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Saturday 22 September 2018

Lost in translation? Macron calls Australian PM’s wife ‘delicious’

The French president was thanking Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull for their hospitality during his visit.

Emmanuel Macron and Malcolm Turnbull
Emmanuel Macron and Malcolm Turnbull

By Trevor Marshallsea

French President Emmanuel Macron has raised eyebrows in Australia by calling prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s wife “delicious”.

Wrapping up a joint news conference during his brief Australian visit, Mr Macron moved to thank the Turnbulls for their hospitality.

“I want to thank you for your welcome, thank you and your delicious wife for your warm welcome,” he said.

The comment quickly sparked some lighthearted reaction on social media and in the Australian press amid lively conjecture about the French leader’s intent.

“Macron just said he wanted to thank Malcolm Turnbull and his ‘delicious wife’. You can take the man out of France but …,” tweeted Alice Workman, a journalist.

Australian ABC News tweeted: “Lost in translation: Emmanuel Macron thanks the PM’s ‘delicious wife’.”

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Malcolm Turnbull's wife Lucy

Despite his deadpan delivery, some observers felt the French leader may have been making a joke.

Mr Turnbull had just mentioned Mr Macron’s imminent lunch with members of Sydney’s French community, and had followed with comments about French gastronomy and wine.

Pardoning generalisations about the French obsession with food, Mr Macron minutes earlier had also been talking about shrimp, picking up on Mr Turnbull’s comment relating to China’s growing influence in the South Pacific, when the Australian leader said: “Big fish cannot eat little fish, and little fish cannot eat shrimp.”

Others felt Mr Macron may simply have slipped up in his use of English, since the French word for delicious — delicieux — also translates as “delightful”.

The more mischievous may have even considered the comment to possibly be a tongue-in-cheek reference to Donald Trump’s visit to Paris last year, when he was caught telling Mr Macron’s wife Brigitte that she was “in such great shape”, before looking to her husband and saying “Beautiful”.

Press Association

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