Boostez votre carrière

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R.S. writes:

Remember when using English words to create French counterparts was considered (I believe this is the technical term) a shonda?

Me neither. Still the case in Quebec, apparently, where the STOP signs say ARRET, but in the Hexagon apparently not so much.

In support of his case, he sends along this ad from Le Monde:

"The hexagon", in case you didn't get it, is a reference to continental France, whose shape on the map is roughly hexagonal.

And it looks like the verb booster has become quite well integrated — some quotes from the current French-language news media (and a few from elsewhere on the web):

Bac 2013 : boostez votre mémoire durant vos révisions.

E-commerce : boostez vos ventes avec une solution de paiement en ligne aux fonctionnalités étendues

Boostez votre déco avec un joli centre de table.

"Boostez votre projet innovant !" Tel est l'objectif des 3 jours du séminaire.

Depuis deux ans, tout le monde ne parlait que de ce nouveau paquebot qui boostait l'économie de la région.

Lunettes de soleil sur le nez, Jessica était radieuse en simple jean et armée d'une étole rose qui boostait son street look.

On fait donc plus attention au look de la jeune femme et on se met en quête d'un vernis corail qui boostera toutes nos tenues au printemps.

Aujourd'hui, on parie sur l'A 380, et Nantes, l'une des villes les plus dynamiques de France, rêve de cet aéroport moderne qui « boostera » l'économie du Grand Ouest, bien mieux que les lignes de TGV.

Mais ce n'est qu'une poignée d'entre eux qui a donné de la voix, boostant ainsi l'ensemble des tribunes environnantes.

L'Adderall brouille les frontières entre thérapeutique et perfectionnement, en boostant l'énergie mentale d'individus qui se souffrent pas de TDAH, tout en restaurant la concentration des malades.

Des cellules cérébrales humaines boostent la mémoire des souris

Génération NEO : les avions qui boostent les ventes d'Airbus

Des abeilles à la mémoire boostée par la caféine

Mes cheveux boostés: Nos conseils pour des cheveux soignés, souples et nerveux

Les concours Ecricome et BCE boostés par les prépas littéraires et technologiques

Boostons la sérotonine!

Résultats : Boostation du moral

Jmele a toujours eu une vision empirique de la boostation.


  1. dw said,

    April 16, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

    They could at least make it "boôtez" — come on guys!

  2. Lazar said,

    April 16, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

    I've always found it ironic that the Québécois, stuck in mostly anglophone North America, use ARRET, while the French, with their Academy, use STOP. It might be part of a broader trend of English-resistance, as they also preserve "fin de semaine" which has largely been replaced by "weekend" in France. I once saw someone put forth "samdimanche", which in my mind is clearly the best.

  3. Alex Blaze said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 12:01 am

    I see a few others in those examples: "look," "street look," "e-commerce," "jean."

    When I first moved to france I asked someone why the stop signs are in English. She insisted the word "stop" was of French origin.

    I forgot about that until just now, and looking it up in the CNRTL they have a few examples of it in French from the 1800's and attribute to English. So it's probably not part of the wave of words that came over with hollywood and rock music, but it's still from English.

    Booster, on the other hand, I never hear in France. A few of the examples here make me think it's a word that the sort of people I hang out with would never use – a little too corporate culture/bourgeois fop for them.

  4. AntC said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 12:20 am

    the Québécois, stuck in mostly anglophone North America

    Where do Québécois sit on the quatre-vingts vs. huitante vs. octante continuum? And what trend does that reveal?

    (I always thought it a shame that the Republican calendar didn't survive, but mouthfulls like quatre-vingts dix-neuf did. And why isn't it deux-vingts dix-neuf?)

  5. Benjamin said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 12:36 am

    @AntC Actually I never heard anyone say "octante" or "huitante" : it is "quatre-vingt" (in Switzerland and Belgium they say "nonante" and "septante" instead of "quatre-vingt-dix" and "soixante-dix" though). "Quatre-vingt" means exactly what it says: Four times twenty, 4×20=80. "Deux-vingts*" would be 2×20=40 ("quarante").

