Franglais – Très Good or Very Confus?
The Beauty of French
French is a beautiful sounding language with connotations to romance, love and fine culture. It can also remind us of times in the classroom, learning and reciting phrases in front of our classmates and teachers by rote, repeating numbers, questions and verb conjugations. Can this be the reason why Franglais is quite popular in English culture? From the early days of Shakespeare and Chaucer, French is one of those languages that we love to speak in half translation – as I’ve heard many people say before “that was très funny!” instead of “très amusant!” So where did this Interlingua of Franglais (portmanteau of French and Anglais) come about and why is it so popularly used?
Is it because French is so commonly learnt in schools that French translation isn’t that necessary for us to explain in everyday conversation? Some examples of “Franglais” have been used by importing English phrases directly into French translation, which has spawned some rather strange sentences, e.g.
“Longtemps, par voir” – Long time no see
“Je ne (English verb) pas”, e.g. Je ne “know” pas – I don’t know (instead of je ne sais pas)
Franglais can be seen as light hearted as well as being an important factor in communication, with bad taste being the other side of the coin. Franglais is usually spoken in places where the number of French and English speakers is halved to co-exist, although the French spoken in Quebec is a specific form of Quebec French that is not to be confused with Franglais. However, French culture has often considered Franglais as bad slang or as a cultural attack, such as “le chien chaud”. The use of Franglais was also made popular by the late Miles Kingston, who satirized this cross cultured language by writing phrases books called Let’s Parler Franglais! as well as columns for Punch, where he used such phrases as: A man is accused of driving his car "avec toute la finesse d'un Rangers fan". However, there is an increase of adopted English phrases used in French media, such as the term “email” instead of “courriel” as examples in the French newsletter Le Monde. What is your take on Franglais and have you ever used it in conversation with half English, half French translation?