Clear Illiteracy or Subtle Erudition?

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I don’t like to go on too much about being a grammar pedant because clearly there are many occasions when I don’t care enough. But some things are just too awful to pass by without comment.

The graffitti above though made me pause for thought the other day. Scrawled onto the plinth of Marianne, the grand symbol of the French Republic towering over the great Place de la République in Paris, was a common enough expression of support for said Republic: Long Live France. Except for the spelling twist: who on earth can misspell “France”?

I was quite horrified by this. The prominence of the statue in question; the ubiquity of the slogan in French culture; the profoundly shocking spelling mistake. Surely any self-respecting graffitti merchant seeking such a prominent display board would at least spell it correctly?

It was such a shock, I then began to think I was missing something. Perhaps there was a subtext the truly informed would read without a problem. What could it possibly be? Was there an ancient spelling of “France”, some medieval orthographic nuance with some ancient political or cultural association?

Who knows? Any views?

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5 responses to Clear Illiteracy or Subtle Erudition?

    • gillianholding – Author

      I’m interested to see how many places spell France with an S; but then i would expect to see the rest of the slogan in Malay, or Dutch…or whatever!

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