June 01, 2005

So Should I Give My Kid a Seven Word Name?

Humorus piece on BBCNews today about the new French Prime Minister
Commentators are grappling with many questions about the new French prime minister appointed on Tuesday. Can he restore France's EU standing? Is he a reformist? Can he work with his rival, Nicolas Sarkozy? But one question divides analysts more than any other.
Get ready …
What do you call him? His full name, Dominique Marie Francois Rene Galouzeau de Villepin, is out.

So which short version is correct: Mr Villepin or Mr de Villepin? Should the "De" be capitalised or not? It is not just foreign media, including the BBC, that seems confused. French newspapers are too. Le Monde - often called the "newspaper of reference" - mostly refers to Mr de Villepin, but is not consistent. The Communist L'Humanite - perhaps out of disdain for the aristocratic "de" - tends to plump for Mr Villepin.
Leave it to the French, ugh. But, à la fin... ce qui le fait vraiment matière?

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