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Speaking French

I have been invited to give a talk to IREF, the Paris-based Institute de Recherches Economiques et Fiscales, in mid-November.  It promises to be a rather convivial evening since it is one of their debats-dégustation evenings at which a wine expert talks about a chosen wine first, which attendees then sample while the talk is given, and there is discussion afterwards.

I have been asked to talk about the work of think tanks, based to some extent on my book “Think Tank – the story of the Adam Smith Institute.”  I intend, out of courtesy, to deliver the speech in French, though my vocabulary is not up to it.  I learned it as a teenager, and can talk about desks, teachers & pencils, but not about such things as the public sector borrowing requirement.  My way round this is to write the speech in English and have a bilingual friend translate it into French.  After a few practice run-throughs I will deliver it in French.

The audience will all speak English, but I find that French audiences pay more attention to a speech in French, even if they can understand English.  No doubt the discussion afterwards will be in a mixture of both languages.

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