Lee Kuan Yew

Sitting here on the plane to Paris, I’ve been able to surreptitiously read the French subtitles on the movie that the gentleman next me has been watching–no problem.  (Apparently I’m no gentleman.).  However, I can’t make it one sentence into the article about the death of Lee Kuan Yew that I’m trying to read on my cell phone without running into Zipf’s Law.  Twice in the same article, I’m running into the same expression: en tant que, which my dictionary tells me means “as.”  Here are the examples from the news story (courtesy of TV5 Monde’s “7 jours sur la planète” iPhone app):

  • Nous sommes vraiment fiers en tant que Singapouriens. “We are truly proud as Singaporeans.”
  • Pendant 50 ans en tant que Premier ministre “During 50 years as Prime Minister.”

Let’s see what other real-life examples we can find to shed light on the situation.  I’ll start with Twitter, as recommended by a colleague at Arizona State University, who will go unnamed, as I don’t have her permission to include her in my little blog:

  • @MelodieMR_ Theo James en tant que Christian Grey please  Seems straightforward enough: “Theo James as Christian Grey, please”
  • @PierreDEHAEN Ce match 7 de la finale sera mon dernier en en tant que juge de lignes international. Also seems pretty straightforward: “This match 7 of the finals will be my last on @LigueMagnus as international line judge.”
  • @itineraireB Anna Oualid rejoint OpinionWay en tant que directrice du Social Media Research Also pretty straightforward: “Anna Oualid rejoins OpinionWay as director of Social Media Research.”

I tried a Google phrase search, but it just gets a bunch of metalinguistic stuff–no actual examples of use.  (This was what motivated my ASU colleague’s advice to use Twitter in the first place.)

OK, so, this is a big digression from Lee Kuan Yew, but that’s the nature of language…

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