Le 'Relooking' ...
....and other French neologisms.
Once , when I was a callow trainee teacher, a tutor asked us what commonly used words the English have taken from the French. I was dumbstruck. I could think of nothing. At my supposedly 'good' girls' grammar school, I had been trained to reproduce what I was taught, not to think for myself. A fellow student, who had followed a more humble educational route, was on a roll. "Café;" he shouted out , "restaurant; savoir faire; sang froid; faux pas; aperitif"....and so on . Of course we have happily taken words from the French language for as long as the countries have been close neighbours.
But what about the other way around?
I have long believed that L'Académie Française has jealously guarded the purity of the French language. Anglicisms are generally unwelcome. Be that as it may, some pretty awful phrases have been creeping into everyday language here, over recent years. I am encouraged to "shopper" or faire "le shopping" in order to transform my house with new furnishings. In this way I will carry out 'le relooking.'
Should I need to order on line , I may use an ' email,' or 'smart phone.' And if the bill doesn't seem quite right I will need to 'checker.'
When getting dressed I may use a 'pull' to keep warm, while wearing 'baskets' on my feet to play sport. The list is endless, which just goes to show that 'franglais' is alive and well in France.
Of course some French people are fighting back. While it is very common to be wished 'bon weekend' on a Friday, you may also hear purists wish you ' bon fin de semaine' instead. You can take your pick which one you prefer. While I prefer the latter, it does lack a certain 'je ne sais quoi.'
There are pitfalls to be avoided when adopting French words into the English language. I witnessed one today when googling synonyms for the guardian Quiptic crossword. I came upon Dictionary.com and its 'word of the day' which was 'Jouissance.' This was translated as pleasure ; enjoyment , or the use or excercise of a right , especially property rights. Fair enough! But ask a French person, consult a full French dictionary, or read Marguerite Duras , and one may well discover a slightly more risqué meaning