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News & Views

English words in French and à l’envers

French linguist brands his fellow countrymen as ‘lazy’ over increasing use of English words and phrases in the language  Language expert Professor Jean Maillet called English use ‘reprehensible’  90 per cent of French people regularly use English words and phrases French culture ministry began bid to ban English words three years ago Well, he’s an expert so he must be right. Is he really? an expert too; but we disagree for two massive reasons: Certain words or expressions sound silly to the French when using Voltaire’s lingo. Also, L’Académie Française, the official body regulating the use of the language is so slow in according its benediction that French citizens take the law into their manicured hands. It’s to do with the average age of its members being far right of the 80 mark. The other way round; so many French phrases have entered the Oxford dictionary that we can only cite a few, yet no English linguist has branded Her Majesty’s subjects as linguistically challenged and worthy of a long sojourn in the Tower of London. Read more A French linguist has labelled his countrymen as lazy for allowing an invasion of English words. Professor Jean Maillet described his compatriots’ increasing use of Franglais as ‘reprehensible and unnecessary’ because French already has a rich vocabulary of its own. His comments come after a study released for French Language Week which revealed 90 per cent of French people regularly use English words and phrases when speaking. Professor Maillet – who taught English at a Paris university – said: ‘There’s never been so many anglicisms in our vocabulary. There is as... lire plus

Scary Mutant Ninja Words

What are the new buzzwords and which ones are trending? Do you think that if you invent a new word on a boozy night out and overshare it on social media the next morning, it might stick? Will you get royalties and live like a King? These days you really do need to be social media aware to understand what they mean when they say, sorry, write news and opinions that include the seemingly artificially created words. Let’s take just a couple of simple ones to start with: Smirting: going outside of a bar or restaurant because you can’t smoke inside to chill out with other smokers and flirt with them as you puff away; it joins smoking to flirting. And you know his/her bad habits before you go further. Gaydar: having a gay detecting ability, as in gay + radar. Did you really know that George Michael didn’t like girls as much as you do? Oh, you felt it in your gut? You have a gaydar. Read more We can add older favourites: guesstimate (obvious) and Chunnel (no Eurostar runs through it, believe me), metrosexual (are there any left?), stagflation (it’s negative right now) or glamping (what? summer music festival without mud?). The obvious attraction of new words is that they are, well, new. Not all of them are as modern as you think. Some have been with us for over half a century: liger (lion + tiger), napalm (naphthenic + palmitic), paratrooper (parachute + trooper), ginormous (gigantic + enormous), transistor (transfer + resistor) and telethon (television + marathon). Motel (motor + hotel) was coined in 1925, sexpert in... lire plus

How’s your grammer? (sic)

Last Friday we celebrated the National Grammar Day. But what is bad grammer (sic) and more importantly, good grammar? Badly spalling [sic] a word is not bad grammer [sic]. It’s being careless. National Grammar Day is an American invention that first saw the light in 2008. It was invented by Martha Brockenbrough of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. What is it about? It’s about loving grammar. Some say we are destroying it by the use of phonetic shortcuts to mask our lack of verse. But first, let’s determine what exactly the word grammar means. Read more Pedant linguists say that it’s “the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology”. But the common man says it’s “a set of prescriptive notions about how to use English”. Technically speaking, grammar is a set of rubber-necked rules defining the ways to combine different words in order to make sentences or accents/intonations; for instance; criterion/ criteria or dove/dived or strove/strived, how to use adverbials etc. Grammar doesn’t class misspelling as grammatical error. Technical definition of grammar excludes everything that makes some careful users reach for Prozac. Things need your about know to you grammar Your grammar is good enough (i.e. syntax) to put the above in the right order. You are brilliant! You are against “verbing” nouns (eg “to interface”) is not grammar. We consider it a stylistic preference; purists disagree with barely concealed homicidal thoughts. Bad speling [sic] a word is not grammer [sic]. It’s laziness or arrogance. Have you ever made a spelling mistake? If a... lire plus

