More English words sneak into French

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected] • 18 May, 2015 Updated Mon 18 May 2015 13:13 CEST
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France's two main dictionaries have revealed some of the new words that are set to grace their 2016 editions - and plenty of them come from English.


Good news for French-language learners - you'll soon be officially permitted to use a bunch of familiar words while speaking French.
France’s two main rival dictionaries, Le Petit Robert and La Petit Larousse, are set to release their 2016 editions and have leaked a few of the new words that made the cut. 
The new entries had to meet two criteria - be in popular use and be used frequently by the media and will not fall out of use in the short term.
The 160th edition of the Larousse dictionary will contain 150 new additions, the most prominently English of which was "le selfie". It will be defined as "an auto-portrait photo, usually taken with a smart phone and put on social media", reported French channel Europe 1 on Monday.

(Photo: Tim Green/Flickr)
Le Petit Robert brought in English words too, or as French newspaper Le Parisien trumpeted - "Welcomed les anglicismes!
English terms to make the cut revealed the growth in importance of technology and social media. They included the digital currency Bitcoin, Big Data, and Captcha - the word for the online challenge-respond test for logging into private accounts. Captcha, incidentally, is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
Community Manager also made it into the Petit Robert, while Larousse added "vegan" to its pages, to refer to those who believe animals are not the property of humans.
"The fight against anglicisms isn't happening here like it is in Quebec," renowned linguist Alain Rey, the chief editorial adviser at Le Petit Robert, told the paper.
Rey isn't far off. In Quebec, the word selfie still hasn't been recognized, with the locals preferring the term "egoportrait". This word also made its entry into the Larousse dictionary.
Indeed, France is coming around to the idea of English words filling gaps in the French language.
Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin told The Local in March that she saw no point in protecting French from English 

"We need a dynamic approach towards the language. Of course I want to defend the French language but not to the point of preventing any influence from outside,” she said.

English words were just a small proportion of the new words that were accepted into the French dictionaries. 

The Larousse dictionary added the term VTC (Vehicle de Tourisme avec Chauffeur), which basically means a private hire cab - a move that will probably not go down well with traditional French cabbies.

The French term "Zadiste" found an official home in Le Petit Robert dictionary a sign of how frequently it has been used in recent months.

A "zadiste" refers to a protester who occupies a "zone to defend" such as those camped out at the location of a proposed new dam at Sivens, south west France last year.

The recent controversy around pollution levels in French cities has resulted in circulation alternée (alternated traffic) and particule fine (fine particle) enter the Larousse.

Glamouriser (to glamorize), rétropédaler ( to back pedal), électrosensibilité (electrosensitivity), capitaliser (to capitalize) and surréagir (to overreact) also made it into Larrouse.

And Le Petit Robert also added a couple of new French expressions into the dictionary - Tendue comme un string - (as tight/tense as a thong/g-string) and maquillée comme un camion volé (disguised/made up/given a makeover like a stolen lorry).

SEE ALSO: Ten French expressions you won't learn at school



Oliver Gee 2015/05/18 13:13

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