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French Health Minister Blames Heat Wave Deaths on Absence of French Word For 'Air Conditioning'



PARIS — In a move that may have linguistic repercussions for generations of French citizens, the Minister of Health resigned due to the fallout from the high number of deaths during the recent brutal heat wave.

Refusing to directly take responsibility for the country's response to this calamity, he blamed it on the lack of a French word for air conditioning, a result of the Academie Francaise's strict policy of no "franglais". French President Jacques Chirac accepted the resignation and admitted that banning the use of the English words for "air conditioning" may have set the stage for this crisis. "We realize now that a lack of air conditioning is not a good thing. By trying to keep our language 100% pure, we may have inadvertently caused this great tragedy."

The French, who recently banned the term email from their language, are well-known for thumbing their noses at English words and phrases that have become universally accepted everywhere else in the world. Most of the time, this just causes confusion, as French AOL users discover every time they turn on their computers and see the message, "Vous avez le courriel".

However, the public outcry after the heat wave aftermath has served as a wake-up call for the language purists. Chirac promised to push for an update of all French dictionaries and see that the words for climate control situations are added immediament, or as soon as the employees in the Ministry of Language Purity get back from their August vacations.

CEP
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US to Press Europeans to Stop Using American Words (19-Feb-03)

Our War Correspondent Goes Into Enemy Territory: France (19-Mar-03)

Fed Up With the United Nations, US Will Turn UN Headquarters into Condos (2-Apr-03)



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