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10 Apr 2009

Franglais et Anglish

Here are a few more strange usages of English words within France. A common development is to take English present participles and use them as nouns: le camping, le parking, le shampooing and le brushing (wash and blow dry hair) and le pressing for dry cleaning. This also means that they can have plural forms, such as les parkings and les campings.

Recently, I have seen two such words. The first was in a fashion magazine – where else – where at the end of features the 'where to buy' section was called Les Shoppings. The same magazine was divided into sections with names ending in Book, such as TrendyBook, for new fashions. It also described adding a belt and a scrap of tartan to an outfit as making it punkifié. The other example was the use of the word 'lifting' meaning having a face lift, in the headline of a local newspaper article about a corner of a town left damaged by a fire some years ago now to be improved: 'la vielle ville attend son lifting.'

At one time, the verb flasher meant to fall in love suddenly, but these days it has another meaning as in '20 vehicules ont été flashés pour des excés de vitesse', although it does not exclusively mean by a speed camera: any radar or other equipment counts.

Finally, for this time at least, the word 'snob'. As a noun, it means the same as in English, that is 'posh', someone who looks down on those less fortunate. As a verb, snober, however, it means the same as the English 'snub', to ignore or reject. Here is an example: 'Obama snobe Sarkozy: en plusieurs occasions,,,Obama est passé devant Sarzozy sans le saluer, et Sarkozy a reagit par une frustration visible' (Obama snubs Sarkozy: on several occasions O. has passed in front of S. without greeting him, and S has reacted with visible frustration'. So much for US gratitude to the French for winning their war of independence for them in 1776.

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