Back to the roots and water them with coffee

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:42 pm

rdearman wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:When listening to podcasts I often hear French people throw in random English words that definitely are not recognised in French (they are straight up English words or expressions) to sound cooler it seems or something else, but either way it annoys the hell out of me.

You might want to be careful here. There are many French words which are taken from English, but do not actually have the same meaning. E.g. the French took the word and made it their own. So they aren't just throwing in random English words to sound cool.

Some examples are: "Footing", which to the French is a verb meaning to run slowly. We use "jogging" in English for this, but jogging for the French are tracksuit bottoms (sweatpants for Americans). Pressing = Dry cleaning, Brushing = Blow-drying your hair. Or "dressing" which means the same as wardrobe in English but in English dressing is something you put on salad.


Well, even in my French grammar books/courses I've come across plenty of examples like yours. Due to my desire to sound as French as possible, I find I almost always look up such words. I generally get two answers I need- 1. Is it in the FR dictionary as an anglicism or is it a French speaker being trendy using an English word (sometimes these appear in my Le Robert dictionary app). 2. If it is there, the IPA will give me one (sometimes more) way(s) in which to pronounce it in a French way. Traditionally French words (as opposed to more recent borrowings) are phontically generally much easier to assume their correct pronunciation.

So, yeah I knew about such words as 'le footing', 'le pressing', 'un smoking' and am happy to employ such words the way the French use them, but didn't know of 'le brushing'. Still, I'll go for a 'more French' equivalent if one exists and doesn't stand out as ridiculous.

Cavesa wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:On the French anglicism thing...
I am a bit of a purist when it comes to French. Oddly, I'm not as bothered by this for Dutch and i suspect it's something to do with Dutch and English being Germanic, Dutch being a smaller language and French phonetically being more different than Dutch is to English. If there's a perfectly good French equivalent, why use an English word? If there is an anglicism that is accepted into the language to the point it is in Le Robert dictionary, I'm happy to use it here and there but prefer the more original French version if one exists. To get to the point, I will use the anglicisms with their French pronunciation as listed in the dictionary in IPA format. If it's not in the dictionary and it's therefore not a recognised French word borrowed from English, shove it, I'm not using it. When listening to podcasts I often hear French people throw in random English words that definitely are not recognised in French (they are straight up English words or expressions) to sound cooler it seems or something else, but either way it annoys the hell out of me. You do not sound cooler (to me), you're just annoying me (in truth that's my problem, not theirs).

So Good luck with your German mission!


The thing is, that there is sometimes no perfectly good equivalent, and sometimes there is. And the use of the anglicisms doesn't always correlate with this reality. This recent rekindling of interest in the topic started for me on Agorima's log, where they were very critical towards anglicisms in Czech. However, majority of their examples actually didn't have a perfectly good Czech equivalent, all the closest ones meant something different.

I tend to side a bit with the purists in French too, because French doesn't actually have some of the problems Czech does. It has very rich vocab with Latin roots, so sticking to French doesn't create any supplemental barrier. It has a real tradition but can also react well to the modern world. However, some anglicisms are necessary and insisting on purism only alienates the standard with the really used language.

I mostly like your approach, with acknowledging the official anglicisms and their official pronunciation. But there are a few catches: the first is a practical one, I don't really have time to check everything in a dictionary, and will forget it by the time I find a moment. And a second one: do you treat just as harshly new purely French words? Or is there a double standard?

The perfect example is "chronophage". It is a perfect word, and there is no traditional equivalent really expressing the same thing without having to use several words. It is a French word, not an anglicism. But still, some purist don't even like such neologisms. It officially doesn't exist.

And the third issue: What is "more French" or rather "more natural" or "more native like"? Sticking to the standard vocabulary and protecting the language, or going with the flow and commiting the same linguistic atrocities as the people around you? I don't think there is any universal answer.

rdearman wrote:
PeterMollenburg wrote:When listening to podcasts I often hear French people throw in random English words that definitely are not recognised in French (they are straight up English words or expressions) to sound cooler it seems or something else, but either way it annoys the hell out of me.

You might want to be careful here. There are many French words which are taken from English, but do not actually have the same meaning. E.g. the French took the word and made it their own. So they aren't just throwing in random English words to sound cool.

Some examples are: "Footing", which to the French is a verb meaning to run slowly. We use "jogging" in English for this, but jogging for the French are tracksuit bottoms (sweatpants for Americans). Pressing = Dry cleaning, Brushing = Blow-drying your hair. Or "dressing" which means the same as wardrobe in English but in English dressing is something you put on salad.