BREXIT redux or do Boris and Donald use the same hair stylists

A revised French Republic uptake on the very pertinent dialogue between Richard Littlejohn and Chad Hanning as published in the Daily Mail on Tuesday, 23rd of February. Bonjour, La France, comment ça va? This is your favourite father, Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, bringing you fresh croissants and in depth analysis of the Perfide Albion’s attempt at getting it all their way or simply getting away with it; the warm Parisian baguette and the baker’s wife. I’m in a café overlooking the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral, in the heart of Paris, the City of Fading Light. President Hollande has just got back from Brussels after defeating Her Majesty’s envoy Cameron in his quest for cushy independence. As I am the most annoying interviewer of the French Presidential Monarchy, I will be posing the questions and giving the right answers. Isn’t the old island with the Queen already independent? Well, yes and no, The Scottish people voted to stay and now the English will state their intentions on the 23rd of June. Isn’t Scotland in the YooKay? Read more Well, yes and no. It’s like your Corsican tribe, technically they are French, but now they’ve got their bilingual leader, they’d like to manifest their will, rewrite all road signs in their dialect and sing their horrid vocal harmonies wherever they like. So what’s this referendum about? It’s about the musical quality of Eurovision offerings; with the YooKay being a part of Europe most Eurovision entries are sung in English. If they vote themselves out we will go back to the basic independence of member states; all songs will have to be performed in... lire plus

You can’t end a relationship by text: the 15 rules of ‘digital etiquette’

Social media have been with us for over twelve years, but there are no official rules on how to use them without falling flat on our faces. Oversharing and ending relationships by text are the norm. Really? Many of us are introduced to the digital social sphere by friends or children who use it carelessly. We take their bad habits with us and ofthen make them worse. Yet  prefers proper letters, written by hand with stamps rather than badly composed Facebook posts.  prefers meeting the love of your life by chance, in a bar, at a friends’ house or during a summer festival to selecting people according to overambitious criteria on Meetic. The person who said technology will replace paper has never tried to wipe their arse with a smartphone. But for most of us, pen and paper belong to the distant past; so behold, gives you a list of 15 basic social media behaviour commandments. Read more RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE IN THE DIGITAL AGE 1. Don’t ‘overshare’ on Facebook, it saturates email boxes of your digital “friends” 2. Don’t try to flirt using LinkedIn, Viadeo or any other business platform 3. Don’t check  the phone of your loved one to see if any sexting is going on 4. Don’t post your emotionally charged day events on social media 5. When gossiping about your “friends” don’t hit “reply all” 6. Do not converse on social media when you’re angry 7. Do not post photos or messages when you’re drunk 8. If you’re stuck in traffic, warn that you’re going to be late 9. If you feel too ill to go to... lire plus

Si vous comprenez l’humour vous maîtrisez l’anglais. If you pardon the pun.

Eh oui, si vous souriez, mieux, si les plaisanteries et jeux de mots dans une langue étrangère vous font éclater de rire, cela confirme que votre maitrise est complète. Les plus grands humoristes ont souvent eu recours à la boutade, trait d’esprit faisant souvent appel au paradoxe. Les anglais sont connus pour leur humour double entendre. In French, Raymond Devos disait : « J’adore être pris en flagrant délire.» En anglais, the play on words was used a lot by Shakespeare « That dreamers often lie» the pun is that dreamers lie in bed but also lie about dreams. Lisez les puns (boutades en jeux de mots) gagnantes du récent Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival ci-après pour vérifier si vous avez de l’humeur (sic).  offre des explications gratuites à ceux qui s’y perdent ! Get it ? Start laughing now My English teacher recently recovered from a bowel cancer operation… and he tried to show me a semi colon. What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One is really heavy and the other is a little lighter. I’ve got a joke about a fat badger, but I couldn’t fit it into my set. I work in a paper factory, where my responsibilities are twofold. Last week I called a lady a watering hole but I meant well.. I got caught up in a freak accident last year when I knocked two bearded ladies off their tandem bike. I saw a sports car being driven by a scantily clad sheep. It was a lamb bikini. I sent a food parcel to my former wife. Fed Ex. This government thinks that flood defenses are a... lire plus