Skip to main content

New franglais

The French have pretty much gave up defending their language from the influx of English. It amused me to learn in the early 1990s that the Minister of Culture Jacques Toubon, in his failed attempts to stop anglicisms, became known to some as Jacques Allgood.

Even so, I continue to enjoy the range of neologisms, many of which spring up in the fields of new technology and entertainment. Some are French adaptations of English terms, such as réseauter (to network), most just English terms used because they are fashionable in some circles.

I often find the latter in a blog I look at from entitled Têtes de Séries by Pierre Langlais (yes, Langlais). Pierre writes about all the latest news of TV series, especially American and British.

In recent blogs I have found pour le fun, difficile d'en parler sans spoiler, les deux épisodes suivants étaient meilleurs que le trailer, Yahoo lance... une webséries (avec un s), les champions du buzz, le post  (continues to be used despite the new term included in Le Petit Robert billet de blog), son dernier best-of de l'été, un mois de playlist, quel crossover elle voudraient faire, les cinq grands networks, se faire previewer (Pierre admits he has just made that one up).

Then I come across avant que les upfronts ne soient trop dans le rétro (not sure what that one means), on se contentera d'un pitch, des tables rondes et des masterclasses. Le brainstorming and le geek  may not be that new, but quatre acteurs has-been looks more original. Words like remake and casting are not at all new, but I confess I hadn't seen cast before. I should read more.

How about cinq prime-times par semaine? And what about comic instead of BD?

Now, Mr Langlais is not using the language of the French person in the street, but to savvy English-speaking DVD watchers, these neologisms make sense and identify them with a culture they enjoy. Some may catch on.

The latest edition of Le Petit Robert I mentioned above includes these anglicisms:

Le notebook
Le netbook
Le biopic
And lastly, David Cameron's favourite, LOL.


  1. So the French have succumbed to Anglicism, too!
    That should make my next stay there a bit easier, I hope ;-)
    As a German teacher and translator I notice the same in German and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it makes my life a lot easier when translating a book or when students ask about the translation of a new word (especially internet related). On the other hand it does make me very sad to see some beautiful, perfectly good German words disappear for the sake of the 'cool' English word.

  2. "Billet de blog"... I mean, really? They really expect us to use this dainty, square expression? I've been using "entrée" personally, because I can't bring myself to use "un post" like everyone else. How are you supposed to pronounce it even? "ehn powst" rhyming with "un toast" I suppose, but for Canadians this is too strange. We would pronounce it "uhrn pawst" and then we don't know if we're talking of a blog post, a tv or radio channel or a job.
    Here in Canada we have been fighting franglais for a long time and have therefore come up with 100% French words to describe the new technological (and often American) reality.
    Courriel = email, clavardage = online chat, etc. but we still do use English far too much. Here we may combat the vocabulary, but English seeps in the syntax, which is more pernicious.
    Great article, as always!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.


An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

Learning strategies (3)

This is the third in the mini-series of blogs about learning strategies. So far, we have looked at some (rather scant) research evidence for the effectiveness of strategies. Bear in mind that a lack of research evidence does not mean strategies do not work; if there is any consensus, it is that they are probably useful and probably best used when integrated into a normal teaching sequence. We then looked at a classification of different types of strategies.

In this blog Gianfanco and I look at how you might integrate strategies into your teaching. There is nothing revolutionary about this stuff! You may do a good deal of this type of thing already, but you may also be new to the concepts and applications of learning strategies.

Let's look at how you might use strategies, particularly with regard to the teaching of listening and reading. Remember: this is just about how you help students to use strategies to become better listeners and readers.

How to teach strategies 

The research …