    What is interesting as a francophone is that the anglicisms used in France and in Canada are very different. I'm under the impression that in Canada anglicisms are mostly words used in daily life brought into the French language by proximity between French and English speakers. In France however, most anglicisms are more or less useless (as a French word usually exists) and are mostly used to sound trendy, especially in ads.

  6. Jason said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 12:47 am

    "Shonda"? Que veut dire ce mot?

    I think it's cruel to resort to the use of Yiddish — in non-standard transliteration, no less — to talk about French in English.

  7. AlexB said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:21 am

    Not to mention relooker

    or Presse People

  8. TimL said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:24 am

    "I think it's cruel to resort to the use of Yiddish — in non-standard transliteration, no less — to talk about French in English."

    I believe the use of Yiddish in a linguistic context is something of a Shibboleth.

  9. Lazar said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:30 am

    I'm a user of "(groyse) shande" and other Yiddishisms, but I did a double-take at "shonda" – as a father-bother-distinguisher, I find that spelling decidedly off.

  10. Mr Fnortner said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 3:40 am

    Isn't jean French already, meaning (from) Genoa, the supposed origin of the fabric? What's next, denim?

  11. Francois said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 3:45 am

    "Booster" is also very frequently used in Québec, but never in written language and almost always in the context of car mechanics.

    Example : As-tu des câbles à booster? Mon char part pas, il fait trop frette.

  12. Dr. Decay said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 3:51 am

    I hear the verb "booster" a lot here in France. Another common bit of techno-business jargon is "challenge". I guess the word's origins are French, but I think standard French would call for "défi".

  13. JREL said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 4:19 am

    @AntC Where do Québécois sit on the quatre-vingts vs. huitante vs. octante continuum? And what trend does that reveal?

    Quatre-vingts, apparently. Shocking, actually, as I've heard this comes from a Celtic substrate (cf. Welsh pedwar ugain, Irish ceithre fichid), rather than from the more straightforward Latin octoginta. Trend? Not the one observed in Celtic or indeed in Swiss/Belgian French, where things become more decimal (wyth deg, ochtó, huitante).

    Oh, and nobody in Switzerland says octante. They think it is Belgian. The Belgians don't use it either and think it is Swiss (so I'm told).

  14. AlexB said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 4:26 am

    Indeed, in Belgium we say quatre-vingts and think that octante is Swiss. We do say septante and nonante, though.

  15. Bill Walderman said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 6:31 am

    I lived in Lausanne in 1958-1960 when I was 12-13. Huitante was prevalent at the time. I picked up septante, huitante, nonante, and to this day I haven't mastered the vigesimals.

  16. phanmo said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 6:32 am

    I'm a Canadian (anglophone, although I've spoken French since kindergarten) living in France. There are many many examples of franglais in both countries but I've noticed that in Canada the English word is generally used correctly whereas in France it doesn't seem to matter. The result is that here in France you come across words like "le footing" (jogging), "un jogging" (a jogging suit or sweatsuit) and even "le fooding" (not quite sure but seems to correspond to snacks and ready-made food such as sandwiches).
    In Quebec there are a lot of English words used, but used correctly. Quite often they are swearwords; if your car has broken down you might say "Ma voiture est fuckée" just as you might say the same in English. They are treated as swearwords as well; you would never say the previous sentence to your grandmother!
    In France, you'll hear English swearwords on TV regularly; one of my favourites is when Ice-T (former gangster rapper) was on a talk-show that airs around 7:30pm, he was totally shocked when the host used "motherf*cker" a number of times .

  17. Alan Gunn said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 7:14 am

    The law French for "stop" is "estop," from which we get the legal term "estoppel." Perhaps it could be revived and used for stop signs :).

  18. AlexB said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 7:28 am

    @Phanmo. In France, although most of the population has a smattering of English, very few actually know the language. English is used just like in Japan or Korea to make things look more exciting, hence the use in media and advertising. But the terms are actually French words in disguise, with some tenous link to actual English usage, ie 'people' for celebrities, 'fioul' for heating oil, or my favourite: niouzz

  19. Anne-Marie Beaudoin-Bégin said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    I'm from Québec, my mother tongue is French and I'm a linguist specialized in sociolinguistic history of Québec French.

