EVIDENCE THAT THE FRENCH DON’T “COPE” WITH PROBLEMS. Ann Althouse, writing at Instapundit, links to this article at France 24.com about the consternation caused by a question at this year’s English baccalaureate English exam. The students are clearly very proficient in English. The question was about a character in Ian McEwan’s ATONEMENT and asked about how a character was “coping” with a situation. Over 10,000 students have signed a petition protesting the question. Says one student: “Loads of people were stumped with ‘coping’. It’s obviously not a word in common usage.”

I think that the concept of “coping” is characteristic of a number of ways that Americans and the British approach problems. They often “make do”, they “deal”, they “muddle through”. I suppose that the French would speak instead in terms of solving a problem. “Coping” suggests that the effort is not going to be completely successful.

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