that you are thinking of.
DrBob, Jan 21 2009
  

       Though since the invention of Time Travel (by someone French of course) the quote is now "The past is truly like a foreign country, they do everything the same there" (D Adams)
MadnessInMyMethod, Jan 21 2009
  

       This is a game that will never stop being funny. ++ pastry from me
gonzola, Jan 21 2009
  

       J R Ewing? I thought it was John Kettley.
Ian Tindale, Jan 21 2009
  

       //the game "Hide the sausage" was invented by an Italian butcher. Or was it his wife?//   

       His wife was French. Madam Chienk loved to hide sausages from the family dog to watch him search the house. They made it into the formalized sport it is today. Of course the dog was a French poodle.
Voice, Jan 22 2009
  

       //If it's language related, then a nation can only be a fleeting thing. ... It also suggests that Americans, Canadians, Australians and other Anglophones are all English//   

       Are you kidding? We all speak different dialects. Lemonade, pants, heaps, ... Heck, I've struggled to understand someone who was showing me around Bannockburn, and I'm supposed to be the same nationality as him.   

       English language divergence is all a big post-Napoleonic plot. After all, all French-speakers understand each other perfectly, don't they? I bet Language itself was invented by Monsieur de Lan Gwage or someone similar (obviously he lived in the North of France, near Flemish influence).
PeterSilly, Jan 23 2009
  

       Computers and airplanes, the First World War trench.
Cars, busses and railroads, hand built by the French.

The value of pi and the humble park bench.
Spaghetti and lamb chops, all made by the French.

Cartoons and pop music, the adjustable wrench,
TV and torpedoes, invented by French.

Real ale and cast iron and the fine, buxom wench,
The phone and the Walkman, brainchilds of the French.

“But how,” you may ask, “can I prove they are French?”
Well just take a sniff at their faint garlic stench.
DrBob, Oct 12 2009
  

       1000 points pour le bon Docteur Beurb!
calum, Oct 12 2009
  

       //It's likely that many of those Franks became the Saxons// Are you sure about that part, [UnaBubba]? Could you link to a source or two?
pertinax, Oct 12 2009
  

       <regurgitation of a joke which was told much better by Stephen Fry, but which is slightly relevant here>   

       A Greek and Italian were arguing about who's nation had contributed most to the world.   

       "My ancestors built the Parthenon." says the Greek.
"Ah yes, but the Romans developed amphitheatres and heated bath-houses." replied the Italian.
  

       "The Greeks were the first to develop Democracy." says the Greek.
"Ah yes," replies the Italian "But the Romans were the first to create a civil structure and a logical legal system."
  

       "Well" says the Greek "my ancestors invented recreational sex."
"Yes", replies the Italian, "but we thought of having it with women."
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 08 2010
  

       Stéphane Frite is a masterful exponent of l’anglomania - a longstanding fashion amongst French gentlemen.
pocmloc, Oct 08 2010
  

       MaxwellBuchanan, - could’t you just have left it another four days to put the annotation in?
Ian Tindale, Oct 08 2010
  

       Apparently Minitel, the internet which the French invented, is being turned off (see link).
hippo, Jun 28 2012
  

       But why, pray tell, would we have to pretend?
Cuit_au_Four, Dec 15 2013
  

       <gling gling gling> French person detected <red warning lights flash, hatches automatically close, sidearms are issued, everyone looks suspiciously at each other, like in The Thing>
not_morrison_rm, Dec 15 2013
  

       Strange, but I've just come across a very similar idea to this on a French website dating back to the late 1990's.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 13 2014
  

       The concept of employing ideas in a self referential way was perfected Jean-Alain Méta, I believe. Naming it after himself was a no-brainer.
bs0u0155, Jan 13 2014
  

       Evidence that half-bakery actually was invented by the French:   

       The following account comes from Louis-Sébastien Mercier's "Tableau de Paris" (Amsterdam 1783), and is quoted in Foucault's "Madness and Civilisation".   

       "Go into another café; a man whispers to you in a calm and confident tone; 'You cannot imagine, Monsieur, the Government's ingratitude toward me, and its blindness to its own interests! For thirty years I have neglected my own affairs; I have shut myself up in my study, meditating, dreaming, calculating; I have devised a project to pay all the State's debts; another to enrich the King and assure him an income of 400 million; another to destroy England forever, whose very name affronts me.... When, utterly devoted to these vast operations that demand all the application of genius, I was distracted by domestic problems, some nagging creditors kept me in prison for three years.... But, Monsieur, you see how patriotism is valued - I die unknown and a martyr for my country'   

       [...]   

       Thus there are in Paris some very good people, economists and anti-economists, who have warm hearts, eager for the public good; but unfortunately they have *cracked heads*; that is, they are shortsighted, they do not know what century they are in, nor what men they are dealing with; more unbearable than idiots, because with pennies and false lights they start from an impossible principle and reason falsely therefrom."   