    First, a bit of history. Québec was a French colony from 1608 to 1760. In 1760, it became a British colony. I won't elaborate much about how Québécois managed to keep French alive during nearly 275 years, but I'll say that since 1760, English is mostly seen as a threat from which we have to defend ourselves. Figure this out: we are a small French community drowned in an English sea. French represents a huge part of our identity. We have many anglicisms in our language, but most of them are colloquial. We don't like them much: a lot of people see these words as a sign of colonization, a unhappy memory of how we lost the battle.

    In France, they don't see English as a threat. For many people, using English words is a fashion thing. You have to do it to be in vogue. Most of the anglicisms belong to the neutral register. A good example is the verb BOOSTER. We use it as well in Québec. Actually, I'm pretty sure we used it before the French did. But it's colloquial. We would never use it in publicity.

    Before 1976, Québec was on a dangerous slope: French speakers weren't able to be happy in French. To have a good job, they had to learn English. Parents tended to send their children in English schools. In 2 generations, French would have become a vernacular, like it is in Louisiana, for example. Hence, in 1976, Québec government passed a law that forced the English bosses to let their employees work in French. Linguists did a huge terminological work in order to translate all of the specialized words in French. Among many other things, they also changed the sign STOP to ARRÊT.

    Now, this sign is part of Québec's identity. Québécois would never aloud the STOP sign to come back, even if it's used in France. It's one of the small thing they our proud of, since here, linguistic insecurity toward hexagonal French is almost a way of life.

    Language is a social system. To understand why a linguistic community do one thing instead of another, you have to understand how this community feels about the language itself, and about the other languages that can influence it.

  20. Florence said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    Booster is a word that media people seem to love here in France, but I don't think it's very common in everyday language. And I was not aware of the word "boostation".

  21. Mike said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    The interesting thing in Quebec is how French words with English cognates shift their usage towards English usage. For example, if you wanted to offer someone your support, or support them, in Quebec it used to be just "soutien" or "soutenir" were acceptable. But now "support" and "supporter" are used in Quebec in in exactly the same they are in English. Technically this doesn't count as an anglicism, and hence avoids the condemnation of the OQLF.

  22. J.W. Brewer said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    Doesn't complaining about non-standard transliteration of Yiddish presupose a standard transliteration? I'm not sure there is such a thing.(There are standardized spellings of certain Yiddishisms which have been lexicalized into AmEng, but shande/shonda/etc. seemingly hasn't gotten there yet, and those spellings often tend to be Teutonicized, e.g. using "sch" instead of the "sh" which seems more common in straight transliteration of running Yiddish text.) FWIW, I found the spelling in the original post perfectly acceptable/transparent.

  23. Khaled said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    My favorite of these among young Francophones is "clash." ("Clach?")
    "Ooh, lui, il va clasher le prof…sors, Monsieur, sors."
    I've also been amused by geography students saying "hard/soft power," "Northern Range," "container," etc.

  24. AlexB said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    A strange side effect of this pseudo English concerns film titles. Traditionally foreign films have been given French titles for distribution over here, as in 'Ames Errantes' for 'The Host'. For obvious reasons these titles have always been in French, but recently some American movies have received French titles in English. The French version of Date Night, for instance, is called Crazy Night, and The Hangover was 'translated' as Very Bad Trip

  25. John O'Toole said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    C’est trop cool ce post ! So, in Suisse romande or Romandie, it is indeed septante, huitante and nonante (pronounced neunante), except in Geneva, where quatre-vingts still reigns supreme. French-speaking Swiss friends (not so sure for France-France) regularly use pipol as a great adjective, derived, I imagine, from the title of the weekly rag dedicated to celebs, People Magazine. Thus, something, like an event, or someone can be très pipol. Mostly not a favorable qualifier. And bobo is—was in the past few years—alive and well there and in France-France. Derived, I suspect, from “bourgeois-bohemian” of Mr. Brooks, was it?

  26. Rodger C said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    @J. W. Brewer: Well, there's YIVO.

  27. Jerry Friedman said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    J. W. Brewer: Not that I know much about my ancestral language, but I'd take the YIVO transliteration to be standard.

