Skip to comments.Top Ten: English terms the French want barred
Posted on 05/26/2013 11:22:43 PM PDT by Olog-hai
When it comes to fighting off the invasion of English words, the French Resistance has had mixed fortunes over the years. Nevertheless, the fight goes on.
With the help of the Ministry of Culture, heres a list of the latest English terms that French authorities want deported.
(Excerpt) Read more at thelocal.fr ...
It might be hard for us to understand this attitude, most of us being people with English as the first language, but I’m sure we would be shocked if in fifty years, the word “friends” began to be substituted for “amigos” (with the current state of immigration and amnesty, it’s not so hard to imagine).
As long as there is no persecution or supression based on the usage of such foreign words, I’m okay with the government encouraging its native language, as seems to be the case with the ‘beach’ argument.
When it comes to things they don’t already have words for, it seems a little pointless to try and think of new French words as substitute. After all, there are plenty of non-English expressions commonly used in the English language. Vis-a-vis is one of them.
Assassin is an Arab word. Commando is Portuguese. We use these words because presumably, at the time, they were words we really didn’t have good comparable words for.
It’s good to want to promote your own language in your own country, but don’t overdo it.
Its attitude towards imports is: If it's useful, adopt it or adapt it. If not, ignore it.
That works for me.
I don't see any words on the list that are replacing French words, I see a bunch of words that have no French equivalent.
And yes I can understand the French concern about "cultural imperialism" but in the final analysis usage is the ultimate arbiter. The English Language has never stood still and the day it does will be the day it starts to fossilise. If the French are so worried about the purity of their language being compromised, they need to devise some proper French alternative. Or better yet, get some better novelists and playwrights and cultural types to spread French about a bit more.
Very well said.
Well, I would totally agree that the French language has to be kept lively and interesting through as you say, novelists and playwrights.
There is a difference in causation however. I don’t think anyone would suggest that the English language adoption of the Dutch term ‘ice berg’, was an element of Dutch cultural imperialism. There was no other factor that could point to any kind of cultural imperialism on the part of the Dutch.
Now, there was a recent article on FreeRepublic about a controversy in France over college courses being taught in English instead of French. The purpose of this was to try to attract immigrants who might have learned English, but not French.
I would argue that this was indeed a form of cultural imperialism, not imposed by foreign cultures themselves, but by scholars in France eager to rake in more cash.
If people in the US began regularly substituting the title of Mr. with ‘Señor’, in light of the massive influx of Hispanic immigrants, I could argue that this was a result of cultural imperialism, seeping into American culture through uncontrolled immigration and a lack of assimilation.
This only applied IF the words being substituted already exist. If they do not, then I am mistaken, and I see no issue.
We can’t really deny that some cultural imperialism does exist in Europe, as almost all children at least in Western Europe are encouraged to learn English, as it is a very useful language to know. I guess what I was voicing concern about is the growth of such imperialism to a point where customs, languages, and cultures begin to die out.
This may be one of the strongest arguments I have heard for European ethnopluralism. That by keeping cultures definite and separate, we actually preserve their beauty. I don’t deny that some exchanges of words or phrases helps to keep languages alive, but I wouldn’t want it to get to the point where French was indistinguishable from English.
I’m not unsympathetic to the French attitude here. While I truly love my native tongue, it has to be admitted that English spelling is a mess, and importing English words into various other languages that have their own phonetic logic and structures can in my opinion diminish a language. We tend to take in foreign words whenever and don’t have an official language authority to police the English language, and that is fine, but I don’t see why other countries can’t regulate their own languages.
If English spelling is unphonetic, French is even more so. I believe that Benjamin Franklin tried to devise a way of writing English that was more phonetic than the “standard” of his time. Apparently Chaucer’s dialect of London English was written in a more phonetic manner than modern English, too, although we wouldn’t recognize all the letter uses (e.g. “y” for “long e” in all cases).
I’m not bothered too much by loanwords if there isn’t a native word that is not quite as descriptive. At least English isn’t like Japanese, which has a separate syllabic alphabet for foreign loanwords (katakana) along with a duplicate one for native words (hiragana) and the Han character set (kanji) on top of all that; three parallel writing systems.
That’s correct; they’re trying to come up with native equivalents. I don’t think it’ll work out, though.
Imagine calling champagne “carbonated wine”?
This interaction need not neccesarily be a bad thing either. Interestingly, when modern French people use English words they often put their own slant on them, which basically means they are changing them. For example, what the French call "Le People" is what we would call "celebrities". They dont quite mean the same thing. So language has developed.
