Ils parlent à tour de rôle.

Ils parlent à tour de rôle.

eel paar lah toor duh role. Click below to hear this.*

They speak in turn.

Or something like in turns, according to their role, as in a play.

Certainly not a description of contemporary American political talk shows! Au contraire.. The panel of experts, all five or six of them, and even the host(s), all talk at once. How exactly do they expect us to understand anything they say?

There’s really no way to represent simultaneous conversation in print, anyway, short of saying They all spoke at the same time.

Just for fun, let’s try to simulate one of these heated political discussions, making up names and using French punctuation:

« –Christophe, je voudrais vous demander de parler des événements des journées passées. –Attendez, Marc, je n’ai pas terminé de –Oui, Marc, c’est une honte, vraiment, il –Et vous, Marianne, expliquez-nous –Eh, Christophe, je ne suis pas du tout d’accord, parce que –Normalement, je –Marianne, vous, vous, vous ne –répondre à votre dernière ques –normalement, je –faut que nous prenions en –quelle est la position de la partie op- –Une petite pause ici pour un message »

At which point I wrest the remote from my husband’s clutch and change the channel. If you can make sense of that, you’re a better man than I, and I wrote it. Enough. See you Monday, and may your friends talk to you one at a time!

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:

a_tour_de_role.mp3

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