  28. Anne-Marie Beaudoin-Bégin said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 9:49 am

    It would be interesting to study all the English words that come from French and how they were transformed, wouldn't it? Some could even claim that they are "pseudo-French". And what about the "pseudo-Italian"? Since these words were borrowed a long time ago, people don't seem to bother with their etimology…

    There are more speakers of English as a second language than there are English native speakers in the world: we could say that the world has taken possession of English, and made it its own. And we could try to figure, in that case, who is responsable for the norm…

  29. J.W. Brewer said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    I meant "standard" as in "actually used in practice with some degree of consistency by a clear majority of writers rendering bits of transliterated Yiddish in the middle of English-language texts" not "standard" as in "proposed by some reputable and well-meaning scholarly body and possibly even consistently used by certain academic/specialist writers publishing for an academic/specialist audience." A related issue is you can't consistently transliterate according to some standardized system unless you already know the original-script orthography to be transliterating from, and I expect a lot more AmEng speakers of Ashkenazic ancestry know bits and pieces of Yiddish lexicon that they've learned by ear than are actually literate in Hebrew-alphabet Yiddish. I know bupkis [bupkes? other alternatives?] about Yiddish orthography in the Hebrew alphabet and in particular I don't know how it handles vowels, which is where the discrepency in transliteration seems to be here. Are they sometimes optional, just as they are in Hebrew-alphabet Hebrew? I expect anyone with bar/bat mitzvah level command of the Hebrew alphabet could figure out the consonants representing SH-N-D, but might be uncertain how to fill in the remaining blanks in a way that accorded with standard Yiddish orthography.

  30. Robert Coren said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    When I spent a month in Brussels lo these many years ago (1971, actually), my hotel room number was 95. I said "quatre-vingt-quinze" the first couple of times I asked for the key, but then I noticed the desk clerk doing arithmetic in his head and switched to "nonante-cinq". I didn't realize that the normalization didn't extend to the word for 80.

  31. Oscar Cox said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 10:44 am

    Shouldn't the stop signs say "Arrêtez" instead of Arrêt?

    As for the English words in French, there is also:

    "J'ai trouvé un novueau job"
    "J'aime pas le marketing"

    And so on

  32. phanmo said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    I love this to show the differing influence of English in Quebec and in France:
    Quebec: Parker la voiture dans le stationenment.

    France: Stationner la voiture dans le parking.

    In France, I often don't even realize that I'm hearing an anglicism because the intended meaning (and pronunciation!) is so far from the original meaning in English.

    One phrase that i hear relatively frequently is "one man show" which means exactly the same thing as in English, but according to the Google Ngram viewer is MORE frequently used in French than in English!

  33. Coby Lubliner said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    J. W. Brewer: Yiddish uses Hebrew characters to indicate all vowels. The word shande is written שאַנדע. However, the standard Yiddish word for 'shame' is שאַנד, with the final vowel elided (as it would be in Bavarian, the primary ancestor of Yiddish), while שאַנדע belongs to the register known as daytshmerish in which standard German forms (in this case Schande) are taken over unchanged into Yiddish. It would make more sense, then, to stick with the German spelling in English.

    About the STOP/ARRÊT dichotomy: there is an analogous situation in Spanish, with Spain (like the rest of Europe, under British influence) using STOP, while Latin America uses either ALTO (based on interpreting 'stop' as a noun) or PARE ('stop' interpreted as an imperative)

  34. franzca said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    Québécois use anglicisms "correctly" (that is, with the same meaning as in English)? Full de drôle! There are lots of cases of pseudo-English in Quebec, of which "full"/"full de" is perhaps one of the more recent and ubiquitous (Cf. ). But "chum", in the sense of boyfriend, has been in use for several generations (and you will hear women in their 60s refer to their husband as "chum").

    What is correct is that the sort of decorative use of English you see in France — see, I'm so smart/educated/trendy I can use an English word — doesn't work so well in Quebec. Peppering your written French with English tends to be more a form of slumming, as in the website headline "Commissions Scolaires: full de cash et plus de taxes?" ( — a promo for a crap talk radio show). Using English words in this fashion is likely to be interpreted as a lower-class thing. So you might use it in advertising, say, but with an ironic or faux-populist overtone.

