Every now and then the Académie Française gets upset about the number of English words creeping into everyday usage in French and this was once again at the forefront of the news recently when a couple of French universities proposed to start teaching some courses in English. Language purists get all worked up and debate the decline of their beautiful language and what can be done about it. But it is estimated that up to 60% of English vocabulary is of French origin so a few Englishisms in French is only fair really.
Using “ing” on the end of an English word to create a noun is very popular. Here are a few of my favourites:
un smoking – a dinner jacket/tuxedo
un lifting – cosmetic surgery (as in facelift)
le re-looking – make-over
un brushing – a blow-dry and style (for hair)
le shampooing – shampoo
un dressing – a walk-in closet for clothes
le footing – jogging
un parking – a car park
Another couple of common words are le weekend and le shopping are both self-explanatory and completely part of current usage. Nobody says “bon fin de semaine” for “have a good weekend” which is what the Académiciens would have us say.
One of my favourites, and particularly poignant in my household at the moment, with a teenage son who loves his video games, is the verb “se geeker” meaning to participate in geekish activity.
Another great example of language sharing can be found with the Walkie-Talkie which becomes le talkie-walkie, with the “L” very much pronounced, as in “tall-key” “wall-key”. Isn’t that brilliant?
Finally, in a complete reversal of languages, something that has become de rigeur is now described as “le must“!
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That’s a good one Nicole! Thanks 🙂
Isn’t that great that you found out about a book by a writer you love, through my blog?! I’m afraid my son IS a geek!! A big geek! :p
Very cool! Great post!
My fav is ‘un slim’ for skinny jeans!
Villa des Parfums
I really love Melvyn Bragg. Didn’t know about this book. I shall look it up. Didn’t know all those franglais woods either. Does it mean that your teenage son is a geek, surely not.
And I had no idea that the 2 sign languages were so related, so thanks for that little fact-. I love learning things like that. 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting Mags!
Thanks Bonnie for your enthusiasm! I really enjoy language too, and I’ll certainly look up the book you mention. It sounds very interesting, and I really like Melvyn Bragg so that’s all good!
I LOVE this post! I am fascinated by languages and how they develop and change. There is a really fascinating book you might be interested in called “The Adventure of English” by Melvin Bragg. Although it is a little boring to listen to a list, I would recommend the audio book because the reader does such a great job with all of the accents throughout history. It’s a very interesting read. One element of the book is the influence of French on the English language and how the French have been deliberate in their pursuit of linguistic purity. Thank you for posting!
Thank you for sharing this! I was a Deaf Studies major, so I know how much ASL is based off of French Sign Language, but I had no idea about the commonality between English and French as well. Thank you for sharing!
These are so funny these words, I love them. Thanks for showing them to me.