Yes, this definitely happens. It is confusing. But while we may opt to use more French words, when available, I simply don't think a non native speaker should try to correct the natives or simply avoid the normal use of these words. You will just appear more weird. And imagine just HOW uncomfortable this is for me, a non native speaker of both English and French! :-D

I definitely wouldn't want to go as far as to using the weird anglicized corporate newspeak (which is definitely mostly a show off opportunity), but if I want to watch the wonderful fashion and looks videos in a facebook group or on youtube, I simply need to understand "brushing" and similar words. And if I want to talk with normal people about such stuff, I simply cannot be a purist, or I'll look like a typical beginner speaking like a textbook.


I guess I try to be as French as possible, so this ironically means that I'll choose to use anglicisms even when there's a French equivalent but it's not readily accepted by the French. For example, I find myself preferring 'podcast' over 'balado(diffusion)' as the latter hasn't caught on so well. 'Podcast' is listed as an anglicism.

However 'cluster' is listed as an English word and during Covid it's been heard everywhere to the point that I anticipate that it'll soon be listed as an anglicism and not just 'mot anglais'. I at least will prefer to use the word 'foyer (infectieux)' until I'm defeated by the army of French ppl who eventually may be offended by an Australian attempting to purify their language :lol:

Other examples of anglicisms with existing French equivalents (from Hugo Advanced French):

le fast-food = la restauration rapide
le job = le poste
le walkman = le baladeur
le manager = le gérant
le hobby = le passe-temps
le Web = la toile
le fax = la télécopie
relaxe = détendu

In the past I'd go for the words on the RHS above more than I do nowadays. Lately I follow the trend of the French people more often, but still with more of a purist tendency leaning in some cases than perhaps the average French person.

All in all it's tricky to gauge when I live in an anglophone country and who am I to say how the French use their language! I'm one person, several thousands of kms away. Still, from what I've come to understand that while the French have a somewhat exaggerated reputation as purists, it's the Québecois who are supposedly more protective of their language and more likely to adapt to newly invented French equivalents in an attempt to eradicate anglicisms while combating the immense force of an ocean of English speakers surrounding Québec. Perhaps that's why I'm more protective of French as I live on a continent of English speakers, but then again not every French learner in the anglo-American sphere feels as I do.

So, I would use 'le footing', 'le bowling', 'le jazz', 'un bulldozer' and 'un smoking' as they are widely accepted and in some cases don't match their English meanings. Thus, trying to substitute a 'more French' (ie existing for longer in the French language) word would come off as long-winded ridiculousness, or one simply doesn't exist. These words are French (now), just as 'restaurant' and 'rendez-vous' are English words.

So I would equally use gérant or manager, un test for certain contexts and une épreuve for others, but would prefer un passe-temps over un hobby, détendu instead of relaxe and foyer over cluster, at least for now.

I guess it's not 100% clear and confusion will continue for as long as languages are borrowing words from others whether out of trendiness or for valid use where no native equivalents exist.
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Le Baron » Tue Jun 15, 2021 11:46 pm

I think such words are actually used for trendiness, at least at the beginning when they first gain traction. I've actually heard this said by both French and Dutch people quite often, I quote: 'It sounds better/cooler in English'.

I tend to have a bee in my bonnet about many of these borrowings because they are so often either meaningless or distorted, or just pointless borrowings which add no information. However there's little (nothing actually) that can be done about it once they do gain currency. 'Footing' is well integrated, yet it's not a first choice because 'jogging' is a known word in France and is well-used. When you hear people talk about joggers, often mockingly, other euphemisms are used like trottiner to describe the rather half-hearted, reluctant effort by some joggers.

A word which gained currency among young people here about a decade ago and is still going, is 'nice'. It's used more-or-less correctly, but people say it like it's a really exotic and fantastic word layered with cool meaning. Like John Thomson used to say it on The Fast Show in those 'Jazz Club' sketches. In reality it's just a workaday word, which can perhaps be loaded with different intentions. I wonder quite what intentions it is loaded with in the Dutch mind, perhaps more than I know. It's definitely for the 'exotic' thrill of using a foreign word though. Though just as much as some English people say 'frisson', when half the people you say it to don't even know what its supposed to mean. It adds little real information.

