Jun 172010

BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, responding to questions from journalists, described the residents of the Gulf states as “small people”.

Many suggested that this gaffe should be ignored, as the chairman is from Sweden, he is not a native speaker of English, and in his mother tongue, the term is commonly used to describe average citizens, small businessmen, and the like.

Now it so happens that I am not a native speaker of English either, and my mother tongue also has a phrase, translated literally into English as “small people”, but used the same way as it is used supposedly in Swedish.

So how come I almost fell off my chair when I heard Svanberg’s remarks during the televised news conference?

 Posted by at 2:29 am