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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What is Franglais?
Aurore: And is it commonly used?
Michael: At FrenchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Consider the following situation: Karen Lee mistakenly received a message meant for her friend, Fleur Toussaint. Karen says,
"I forwarded the message to you."
Karen Lee: Je t'ai forwardé le message.
Karen Lee: Je t'ai forwardé le message.
Fleur Toussaint: Merci.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Karen Lee: Je t'ai forwardé le message.
Michael: "I forwarded the message to you."
Fleur Toussaint: Merci.
Michael: "Thank you."

Lesson focus

Michael: There is no question that English is the universal language of this era. It's the second largest native language in the world, with over 70 countries using it as their official language. All over the world, people know at least one English word, what it means, and how it is pronounced. It's true that the English language has descended from many different languages including Greek, Latin, and French. But, because of modern technology and the internet, it seems that things have now been going in the opposite direction. The French language, for instance, is now seeing a rise in its number of English loan words, called anglicisms or
Aurore: Anglicismes
Michael: This development is called
Aurore: Le franglais
Michael: "Franglais" is a fusion of two words,
Aurore: Français
Michale: or French, and,
Aurore: Anglais
Michael: or English. In the past, Franglais was considered by many as an overuse of English words by French-speakers. There are still some who think it's not useful, but many people who learn French find it fun, and many French teachers even approve of it. This is the reason why you'll hear something like,
Aurore: Je suis super busy.
Michael: or, "I'm super busy." Here's another one:
Aurore: Tu peux me forwarder le reporting asap ?
Michael: "Can you forward me the report asap?" You will especially hear a lot of this mixture of French and English in the French corporate world. Here's the final example:
Aurore: On va debriefer sur les bullet points du meeting.
Michael: "We're going to debrief on the meeting's bullet points." We can't talk about Franglais without mentioning fake loanwords. While loanwords make communicating a little bit more convenient, the French people have improperly incorporated some English words into their vocabulary. Here's one example:
Aurore: Des baskets
Michael: A basket is a container used to carry objects, but, in this case, it's used to refer to basketball shoes. See what I mean? Here's another one:
Aurore: Le zapping
Michael: This is when you're quickly browsing through TV channels. It's called channel hopping in French and probably came from the idea of shooting or "zapping" the TV using the remote control. For three decades now, official French committees have been putting efforts into creating new French words in order to avoid English terms. In some cases, their efforts would prove to be a success, such as in the word,
Aurore: Logiciel
Michael: which means, "software." More often than not, the results were not as appreciated, like in the word,
Aurore: Messagerie instantanée
Michael: or "messenger." Today, many people see this evolution as a blessing, while others see it as endangering the French language. In the end, we can't deny the fact that this evolution is inevitable. We could either continue resisting the change or create new words to adapt.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Karen Lee says "I forwarded the message to you."
(pause 4 seconds)
Aurore as Karen Lee: Je t'ai forwardé le message.
Michael: Did you notice how the word
Aurore: forwardé
Michael: was used in this sentence? Even though it's an English word, it was used here in the same way as a regular French verb and had to follow French grammar rules. In our example, Karen used the word:
Aurore: forwardé
Michael: She was referring to the forwarding of the text message. There is actually an equivalent French verb for "to forward" which is:
Aurore: transférer
Michael: However, and maybe due to the fact that some email software is not translated in French, some French people will use:
Aurore: forwarder
Michael: Please note that this verb is plain Franglais. It was made from the English verb to forward, with the suffix for regular French verbs.
Michael: In this lesson, you learned that French speakers tend to adopt English words into their vocabulary. This is also called "Franglais," and while some people might promote this practice, others will see it as harmful for the language.
Michael: While the overuse of English words in the French language seems unacceptable to many, loanwords are welcome and are common in certain fields. Let's take a look at this sentence:
Aurore: J'ai toujours des chewing-gums dans mon sac.
Michael: "I always have chewing gum in my bag." Notice how "chewing gum" is now separated with a hyphen? Not all French loanwords undergo this change, but some do. Here's a similar example:
Aurore: Passe un bon week-end !
Michael: This means, "Have a good weekend!" This time, it's the word "weekend" that received a hyphen. This is interesting because the English word "weekend" was indeed once separated with a hyphen but eventually evolved into a single word.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: A more subtle form of Franglais is the Semantic Franglais. It's the improper use of an English word that looks like a French word. For instance, we have the expression
Aurore: Aucune chance !
Michael: The word "chance" here came from the English word of the same spelling except that what the speaker really means by
Aurore: Aucune chance !
Michael: is "I'm not going to risk it," which in French should be
Aurore: Aucun risque !
Michael: It's like saying, "I'm not going to leave it to chance."


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Aurore: À bientôt !
Michael: See you soon!