Of course it can be very sad if an influx of a foreign tongue does away with custom and tradition and the "uniqueness" of a society, but I would argue that any tradition that cannot stand such competition obviously cannot mean that much to the members of that culture. Tradition is fine, IF it provides a sense of community and a link to the past. If it stops doing that though, you really have to ask if its not time it goes.
Aw shucks...I loves me some engrish.....(said very tongue in cheek)
Any language fighting there read-guard skirmishes for survival is already doomed.
I think this angst stems from a time when French (Lingua Franca) was the language of the world. (Gosh, how long ago was that?) France was an important world power. Now France is just a loud world occupant. Fewer people speak French than speak Portuguese. France was given a permanent seat on the US security council even though their military has the utility of mammary glands on a bull. (Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without bagpipes.) This desire to eliminate invading words probably derives from their inability to eliminate invading Germans.
This attitude is a problem for the French. Suppose you write a resume stating youre an expert in Cloud Computing. Presumably, since youre an expert, you know that everybody in the industry calls it that. If you put down the French term, which is not widely accepted, then people looking for you may not even notice you have the skills they want. If you put the term Cloud Computing followed parenthetically by the French term youll annoy a Francophile. Also, by using the non-politically correct word your resume may get rejected by HR.
The base language has 8 full tones yet the overseas Chinese version is 30% of Dutch origin.
Today it's busy absorbing English and should at some point turn into a full creole language able to stand on its own as the first full blending of a major Souvrn' Chinese language and Old West Gothic!
They'll then burp up French as a nasty aftertaste!
The spoken language is a totally different thing which still has enormous variations, and even dialects like it's some primitive third-world tongue (which it is in much of the francophone world).
An astute business oriented American would be wise to learn Spanish and written French however. That way you can more easily make your way on the autostrade around Milan as well as the main concourse in Charles de Gaule Airport!
Thanks. Nice photos, but after five I got tired of waiting for the next one to pop up, then re-readjust to see everything. I think I’ll stick with what is called “English.”
My favorite story was from decades ago, being with a bunch of Anglo Canadians in France. They noticed in France (and just about every other country in the world) that the Stop Signs said “STOP”, while in Quebec, they said “ARRET” or something like that. They were angry about it, although I understand that the French have a new word for Stop now, anyway.
There are already ~1600 French words in English language, but new French words are rare. Why? Because the French have stopped innovating. If the French had developed the world's leading search engine, the computer, or hash tags, we would be using French words in relation to those.
Of the total words in the English language (a remarkably difficult concept to define, BTW) somewhere around 30% are French in origin, with another 30% Latin.
Of course, French words are themselves Latin in origin, so 60% of our language is of Latin origin.
Another 30% or so is of Germanic origin, mostly Anglo-Saxon, though these tend to be the most commonly used words, so that of the words actually spoken every day the vast majority are Germanic.
I was thinking English words French would want banned were actually “shower....bath....soap....flush....clean....shave armpit and leg....”
Blame it on The Boss or The Beatles. It’s Rock Music’s fault.
After all, it wasn’t Reagan that brought down the Soviet Union; it was the Beatles. >sarc
But foreign words imported into English tend to convey subtle meanings that give English a great deal of nuances and color, e.g. taboo—ranch—boondocks—yen—kamakazi—hacienda—guru— Little effort was made to protect the purity of the English language, and consequently it’s rich with meanings.
I find these to be interesting examples of English word change.
Gay, - In the 50’s it used to mean someone happy. Today it is means ????
Queer - In U.K. English, again back a few years ago, it meant odd, strange, not normal. Today what does this mean ???
There are other less “striking” - not offensive bastardizations of English. Is this good, is this bad ??? History marches on
Our present form of English is greatly influenced by French, interestingly enough, and results from the Battle of Hastings and the Norman invasion of England.
While the standard complaint is that English is hard to learn because of spelling and pronunciation, having to worry about gender in all aspects of a language makes all the Romance languages more difficult to learn than English, IMO.
But it IS a constant reaffirmation that as long as you need to worry about a French word being masculine or feminine, “transgender words” will have a hard time being accepted!
It was Billy Joel and Levis jeans.
I'm guessing that gay was a euphemism invented in the inner bowls of NYC trust-fund snobbery, to describe socially critical homosexuals.
Why are the streets of Paris lined with trees? Because the Germans prefer to march in the shade.