Une journée ensoleillée de juin 2009 je me suis rendu dans la campagne alsacienne sur les rives du Rhin, avec vue sur l’Allemagne située l’autre côté du fleuve. C’était quelques dizaines de kilomètres au sud de Strasbourg. Mais pour moi, qui arrivais par le train de Paris, le voyage était plutôt long et chaud. Au terminus dans la capitale alsacienne j’ai pris un train régional qui m’a amené à une petite gare à Marckolsheim, le village le plus proche. Ma destination finale était une usine agro-alimentaire, située quelques kilomètres au sud du village. Alors la dernière ligne droite, je l’ai faite en taxi. Bien que j’avais sur le dos mon blason (je ne voulais pas le plier dans mon sac de voyage), je n’avais pas encore sortie ma cravate. Dans la chaleur du voyage, à quoi bon ? J’ai donc attendu d’arriver à la gare de Marckolsheim avant de retirer cet accessoire incontournable de mon sac. À l’intérieur de la gare je me suis regardé dans une vitre qui m’a servi de miroir puis j’ai enfilé ma cravate, ne voulant pas arriver à l’entreprise sans elle.
J’étais la toute dernière personne à mettre les pieds dehors et comme vous pouvez imaginer, il n’y avait pas grand monde. Le nombre de passagers qui est descendu du train à cet arrêt, on pouvait le compter sur les doigts de la main. À l’extérieur une chauffeuse de taxi m’attendait, une femme plus jeune que moi aux cheveux blonds avec des reflets roux. En Alsace comme en Allemagne, les têtes blondes ne sont pas rares. J’avais commandé un taxi à l’avance auprès d’une coopérative locale de chauffeurs, demandant que le conducteur m’attende à la gare à l’heure prévue de l’arrivée du train. Sinon, ce n’est pas tout à fait comme au centre-ville de Strasbourg. À cet endroit isolé les taxis, il n’en a pas des masses. La chauffeuse et moi, nous étions un peu étonnés tous les deux de nous retrouver devant une autre personne aux cheveux roux, même si ma tête est un peu plus rousse que la sienne. Et toute naturellement elle s’est adressée à moi dans la langue de Goethe. Travaillant le long de la frontière, une partie significative de sa clientèle est allemande et puisqu’elle est originaire de la région, elle a appris cette langue. Après un moment d’hésitation de ma part (car mon niveau d’allemand est lamentable) elle a fini par répéter la phrase en… alsacien. Me voyant aussi perdu devant sa prouesse linguistique, elle a fini par me demander en français si j’allais bien à l’usine en question (j’avais précisé le trajet à son collègue au téléphone). Je parle trois langues européennes, mais malheureusement l’allemand n’est pas l’une d’elles. Alors madame la chauffeuse de taxi a fini par communiquer avec monsieur l’interprète… dans la langue de la République française. J’avais un peu honte mais voilà, on ne peut pas converser dans toutes les langues régionales, ni dans tous les patois, qui sont assez nombreux dans l’Hexagone. Et pourtant j’avais l’air du parfait homme d’affaires allemand avec mon costume cravate, mes cheveux roux et mon teint clair. Même si l’Alsace a été ballottée entre l’Allemagne et la France au cours des siècles, la Révolution française a fini par achever bien des langues régionales. Dans ce contexte la survivance de la langue alsacienne tient du miracle. Aujourd’hui, elle n’est pratiquée que par un très petit nombre de personnes. Centralisme jacobin oblige, et c’est bien dommage pour la diversité linguistique qui – après tout – fait partie de notre héritage culturel.
(suite avec le prochain article)
130 Commentaires sur “L’homme d’affaires allemand”
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