Feeds

French succumb to Franglais

English impregnates la langue française

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Our chums across the Channel are currently marking "French language week", but apparently have little to celebrate as English loanwords continue to pollute their beloved mother tongue, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Indeed, according to Xavier North (whose job is to "guarantee the primacy of French on national territory" and to promote "the employment of French and favour its use as an international language"), "more English words have entered the French language in the past decade than in the preceding century despite desperate attempts to stem the invasion".

To add insult to injuries such as "le weekend" or "fast food", the French are "even taking English words without giving them a French pronunciation", North admitted, offering "standing ovation" or "stock options" as examples. Alternatively, some English words do adopt a French flavour, and the spelling is altered accordingly ("pipole" for "people").

To battle the influx of unwelcome immigrant vocab, 18 government "terminology commissions" send a monthly list of "official" new words deemed acceptable for use by public sector workers in order to "make French a productive language apt at expressing modernity", as North puts it.

Sadly, though, official offerings such as "sac gonflable" for airbag, "papillon" for post-it note and "bouteur" for bulldozer have met with a Gallic shrug of disdain.

North advises citizens to remain "vigilant", but not to panic. He concluded: "In the 16th century, the same thing happened when Italian took French by storm. Many of the words used then were later rejected. Some we keep, some we spit out."

In Spain, meanwhile...

If the French think they've got it bad, they should spare a thought for Spanish language purists, pretty well buried under an avalanche of imported English. The very long list includes "chip" (electronic chip only, otherwise "patata frita" in case you're ever hungry in Torremolinos), "módem" (modem), "formatear" (format, verb), "internet" (alternatively rendered as "la red"), "link" (link and hence the nasty verb "linkear" - the noun is better expressed as "enlace"), and so forth.

Being a world-class speaker of Spanglish myself, I have no objection to these terms. Mind you, there's one Anglicism which does irritate the hell out of me: "standing" (pronounced, and often spelt "estanding"), as in the billboard pronouncing "Pisos de alto standing" (Exclusive flats). I should note that the Spaniards don't blink an eyelid at the word, suggesting they're pretty well resigned to their linguistic fate. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.