       Clearly, all they lacked was a website where they could meet to correct each other's spelling.
pertinax, Oct 30 2014
  

       La La e bo la.
AusCan531, Oct 30 2014
  

       Today of all days, we should be honouring monsieur Pierre Louine, inventor of the carved pumpkin. Mesdames et messieurs, I propose a French toast: à Pierre Louine.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 31 2014
  

       Have you ever come across the traditional French rural Autumn tradition of les enfants going house to house to receive their little gifts? The standard tariff was une croussant ou un bon-bon par enfant, but this could be varied by the householder; if the visitors were deemed worthy of more reward, they could be given two each, while as a punishment they might receive fewer gifts than their number, forcing them to squabble over the spoils. Since they usually went around in groups of four, their traditional greeting on each doorstep was "3, 4, or 8?" (Trois, quatre ou huit?)
pocmloc, Nov 01 2014
  

       //they start from an impossible principle and reason falsely therefrom.//   

       There you have it: The French invented String Theory.
Voice, Dec 26 2014
  

       Theories are named after Auguste Theory, who developed the first one (a rigorous outline of how everything was invented by someone French), so yes, the French invented String Theory (in a way (a nonchalant, gesturing-with- languid-cigarette kind of way)).
baconbrain, Dec 28 2014
  

       We'll always have Paris Hilton. Moan Ahh Me
popbottle, Dec 28 2014
  

       We would have to change our user names, no?   

       pauntext - for po (the aunt is pronounce o, and the rest is ignored)   

       grandsommeil - for big sleep   

       Maxime BeauChanson - for maxwel buchanon   

       docteureRober (or TourEstJué) - for doctor bob   

       monsieurRougeGorge - for sir robin   

       touche - for beauxault   

       facile - me...   

       and please do not pronounce the last t in cricket.
or in mark_t. The French don't like tea cause they think its English.
pashute, Dec 29 2014
  

       //The French don't like tea cause they think its English//   

       Tea is clearly English. Just look how much you will find in all the shops. Any other stories you may have heard are the result of a huge jape by the Anglo-Indian community. They buy many boxes of PG, then, send it to their relatives in India, who hydrate and unroll the "leaves" before sticking them on bushes. Whenever you see film of a tea "harvest", simply run the footage backwards for clarity.
bs0u0155, Dec 29 2014
  

       //Maxime BeauChanson// Jamais, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Jamais!
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 29 2014
  

       'Now I know why the English prefer tea. I just tasted their coffee.'
Pierre-Jean Vaillard, French actor.
DrBob, Dec 30 2014
  

       My own personal grudge is where the French got to do the transliteration of place names in SE Asia...   

       Example "Hua Hin" is actually said "hoy hin"..and I suspect Siam and Silom got the same treatment, it's "see am" and "see lom".. etc
not_morrison_rm, Dec 30 2014
  

       7th Jan 2015 - Solidarité
hippo, Jan 07 2015
  

       +1
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 07 2015
  

       A pencil point is sharper than any sword.
xenzag, Jan 07 2015
  

       Sharper, yes, but sometimes the job at hand calls for a big fuck-off sword for lopping the heads off violent thugs and murderers.   

       +1 for living in a civilised society with the benefit of (nearly) unlimited free speech.
Custardguts, Jan 07 2015
  

       An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth leaves every one blind and wearing dentures. Today is a day for standing up and saying 'Je suis Charlie'.
xenzag, Jan 07 2015
  

       It's just that I think twitter hashtag campaigns achieve approximately fuck all and are part of the slacktivist approach of caring a lot but not doing anything.   

       I'm very very sorry that this happened, but the strawpile on the camel's back is starting to look a bit heavy is all I'm saying. Saying less and doing more will be the answer in the long run, one way or another.
Custardguts, Jan 08 2015
  

       Note that it was the French who first invented pronouns, since even dropping off the last half of the word still left them having to pronounce too much of the horrid language for anyone to endure for long. Eventually, they came up with 'everouis-pthng,' which meant 'all that is French' and by French definition, meant 'all that is possible.' Thus they invented 'everything.'   

       I wonder if Cherif likes the band 'The Clash.'   

       Par ordonnance du Prophète Nous interdisons que le son de boogie Dégénérer fidèles Avec ce bruit fou Casbah Mais les Bédouins ils firent sortir Le chameau tambour électrique Le sélecteur de guitare locale Got sa guitare picking pouce Dès que le Sharif avait dégagé la place Ils ont commencé à hurler
RayfordSteele, Jan 08 2015
  

       //Today is a day for standing up and saying 'Je suis Charlie'.// . . . . et ainsi est ma femme.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 12 2015
  


 

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