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  • Laura Vuillemin

Anglicisms in European French


I love English. But I don’t love 𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗺𝘀.



The use of anglicisms in 𝗘𝘂𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗵, and particularly in France, has increased quite a bit during the last decades.


I don’t put all of them on the same level, though. Some have made their way through French simply because languages do evolve over the centuries. Nothing unusual or wrong with that.


Here’s how I personally classify anglicisms.



1. Anglicisms that I would consider "normal"


I’m thinking about terms which don’t have any equivalent in French that would be as idiomatic.


Two examples:


𝗕𝗮𝗿𝗯𝗲𝗰𝘂𝗲

There is simply no other way to say it. You can go for 𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑠, but this still doesn’t refer to the device you use to cook the food.


𝗪𝗲𝗲𝗸-𝗲𝗻𝗱

𝐹𝑖𝑛 𝑑𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑒 is used in Québec (I will talk about Canadian French in a future post) but not in Europe where it’s been part of our vocabulary since the beginning of the 20th century.


📋 Let’s also add 𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑏𝑎𝑔, 𝑒-𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑙, 𝑠𝑐𝑜𝑜𝑝, 𝑠𝑛𝑎𝑐𝑘 and so on. These words almost became French because they are the ones you hear when you acquire or learn the language.



2. Anglicisms that I would consider "unnecessary" (aka my bête noire 👹)


Anglicisms that I consider unnecessary (and, truth be told, that make me cringe), are English terms that are used when a perfectly valid and common equivalent exist in French.


Let’s take the below sentences. They could easily be heard or read in France.


J’ai bien aimé la punch line de la vidéo du CEO que j’ai downloadée.

⏩ What about phrase d’accroche, PDG and téléchargée ?


Quelques happy few ont pu participer à l’activité outdoor après avoir bien checké leur inscription.

⏩ What about privilégiés, en plein air and vérifié ?



I am not the Académie Française’s advocate. I’m just trying to figure out why we would use these (let’s face it, not so beautiful) wordings, if not 𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗺𝘀.


Many French-speaking people don’t like anglicisms. There seems to be this tendency to think that only Quebecers care about this issue, but that’s not the case.


🔸


As a 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿, how do I cope with anglicisms?


If I don’t receive any specific instructions related to this matter, I will do my best to avoid the use of unnecessary anglicisms in my translations because I know readers usually don’t like it.


If some clients ask me to do otherwise, I will obviously follow their requirements, but I may try explaining to them why it might be a good idea to think about using “real” French words instead. Clients always appreciate our input, after all.




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