Sunday, 25 January 2009


About three years ago I met David Shayler, the former MI5 officer. I asked him if he spoke French. If you say 'est-ce qu'on peut parler français?' the people who say they speak French usually make their excuses and you continue to speak English. In David's case he spoke French very well. I asked him how he had learned and he said he was taught at school and he also picked up his French from prison in France. We didn't go into detail about his time in prison but it just shows that every cloud...

I met him again about a year later on the Champs Elysées. I introduced myself and told him where we had met. He didn't seem too interested in taking up our previously enthralling conversation. In fact I only heard hein. This is a very common French noise and sounds like vin without the v. Hein can mean eh? (It was David Shayler). It can also be the equivalent of n'est-ce pas?

Vous étudiez le français hein?

A bientôt

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