The Daily Star:
Experts believe the French language is not at risk in Lebanon despite a clear increase of schools that use English as a language of instruction, saying that two-thirds of the country’s students can still be classified as French-educated. “There is definitely a dominance; a majority of schools in the private and public sector are using French as the first foreign language,” said Fadi Yarak, the director general of education at the Education Ministry.
I definitely feel the existence of the French language in Lebanon, but dominance? Give me a break. The new lingua franca in Lebanon is English by any measure.
Sure every now and then you see a french tweet or french blog post. They’re cute, and in a fun way, uniquely Lebanese. But English is almost universal in the Lebanese online world nowadays. I follow thousands of Lebanese online, and with the exception of a handful, they all communicate in English (and increasingly, some Arabic). The website of the Lebanese Presidency is in Arabic and English only. Most official Lebanese websites are in Arabic and English only, with some exceptions like -fittingly- Le Ministère de la culuture.
But it’s different in the offline world, you might say. Well, as a fun experiment, go to Beirut Drive-by Shooting right now. This is a blog dedicated to taking pictures of Lebanese billboards. I just went there and counted: 19 billboards are in English, only 1 is in French. Dominance you say?
Face it. English is the new king in town. Those who are saying that French is dominant are living in the reality-distortion field of La Francophonie..
I was french-educated in Lebanon, and so was my wife. But we recently made a decision to put our son in an English-only school. After a lot of thinking and a lot of anguish over the beautiful things he’ll be missing, we made up our minds: It’s just not worth it..