Personally I think there are people spending rather wasted time on these current fashion words when learning a language in order to appear 'more authentic'. You Tube is terrible for pumping out videos teaching people reams of 'hip' words in 25 minute videos (I watched a German one about a year ago). Then when you try them out only about 2 out of 10 people actually use them or know them. I hear new 'street' words regularly here, then promptly forget about them, because they have little real function and the ones that pass the fitness test just become regular vocabulary or legit, common alternatives. In French, since we're on it, 99% of these 'street French' things don't seem to teach even well-integrated common alternatives like 'bouffer' or 'bagnole'! Largely because they seem too 'normal' to the average French person, but perhaps not so much for the average course learner who is probably only taught 'manger' and 'voiture' until they reach 'advanced'. For most people delving into the latest Verlan is a waste of time because most are unlikely to go on holiday to a banlieu or hang out with a group of teenagers when they make their trips to France.

One last point about Dutch then I'll shut up. The attitude amongst the Dutch so often seems to be: 'there is no word that captures it in our language...so we use this English one.' Which then turns out to be just a normal translation of a perfectly good Dutch word. Lots of popular books and newspaper columns have been written over the last 20 years countering this falsehood. It's nothing to do with the lack of vocabulary (the Dutch dictionary is huge), but rather the effect of English penetration and its perceived cultural cachet. And that the Dutch are often seen to be more lax in this regard, though there are more dissenting voices now.
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby lysi » Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:27 am

I have a different opinion on anglicisms. I've mentioned before how I don't mention that I'm learning French while messaging on online chats, though I do mention that I'm from Ontario (most of the time). Because of this, whenever there's a technological/uncommon word that I don't know in French, I can just say the English word for it and people understand it without thinking it's weird. So anglicisms actually make my life easier in a lot of cases.
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby DaveAgain » Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:43 am

Cavesa wrote:
I only wish there was something I'd really like about Germany. Because so far, I have found nothing. Some people are able to learn just for money but I am failing at that. To me, it looks like the only things I liked about the germanophone country (such as the classical composers and opera) ended centuries ago.

If only I could find a few good scifi writers. There are some fantasy writers, but the amount pales in comparison with French or even with Czech. The popular music is a disaster, German radios are horrible and there is almost never any good popular music in German. I found some gothic metal I liked, but I am not always in mood for metal. And there are too few tv shows for a language of this size. It will be a struggle. But I have already learnt one language out of spite and despair, so it may work again.
Some German language singers/bands I've liked are:

IronMike mentioned a German band he liked too.
https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 26#p185743

EDIT
There's also a German language musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergarac that I liked: Cyrano das musical
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:02 pm

tiia wrote:Would you be open for recommendations? And if so, what kind of German content are you looking for exactly? Which authors have you found so far? I may recognise some more. I mean Scifi will be harder to find for me, but there are definitely quite some fantasy authors.
What about some humor in form of (youtube) videos/audiobooks whatever? Those things could be quite difficult, if there's too much word play, so I'm not sure how suitable they would be for you. But trying out probably won't hurt. There's definitely some content you will not find translated into other languages.
In case of music.. I don't know what you'd prefer, but there are only very few bands that I like, that sing in German...


Thanks, that's exactly what I need.

From fantasy, I know Cornelia Funke and Wolfgang Hohlebein. I have yet to read something by Markus Heitz, but I am aware of his existence. Who else is good? And when we look not only at high fantasy, but for example urban fantasy (I love that right now), are there many authors?

In scifi, I am right now in love of the space opera genre, but still enjoy cyberpunk or more general scifi. Haven't found a German author yet. Or even steampunk.

Humor in whatever form, but not sure how to describe or guess what I'll like, that's probably the most difficult and subjective thing on earth. :-D

In music, I found some metal or gothic rock stuff, like Lacrimosa. But I am not in mood for that so often. I love the Scorpions, but those sing in English. But when it comes to pop music, I simply cannot find anything in German. I've spent like 20 hours on the german autobahns last week and I heard like two songs in German! (one was der Letzte Tanz by Bosse. pretty average, not too great imho). The radios with more German content were totally different genres (I don't want to offend, I don't know the terminology: the style we expect german seniors in the countryside to listen to, based on stereotypes).

PeterMollenburg wrote:So, yeah I knew about such words as 'le footing', 'le pressing', 'un smoking' and am happy to employ such words the way the French use them, but didn't know of 'le brushing'. Still, I'll go for a 'more French' equivalent if one exists and doesn't stand out as ridiculous.

