A little confession: I love dictionaries. I have friends who like to read cookbooks, but that’s not my thing.
I prefer alphabetized lists of words accompanied by their various definitions, nuances, origins and evolutions. I just do, always have. I can sit down with a dictionary, a glass of wine and call that a “good time.” Really.
(Well, you know, not every day, but occasionally.)
That being the case, I thought I would share the latest — and not surprising — brouhaha over the 2016 editions of the famous French dictionaries, Le Petit Larousse and Le Petit Robert.
Once again, certain journalists, intellectuals, and other guardians of the French language are annoyed, furious or unabashedly outraged by the inclusion of yet more English words in their dictionaries.
Among them are the following (note the addition of accents for pronunciation):
Butternut — apparently the squash is entering into French gastronomy
Community manager (I wonder why?)
Glossy — as in shiny, but not as a magazine as we might use it.
Twerk — who would have thought?
English is pervasive and one cannot help being sympathetic toward the guardians of a country’s culture. Still, on the other side of the argument, one might suggest that new words — and there were a few from Japanese in the new dictionaries — enrich a language.
We have perhaps more French words in English than the French have English in theirs. According to Google, the source for all legitimate research(. . .), 45 percent of English words have a French origin.
On another note, Saturday night was the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision song competition (ABBA won in 1974 and Celine Dion in 1988) and with the exception of the singer from Austria every performer out of the 26 countries competing sang in English. Italy, France and the Ukraine did a 50/50, their mother tongue and English.
That’s sort of sad I think.
Meanwhile over at one of my favorite emporiums, Monoprix, there is a small collection of note cards and notebooks. And, guess what? They feature phrases in English.
How very disappointing for an American in Paris.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Merci par avance.