Unfair Fight ATC
Here's an update with the ATC dialogue during the incident. There's not a whole lot of information to hear. ATC uses the designation "Super" for the Air France A380, a step up from "Heavy" The Airbus is taxiing, apparently according to instructions from a perky, alert-sounding controller, when the Delta pilot calls in languidly to report that he's just been hit by the Air France. The controller immediately dispatches emergency equipment and asks the CRJ pilot if he needs any specific assistance.
I think some of the transmissions from the CRJ are not on the tape, and obviously we're missing a lot of dialogue inside the control tower as they decide which taxiways to shut down and how to reroute traffic. The controller asks the Air France to "shut your engines" and the pilot asks to confirm "close the engines?" Neither is normal English usage, but it's clear. I'm curious as to whether the controller was using an official phrase, or was used to French Québecois crews translating "fermer le moteur" directly into English and used that phrase for Air France. There's no indication that the Air France pilots are having any difficulty understanding normal English, they just have fantastically French accents. Update: See the comment conversation between myself and Ghislain for more about this. It appears that the Air France pilot actually says "hold the engines?" (not "close") and doesn't understand the "shut" instruction, because that does not correspond to the idiom in France.
I'm slightly amused that the offer of assistance for the A380 comes almost as an afterthought. I'm reminded of Hamish versus the MD-80. Did one Airbus pilot ask the other if he felt a bump?