The French are well known for their dislike of imported English words and the dreaded Franglais. They even have an official authority to monitor and regulate their language, L’Académie française, which was set up, believe it or not, in 1635 and then restablished in 1803 by Napolean. But, just as we are sending out words to the Americans, and they are sending theirs here, we’re all doing it to poor old France and this time they seem to be letting us.
If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction, you’ll remember the famous Cheese Quarterpounder/Royale with Cheese scene, but the “youf” of France are, more and more, turning their noses up on translation and just sticking with the English. With perhaps a le or un stuck on the front for good luck. They have been using Le week-end for some time, preferring that to the more long-winded la fin de la semaine, but now are also happier using, for example, prime time rather than L’Académie’s suggestion of les heures de grande écoute and email rather than courriel.
It seems L’Académie may well be fighting a losing battle, but the Francophiles out there can be comforted by the number of French words we Brits use, from à propos to vol-au-vent. As Delboy would say: mange tout, mange tout!
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