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Arab media chokes on Prime Minister

The Arab-speaking media found themselves in a bit of a pickle after the appointment of Jean-Marc Ayrault as France’s new prime minster last week – about how to mention the head of the French government without causing offense.

Friday 25 May 2012, 11:50AM

Transcribed into Arabic from the French pronounciation of his name, “Ayrault” refers to the male sexual organ in several Arabic dialects.

The problem lasted for hours after French President Francois Hollande named the head 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 “Aro”, others prefixed his name with an “H,” 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 on subject permitting his name to be transcribed as written, and saving the blushes of many an Arabic editor.



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