This isn’t a commentary on Jean-Marc Ayrault’s politics, or personality or even his Frenchness. But if you speak certain Arab dialects, his last name sounds like the Arab word for “penis.” This caused a bit of a problem for the Arab press as they scrambled to find a way to report Ayrault’s ascension without offending their readers. Al Arabiya reports:
Transcribed into Arabic from the French pronunciation of his name, â€œAyraultâ€ refers to the male sexual organ in several Arabic dialects… The problem lasted for hours after French President Francois Hollande named the head [snicker] of the Socialist bloc in parliament as his prime minister, with Arab journalists trying different possible pronunciations of his name… Some newspapers referred to him as â€œAro,â€ others prefixed his name with an â€œH,â€ while some chose to spell out the last two silent letters… The conundrum was finally resolved by the French foreign ministry, which issued an official edict [snicker] on subject permitting his name to be transcribed as written, and saving the blushes of many an Arabic editor.
Kudos to the new French government for rising to the occasion and deftly solving what could have been a very hard problem. Very hard indeed.
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