Well, finding out what is ridiculous, that's a fun and tricky task :-D

le fast-food = la restauration rapide
le job = le poste
le walkman = le baladeur
le manager = le gérant
le hobby = le passe-temps
le Web = la toile
le fax = la télécopie

All good examples, but we can see why some are used the way they are and not the other one. Really, would you waste time in an informal situation on "la restauration rapide"? :-D Similarly, "le passe-temps" is losing due to being simply less comfortable, at least on paper.

"Le poste" is still widely used, much more widely than "le job". "Le job" is however used often, but instead of "le boulot" or "le travail". "Faire son job". "Le gérant" is still used more than "le manager", and it has more style and value. If you want to be taken seriously, ask for gérant, I'd say :-D

"Le walkman" or "le baladeur": yeah, that seems weird to me twenty years ago. This "modern" vocab was confusing the hell out of one old teacher I had the bad luck to have. Imagine her confusion, when the class refused both and asked how to say "mp3player" instead :-D :-D :-D

Le Web is indeed used more than la toile, but not necessarily all the time.

But the fax example is the most hilarious one. Imagine how surprised I was, coming to a French hospital, and finding out the fax machines were still a standard part of the equipment! And I'll have to fax stuff occassionally, and be faxed stuff. Imagine if we would even call it "télécopie" on top of that! That would confuse it with the copy machine for me, and I would feel like travelling even further back in time. :-D

I guess it's not 100% clear and confusion will continue for as long as languages are borrowing words from others whether out of trendiness or for valid use where no native equivalents exist.

Yes, that's the only way to procede. Anyone trying to regularize this too much is bound to fail and just make people respect the standard language and academia much less. Languages are not 100% clear and universally agreed on, and that's ok.
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:22 pm

Le Baron wrote:I think such words are actually used for trendiness, at least at the beginning when they first gain traction. I've actually heard this said by both French and Dutch people quite often, I quote: 'It sounds better/cooler in English'.

I tend to have a bee in my bonnet about many of these borrowings because they are so often either meaningless or distorted, or just pointless borrowings which add no information. However there's little (nothing actually) that can be done about it once they do gain currency. 'Footing' is well integrated, yet it's not a first choice because 'jogging' is a known word in France and is well-used. When you hear people talk about joggers, often mockingly, other euphemisms are used like trottiner to describe the rather half-hearted, reluctant effort by some joggers.


Yes, that's the way it goes. It starts often as a way to show off, and some of the words become normal and may even express something slightly different from the original word. From this example, a well meaning learner trying to avoid "jogging" (the word, not the activity :-D ) will definitely express something else by "trottiner" and may even offend joggers.

A word which gained currency among young people here about a decade ago and is still going, is 'nice'. It's used more-or-less correctly, but people say it like it's a really exotic and fantastic word layered with cool meaning. Like John Thomson used to say it on The Fast Show in those 'Jazz Club' sketches. In reality it's just a workaday word, which can perhaps be loaded with different intentions. I wonder quite what intentions it is loaded with in the Dutch mind, perhaps more than I know. It's definitely for the 'exotic' thrill of using a foreign word though. Though just as much as some English people say 'frisson', when half the people you say it to don't even know what its supposed to mean. It adds little real information.


Many people should use fewer words imho :-D But "nice" is a wonderful example and I don't really understand why this is happening to the Dutch natives. You know, the thrill of using an English word was totally understandable in the postcommunist countries in the 90's or at the beginning of the 00's. On a human level, people just felt it was more cool and more free, because they would have been punished for using such western vocab during the communism. If they had had the chance to get to know it in the first place of course :-D

So, it was the hype for everything English or American, enjoyment of not being punished for such stuff (because yes, a few innocent thing like this could ruin your life back then and for example make you "unsuitable" to study and get any normal job.), and sense of finally belonging to the civilised world.

But the Dutch never had the communists, they were never occupied by the Russians, so why do they feel this? Why do they feel it as something "exotic"? :-D It comes from a language that is rather closely related to theirs, a culture that is mostly the same as theirs nowadays, no need to do this.

Personally I think there are people spending rather wasted time on these current fashion words when learning a language in order to appear 'more authentic'. You Tube is terrible for pumping out videos teaching people reams of 'hip' words in 25 minute videos (I watched a German one about a year ago). Then when you try them out only about 2 out of 10 people actually use them or know them.

Yes, that's partially right. Learning this stuff from youtube is not likely to give good results, and I agree most videos about such stuff are worthless trash. But when you are in contact with natives and for example move to the country, you don't have the choice. You learn the words used by your social bubble. People your age, with similar education, and living in the same size of town.

