Faute grave 2: The Walking Wounded


Bescherelle ta mère is mordant humor at its best, but I wonder whether Anne-Marie Gaignard is laughing. If her experience as a child is any measure, feeling like a cancre, or dunce, means you spend most of your life terrorized by words, only to learn at the age of 35 that you’re not dyslexic after all. And the scholastic stigma doesn’t necessarily end with the classroom. New to the workforce after having survived the trauma of dictées and being perpetually lost in a forêt de mots, she was chided by a saleswoman for her misspelling of the word neuf (it does sound like œuf) when she wrote out a check for a blouse.

Seven books later, Gaignard has gone to bat with a vengeance for struggling learners. My copy of La Revanche des nuls en orthographe, her most recent work, has just arrived in my mailbox. Who knows? Maybe her fairy tale approach to spelling and grammar issues will cast a spell on this non-native writer.

Faute Grave 2a

Stay tuned for more on mistakes — and their ramifications — in upcoming blog posts.

— Linda

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