Mr. Lu’s three linguistic errors

Mr. Lu’s three linguistic errors
This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and

By Frrok Çupi

Mr. Donald Lu, the US ambassador to Tirana, speaks a very poor Albanian. Sometimes, when I hear him, I pity him. But he thinks he speaks it well and uses the Albanian language even when he has some important diplomatic messages to deliver. The Albanian language is not like the English language, where, even when you don’t speak it well, nobody seems to mind. The Albanian language is unique and when you speak it badly, Albanians seem to receive it as an insult.

Recently, ambassador Lu has not been making linguistic errors, but, judging by the things that he says, let us consider them as linguistic errors. A few days ago, he appeared alongside FBI agents and Albanian government officials and made several declarations in the Albanian language. Since that day, media and politics are crying out against Mr. Lu’s declaration. They have either misunderstood him, or there has been some sort of inaccuracy in his speech…

What were ambassador Lu’s linguistic errors?


The first error was quantity related.

At the moment when Mr. Lu said that “big fishes will be imprisoned”, he made us feel suspicious. Had he said “bigger fishes”, then there would be no further misunderstanding. Not only linguistic ones, but also due to the fact that Mr. Lu has said the phrase “big fishes will be imprisoned” thousands of times. During the years that Mr. Lu and his predecessors have been here, the net has caught “no big fish”. The only fish who has fallen in the net is the minister of Interior, who was caught as part of criminal gangs in Albania and in Europe.

But, when Mr. Lu says that “big fishes will be imprisoned”, two meanings can be attributed to this: He’s either trying to come to the rescue of the minister who was caught red handed by saying that “this is not the fish, but we have other ones”, or trying to say “don’t mind the dead ones”. The Albanian government has caught several fishes, but these are fishes who have nothing to eat and cannot pay their electricity bill. These are the ones who are ending up in prison. From now on, the state will also jail those who have not paid the water from their well. If Mr. Lu and the government consider these people as “big fishes”, then this is a linguistic error. If Mr. Lu was proficient in the Albanian language, then he would say that “bigger fish will be imprisoned”, implying the President of Republic, Prime Minister and others. Here, Mr. Lu would be understood by Albanian speakers of this world.


Mr. Lu’s second linguistic error has to do with counting.

At the moment when the ambassador said “the imprisonment of fishes”, starts at the beginning of 2018, in that very moment, they no longer trusted him. For 50 years, Albanians were used to hearing phrases such as “the start of the communist era”, “the start of the five year plan”, “the start of a new beginning”, etc. All of these things have started, but in a dream and they’ve been never-ending. Their end has either been tragic or comic. Mr. Lu says that our human horror, where criminals are eating us alive, will end next year. Why next year? Why not now? This is why Mr. Lu lost credibility. It was surely a problem with the Albanian language that he uses. But, people justified him as the ordinary man he is: Mr. Lu will surely leave in 2018; the other one that will replace him will not know what he said.


The third mistake is the incontinency there exists between Mr. Lu and the United States of America.

We don’t know if Mr. Lu represents the US president here or someone else. Up until now, he has never been heard saying anything about president Donald Trump. Some people naively think that this has to do with the language, because in the US, the name of the president is written “Trump”, while in Albania, they pronounce it “Tramp”. But it’s not as simple as this. Mr. Lu is part of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s administration, who led liberal and demagogic policies in the East. Behind them was none other but Soros, who is using his funds to mine Trump’s policies. Mr. Lu doesn’t have to represent president Trump. He cannot even represent the new ideas and the modern diplomatic policy of the US president.

Yesterday, during his visit to China, Mr. Trump elaborated his idea of diplomacy of values and less empty diplomacy. But, Mr. Lu has nothing to do with these ideas. From the time he arrived here, his diplomacy was an empty one. Did Mr. Lu’s vanity cause anything bad to him? Nothing. But, this time, nobody believed him when he spoke about “fishes”.

Mr. Lu’s empty diplomacy came out on the river bank where fish is caught; nobody believed him, although he speaks Albanian.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy

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