Thursday, 8 November 2012

Weird English

Famously, the Académie Française is said to have banned the term 'weekend' from the French language. (I can't actually find chapter and verse on this anywhere, just a lot of people saying that weekend is banned. Actually, the truth appears to be more complex; the AF wanted it spelt week-end, not weekend, and has recently come round to relaxing that rule. At least according to some reports. However, I've not found definitive chapter and verse on that, either. Quebec French, with or without the Academie Francaise, doesn't use the word weekend anyway - it's la fin de semaine.)

Anyway... what gets me going is not the use of English words in French. It's the way the French make up words out of English, but which aren't actually in the English language.

For instance, le relooking. J'ai fait le relooking de ma maison - I gave my house a makeover. Yes, I know that you can get 'the look', and I know that the prefix re- means 'again', but I'm sorry, relooking is not English. It's not French either.

Or then there's the 'best of' (sometimes 'bestoff'). In L'express recently I found that chocolatier Pierre Marcolini "boyage une cinquantaine de jours par an pour éditer des tablettes 'signées', fruits de rencontres à haute émotion avec des irréductibles de la qualité qui lui ont cédé au prix fort leur best of." Now in English, the word 'of' generally needs a noun after it; but 'best of' has become a noun in French. It doesn't have to be the best OF anything.

I've just discovered another great one; when you make a documentary about the making of a film, it's called "le making-of."

As for 'le fooding' - don't get me started!

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