  35. J.W. Brewer said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    Back to the French – "boostez" was transparent to me but I was initially misled by the picture in the ad and accordingly misconstrued "carriere" as cognate not to "career" but to "carrier," which I then assumed must have the (not implausible . . .) idiomatic meaning of "briefcase" in French.

    I appreciate Coby Lubliner's insights (and wish he would comment more often, because he typically has useful things to say), but fear he may suffer from the handicap of actually knowing Yiddish. I think what we're dealing with is not the question of what would be the optimal system for transliterating lengthy chunks of Yiddish text into the Latin alphabet (where Prof. Lubliner's suggestion of using different transliteration schemes for different registers of Yiddish might be a bit too complex even for an academic context), but the distinct (at least in my mind) question of what spelling(s) should be used for various bits of Yiddish-origin lexicon known and sprinkled into English discourse by Ashkenazic-ancestry Anglophones (or to a lesser extent those of us goyim who via long-term residence in New York City or other contingencies of life trajectory have picked up a more-than-median number of such lexical items) who do not themselves actually know Yiddish. I.e., I'm talking about usage by people who, despite all the Yiddish-origin words and fixed phrases they do know and actively use that are not part of the active lexicon of the median goyische Anglophone, would be completely at sea if their elderly grandparents suddenly started speaking to them in complete Yiddish sentences and paragraphs (or if they were presented with a Yiddish book or newspaper). I don't think the solution to the second problem is necessarily an applied case of the solution to the first problem.

  36. Coby Lubliner said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

    While J. W. Brewer refers to me as "Prof. Lubliner" and while I appreciate his flattering comment about my contributions, I want to make it clear that I am a retired professor of engineering and that as a linguist I am an amateur. I did not mean to make any generalizations about "different transliteration schemes for different registers of Yiddish" but only to suggest that in some cases (where the Yiddish and German forms are pragmatically the same) the German spelling might be used, German being generally better known than Yiddish. There is a famous precedent: when the Yiddish song Bay mir bistu sheyn was anglicized, it became Bei mir bist du schön.

  37. Chandra said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

    @phanmo – I wouldn't say that "fucké" (and other variants) is used exactly as in English. Yes, it's treated as an expletive, but a much milder one than in English. You may not be able to say it to your grandmother, but I heard it thrown around with ease between college students and professors, bus drivers and riders, shopkeepers and patrons, etc. I'd put it more in line with how we use the word "damned".

    To truly shock someone in Québec, of course, your profanity needs to invoke Catholicism.

  38. Chandra said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Also on the subject of how English words are or aren't used differently in Québecois French, I never quite figured out "C'est le fun". Sometimes it did indeed seem to mean that something was fun, but it was definitely used to mean something else at times too.

  39. John Lawler said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    @Cory: YIVO is standard transcription for Yiddish, in the community and in linguistics. German orthography has varied too much to be a standard, and there are lots of transcriptions (Yiddish transcribed before 1900 often used artificial spelling like TH for T, as German then did, and multiple vowel spellings, where Yiddish has only 5 vowels).

    For details, see the discussion and examples on /di yidishe shraybmashinke/ 'the Yiddish typewriter' (‏די ייִדישע שרײַבמאַשינקע ), which is a great web resource.

  40. Lazar said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

    @Chandra: If "le fun" is current in Canadian French, then its usage might be considered more conservative than that of English, where "fun" increasingly seems to be analyzed as an adjective.

    @J.W. Brewer: In the YIVO orthography or in older practice which predates standardization, Yiddish writes out all vowels, except in Hebrew words, which are left as they are (though several historical vowel and consonant phonemes are realized differently from Israeli Hebrew). By the early 20th century there were some movements to spell out all vowels, and this was implemented by the Soviets (who preferred a less Hebraic and more Slavophilic kind of Yiddish).

  41. Ben C said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

    Some differences between English in Quebecois French and English in francais de France: in Quebecois French, I think 'job' is feminine rather than masculine. I think the same is true of 'puck'.

