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Reverse Poirot

Subliminal French Lessons.
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,

Watching the TV dramatisations of Agatha Christie's Poirot books, I've noticed something weird. Take by way of example a line such as:

"Hastings, mon ami, you are too quick to jump to the conclusion with your little hypothesis, non?"

How come Monsieur Poirot's vocabulary stretches to words such as "hypothesis" and "conclusion", and yet he can't translate words such as "non" and "mon ami"?

No, mes amis. It's time to inject a petit peu of reality into Poirot. Allow him to use "I see" rather than "eh bien", but see that he struggles with phrases like "the house with the corrugated iron roof".

"Ah, Hastings! The is no time to spare. We must rush over to the... the, er... la maison avec le toit de fer ondulé!!"

Obviously, the Belgian detective would have to point at the house at the appropriate moment so that we knew what the devil he was going on about.

As well sounding more real, it might allow us Englishmen to progress beyond our current position as the linguistic dullards of Europe.

Fishrat, May 22 2004

French in Action at Yale http://yalepress.ya...FrenchinAction.html
Simmilar concept [ooys, Oct 08 2004]


       Not sure that struggling with words really fits Poirot's image, tho.   

       Me thinks this idea might fit better into 'ello 'ello, which is where I learned my franglais.
benjamin, May 22 2004

       I learnt all the French I know from "Only fools and horses" ("Mange Dieu, Rodney!")
hippo, May 22 2004


And this could serve to slow down the action, when necessary:

We must rush over to the... the, er... la maison avec le toit de fer ondulé!!"
”The house with the chamber pot?”
“No no, Hastings, le toit de fer ondulé!!"
Hastings thumbs through a phrase book. “The toilet for omelets?”
”Ah, my friend, you are such an idiot.”
“Really, Poirot. There’s no call for rudeness.”
They begin to squabble, but are soon interrupted by the muffled sound of gunfire from the house.
Peirot points. “It came from la maison avec le toit de fer ondulé!!"
“Oh, give it a rest.”
They rush off towards the house, but are too late to save Mrs. Pondexter.

ldischler, May 22 2004

       Ah, mais M. Poirot n'est pas Francais, which is why he speaks so badly. (Anyway, it's like all those shows with Americans pretending to be British "I was just in London, England," well, duh.)
DrCurry, May 22 2004

       So the idea is what, re-write Christie?
waugsqueke, May 22 2004

       No, leave Ms Marple alone. The idea is briefly outlined to the left, below the title "Reverse Poirot". In a nutshell, it's to educate the English to speak French a little better in an accessible (and somewhat whimsicle) way. Didn't that come through, waugs?
Fishrat, May 23 2004

       Although I like the concept I think that I'm going to vote against the idea. This is mainly (well entirely, actually) because the elimination of linguistic dullards would mean that there would be nobody left with whom my own feeble linguistic accomplishments would compare favourably and I would, therefore, inherit the title of linguistic dullard myself. Quelle horreur!
DrBob, May 24 2004

       // Didn't that come through, waugs? //   

       No. What came through is you don't like the way Christie wrote Poirot's dialog, actually.
waugsqueke, May 24 2004

       They find Mrs. Pondexter lying in a pool of blood. Her corpulent body is riddled with holes.
Hastings is the first one in. He stops, shocked at the carnage.
Poirot pushes past him and kneels at her side. In spite of the two bullet holes in her forehead, he places a finger against her jugular. Evidently finding no pulse, he turns to Hastings. "She is morte."
“Yes, Hastings, she is dead.”
“Who did this, who could have—"
Poirot points towards the open doors leading to the garden. There is just a glimpse of a figure dressed all in black, before it disappears beyond a fence.
“It is wagsqueke!”
Hastings flips through his dictionary. “Ah, a wooden spoon?”
Poirot does not answer, for he is in hot pursuit.
Hastings is still reading: “A spatula? A whisk?”
ldischler, May 24 2004

       Fishrat. Very interesting idea, and far more entertaining than the mind-numbing cassettes.
Never mind waugs, he's just being his usual...ahhh...how you say......
lintkeeper2, May 24 2004

       //What came through is you don't like the way Christie wrote Poirot's dialog, actually//   

       Wrong. For the record, I'm a fan of the books (the entire collection is leather bound in my library as it happens). I agree with you that changing Poirot's bizarre franglias would change him in print.   

       However, gawld bless David Suchet, but the TV versions make it pretty clear that the producers don't like the way Christie wrote Poirot's dialog, or plot come to that. It's already diluted, so why not use it to give anglo-french relations a kick up the derriere?   

       If you're a die-hard Christie fan then stick to the books. If you're a purist, I can't really believe that you're really losing sleep about bastardizing a mudblood.
Fishrat, May 25 2004

       you could always produce them in DVD or book on CD versions with Poirot's dialog becoming more french, first tape he is saying things like Bonjour Monsiour, untill by the final tape he is speaking french with only the really hard words repeated by Hastings.
engineer1, May 25 2004

       "Poirot for Beginners vol 1".
Fishrat, May 25 2004

       Reminds me of a show my dad used to watch with us - French in Action [link]. I think in only the first couple episodes they used mixed english and french - then they used only french. But there was a lot of saying something and then pointing to it. Some little cartoons and stuff. But the show had something of a plot - we called it a soap opera.
ooys, Oct 08 2004

       Seems to me we have to get to the point of speaking English, first...
RayfordSteele, Oct 08 2004

       When I'm speaking a foreign language I often accidentally slip back into English for some words, such as OK, cool, yes or no. I think that Poirot slips back into French occasionally more for reasons of it being more natural than of difficulty. That being said, if there were more French in Poirot and it helped people learn it then it's a good idea in my books. +
harderthanjesus, Oct 08 2004

       Poirot uses simple words of French because those are the only words that those around him can understand. If he could, he'd use French for everything.
vincevincevince, Jan 16 2008


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