Thursday, 19 March 2009


I have just received an e-mail from TF1 the French television channel. I have watched programmes on TF1 on my computer and I must have subscribed to their e-mails. Do a search and there may be something to interest you. There are many clips that you could watch on your computer. In my e-mail there are words like 'Secret Story - le casting!' and 'life' and 'les week-ends'. It is a French e-mail, honestly.

How much of the English language comes from French? Read different reports and you will get different answers. I have heard that 60% of English comes from French, but other references put it at 30%. That's quite a difference, so you can't go wrong if you realise that 'a lot' of words come from the French. You can quote me on that. Historically the English language developed its French connection because France is our neighbour, and William the Conqueror had something to do with it as well.

In recent times English has become the dominant world language. Go to France and it appears that everyone listens to English music, speaks English and writes e-mails with lots of English words. English has become commonplace in France, and le week-end is a popular example. There are many other examples like le parking. There is opposition to the dominance of English when new words arrive like e-mail, but in my experience words like this are accepted and used, even if the French talk about mail rather than e-mail. They may also use the French word le courriel.

The expression 'franglais' was coined by Miles Kington in the 1970s for words that have no French equivalent. Franglais does refer to words that have no French equivalent and it is also a term used for words that sound French but are English and used in comedy programmes like 'Allo Allo'. French people who do not speak English would not understand these words so be aware that there are two explanations for franglais and it can be perfectly acceptable to use an English word in a French conversation.

A bientôt

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