  42. Joseph F Foster said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    Referring back to Coby Lubliner's pos, the last pgf on Spanish Alto Stop! v. Pare, I believe it is still the case that in the Mexican Army, and I think also the Argentine armed forces, the command in close order drill for the unit to stop is
    "Alto!" or "Alto ya!".
    I don't ever remember hearing "Pare!" used.

  43. Chandra said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

    @Lazar – Your comment perplexes me a bit; I'm in my late thirties and have always known "fun" to be quite readily analyzed as either a noun or an adjective, but it seems that you're implying the latter is a recent phenomenon?

    In any case, I'm pretty sure I only ever heard "fun" used in Canadian French in the specific phrase "C'est le fun" – so it appears to be a noun (although in fact it's used in a kind of adjectivy way, if you'll pardon my non-technical term). But what I was really getting at is that it doesn't always seem to have quite the same meaning as it does in English. I heard people use it in contexts where I would expect the equivalent of "That's interesting", "That's great" or "That's nice". Other times it was indeed used where "That's fun" would be expected.

  44. Lazar said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

    @Chandra: It originated as a noun, which is why prescriptivists will insist on "great fun" (rather than "very fun") and balk at "a fun [noun]". Its reanalysis as an adjective surely goes back a ways, but I believe it's getting stronger over time – "great fun" seems nearly extinct in informal speech now, although "funner" and "funnest" have yet to really catch on.

  45. Rubrick said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    It would be a phenomenally subtle pun if stop signs in Quebec were hexagonal.

  46. Bob Moore said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

    @Phanmo, "le fooding" refers to a recent movement in French cuisine towards cooking at the highest level, with a modern edge to it, without the stuffiness and ritual of the classic temples of gastronomy (AKA Michelin three-star restaurants). See

  47. Mr Punch said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    Fun: I'm 66; to me, "fun" has always been a noun, occasionally used informally as an adjective (as nouns may be); the "very fun" usage seemed to me to become common within the past 20 years.

  48. John O'Toole said,

    April 17, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

    @Ben C Oui, en effet, yes indeedy. Une job usually in Quebec and un job on the Continent, well, Hexagone and Swiss Romandy. The same holds for puck, which is marked n.f. ou m. in my Petit guide du parler quebecois (but all of the examples given use the feminine), whereas Continental French uses le puck. I have a very clear memory of my Swiss brother-in-law using the expression "Il a reçu le puck" (he got hit by the puck, i.e., he's nuts, someone dropped him on his head when he was born, he's a bit touched) with an accompanying gesture: right hand flat striking the forehead along the index finger, twice. Of course there is a much greater chance, I suppose, that the offending puck would strike one in the forehead more horizontally than vertically. Finally, une gang in Quebec and un gang in Continental French. A fellow American who learned his French in Quebec used ma gang d'amis or une gang d'amis, which struck me as wrong, so I checked at the time. All of which shows beyond a doubt that nominal gender in French has rhyme but really very little reason. I once spoke of la prepuce (I forget the joke I was making) with a Swiss friend and fellow Beckettian, who immediately corrected me, adding, Ça tombe un peu sous le sens, n’est-ce pas. To which I replied, Oui, en effet. La bite. Le con. Makes perfect sense to me…

  49. John Walden said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 1:52 am

    Spanglish in Spain, not the code-switching kind, seems to be similar to Franglais in many cases; Un Camping, un parking, hacer footing and so on. I'm guessing that the slightly changed words came via French.

    Going back to huitante, it's not so very different from eighty/four score. "Four score" seems to have been the preference of the King James Bible, but I don't know if eighty was also used then or if there were regional variations.

    Lustra never really caught on.

  50. phanmo said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 1:59 am

    I live in Nantes where hockey is relatively popular. Nobody uses the word "puck" here, some of the fans I spoke to at the last Corsaires game I went to didn't even know the word. Everyone used the word "palet".

    @ Bob
    Thanks! I must have been led astray by a sandwich shop nearby that used the term; my local supermarket had it over the section with pre-made sandwiches and cooked pasta.

  51. Sybil said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 10:05 pm

    Surely TimL doesn't really mean Shibboleth? Or maybe he does. He originally objected to the use of the word "shonda" to indicate a shame. (Jason claimed this was a non-standard translation, but it's totally standard as far as I know. It's the only common use of "shonda" in my NYC Orthodox speech community.)

