Have I mentioned lately how annoying English words are in French? Just over the past few days, I’ve heard people speaking French say speed, soft, borderline, bad trip, VIP, people, and flashy when they could have just used French words in their sentences. And of course they pronounce these words with French accents, which is logical linguistically, but that makes understanding them almost impossible for an Anglophone. And it seems that these words are sometimes used in ways that we wouldn’t even use them in English.
I have nothing against borrowing words from other languages, but I never realized before how many English words are actually used in everyday French. Maybe some French people can shed some light on this, but is it considered cool to use English words all the time? I find it very annoying because I wonder why I was never taught these words in my French classes. And French people who don’t speak English really don’t understand why I can’t understand their use (ok, their pronunciation…) of English words. But what irritates me the most is that my students think they can use these words in the same way – grammatically or semantically – in English, but it just doesn’t work.
Even though I get what you mean by Last week was less speed than this week, it’s not a good sentence. My students get so frustrated when they discover that they don’t actually know how to use these English words that they thought they knew how to use all this time. Or when they discover that the definition of the word in English is something completely different than what they thought, i.e. they hear a string in English and automatically think of thong underwear, which is un string in French. Definitely not the same as une ficelle.
Words like pom-pom girl (cheerleader), relooking (makeover), zapping (channel surfing), hard discount (discount [store]), and bermuda (bermuda shorts) are easy enough for Anglophones to figure out. Even catch (pro/fake wrestling) makes sense if you think about it. But I really do wonder how in the world smoking got borrowed into French to mean a tuxedo. Who decided that and why?
He is wearing a smoking!