French say non to le business speak
Wednesday 06 August 1997
The French Ministry of Culture takes the view, reasonably enough, that linguistic immigration, like any other kind, is tolerable in moderation. When it becomes an uncontrolled flood, it is time to grow worried (or even hit le panic-button)
Despite all the efforts of the Academie Francaise to maintain the beauty and purety of the language, French business-speak is drowning in Anglicisms. The Ministry of Culture, in its summer newsletter, asks subscribers to join in a competition to find the best French substitutes for words and phrases such as le just-in-time, le copy-strategy, le sleeping-partner, le fresh-money and even le deal.
The competition, devised by the Assocation to Promote Business French, has already been attempted by 32,000, mainly young, French speakers around the world. The Culture Ministry has now thrown the contest open to all readers of its newsletter in the hope that they will spend part of their summer holidays racking their brains for French synonyms for le bus-catalogue or le personal-communicator.
There is no prize for success: only the satisfaction of helping to defend the language of Vol-taire from constant erosion by the language of Shakespeare (or rather the language of le Harvard Business School).
The main part of the competition is a long business text in which readers are invited to substitute French for Franglais. The text begins: "C'est a la fin du briefing, en sirotant [sipping] un light-drink au bar, que Bertrand annonca le scoop: nous allions pouvoir bientot jouer les discounters et mettre sur le marche des milliers de mountain-bikes avec un look de standing qui allait devenir un must ... sans recourir au dumping ou au hard- selling."
It continues: "Le buzzer du personal-communicator de Bertrand se fit entendre ... Cet appareil transmettait des fax et meme des e-mails et des datas sur le Net. Un message s'etait inscrit sur le display."
French substitutes suggested by previous competitors include le breffage for le briefing; message electronique for e-mail; telecopie for fax; vente aggressive for hard-selling; and vente a perte for dumping. The effort is creditable enough. Many of the buzz-phrases are annoying enough in English, without being accepted into French. Perhaps more worryingly for France, the linguistic invasion reflects a stubborn fact: most of these business concepts and inventions have English names because they were invented in the Anglo-Saxon (mostly American) world.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Scientist create 'robotic sperm' to help with fertilisation and drug delivery
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
- < Previous
- Next >
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior C# ASP.NET Deve...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: QA Automation Tester FX Trading Platform(Ruby, ...
£25000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: VB.NET SQL Developer/...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA ...