Don't tell les immortels

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Avmeric Renou, "À VivaTech, la French Tech s’offre un nouveau coup de boost", Le Parisien 5/21/2024.

"la French Tech"? "un nouveau coup de boost"?

The obligatory screenshot:

Elie Juien, "Homophobie, transphobie… À Paris, les bars LGBT-friendly pourraient être identifiés par un autocollant", Le Parisien 5/22/2024:

Une proposition du groupe communiste en Conseil de Paris, qui dénonce la hausse d’actes homophobes au premier trimestre, prévoit qu’un un réseau d’établissements accueillant du public « libres de LGBTphobies » soit créé avec apposition d’un sticker pour le signaler.

"les bars LGBT-friendly"? "un sticker pour le signaler"?

The screenshot:

Given the volume of English-language borrowings from French, turn about is fair play… But I'm a bit surprised by these phrases, since it would have been easy enough to use French calques.


  1. Christopher J. Henrich said,

    May 22, 2024 @ 6:09 pm

    "[I]t would have been easy enough to use French calques." But would it really be easy? Would not classically idiomatic French require a bunch of little "function words" to prop up the meaningful
    words in the right relation?

    In casual English we just slap the words together and let them figure out how to link up. They're used to doing this.

    I almost sympathize with the fastidious horror of
    French purists looking at what drifts across the Channel into
    their language.

  2. Kakurady said,

    May 22, 2024 @ 7:25 pm

    This appears to be the name of an official French government program that supports start-up technology companies.

    I have a fitness watch by Withings (known as Nokia Health for a time); the packaging proclaims it's "la French Tech" (though rather than referring the device itself, it's in fact noting the company's participation in the program).

  3. bukwyrm said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 12:49 am

    A (french?) reddit user asked about stickers saying 'LBGT-friendly', and for the header decided on 'LGBT amical', (the article you cite did something weirdly similar, going with 'autocollant' in the header and 'sticker' in the body. — about the 'la French Tech' ( compare to 'the Länd' campaign in Germany ( – it's just a misguided attempt to lure in the (fantasized to be english-speaking) tech crowd.

  4. Frans said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 4:25 am

    I almost sympathize with the fastidious horror of
    French purists looking at what drifts across the Channel into
    their language.

    I recently saw a French website write that the word "climax" isn't English and not pronounced "claimax." The fact that this is somehow considered necessary is bewildering to me.

  5. Dr. Decay said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 5:22 am

    "La tech francaise" is a perfectly cromulent french calque (after all "technologie" is an ok french word, the gender fits and only a few extra letters). But it sounds a little frumpy if you're going for cuttiing edge and up to date.

    "Booster" has been a common French verb for at least … a couple of decades? So the "coup de boost" sounds pretty french. A native anglophone might have skipped the "coup de" but that would definitely sound less French. I guess the French calque would be "coup de pouce" which may sound sufficiently similar to "boost" that it escapes a rapid reader's notice.

    Offhand, I can't think of a good french calque for the suffix "-friendly", something which you hear in other situations, especially "user-friendly". On the other hand I see no good reason to replace "autocollant" with "sticker".

  6. Olaf Zimmermann said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 5:37 am

    I once had a French colleagie – lovely guy, who looked like a reincarnation of Gaston Lagaffe – and who (since globalization is mondialisation in French) sent me the phrase "Le monde est mondial". On another occasion, however, I received from him "Sauvez les arbres. Mangez du castor", and was asked how to say this in English – I told him I'd rather not.

    As an aside, , on numerous French websites you now have the option to click on "likez-nous".

  7. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 7:45 am

    I was having a tête-à-tête with the au pair about the chaise-longue in the salon — the one between the bureau and the armoire — and I was trying to tactfully ask her if she knew who'd spilled claret on the toile, but her décolletage distracted me from the mot juste.

    Also, allons-y, mes pôtes, even the Italians have "il computer", can we laisser tomber <>?

  8. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 7:46 am

    Edit. I accidentally html'd!

    I meant, to say: "Also, allons-y, mes pôtes, even the Italians have "il computer", can we laisser tomber "ordinateur"?

  9. Frank O'Fyle said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 8:29 am

    While "mondialisation" may be one term for globalization in French, "delocalisation" is now much more widespread and we should perhaps borrow that, since it succinctly captures the negative impact.

  10. Coby said,

    May 23, 2024 @ 12:29 pm

    What struck me in the first page view was en cheffe [sic] de file. I guess it's because intelligence (the I of IA) is feminine.

  11. Bob Ladd said,

    May 24, 2024 @ 12:36 pm

    With regard to the suffix (or whatever it is) "-friendly", does anyone know the history of this? I've always found it a slightly odd use of what "friendly" normally means in English. In fact, I first encountered it in the German "benutzerfreundlich", which means literally "user-friendly", and I have always assumed it was computer jargon that spread (as a calque) to English, which then started attaching "-friendly" to all kinds of things. Google n-grams suggests that German "benutzerfreundlich" took off about 1965 and English "user-friendly" not till about 1980. Anecdotal evidence from people who worked with computers in the 60s and 70s would be gratefully received.

    (Google n-grams also shows that "user-friendly" started being used in German about 1980, but "benutzerfreundlich" is still far more common.)

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