I hear new 'street' words regularly here, then promptly forget about them, because they have little real function and the ones that pass the fitness test just become regular vocabulary or legit, common alternatives. In French, since we're on it, 99% of these 'street French' things don't seem to teach even well-integrated common alternatives like 'bouffer' or 'bagnole'! Largely because they seem too 'normal' to the average French person, but perhaps not so much for the average course learner who is probably only taught 'manger' and 'voiture' until they reach 'advanced'. For most people delving into the latest Verlan is a waste of time because most are unlikely to go on holiday to a banlieu or hang out with a group of teenagers when they make their trips to France.

Yes, you're right. This sort of "middle ground" between slang and standard language was definitely new to me. Wods like bagnole, bouffer, and others. They are too colloquial for the coursebooks, but too normal and standard for the colloquialism dictionaries or videos.

One last point about Dutch then I'll shut up. The attitude amongst the Dutch so often seems to be: 'there is no word that captures it in our language...so we use this English one.' Which then turns out to be just a normal translation of a perfectly good Dutch word. Lots of popular books and newspaper columns have been written over the last 20 years countering this falsehood. It's nothing to do with the lack of vocabulary (the Dutch dictionary is huge), but rather the effect of English penetration and its perceived cultural cachet. And that the Dutch are often seen to be more lax in this regard, though there are more dissenting voices now.

Don't shut up! Please. Your description of this thought process is extremely good. In the first phase, it really is very often the "we don't have a word" for it. But later on, the new word either catches on and even means something slightly different from the original word (therefore it enriches the vocab, even if some of us may not like it), or it stays as just a show off word. Well, I've often wondered how useful it would be, to tell morons from the rest of the population apart at first sight. Overuse of "cool" words is as close to this as we get :-D (partially joking).

But one point that you haven't addressed: How do the Dutch natives pronounce the English loanwords? That's the issue. From what I see in Belgium, there Flemish pronunciation of even Pizza Hut and Delhaize differs from the French one. So, how do they pronounce the English loanwords usually? More or less correctly? Or they read them as if they were Dutch words? Something else?
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:46 pm

I remember how shocked I was as a young exchange student turning on the radio in Germany and finding no German music! Okay, Schlager exists, but the regular pop stations play very little auf Deutsch.

One group I’ve enjoyed is Max Raabe and The Palast Orchester. They do Weimar era songs in German and English. It’s great fun, and you can hear the words better than most contemporary pop.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SerM1S3rr2k
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Le Baron » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:05 pm

An amusing one (to me at least) from when I first moved to NL: the pronunciation of 'corned beef' as corn-ed beef. :?: I was baffled when someone mentioned they'd bought it from the supermarket. I thought: how can it be nobody has questioned what a 'corn-ed is supposed to be? The word is just passed on.
Usually you can see loanwords have a different phonology/pronunciation; even the ones that have been in the language for a long time. Words like 'flat' (as in an apartment) are still pronounced 'flet' in imitation of RP English. Also, people use it more often to refer to the entire block of flats, in the singular. because of the abbreviation of 'flatgebouw' to just 'flat'. The pronunciation is replicated in 'scan/scanner' such as the thing in the supermarket - also called 'selfscan'.

With things you mentioned like 'Pizza Hut' etc, there is a definite vernederlandsing of words/names. Same with McDonalds, but with the stress on the 'Mac' rather than the 'Donald's'. Also made into a noun with a definite article: "De MacDonalds". Some languages don't like words without articles, the Dutch seem to find it problematic saying the name of the band Simple Minds without an article. :lol: I don't like Simple Minds so I don't have to wrestle with that problem.
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Le Baron » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:10 pm

lysi wrote:I have a different opinion on anglicisms. I've mentioned before how I don't mention that I'm learning French while messaging on online chats, though I do mention that I'm from Ontario (most of the time). Because of this, whenever there's a technological/uncommon word that I don't know in French, I can just say the English word for it and people understand it without thinking it's weird. So anglicisms actually make my life easier in a lot of cases.


Would you say this a result of the (probably unequal) cohabitation of languages in Canada? I'll freely admit that I've used English words in the past when I couldn't find the Dutch or German (r French) word, making capital of the fact it has wide currency. I'm careful to make sure I get the other word if I really don't know the word rather than it just having slipped my mind.
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby rdearman » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:47 pm

Le Baron wrote: I don't like Simple Minds so I don't have to wrestle with that problem.

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