Friday, 4 November 2011

Vingt et Vin

Ever felt like M Sarkozy looks? Did someone ask when the Greek takeaway was coming? Or is it true that M. Obama said it was a good thing daughter Guilia had inherited his mother's and not his father's looks?

Fitting though that the group of 20 nations met at Cannes as our friends across the water have a peculiar love for numero vingt. Teachers grade their students out of 20 and not 10. And Paris has 20 boroughs or arrondissements. No such thing as a marathon or half marathon in the capital but the annual race is the 20 kilometres de Paris. We have a free newspaper called the Metro but the Gallic equivalent is called "vingt minutes". Why is the main TV news the "Journal de 20 heures"? What do they do with the other 4?

There is something deeply amiss about a nation which needs to take its shoes and socks off to count in 20s when reaching quatre-vingt? I am told it is not that long ago that deux-vingts and trois-vingts was still in use.

Or maybe the answer is incredibly simple. Vingt is just another way of saying vin and les francais can never have enough of it: vingt deux, vin rouge, vin trois, vingt quatre vin blanc......

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