Thursday, 4 October 2012
Let's not parler franglais.
From the early 1980s until it closed in 1992 I used to read Punch magazine.
One of my favourite features was Miles Kington's Franglais column.
Miles was a bit of a brainbox and a hero of mine. He was regularly heard on BBC radio and this quotation is frequently attributed to him:
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that a tomato doesn't belong in a fruit salad."
As a keen student of French I always thought his franglais column and books were very funny and, to Miles (and me) franglais was a joke - playing with the two languages and having fun.
To many of the French (and my Canadian friend, Sylvie) le franglais n'est pas un joke du tout - c'est très serious indeed.
It seems the French are so worried that their language is being taken over by techno-English that they have decided that the only way to protect themselves is to invent new words.
So, in future they won't have to put up with the abomination that is le hashtag from Twitter or Facebook's Je like and Je ne like pas.
You can read all about it in Metro's article from last week.
Personally, I love it when the French "adopt" English words.
My current favourites are:
les people (those who are famous for being famous)
les oh my gods (a term for "typical" young american ladies)
I think the Academie Française might be fighting a battle it can't win...