    Maybe I'm showing my NYC bias*, but "shonda" seems to be in common currency here even among non-Jews who are not linguists. Whatever TimL meant, It's not a secret handshake, except insofar as it identifies you as coming from NYC or enivions (so far as I can tell).

    *Disclosure: NYC, Jewish but not ashkenasi. "Shonda" is as foreign to me as it is to many of you.

  52. Jason said,

    April 18, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

    Surely TimL doesn't really mean Shibboleth? Or maybe he does.

    "A shibboleth is a shared language used by a particular group, and usually only well understood within that group."

    This is of course rather divorced from the original metaphoric meaning of "Shibboleth" in English, but that's language for you. TimL was also trying to be clever, and perhaps failing, since "Shibboleth" originates from Hebrew, not Yiddish.

    He originally objected to the use of the word "shonda" to indicate a shame. (Jason claimed this was a non-standard translation, but it's totally standard as far as I know. It's the only common use of "shonda" in my NYC Orthodox speech community.)

    Um. Non-standard transliteration, not translation. I was simply trying to say that "shonda" gave me a double take until I realized "shande" was meant. At least make it easy on a goy and use a familiar spelling of the word!

  53. Marc N said,

    April 19, 2013 @ 7:14 am

    So many English or pseudo-English words in French. It can drive one crazy.

    "Stop" is fully integrated, as proved by its verbification into the regular verb "stopper" (to stop) and the noun "le stoppage". While "stopper" just means "to stop", as you would expect, "le stoppage" is a technique of clothing repair. It's something like "repriser" (to darn), but apparently more complex. Given how cheap clothing is, it's almost a lost art. Darning, I guess, closes a small hole, while le stoppage recreates the warp and weft of the original fabric. The workers practicing le stoppage were "des stoppeuses" (almost always women).

  54. John Walden said,

    April 20, 2013 @ 4:37 am

    That's not so unlike the older meaning of "stop" in English, according to

    "Old English -stoppian (in forstoppian "to stop up, stifle"), a general West Germanic word (cf. West Frisian stopje, Middle Low German stoppen, Old High German stopfon, German stopfen "to plug, stop up," Old Low Frankish (be)stuppon "to stop (the ears)"), but held by many sources to be a borrowing from Vulgar Latin *stuppare "to stop or stuff with tow or oakum" (cf. Italian stoppare, French étouper "to stop with tow"), from Latin stuppa "coarse part of flax, tow." Plugs made of tow were used from ancient times in Rhine valley. Barnhart, at least, proposes the whole Germanic group rather might be native, from a base *stoppon.

    Sense of "bring or come to a halt" (mid-15c.) is from notion of preventing a flow by blocking a hole, and the word's development in this sense is unique to English, though it since has been widely adopted in other languages; perhaps influenced by Latin stupere "be stunned, be stupefied."

    So I wouldn't be too sure that "le stoppage" is a borrowing from English.

  55. Ran Ari-Gur said,

    April 20, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

    @Lazar: I disagree. It's true that many (most?) speakers now use "fun" as an adjective, but they still use it as a noun, too. "Great fun" may be dated (though its Google Ngram Viewer graph is ambiguous at best), but "have fun" and "a lot of fun" are both very much alive and well.

  56. Ran Ari-Gur said,

    April 20, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

    (And according to the graph comparing "so fun" and "so much fun", the latter is still about an order of magnitude more common.)

  57. Keith said,

    April 22, 2013 @ 4:18 pm


    The verb "booster" has been in use in Hexagonal French for at least fifteen years… have you seriously only just discovered it this week?


  58. Les lettres de la lune | Tony Cantero Suarez said,

    April 25, 2013 @ 4:55 am

    […] Boostez votre carrière ( […]

  59. Boris J. said,

    April 27, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    +1, Keith!

    "Booster" is *very* common in French. So are "challenge", "weekend"/"week-end", and most English words that are mentioned in this thread. I mean, are you guys serisouly trying to compile a list of all the English words that are commonly used in French? Seems like this would take more than a few posts…

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